Ira Levin began writing for television while still a student at New York University, after a CBS writing competition landed him an agent. His "TV years" spanned from 1950 to 1955.
In his television output, Levin worked – characteristically – across genres, alternating between drama, comedy, and fantasy fare for shows of the day such as The U.S. Steel Hour and the (Twilight Zone-esque) anthology series' Lights Out and The Clock.
He also composed a number of short stories during this period, two of which were adapted for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and General Electric Theater, respectively. During his TV years, Levin also branched out into full-scale novel-writing, with his 1953 crime-thriller classic A Kiss Before Dying.
Just prior to A Kiss Before Dying's publication, Levin was drafted into the US army, where – in addition to writing military training films – he wrote two one-hour military-themed teleplays – one a drama (Notebook Warrior), the other a comedy (No Time For Sergeants).