The thoughts and musings of a man at the precipice of middle age, starting from his 50th birthday.
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
Submitted for Your Approval
Whenever I talk about my
favorite authors, there is one person I invariably leave out who is without a
doubt at the top of my favorite list: Rod Serling. I think it is because I have
him pigeonholed off to the side as the narrator of TV show and it is only when
I am giving the subject full attention that the fact he wrote most of the TV
shows he narrated comes to mind. Long before M. Night Shyamalan created his
first ending with a twist, Rod not only brought the style to the screen
brilliantly—–many of the episodes he wrote are the Master Class of how it's
Rod Serling popped into the
front of my consciousness recently after I caught a rerun of one of his
brilliant Twilight Zone episodes while flipping through channels. Some
situations in the episode did not age well because the science in the episode
was obviously dated. However, the nature of human behavior remained constant
and therefore the episode still had relevance. I'd seen that episode a few
times before, so the ending did not catch me by surprise, but even though I
knew the ending I tried to find hints he might've inserted leading to the very non Hollywood ending. For me,
it was a lesson in good storytelling.
I will often wander through
the Internet after being reminded of something from my past, for new information
that wasn't available earlier in my life. In doing so, I came across an
interview that Mike Wallace did with him prior to the premier of the Twilight
Zone. Previously, I'd never seen Rod Serling outside of the shows he produced,
so this was also the first time I had ever seen him speak about something other
than an introduction to his show or a preview of the next episode.
What makes this interview extremely
worthwhile were the comments he made about censorship and creative control of
content on television. Even back then, shows were being manipulated by sponsors
and a select group of people who decided it was their business what would be
available. This interview gave me a deeper admiration for the man, beyond the
words he put on a piece of paper.
"It has forever been
thus: So long as we write what we think, then all the other freedoms - all of
them - may remain intact. And it is then that writing becomes a weapon of
truth, an article of faith, an act of courage." Rod Serling
I freely admit several of
the stories in Pimping Out My Sister-In-Law were written using techniques I
picked up from Rod Serling. Just like every other writer, I blend the styles I
observe and enjoy while reading into the things I compose.
I am waiting now for a copy
of his biography to arrive. Since this was written by his daughter, it probably
gives a better insight than anything written by someone outside of his family.
It'll be interesting to learn more about this brilliant writer and the
convictions that made him create a TV show that is still entertaining and
meaningful over fifty years later.
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