Rod Serling Poster

Trivia (56)

Parents are Samuel Lawrence and Esther Serling.

Moved to Binghamton, New York at an early age, where he spent most of his youth.

Was a Communications professor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.

Born into a Reform Jewish family, he later became a Unitarian upon his marriage in 1948.

Suffered from combat-related flashbacks and insomnia.

Was an outspoken supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Military decorations from the Second World War include: World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with Arrowhead Device), Good Conduct Medal, Phillippine Liberation Medal (with one bronze service star), Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Honorable Service Lapel Pin. Also retroactively authorized the Bronze Star Medal, based on receipt of the Combat Infantryman Badge during the Second World War.

Served in the United States Army, under the service number 32-738-306, from January 1943 to January 1946. Discharged in the rank of Technician 5th Grade (the equivalent of a Corporal) having served as an Infantry Combat Demolition Specialist and a Paratrooper.

Host of the syndicated radio show "The Zero Hour" (1973-1974).

Brother of writer/novelist Robert J. Serling.

Ranked #1 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends" (August 1, 2004 issue), the only real person on the list. All the others are television series characters.

On June 28, 1975, he was mowing his lawn, when all of a sudden, he began to experience some chest pains and collapsed. His neighbor found him and called the ambulance. When he arrived in the operating room, the doctors saw that the artery leading to his heart was disintegrating and there was no hope for him. He died later that day in the hospital.

He wanted Richard Egan to do the narration for The Twilight Zone (1959) because of his deep smooth voice. However, due to strict studio contracts of the time, Egan was unable to. Serling said "It's Richard Egan or no one. It's Richard Egan, or I'll do the thing myself," which is exactly what happened.

He owned a 1968 Glen Pray made replica of the 1937 Cord automobile. During the making of the game show Liar's Club (1969), he would go riding with friend and fellow actor and car enthusiast Tommy Bond, who played Butch in the Little Rascals series from the 1940s.

Started writing during World War II while recuperating from his injuries.

Attended and graduated from Binghamton High School in Binghamton, New York (1943).

Towards the end of his career, he narrated several documentaries about sharks and other underwater life that were shown a great deal, at the time, in schools.

Following his sudden death, he was interred at Lake View Cemetery in Interlaken, Senaca County, New York.

In 1994, 19 years after his death, he returned to "host" the pre-show area of "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" attraction at the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park in Orlando, Florida. Through clever use of carefully edited vintage The Twilight Zone (1959) footage, new footage processed in black and white and special additional dialogue recorded by a Serling soundalike (reportedly selected personally by Serling's widow, Carol), Serling appears in a Twilight Zone episode based on the ride's storyline and introduces theme park visitors to the attraction. This brief introduction, which is shown on a special vintage television in the attraction's pre-show area, represents the first "new" introduction of The Twilight Zone that he appears in since the series' end in 1964.

His schoolteacher Helen Foley encouraged him in his writing and he always believed he owed his success to her. A schoolteacher in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) was named Helen Foley in her honor.

Along with many other famous faces, he was a pie-in-the-face recipient on The Soupy Sales Show (1953). Serling's turn came in 1962.

Robert Marshall Hosfeldt authored a 1961 MA Thesis at San Jose State College called "Analysis of the techniques and content of characterization in the Academy Award winning plays of Rod Serling". In this case, "Academy" referred to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

A news item in TV Guide the week of December 7, 1963 said that Serling would be visiting Hong Kong to film a television pilot called "Jeopardy Run".

In 1975, Serling had two severe heart attacks before entering Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for heart bypass surgery. He had a third heart attack during the operation and died the following day at age 50.

Appears on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue honoring The Twilight Zone (1959).

Is considered to be one of the most influential writers in television history and is credited with creating many storytelling methods still used today.

His influences included H.G. Wells, Norman Corwin, Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Allan Poe, Edward R. Murrow and H.P. Lovecraft.

Father of Jodi Serling (born 1950) and Anne Serling (born 1955) with Carol Serling.

Was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.

Was the first major writer to have disputes with advertisers and executives.

He considered the season four episode "He's Alive" which examines the subject of Fascism, the most important episode of The Twilight Zone (1959) he ever wrote.

Out of the 92 The Twilight Zone (1959) episodes he wrote, his personal favorite was The Twilight Zone: Time Enough at Last (1959). His favorite from an outside writer was The Twilight Zone: The Invaders (1961) by Richard Matheson.

He was credited as writer under the pseudonym "John Phillips" on the pilot episode of the television series The New People (1969). While Serling's name remained as the series developer, he was sufficiently annoyed with ABC-TV's editing of the pilot (this was cut from 52 to 45 minutes to adapt into a 90 minute time slot along with another series) that he preferred to remove his real name. He possibly got this particular pseudonym from the novelist John Phillips (John Phillips Marquand Jr.), whose only novel "The Second Happiest Day" was adapted to an episode of the television series Playhouse 90: The Second Happiest Day (1959), for which series Serling had himself written a dozen episodes of prior to The Twilight Zone (1959).

Was friends with Star Trek (1966) creator Gene Roddenberry, who had the honor of reading the eulogy at Serling's funeral.

He usually dictated his scripts into a tape recorder and had his secretary type them up.

Posthumously inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame (1985) and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame (2008).

Posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6840 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on October 6, 1988.

A copy writer from Syracuse, New York, Rod Serling toiled for years as an unproduced screenwriter. Then in 1956, his 72nd screenplay, the intense corporate drama "Patterns", was broadcast live (as most television was back then) on NBC's B&W "Kraft Television Theatre". This won Serling an Emmy Award. He won a second statuette the following year, 1957, for "Requiem for a Heavyweight", which starred Jack Palance as a washed-up prizefighter. Newly minted as the most celebrated writer in a hot new medium, Serling moved his family to California where the television industry was exploding. Once in Los Angeles, he quickly grew frustrated by how much sway corporate sponsors had over his content. So Serling hatched a plan: Since science fiction seemed to fly past network censors, he had create an anthology series in that genre, using it to smuggle through some big ideas about politics, racism and the human condition. Everything about "The Twilight Zone" - from its unsettling Marius Constant score to its Joe Messerli-designed logo to Serling himself as the guide into the unknown - is now immutably iconic. The show-series ran on CBS from 1959 to 1964, picking up two Emmy Awards in 1960 and 1961 for Serling's writing. A lifelong smoker, he died June 28, 1975, of a heart attack during open-heart surgery. He was age 50.

The first George Foster Peabody Award for television writing was the 1956 Personal Award given to Serling for his script of Playhouse 90: Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956).

His experiences during World War II made him extremely anti-war.

He often smoked more than five packs of cigarettes a day.

Rod Serling used to keep a tape recorder by his bed and would often awaken in the middle of the night and dictate his dreams into the tape recorder while they were still fresh in his memory. A number of his dreams (and nightmares) would find their way into his writings.

His play, "Requiem for a Heavyweight" at The Artistic Home in Chicago, Illinois was awarded the 2019 Non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for Play Production.

Like most writers and dramatists, Rod Serling struggled for many years to establish himself. This began to change from about 1955 onward, when his plays were adapted for television.

Regardless of what he was working on, Rod Serling would sometimes spend up to 98 hours a week on his writing.

It has been mentioned that after the constant grind of writing, Serling began to grow rather stressed during his latter years.

The writer spent nearly a year in writing the screenplay for the original "Planet of the Apes" movie. Altogether, Rod Serling wrote about 50 different drafts.

During the early part of his television career, some of the television critics referred to Rod Serling as "the angry young man of television". However, Serling's family have always strongly denied this.

Out of the 156 episodes that compromised the original television series The Twilight Zone (1959), Rod Serling wrote 92 of them.

At one point, Rod Serling as a college lecturer often spoke on college campuses around the United States. His students reported that he was fairly informal with them in general.

His Western series The Loner (1965) was canceled after only 13 episodes. The reason generally given, is that the series was deemed too unconventional in its storylines.

Grew to hate his time whilst working on the television series Night Gallery (1969), once producer Jack Laird was granted total control over the series' creative input.

In a televised interview, Rod Serling expressed his disappointment over the cancellation of a play which was due to be recorded live (as most of his plays were at the time). The play was pulled from recording, owing to the controversial plot involving racism. Instead, Serling submitted a replacement, which was about the Mexican rebel leader Pancho Villa. As a writer, Serling wasn't at all satisfied.

It was well known that Rod Serling disliked most of the TV sponsors, owing to interference with his television plays.

In an interview with Mike Wallace in 1959, Rod Serling described his early struggles in succeeding as a writer.

In 1958, when live television from NY was on the wane, Serling moved to Pacific Palisades, California. He and his wife, Carol, first lived on San Onofre Drive, next to Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Their next house was on Monaco Drive, where Carol lived until her death in 2020.