Rod Serling, Writer

Years after Twilight Zone’s run ended, Rod Serling expressed doubts about the acclaimed episode “Walking Distance,” saying he much preferred “A Stop at Willoughby.”

The story, as long-time fans well know, concerns a harried, overworked executive who keeps dreaming that his daily commuter train passes an idyllic, peaceful town called Willoughby. In the end, he decides to go there — and we see that Willoughby is really heaven.

Rod Serling

Well, on this day in 1975, Serling made his own permanent stop at Willoughby, dying at the untimely age of 50. A steady stream of cigarettes, a family history of heart trouble, and an intense personality finally took their toll, and silenced a great voice.

In his last interview, Serling was asked how he wanted to be remembered. Here’s what he told Linda Brevelle of Writer’s Digest

Brevelle: “And what do you want them to say about the writer Rod Serling a hundred years from now?”

Serling: “I don’t care. I just want them to remember me a hundred years from now. I don’t care that they’re not able to quote a single line that I’ve written. But just that they can say, “Oh, he was a writer.” That’s sufficiently an honored position for me.”

To say his reputation as a writer is secure is an understatement. As my Twitter page demonstrates on a daily basis, his many memorable lines remain very quotable. His signature series, The Twilight Zone, finds new fans every day.

I’m convinced that as long as good writing is recognized and appreciated, as long as talent and imagination is esteemed, Rod Serling will be toasted, honored — and remembered.

“There is just one thing I would like on my headstone,” he once said. “A line that reads only, ‘He left friends’.” May the same be said for all of us.

Photo courtesy of Wendy Brydge. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or Pinterest. You can also sign up for email notifications of future posts by clicking “follow” in the upper left-hand side of this page. Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 06/28/2011, in Rod Serling and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Rod Serling would be pleased to know that his writing and talent is still recognized and enjoyed. ‘The Twilight Zone’ never gets old. Excellent post.

  2. Thanks, Monica. I really appreciate that.

  3. The dust will settle, the gems will stand.

  4. Shayla Sherman

    Thank you for this wonderful post about the legend, the writer.

  5. Reblogged this on Reality Check and commented:
    Remembering Rod Serling…thanks, Paul!

  6. Thanks, Paul! But, to me, it still feels like he’s still around, knowwhatImean {cue Twilight Zone theme…}? :-]

  7. I love this post. Serling’s life may have been far too short, but he left behind so much more than just entertaining writing. He was a visionary, and the lessons he strove to deliver through his incredible writing will be applicable indefinitely. He tried to make a difference, and if only one person benefitted from what he wrote, then his life was a precious one. I hope Rod is enjoying his Willoughby. If anyone deserves to be there, it’s him.

    • I couldn’t agree more. The fact that Serling put his incredible talent at the service of humanity — when, like other writers, he could have gone for a quick, easy buck — has always impressed me greatly. Without question, he deserves his “stop at Willoughby.” It’s an honor to help celebrate his legacy daily on my blog and my Twitter page — and I’m certainly pleased that you like this post so much.

  8. La La in the LiBrArY

    Thanks. :)

  9. It’s amazing that after fifty years, I still think of Twilight Zone episodes, or scenes or lines many times during the average week. Every day, I exit the highway near Maple Street. Two weeks ago, returning on AMTRAK from Washington, DC, the conductor said “Nest stop Stamford” and I started waiting for the train to revert to a gas lit coach.

  1. Pingback: Serling on the Shelf: Rescuing Rod | Shadow & Substance

  2. Pingback: “The Season To Be Wary”: A Night Gallery Book | Shadow & Substance

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