Monday, June 28, 2010

Rod Serling Died On This Date

Rod Serling, who was perhaps most famous for creating and hosting The Twilight Zone TV show from 1959-1965, died on this date in 1975, after suffering three heart attacks in a matter of weeks.  He was a mere 50 years old.  That's him at left, coffee and cigarette in hand. Serling wrote the scripts to 92 of the 156 Twilight Zone episodes himself. It's less well known that he also co-wrote the script to the original 1968 Planet of the Apes film starring Charlton Heston.  It will come as little surprise that the "twist" ending with the Statue of Liberty was his idea. 

You can watch the 30 second intro to The Twilight Zone, narrated by Serling himself,  HERE. I liked The Twilight Zone a lot as a kid in the 1980s, when it aired perpetually as afternoon re-runs on local TV stations. But I always wished it had been filmed in color rather than in black & white. I didn't learn until years later that Rod Serling had actually hosted a sort of successor TV show in color called The Night Gallery, which ran on CBS from 1969 to 1973.  You can watch the 1 minute into HERE.  As you can see, the color actually diminishes greatly the other-worldly, even creepy atmosphere intended for the show, which had been so effectively created in black & white 10 years earlier.

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