UTAH (ABC4) – Utah has a long history in television and movies. One connection many may not be aware of is Utah’s connection to a classic episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

The 1964 episode, “Mr. Garrity and the Graves” follows a man who stumbles into a small mining town and convinces the local residents that he can raise their loved ones from the grave.

The episode’s story is actually based on a real occurrence that happened in Alta, Utah in 1873. The story eventually ended up in a Utah history book and was published in a local newspaper by Mike Korologos in 1963.

Korologos spoke with ABC4 about his small claim to television fame. “Before Alta was a ski resort, it used to be a silver mining town,” said Korologos. “The population was only around 5,000 and basically had a murder every night.”

The local tale says that a man walked into town with a staff in hand while wearing a large robe. The mysterious man gained lots of attention as he told residents he could raise the dead from the grave. Worried about grudges and unresolved debts if the dead really were to come back, the townspeople managed to collect $2,500 to convince the man to leave.

After the story was published in the local paper, it was picked up by the Alta Powder Newspaper. “I had no problem with the story ending up in the Alta news,” said Korologos. “Rod Serling, the producer and host of “The Twilight Zone” happened to be staying at the Alta Lodge and read the piece.”

Serling enjoyed the story so much he called Korologos to ask if he could turn the piece into an episode for his television show.

“He offered me $500 for the story, which I was ecstatic about back then,” said Korologos.

To make the story fit the theme of the show, the tale was embellished a bit. Like all episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” the episode ended with an interesting twist.

The episode aired in 1964 with the Utah town being renamed as “Happiness, Ariz.” The mysterious stranger was named “Mr. Garrity.” After the town pays the man to leave, only the audience sees that the dead souls eventually emerge from the cemetery with Mr. Garrity unaware of the true extent of his talent.

The closing line by host Rod Serling goes on to say, “Mr. Garrity, a would-be charlatan, a make-believe con man and a sad misjudger of his own talents. Respectfully submitted from an empty cemetery on a dark hillside that is one of the slopes leading to – The Twilight Zone.”