Submitted for Your Approval: A Tribute to Rod Serling

written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination—your next stop, ‘The Twilight Zone!’” With these iconic words, the rich-voiced Rod Serling introduced “The Twilight Zone.”

If he still lived, Rod Serling would be 93 years old this 25 December. Alas, this master of the anthology-style “Twilight Zone” (1959-1964) and “Night Gallery” (1969) television shows died in 1975.

An American screenwriter, play write, television producer, and narrator from New York took stood against censorship in his lifetime. In high school, he wrote for his high school newspaper and joined the military the day after graduation, serving in the Pacific during WWII. Private Serling received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and the Philippine Liberation Medal. His later writing reflected his realization of the unpredictability of life after serving. He said, “I was bitter about everything and at loose ends when I got out of the service. I think I turned to writing to get it off my chest.”

He earned a bachelor’s of arts degree from Antioch College in Ohio. He worked in radio, film, and, of course, television, accumulating numerous Emmys, Golden Globes, as well as the Edgar Allan Poe and Christopher Awards. His writing was often recognized the Writer’s Guild of America.

Rod Serling's Night Gallery

The popularity of “The Twilight Zone” found resurrection in a comic, a magazine, two later television series, and a film. Rod Serling’s image visited the television show, “The Medium,” and his likeness appeared on a US Postage stamp. His name graces the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

To celebrate his life, I plan to re-watch the seasonal “Twilight Zone” special “Night of the Meek” and recall my thrilling trips on the Tower of Terror in Walt Disney World.

“As long as they talk about you, you’re not really dead, as long as they speak your name, you continue. A legend doesn’t die, just because the man dies.” From “A Game Of Pool,” written by George Clayton Johnson, aired on The Twilight Zone, October 31, 1961.

*First published at Halloween Forevermore in 1994.

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