Picture, if you will, an ordinary man, just like any other gifted young American student before the outbreak of the war. This man enlists to serve his country, but as a paratrooper, he sees things no man was meant to see.
This man is Rodman Edward Serling (December 25, 1924 June 28, 1975).
Put through college on the GI Bill, this man becomes a well-known scriptwriter. But at night, in his dreams, the war revisits him. His visions become ever stranger, ever more disturbing. They drive him to create, and thrust himself into... The Twilight Zone.
Created and narrated:
- The Loner (short-lived CBS Western series, 1965-66)
- The documentary series The Undersea World Of Jacques Cousteau
- The introduction of Phantom of the Paradise.
- The 1969 version of the Game Show Liars Club
Writing credits include:
- Patterns (a 1955 episode of Kraft Television Theater)
- Requiem for a Heavyweight (originally a 1956 episode of Playhouse 90, then a 1962 film)
- Seven Days in May (wrote the script for The Film of the Book) (1964)
- Assault on a Queen (1966)
- The Season to Be Wary (1967)
- The original draft of Planet of the Apes (1968)
- Many, many early anthology series
Supplied the page quote on:
Tropes associated with Rod Serling include:
- Acceptable Targets: Invoked. While most of his villains are justified, sympathetic or even somewhat likable Serling had no tolerance for Nazis, racists, and totalitarians.
- Alan Smithee: Serling wrote the pilot for The New People (which he did not create) under the name "John Phillips" because he objected to how the finished product turned out.
- Ambiguously Jewish: While he was never particularly religious and converted to Unitarianism when he married, Serling kept and respected various Jewish traditions and felt a special connection to his works that involved Jews or the Holocaust.
- Anti-Hero: His heroes tended to have personal flaws.
- Author Tract: His anti-war and liberal political views often influenced his work.
- Downer Ending/Bittersweet Ending: His protagonists survive less often than they die in many of his stories.
- Fair for Its Day/Values Resonance: Many of his views come across as this today.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Practically embodies this trope, since he introduces and closes on every episode of The Twilight Zone (1959) and Night Gallery.
- Posthumous Character: Gold Key Comics began publishing a comic book based upon The Twilight Zone in the early 1960s. Not only did the comic book outlive the original TV series by many years, it outlived Serling himself, too, continuing to publish into the early 1980s - with the comic book version of Serling continuing to introduce each story.
- '70s Hair: The transition from the 1960s Twilight Zone into the 1970s Night Gallery saw Serling grow his hair out and adopt sideburns.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: His service during World War Two led to him having nightmares.
- Villain Protagonist: Often used when he needed unsympathetic characters. Two episodes of The Twilight Zone even had a Nazi for a protagonist.
- Write What You Know: His script The Velvet Alley is considered to essentially be Serling writing about how his life had changed after going to Hollywood.