Rod Serling

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There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy; and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is, that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.

Rodman Edward Serling (25 December 192428 June 1975) was an American writer, known primarily as Rod Serling; most famous for his science fiction TV series The Twilight Zone.

Quotes[edit]

I happen to think that the singular evil of our time is prejudice. It is from this evil that all other evils grow and multiply. In almost everything I've written there is a thread of this: a man's seemingly palpable need to dislike someone other than himself.
How can you put out a meaningful drama when every fifteen minutes proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits with toilet paper? No dramatic art form should be dictated and controlled by men whose training and instincts are cut of an entirely different cloth.
  • I happen to think that the singular evil of our time is prejudice. It is from this evil that all other evils grow and multiply. In almost everything I've written there is a thread of this: a man's seemingly palpable need to dislike someone other than himself.
  • It is said that science fiction and fantasy are two different things. Science fiction is the improbable made possible, and fantasy is the impossible made probable.
  • If survival calls for the bearing of arms, bear them you must. But the most important part of the challenge is for you to find another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow man.
  • I ask for your indulgence when I march out quotations. This is the double syndrome of men who write for a living and men who are over forty. The young smoke pot — we inhale from our Bartlett's.
  • I think the destiny of all men is not to sit in the rubble of their own making but to reach out for an ultimate perfection which is to be had. At the moment, it is a dream. But as of the moment we clasp hands with our neighbor, we build the first span to bridge the gap between the young and the old. At this hour, it’s a wish. But we have it within our power to make it a reality. If you want to prove that God is not dead, first prove that man is alive.
  • ...a medium best suited to illumine and dramatize the issues of the times has its product pressed into a mold, painted lily-white, and has its dramatic teeth yanked out one by one.
    • "About Writing for Television", his foreword to a collection of teleplays ("Patterns")
  • "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs, and explosions, and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy; and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is, that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.”
  • How can you put out a meaningful drama when every fifteen minutes proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits with toilet paper? No dramatic art form should be dictated and controlled by men whose training and instincts are cut of an entirely different cloth. The fact remains that these gentlemen sell consumer goods, not an art form.
    • Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval (October 1997), American Masters (PBS: Thirteen/WNET)
  • Hollywood's a great place to live... if you're a grapefruit.
    • From a letter to his wife, as quoted in Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval (October 1997), American Masters (PBS: Thirteen/WNET)
  • I got the idea for the pilot while walking through an empty lot of a movie studio there were all the evidences of a community but with no people, I felt at the time a kind of encroaching loneliness, and desolation; a feeling of how nightmarish it would be to wind up in a city with no inhabitants.
    • Rod Serling: American Masters [1]
  • How can you put on a meaningful drama when every fifteen minutes, proceedings are interrupted by 12 dancing rabbits with toilet paper?
    • Rod Serling: American Masters
  • I was dealing with a political story where much of the action took place on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and one of the edicts that came down from the Mt. Sinai of advertisers row was that at no time in a political drama must a speech or a character be equated with an existing political party or current political problems. So several million viewers were treated to an incredible display of senators shouting, gesticulating and talking in hieroglyphics, saying not a single thing germain to the current political scene.
    • Rod Serling on Arena, American Masters
  • On the Twilight Zone I knew I could get away with having Martian say things Republicans and Democrats couldn't.
    • Rod Serling: American Masters
  • Someplace between apathy and anarchy is the stance of the thinking human being; he does embrace a cause he does take a position, and can’t allow it to become business as usual. Humanity is our business.
    • Rod Serling: American Masters
  • Once again there appears to be a considerable difference of opinion I wanted a series with distinction, I have no interest in a series which is purely and uniquely suspenseful but makes no comment about anything. But all they seem to want is manics in a cemetary. When I complain they pat be on the head, condescend and hope I go away. When i was on the Twilight zone I took the bows but I also took the bricked backs, because when it was bad it was usually my fault, but when it's bad on the Night Gallery I had nothing to do with it, yet my face is on it all the time.
    • Rod Serling: American Masters
  • For the first time in television a writer will have the opportunity to let his imagination take him where ever he wants to. The sky is no longer the limit.
    • Rod Serling: American Masters
  • The first sale, that's the one that comes with magic.
    • Rod Serling: American Masters
  • As I get older the urge to write get's less and less; I've pretty much spewed out everything I have to say, none of which has been particularly monumental; nothing that will stand the test of time. Good writing like wine has to age well, and my stuff has been momentarily adaquet.
    • Rod Serling: American Masters
  • Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.
    • Rod Serling Vogue [2]

Quotes about Serling[edit]

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  • Known primarily for his role as the host of television’s The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling had one of the most exceptional and varied careers in television. As a writer, a producer, and for many years a teacher, Serling challenged the medium of television to reach for loftier artistic goals. The winner of more Emmy Awards for dramatic writing than anyone in history, Serling expressed a deep social conscience in nearly everything he did. … Fed up with the difficulties of writing about serious issues on the conservative networks, Serling turned to science fiction and fantasy. Through an ingenious mixture of morality fable and fantasy writing, he was able to circumvent the timidity and conservatism of the television networks and sponsors. Self-producing a series of vignettes that placed average people in extraordinary situations, Serling could investigate the moral and political questions of his time. He found that he could address controversial subjects if they were cloaked in a veil of fantasy, saying “I found that it was all right to have Martians saying things Democrats and Republicans could never say.
  • I knew Rod and socialized with him also. And, of course, I worked with him, too; we had previously collaborated on some westerns and detective stories. He was really a sweetheart. He was a writer himself, which was extremely unusual back then, for someone who started a series to already be a successful writer. He had had lots of experience with production people, so he understood that he needed to surround himself with the best writers he could get, and then let them do their thing. There wasn’t a line in any of the Twilight Zones that I wrote that wasn’t mine.
  • No one could know Serling, or view or read his work, without recognizing his deep affection for humanity, his sympathetically enthusiastic curiosity about us, and his determination to enlarge our horizons by giving us a better understanding of ourselves. He dreamed of much for us, and demanded much of himself, perhaps more than was possible for either in this time and place. But it is that quality of dreams and demands that makes the ones like Rod Serling rare ...and always irreplaceable.

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