Rod Serling
Screenwriter
Rod Serling
Rodman Edward "Rod" Serling was an American screenwriter, novelist, television producer, and narrator best known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone. Serling was active in politics, both on and off the screen and helped form television industry standards.
Biography
Rod Serling's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of Rod Serling
News
News abour Rod Serling from around the web
CAMPAIGN SPOTLIGHT; New Campaign Lets BAM Hit You All Over
NYTimes - over 5 years
Decades ago, a son of Brooklyn named Ralph Kramden became a television sensation for comments like “Bang, zoom! Straight to the moon!” Now, a Brooklyn cultural institution is being celebrated with a punchy catch phrase of its own. To mark its 150th anniversary, which is to be celebrated for the next 16 months, the Brooklyn Academy of
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Blu-ray review: 'The Twilight Zone' Season 5 - NewsOK.com
Google News - over 5 years
Creator/host Rod Serling stubbed out his ever-present cigarette and went away to host game shows for the rest of the '60s. But that last season of the Zone didn't fade with a fizzle. Far from it. Some of the most iconic episodes of entire original
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'The Twilight Zone,' season five, debuts on Blu-ray - Plain Dealer (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Rod Serling's classic science-fiction anthology series returned to half-hour episodes for the 1963-64 season on CBS after a year of experimenting with a one-hour format. Despite the shorter length, some episodes still are guilty of padding,
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BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Twilight Zone – Season 5 - Big Shiny Robot!
Google News - over 5 years
Long-time producer Buck Houghton had exited and Rod Serling was teaching at Antioch College reducing his imput by a considerable amount. Rechristened as Twilight Zone the series returned as a mid-season replacement when Fair Exchange, an hour-long
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Spirit of Rod Serling Alive and Well at Ithaca College Conference - WBGH
Google News - over 5 years
The lasting legacy of the groundbreaking television and film writer Rod Serling will be examined once again at Ithaca College's Roy H. Park School of Communications, which is hosting its fourth conference dedicated to the celebration and study of his
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Bailee Madison in a scene from the horror film "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." - Globe and Mail
Google News - over 5 years
AP Photo/Film District, Carolyn Johns From the possessed doll in the classic episode of Rod Serling's seventies TV series Night Gallery to the clown under the bed in Poltergeist to the serial-killer doll Chucky, there's always been a special place in
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Is Eric Cantor the Reincarnation of Rod Serling? - Bacon's Rebellion
Google News - over 5 years
However, there's one big difference – Rod Serling knew he was writing science fiction. Eric Cantor seems to actually believe the surreal nonsense he spouts. The Twilight Zone. At a time when television was bringing audiences such standout shows as My
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FILM; Apes From the Future, Holding a Mirror to Today
NYTimes - over 5 years
THE evolution of species takes place over millenniums. Pop-culture franchises just don't have that kind of time. Rupert Wyatt's ''Rise of the Planet of the Apes,'' opening Aug. 5, is the seventh film about the peculiarly advanced simians invented by Pierre Boulle in his 1963 novel ''Planet of the Apes'' and the first in 10 years. The last ''Apes''
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Grown kid seeks little green man . . . - Irish Times
Google News - over 5 years
At our previous meetings, Abrams has shared his passion for Rod Serling, the creator of The Twilight Zone and patron saint of small-screen storytelling. Super 8 drips with longing for a lost time. “It's a crazy thing. I love technology and I hate it,”
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Maureen Dowd: One sure thing - STLtoday.com
Google News - over 5 years
They have released a research report proving that a single photon, or unit of light, cannot exceed the speed of light, as time-travel conjurers from HG Wells to Rod Serling to Woody Allen had hoped. The physicists determined for the first time that the
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OP-ED COLUMNIST; Not O.K. At the O.K. Corral
NYTimes - over 5 years
WASHINGTON So we'll never go back to the future? A group of physicists at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have revealed time travel to be more fiction than science. They have released a research report proving that a single photon, a unit of light, cannot exceed the speed of light, as time-travel conjurers from H.G. Wells to Rod
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Exploring The Twilight Zone: King Nine Will Not Return - Film School Rejects
Google News - over 5 years
It's a fascinating parallel because even though Rod Serling was clearly obsessed with the military (being a former fighter himself), it's telling that he chose to introduce fans to the series and re-introduce a new season of the series using the
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Rod Serling
    FIFTIES
  • 1975
    Age 50
    On May 3, 1975, Serling had a minor heart attack and was hospitalized.
    More Details Hide Details He spent two weeks at Tompkins County Community Hospital before being released. A second heart attack two weeks later forced doctors to agree that open-heart surgery, though considered risky at the time, was in order. The ten-hour-long procedure was carried out on June 26, but Serling had a heart attack on the operating table and died two days later at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. He was 50 years old. His funeral took place on July 2. A memorial was held in Cornell University's Sage Chapel on July 7, 1975. Speakers at the Memorial included his daughter, Anne, and the Reverend John F. Hayward. Rod Serling began his career when television was a new medium. The first public viewing of an all-electric television was presented by inventor Philo Farnsworth at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on August 25, 1934, when Rod was only nine years old. Commercial television officially started on July 1, 1941. At the time, fewer than seven thousand TV sets could be found in America, and very few of those were in private homes. Only five months later the U.S. entered World War II, and the television business was put on hold until war's end, as many of the sets were confiscated by the government and re-purposed to train air-raid wardens. After World War II ended, money began flowing toward the new medium of television, coinciding with the beginning of Serling's writing career.
    Later he also taught at Ithaca College from the late 1960s until his death in 1975.
    More Details Hide Details He was also one of the first guest teachers at the Sherwood Oaks Experimental College in Hollywood, California. Audio recordings of some of his lectures there are included as bonus features on some Twilight Zone home video editions. box According to his wife, Rod Serling often said that "the ultimate obscenity is not caring, not doing something about what you feel, not feeling! Just drawing back and drawing in, becoming narcissistic." This philosophy can be seen in his writing. Some themes appear again and again in his writing, many of which are concerned with war and politics. Another common theme is equality among all humans. Serling's experiences as a soldier left him with strong opinions about the use of military force. He was an outspoken antiwar activist, especially during the Vietnam War. He supported antiwar politicians, most notably Eugene McCarthy in his presidential bid.
  • FORTIES
  • 1973
    Age 48
    Serling returned to radio late in his career with The Zero Hour (also known as Hollywood Radio Theater) in 1973.
    More Details Hide Details The drama anthology series featured tales of mystery, adventure and suspense, airing in stereo for two seasons. Serling hosted the program and wrote some of the scripts. Originally placed into syndication on September 3, 1973, the series was picked up by the Mutual Broadcasting System in December of that year. The original format featured five-part dramas broadcast Monday through Friday with the story coming to a conclusion on Friday. Including commercials, each part was approximately 30 minutes long. Mutual affiliates could broadcast the series in any time slot that they wished. In 1974, still airing five days a week, the program changed to a full story in a single 30-minute installment with the same actor starring throughout the week in all five programs. That format was employed from late April 1974 to the end of the series on July 26, 1974.
  • 1969
    Age 44
    In a stylistic departure from his earlier work, Serling briefly hosted the first version of the game show Liar's Club in 1969.
    More Details Hide Details In the 1970s, Serling appeared in television commercials for Ford, Ziebart and the Japanese automaker Mazda, during the time they were promoting vehicles for the U.S. market powered with a rotary engine. Writing prose was difficult for Serling. Several of his short stories were rewrites of scripts which had already been produced, but he wrote original works as well. In his book, The Evolution of the Weird Tale, S. T. Joshi titled his chapter on Serling "The Moral Supernatural" and spoke of how difficult it is to categorize Serling's writings. He looked to the three dozen prose pieces Serling had published as a basis for literary analysis. His overview of Serling's writing says, "If there is anything that unites the whole of Serling's works — whether it be short stories or film scripts, whether it be fantastic or mainstream — it is an abiding concern with human feeling."
    In 1969, NBC aired a Serling-penned television film pilot for a new series, Night Gallery.
    More Details Hide Details Set in a dimly lit museum after hours, the pilot film featured Serling (as on-camera host) playing the curator, who introduced three tales of the macabre, unveiling canvases that would appear in the subsequent story segments. Its brief first season (containing only six episodes) was rotated with three other shows (called the Four in One) airing in the same time slot. The series generally focused more on horror and suspense than The Twilight Zone did. On the insistence of producer Jack Laird, Night Gallery also began including brief comedic "blackout" sketches during its second season, which Serling greatly disdained. No longer wanting the burden of an executive position, Serling sidestepped an offer to retain creative control of content, a decision he would come to regret. Although discontented with some of the scripts and creative choices of Jack Laird, Serling continued to submit his work and ultimately wrote over a third of the series' scripts. By season three, however, many of his contributions were being rejected or heavily altered. Night Gallery was cancelled in 1973. NBC later combined episodes of the short-lived paranormal series The Sixth Sense with Night Gallery, in order to increase the amount of episodes available in syndication. Serling was reportedly paid $100,000 dollars to film introductions for these repackaged episodes.
  • 1966
    Age 41
    The cast included Percy Rodriguez, Eva Marie Saint, Ben Gazzara, Barbara Ann Teer, James Shigeta and Britt Ekland. Henry Mancini wrote the theme music, which was recorded for his 1966 holiday LP, A Merry Mancini Christmas.
    More Details Hide Details The film is not commercially available, but it can be seen at the Paley Center for Media in New York and Los Angeles and the Film and Television Archive at the University of California, Los Angeles. Turner Classic Movies telecast A Carol for Another Christmas for the first time in 48 years, on December 16 and 22, 2012. TCM aired it again on December 19 and 20, 2013.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1964
    Age 39
    A Carol for Another Christmas was a 1964 American television movie, scripted by Rod Serling as a modernization of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and a plea for global cooperation between nations.
    More Details Hide Details It was telecast only once, on December 28, 1964. The only TV movie ever directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, this was the film in which Peter Sellers gave his first performance after a series of near-fatal heart attacks in the wake of his marriage to Britt Ekland. Sellers portrayed a demigod in an apocalyptic Christmas. Sterling Hayden, who costarred with Sellers in Dr. Strangelove earlier that year, was also featured.
    In 1964, he decided to not oppose its third and final cancellation.
    More Details Hide Details Serling sold the rights to The Twilight Zone to CBS. His wife later claimed he did this partly because he believed his own studio would never recoup the production costs of the programs, which frequently went over budget. The Twilight Zone eventually resurfaced in the form of a 1983 film by Warner Bros. Former The Twilight Zone actor Burgess Meredith was cast as the film's narrator, although he does not appear on screen. There have been two attempts to revive the TV series with mostly new scripts. In 1985, CBS used Charles Aidman (and later Robin Ward) as the narrator. In 2002, UPN featured Forest Whitaker in the role of narrator.
  • 1959
    Age 34
    On October 2, 1959, the classic Twilight Zone series, created by Serling, premiered on CBS.
    More Details Hide Details For this series, Serling fought hard to get and maintain creative control. He hired scriptwriters whom he respected (such as Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont). In an interview, Serling said the show's science fiction format would not be controversial with sponsors, network executives or the general public and would escape censorship, unlike the earlier Playhouse 90. Serling drew on his own experience for many episodes, frequently about boxing, military life, and airplane pilots. The Twilight Zone incorporated his social views on racial relations, somewhat veiled in the science fiction and fantasy elements of the shows. Occasionally, the point was quite blunt, such as in the episode "I Am the Night—Color Me Black", in which racism and hatred causes a dark cloud to form in the American South, before spreading across the world. Many Twilight Zone stories reflected his views on gender roles, featuring quick-thinking, resilient women as well as shrewish, nagging wives.
  • 1957
    Age 32
    In the autumn of 1957, the Serling family moved to California.
    More Details Hide Details When television was new, shows aired live, but as studios began to tape their shows, the business moved from the east coast to the west. Serling would live in California for much of his life, but kept property in Binghamton and Cayuga Lake as retreats for when he needed time alone. The early years of television often saw sponsors working as editors and censors. Serling was often forced to change his scripts after corporate sponsors read them and found something they felt was too controversial. They were wary of anything they thought might make them look bad to consumers, so references to many contemporary social issues were omitted, as were references to anything that might compete commercially with a sponsor. For instance, the line "Got a match?" was deleted because one of the sponsors for Requiem For A Heavyweight was Ronson lighters.
  • 1956
    Age 31
    Serling then wrote Requiem for a Heavyweight for the Playhouse 90 TV series in 1956, again gaining praise from critics.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1955
    Age 30
    In 1955, the nationwide Kraft Television Theatre televised a program based on Serling's 72nd script.
    More Details Hide Details To Serling, it was just another script, and he missed the first live broadcast. He and his wife hired a babysitter for the night and told her "no one would call because we had just moved to town. And the phone just started ringing and didn't stop for years!" The title of this episode was Patterns, and it soon changed his life. Patterns dramatized the power struggle between a veteran corporate boss running out of ideas and energy and the bright, young executive being groomed to take his place. Instead of firing the loyal employee, and risk tarnishing his own reputation, the boss enlists him into a campaign to push aside his competition. Serling modeled the main character on his former commander, Colonel Oren Haugen. The New York Times critic Jack Gould called the show "one of the high points in the TV medium's evolution" and said "for sheer power of narrative, forcefulness of characterization and brilliant climax, Mr. Serling's work is a creative triumph." Robert Lewis Shayon stated in the Saturday Review, "in the years I have been watching television I do not recall being so engaged by a drama, nor so stimulated to challenge the haunting conclusions of an hour's entertainment." The episode was a hit with the audience as well, and a second live show was staged due to popular demand one month later. During the time between the two shows, Kraft executives negotiated with people from Hollywood over the rights to Patterns.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1954
    Age 29
    By the end of 1954, his agent convinced him he needed to move to New York, "where the action is."
    More Details Hide Details Author Marc Scott Zicree, who spent years researching for his book, The Twilight Zone Companion, noted: "Sometimes the situations were clichéd, the characters two-dimensional, but always there was at least some search for an emotional truth, some attempt to make a statement on the human condition."
  • 1953
    Age 28
    He and his family moved to Connecticut in early 1953.
    More Details Hide Details Here he made a living by writing for the live dramatic anthology shows that were prevalent at the time, including Kraft Television Theatre, Appointment with Adventure and Hallmark Hall of Fame.
  • 1952
    Age 27
    According to his wife, Serling "just up and quit one day, during the winter of 1952, about six months before our first daughter Jody was born — though he was also doing some freelancing and working on a weekly dramatic show for another Cincinnati station."
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1950
    Age 25
    In 1950, Serling hired Blanche Gaines as an agent.
    More Details Hide Details His radio scripts received more rejections, so he began rewriting them for television. Whenever a script was rejected by one program, he would resubmit it to another, eventually finding a home for many in either radio or television. As Serling's college years ended, his scripts began to sell. He continued to write for television and eventually left WKRC to become a full-time freelance writer. He recalled: "Writing is a demanding profession and a selfish one. And because it is selfish and demanding, because it is compulsive and exacting, I didn't embrace it. I succumbed to it."
    Serling began his employed professional writing career in 1950, when he earned $75 a week as a network continuity writer for WLW radio in Cincinnati, Ohio.
    More Details Hide Details While at WLW, he continued to freelance. He sold several radio and TV scripts to WLW's parent company, Crosley Broadcasting Corporation. After selling the scripts, Serling had no further involvement with them. They were sold by Crosley to local stations across the U.S. Serling submitted an idea of a weekly radio show in which the ghosts of a young boy and girl killed in World War II would look through train windows and comment on day-to-day human life as it moved around the country. This idea was changed significantly, but was produced from October 1950 to February 1951 as Adventure Express, a drama about a girl and boy who travel by train with their uncle. Each week they find adventure in a new town and get involved with the locals. Other radio programs Serling wrote scripts for include Leave it to Kathy, Our America, and Builders of Destiny. During production of these, he became acquainted with a voice actor, Jay Overholts, who later became a regular on The Twilight Zone.
  • 1949
    Age 24
    Realizing the boxing story was not right for Grand Central Station, Serling submitted a lighter piece called Hop Off the Express and Grab a Local, which became his first nationally broadcast piece on September 10, 1949.
    More Details Hide Details His Dr. Christian script aired on November 30 of that year.
    In the autumn of 1949, Martin Horrell of Grand Central Station (a radio program known for romances and light dramas) rejected one of Serling's scripts about boxing because his mostly female listeners "have told us in no uncertain terms that prize fight stories aren’t what they like most."
    More Details Hide Details Horrell advised, "that the script would be far better for sight than for sound only, because in any radio presentation, the fights are not seen. Perhaps this is a baby you should try on some of the producers of television shows."
    He and his new wife attended the awards broadcast on May 18, 1949, where he and the other winners were interviewed by the star of Dr. Christian, Jean Hersholt.
    More Details Hide Details One of the other winners that day was Earl Hamner, Jr., who had also earned prizes in previous years. Later, Hamner wrote scripts for Serling's The Twilight Zone. In addition to earning $45 to $50 a week at the college radio station, Serling attempted to make a living selling freelance scripts to radio programs, but the industry at that time was involved in many lawsuits, which affected willingness to take on new writers (some who had scripts rejected would often hear a similar plot produced, claim their work had been stolen and sue for recompense). Serling was rejected for reasons such as "heavy competition," "this script lacks professional quality," and "not what our audience prefers to listen to."
  • 1948
    Age 23
    He created the entire output for the 1948–1949 school year.
    More Details Hide Details With one exception (an adaptation), all the writing that year was his original work. While in college, Serling won his first accolade as a writer. The radio program Dr. Christian had started an annual script writing contest eight years earlier. Thousands of scripts were sent in annually, but very few could be produced. Serling won a trip to New York City and $500 for his radio script "To Live a Dream."
  • 1946
    Age 21
    Serling volunteered at WNYC in New York as an actor and writer in the summer of 1946.
    More Details Hide Details The next year, he worked at that station as a paid intern in his Antioch work study program. He then took odd jobs in other radio stations in New York and Ohio. "I learned 'time', writing for a medium that is measured in seconds," Serling later said of his early experiences. While attending college, Serling worked at the Antioch Broadcasting System's radio workshop and was managing the station within a couple of years. He then took charge of full-scale radio productions at Antioch which were heard on WJEM, Springfield. He wrote and directed the programs, and acted in them when needed.
    After being discharged from the Army in 1946, Serling worked at a rehabilitation hospital while recovering from his wounds.
    More Details Hide Details His knee continued to give him trouble for years, and in subsequent years, his wife became used to the sound of him falling down the stairs when it buckled under his weight. Once he was fit enough, he used the federal G.I. bill's educational benefits and disability payments to enroll in the physical education program at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He had been accepted to Antioch (his brother's alma mater) while in high school. His interests led him to the theater department and then to broadcasting. He changed his major to Literature and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950. "I was kind of mixed up and restless, and I kind of liked their work-for-a-term, go-to-school-for-a-term set-up," he recounted. As part of his studies, Serling became active in the campus radio station, work experience which was often useful in his future career. He wrote, directed, and acted in many radio programs on campus, then around the state, as part of his work study. Here he met his fellow student and future wife, Carolyn Louise "Carol" Kramer. At first, she refused to date him because of his campus reputation as a "ladies man", but she eventually changed her mind. He converted from Judaism to Unitarianism in college, which allowed him to marry Kramer on July 31, 1948. They had two daughters, Jodi and Anne.
  • 1945
    Age 20
    Serling returned from the successful mission in Leyte with two wounds (including one to his kneecap), but neither kept him from combat when General Douglas MacArthur used the paratroopers for their typical purpose on February 3, 1945.
    More Details Hide Details Colonel Haugen led the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment as it landed on Tagaytay Ridge, met up with the 188th Glider Infantry Regiment and marched into Manila. It met minimal resistance until it reached the city, where Vice Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi had arranged his 17,000 troops behind a maze of traps and guns and ordered them to fight to the death. During the next month, Serling's unit battled block-by-block for control of Manila. When portions of the city were taken from Japanese control, local civilians sometimes showed their gratitude by throwing parties and hosting banquets. During one of these parties, Serling and his comrades were fired upon, resulting in many soldier and civilian deaths. Serling, still a private after three years, caught the attention of Sergeant Lewis when he ran into the line of fire to rescue a performer who had been onstage when the artillery started firing.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1944
    Age 19
    In November 1944, his division first saw combat, on the Philippine island of Leyte.
    More Details Hide Details The 11th Airborne Division would not be used as paratroopers, however, but as light infantry after the Battle of Leyte Gulf. It helped mop up after the six divisions that had gone ashore earlier. For a variety of reasons, Serling was transferred to the 511th's demolition platoon (nicknamed "The Death Squad" for its high casualty rate). According to Sergeant Frank Lewis, leader of the demolitions squad, "He screwed up somewhere along the line. Apparently he got on someone's nerves." Lewis also judged that Serling was not suited to be a field soldier. " He didn't have the wits or aggressiveness required for combat." At one point, Lewis, Serling, and others were in a firefight, trapped in a foxhole. As they waited for darkness, Lewis noticed that Serling had not reloaded any of his extra magazines. Serling sometimes went exploring on his own against orders, and got lost.
    On April 25, 1944, Serling received his overseas orders and saw that he was headed west through California.
    More Details Hide Details He knew that he was headed to fight the Japanese rather than the Nazis. This disappointed him, as he had hoped to help combat Hitler. On May 5, his division headed into the Pacific, landing in New Guinea, where it would be held in reserve for a few months.
  • 1943
    Age 18
    Serling began his military career in 1943 at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, under General Joseph May "Joe" Swing and Col. Orin D. "Hard Rock" Haugen and served in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division.
    More Details Hide Details Over the next year of paratrooper training, Serling and others took to boxing as a way to vent aggression. He competed as a flyweight, and had 17 bouts, rising to the second round of the division finals before being knocked out. He was remembered for berserker style and for "getting his nose broken in his first bout and again in last bout." He tried his hand at the Golden Gloves, with little success.
    However, the United States was involved in World War II at the time, and Serling decided to enlist, rather than start college, immediately after he graduated from Binghamton Central High School in 1943.
    More Details Hide Details As editor of his high school newspaper, Serling encouraged his fellow students to support the war effort. He wanted to leave school before graduation to join the fight, but his civics teacher talked him into graduating. "War is a temporary thing," Gus Youngstrom told him. "It ends. An education doesn't. Without your degree, where will you be after the war?" Serling enlisted into the U.S. Army the morning after his high school graduation, following his brother Robert.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1926
    Age 1
    Serling spent most of his youth 70 miles south of Syracuse in the city of Binghamton after his family moved there in 1926.
    More Details Hide Details His parents encouraged his talents as a performer from the start. Sam Serling built a small stage in the basement, where Rod often put on plays (with or without neighborhood children). Rod's older brother, author Robert, recalled that, at the age of six or seven, Serling entertained himself for hours by acting out dialogue from pulp magazines or movies he had seen. Rod often talked to people around him without waiting for their answers. On a two-hour-long trip from Binghamton to Syracuse, the rest of the family remained silent to see if Rod would notice their lack of participation. He did not, talking nonstop through the entire car ride. In elementary school, Serling was seen as the class clown and dismissed by many of his teachers as a lost cause. However, his seventh-grade English teacher, Helen Foley, encouraged him to enter the school's public speaking extracurriculars. He joined the debate team and was a speaker at his high school graduation. He began writing for the school newspaper where, according to journalist Gordon Sander, Serling "established a reputation as a social activist". He was also interested in sports, and excelled at tennis and table tennis. When he attempted to join the varsity football team, he was told he was too small at 5 feet 4 inches tall.
  • 1924
    Born
    Serling was born on December 25, 1924, in Syracuse, New York, to a Jewish family.
    More Details Hide Details He was the second of two sons born to Esther (née Cooper) and Samuel Lawrence Serling. Serling's father had worked as a secretary and amateur inventor before having children, but took on his father-in-law's profession as a grocer to earn a steady income. Sam Serling later took up the trade of butcher after the Great Depression forced the store to close. Serling had an older brother, Robert J. Serling. Serling's mother was a homemaker.
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