“Limitless” Ideas

Readers of “Marie Torre Reports,” a column in The New York Herald Tribune, had a surprise on August 8, 1960. Marie was out that day, and she had a special substitute: Rod Serling.

Naturally, the questions centered on The Twilight Zone, which had recently finished its first season. The show had been renewed, but only for a preliminary order of 10 episodes; the ratings had been respectable, but not great. Whether it would run for a full second season depended on how well those 10 episodes did. (They eventually filmed 29 episodes for season 2.)

Serling -- typewriter1

I particularly enjoyed Serling’s answer to the first question. His words ought to encourage any writers out there who work in the field of fantasy and science fiction.

Q: “The Twilight Zone stories are uniformly different. How do you manage to find enough ideas?”

A: “We haven’t even scraped the surface of ideas. What we’re dealing with here is imagination, and the scope of this approach is broad, wide, deep and almost unfathomable. This is possibly the one anthology format that is not self-limiting. We can travel as high or as deep as the human imagination, and the material for this kind of dramatic excursion is limitless.”

Of course, few of us have imaginations as fertile as Rod Serling’s. Still, it’s good to know there’s more than enough material out there to mine — if we’re willing to work at it.

***

For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or Pinterest. You can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. WordPress followers, just hit “follow” at the top of the page.

Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Hard-working, hard-playing fan of all pop culture, especially the Twilight Zone. Which led to a Twitter page. And then to a blog. And then to ... stay tuned. Yes, that's a picture of Rod Serling, not me. You can find the real me under the "Your Host" tab on my blog, along with biographical details that, while 100 percent accurate, sound kind of boastful and braggy. Sorry.

Posted on 07/28/2011, in Twilight Zone and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Reading this post makes me wonder about the stories left untold in Serling’s mind. That elusive sixth season of the Twilight Zone. I’ll bet it would have been amazing. I think that Serling touched on so many flavours of stories and writing throughout the series’ five season run, that for the sixth season, he’d have taken all the best ideas from each and put out a product that was simply unprecedented. Such a shame that it never came to fruition.

    • I couldn’t agree more. The conventional wisdom is that Serling was burned out, but reading about his plans for The Season That Never Was shows he was still brimming with creativity. Space exploration, extra-terrestrial themes, two-parters — he sounded very ambitious. You can see why I’d like to devote a post to it.

  2. Reading his daughter’s book, I became more convinced that even if he was tired, he would have rebounded with something. I got the sense that what made him tired was his desire to tell good stories, to provide a quality product. Given his tendency to rage against the machine, one can only imagine what he would be writing today. Also, think about the contrast between a modern-day Twilight Zone and the typical stuff we find on TV today. No wonder it succeeds so well in syndication.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Dan. Like any of us, Serling just needed to rest and recharge from time to time, but he was too generous, really, to do that. But yeah, UNLIKE the rest of us, he had so many good stories in him. I’m convinced too that he would have surprised us all with some terrific material had he lived longer.

      As for the contrast between a modern TZ and the typical stuff we find on TV today? Oh, man. Don’t get me started. TZ still leaps off the screen today, yes — and I’m convinced it always will.

  1. Pingback: A Stop at Twilight Zone 4.0? « Shadow & Substance

  2. Pingback: A Stop at Twilight Zone 4.0? | Shadow & Substance

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