An Evening In The Zone: "A Town Has Turned to Dust"
Rod Serling's "A Town Has Turned to Dust" -- which originally aired on June 19, 1958 on the CBS drama program "Playhouse 90" — is an important black & white dramatic TV play, directed by John Frankenheimer, about racial tensions turning deadly in the small fictional Southwest US border town of Dempseyville, which is suffering from deep drought, poverty and despair. Future Academy Award-winning thespian Rod Steiger plays an ineffectual sheriff who seems to be unable to stand up against the town, who want to lynch a young Mexican boy. The lynch mob are led by store owner "Jerry Paul," played by William Shatner, who would achieve iconic TV stardom as "Captain Kirk" in TV's "Star Trek." There are twists and turns along the way like those typically found in "Twilight Zone" creator Rod Serling's best dramatic work.