Merry Christmas, everyone!
Today, December 25th, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the birth of the man whose name has become synonymous with vision, creativity, wit and social responsibility – a writer who brought us five years (and many future decades) of true brilliance on network, syndicated, and streaming television: Mr. Rod Serling, born on this day in 1924.
Born in Syracuse, New York and raised in nearby Binghamton, NY, young Rod was a human sponge – soaking up the world around him with unquenchable curiosity. He loved Binghamton – the fact that he knew everyone's name, the town square and its carousel, his marvelous teachers, his loving parents, his brother Robert. Nostalgia for that town would forever influence his writing (see "Walking Distance," "A Stop at Willoughby").
What many people don't realize (and what was completely missing from the two biographies written about him) is that Serling had a terrific sense of humor. He was one of those guys you see at parties who not only tells the best jokes but speaks in all the appropriate dialects. And although he was nervous about being on camera for the Zone, inside he secretly relished those moments in the bright lights. A writer as star: what a concept!
I have no doubt that if he were alive today, Rod Serling (1924-1975) would be out on the front lines protesting against injustice, stupidity, shortsightedness and the many attacks on the press, science, and those who stand up for those who cannot. And he would still be defending television as the most powerful medium ever created for spreading the positive word to the masses.
So on this joyous day when we celebrate the birth of a man of God who changed the world for future generations, let us not forget a man of letters who taught us there is no limit to one's imagination or the power of the spoken word, whatever language it's spoken in: Mr. Rod Serling.