MASTERS OF HORROR SERIES – ROD SERLING – Collage and Bio of the Master of the Unexpected

Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone by Gerry Albert

ROD SERLING

The Twilight Zone is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Earlier in September, I was enjoying a marathon viewing of the show on DVD when I was inspired to draw up this poster showcasing my favourite episodes of the series. Although not too gratuitous with themes of horror given that it was a prime time television show airing in the ultra-conservative early 1960`s, the program broke new ground in storytelling. It debuted science fiction – suspense – philosophical – and macabre themes that hadn`t previously been established that are now part of the lexicon of the genre. The success of the show, and its lasting legacy are in tremendous parts due to the creative genius of Rod Serling.

Rod Serling was the creator, showrunner, writer, and narrator of The Twilight Zone. There were others who shared in the writing responsibilities, namely Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson to name a couple, but the program was the brainchild of Rod Serling. I used to watch this show every week in syndication when I was a child and I would be left completely in awe at the end of many an episode. Rod Serling introduced each episode in his laid back demeanour, cigarette in hand, offering up the story we were about to see for our perusal. In doing so became the face of the program, and thus just as famous as the show itself.

Future works of Mr. Serling that cemented his status as a master of suspenseful storytelling, included the anthology television series The Night Gallery which ran for four seasons from 1970 to 1973 and the science fiction feature film classic Planet of the Apes. He has been awarded several Emmy Awards, numerous Peabody Awards, and a Golden Globe for his writing contributions.

WHY THE TWILIGHT ZONE IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE TV SHOWS OF ALL-TIME

Number of Seasons: 5 (1959-1964)

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call…The Twilight Zone!

In my opinion quite possibly the greatest anthology sci-fi program of all time. Science Fiction themes that are prevalent in today’s film and literature were first introduced, or showcased, in The Twilight Zone. The atomic age of the 1950’s bore numerous imaginative, and visionary, science fiction authors who developed countless thematic tropes that would be harvested in stories for generations to come. Many of these authors had there stories directly adapted for television by The Twilight Zone‘s brilliant writers, Rod Serling, Buck Houghtan, and Charles Beaumont. This was the first real television show to delve into realms of the supernatural, the scientific, the macabre, suspense and psychology. The Twilight Zone brilliantly displayed the breath of the era through thinly veiled scientific metaphor…and most often a shocking twist ending to play on the perceptions of the audience.

I used to watch The Twilight Zone as a child in the 1980’s. It was airing in syndication in Toronto on CITY-TV at 3:30pm on Sunday afternoons. It was preceded by an episode of Lost In Space, and one of the channel’s weekly Not-So-Great Movies. In my house at the time there was only one televison in the house. It was in the living room. And there weren’t that many channels either maybe 20 or so (seriously dating myself here…). My father would work on his car or outside yard work on the weekends in the backyard — something he enjoyed a great deal doing — and my mom would be in the kitchen baking or finishing up preparing dinner. It was my “job” to stay out of the way and either go play in my room or watch T.V. in the living room. I always chose the latter on those days because I knew that I wouldn’t be just sitting in front of the boob tube. When Rod Serling would pop on screen with his monologue at the beginning of each episode, I knew that I was going to be transported to another place. At least for the following 30 minutes, I was indeed in another dimension. And it was as limitless as my imagination.

MY FAVOURITE EPISODE EVER….

time-enough-at-last

TIME ENOUGH AT LAST

Time Enough At Last is a classic episode of the 1950’s anthology series The Twilight Zone – in it bookworm and introvert Henry Bemis just wants to be left alone to read his books. Constantly being annoyed by other people — always — Bemis decides to hide in one of the bank vaults, where he works, during his lunch break in order to read a novel. While in the vault, there is a Nuclear fallout and everyone on the planet is wiped out…Bemis is now the ONLY person left alive on Earth! He becomes despondent and is about to kill himself when he discovers a public library that has remained intact. Overjoyed that he has enough books to read to last him the rest of his life, Bemis’s mood changes as he is now thrilled to have all the time in the world to read without any interruptions or annoying people being annoying and jerky and annoying and stupid and assholish or rude or condescending…

(Spoiler Alert!)

…but then he trips and breaks his f’ing glasses and cant see clearly without them — so reading his beloved books is out of the question. Now he is all alone and can’t partake in the one activity he loves most. Poor sumbitch.

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