- SERLING, Rod
- Working name of US screenwriter and TELEVISION producer Rodman Edward Serling (1924-1975), best known for the tv series The TWILIGHT ZONE , for which he won 3 HUGOS (1960-62). A paratrooper in WWII, he went to New York in 1948 as a freelance writer, first for radio and then for tv. During the 1950s he became one of the most highly regarded tv writers, winning manyawards including 6 Emmies for such tv plays as Patterns (1955), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956) and The Comedian (1957). In 1959 he created, wrote and produced the first of his The Twilight Zone anthology series, on which he also appeared as host; his dark figure and gravelly tones became very familiar to viewers. The series, mainly fantasy dramas with some sf, lasted 5 years. In 1970 he tried to repeat this success with a similar series, ROD SERLING'S NIGHT GALLERY, but it lasted only until 1972. In addition to his tv work, which included writing many episodes for both The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, RS wrote a number of filmscripts such asthose for Requiem for a Heavyweight (1963; based on his tv script), John FRANKENHEIMER's Seven Days in May (1964) and the original version (laterrewritten) of PLANET OF THE APES (1968).RS could hardly be described as an original writer, but he was certainly clever at adapting existing ideas and was a capable craftsman. He had the knack of producing work that, in the context of most tv material, seemed more daring and profound than it really was; his major flaw was slickness. Whatever his limitations, The Twilight Zone came as a breath of fresh air to fans of fantasy and sf, whohad previously had little tv material available.RS wrote some of his teleplays into short-story form and published several collections: Stories from The Twilight Zone * (coll 1960), More Stories from The Twilight Zone * (coll 1961), New Stories from The Twilight Zone * (coll 1962) - thesetwo almost certainly ghostwritten, possibly by Walter B. GIBSON - The Season to Be Wary * (coll 1967), Night Gallery * (coll 1971) and NightGallery 2 * (coll 1972). Selections from the first 3 of these appeared in From The Twilight Zone * (coll 1962) and all the contents of the first 3 in an omnibus, again titled Stories from The Twilight Zone * (omni 1986). Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone * (coll 1963) and Rod Serling's TwilightZone Revisited * (coll 1964), ghostwritten by Walter B. Gibson, were collected as the omnibus Rod Serling's Twilight Zone * (omni 1984). Of 3 further anthologies, Rod Serling's Triple W: Witches, Warlocks and Werewolves (anth 1963), Rod Serling's Devils and Demons (anth 1967) andRod Serling's Other Worlds (coll 1978), the first 2 at least were ghost-edited by Gordon R. DICKSON, and RS had been dead for 3 years by the time the 3rd appeared.RS's name has continued to be used as a marketing device. His widow, Carol Serling, who retains RS's tv rights, edited Rod Serling's Night Gallery Reader * (anth 1987) with Martin H. GREENBERG andCharles G. WAUGH. More importantly, she also played a prominent role as editorial consultant in setting up Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine (1981-9), initially monthly, which achieved prominence in thefantasy/horror field.JB/PN
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.