Today’s blog post is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. True suspense and horror cannot be measured in screams, or how many monsters the picture contains, or even how much gore is displayed. True suspense and horror keeps one’s eyes wide and unable to look away. It keeps you on the edge of your seat while your mind wanders to the deepest, darkest regions of your imagination. It transports you to a place where you’re vulnerable to the shadows that move through the darkness—to a place you thought had long since disappeared with your childhood.
Many will argue as to who the “master” of this dark domain is; however, this man is most certainly a contender on many thrill-enthusiasts lists. The man I’m talking about has many credits to his name, most notably Planet of the Apes, and The Twilight Zone. He was a virtuoso of suspense and connoisseur of thrill. He was Rod Serling and these are a few things you didn’t know about him.
- He served in World War II.
- He was wounded during the Battle of Leyte, and was sent home with a Purple Heart.
- After returning from the war, he became an Anti-War Activist.
- He had a Bachelors Degree in Literature.
- In order to earn extra money during his college years, Serling tested parachutes for the army. He received $50 for each successful jump, and once earned $500 for a particularly hazardous test.
- Serling was one of the first people in television to not only include African-Americans in his programming, but have African-Americans portray main characters on his shows (something relatively unheard of during the late 1950s and 1960s). Serling’s strong sense of morality and deep social conscious was one of the many reasons he was considered ahead of his time.
- One of the reasons why he started The Twilight Zone was because he was tired of have his artistic expression censored by sponsors (i.e. having the Chrysler Building edited out in an episode sponsored by Ford, and having his scripts stripped of political statements and ethnic identities).
- Serling won more Emmy Awards for dramatic writing than anyone in history.
- In the television industry, Serling was known as “The Angry Young Man of Television”.
- He spent his later career teaching screenwriting at Ithaca College in New York.
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