Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Happy Birthday, Rod Serling
The Twilight Zone ran for five seasons, beginning in 1959, not too long after I turned eleven years old - the perfect age for someone to discover a series like that one. Suddenly, I found myself paying attention to plot details and characters in a way I hadn't done before, probably because I was so fascinated by just how much could be packed into a show that lasted only 25 minutes or so. And, too, I think these shows were my introduction to the concept of the "surprise ending," still one of my favorite literary devices (I thank Rod Serling for preparing me to be a huge O. Henry fan when I finally stumbled upon that great short story writer a few years later). Rod Serling is, beyond doubt, one of the main reasons I am such an avid reader today. He helped make me appreciate the world of stories and books, and I still can't get enough of either today.
Serling is a member of the Television Hall of Fame and I consider him to be one of the finest science fiction writers that I have ever read. It is a real shame that the man, a heavy duty chain smoker, died so young from the damage all that smoking did to his heart. Who knows what else he might have left behind?