Stopover in a Quiet Blog

“It’s a crazy thing about writers. You tell them you read their stuff, and all of a sudden their hearts stop.” — Rod Serling’s “The Velvet Alley” (1959)

I know that feeling well. Two years ago today, I decided that my Twitter page, @TheNightGallery, wasn’t enough of an outlet for this fan of all things related to Rod Serling and his legendary TV series, The Twilight Zone.

Anniversary Boss and Gal Friday bw

It was time to try my hand at blogging. The result? “Shadow & Substance”.

I wanted to branch out. To dive a little deeper into the reasons that Serling’s entertaining forays into the limitless land of imagination continue to attract viewers decades after they first aired. I couldn’t do that in 140-character bursts.

That meant doing more than quoting all the fan-favorites, as I do daily on Twitter. No, writing a blog meant watching the episodes with a careful and critical eye. It meant thinking about what Serling and the other talented writers who contributed to TZ were trying to say. It meant striving for accuracy and giving readers a reason to keep coming back.

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Most of all, it meant putting myself on the line. My analysis. My words. My “stuff.”

Even now, it’s a heart-stopping moment to hear that someone has read a post of mine. And hearing that they’ve enjoyed it? That they’ve even been moved or inspired by it? I might as well be rounding the bases as fans scramble to grab that walk-off home run I just hit. There’s no other feeling like it.

Perhaps most gratifying has been seeing the way the blog has evolved. In the beginning, I was posting pieces that were almost devoid of pictures or artwork of any kind. Sure, I was writing the best posts I could, but handing people a large block of gray text? About a TV show? Even Henry Bemis might balk at reading that.

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Presentation matters, too. As the carnival barker showing off Maya the Cat Girl in TZ’s “Perchance to Dream” knew, you need a little salesmanship to get people in the door. That meant finally adding pics to the pic-less posts I had been doing so far.

Then came the breakthrough: a post on my favorite TZ of all time, “Eye of the Beholder.” I published it last November 11, the anniversary of the day it first aired in 1960. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it all turned out.

Nightmare 20,000-27

It got even better, though. I was contacted by the WordPress editors, who told me that my post, “Conformity’s Critical Eye“, was being “freshly pressed.” This put it in front of thousands of other bloggers, and my page views — and “fan mail” — skyrocketed. It was a professional triumph and a real thrill.

I’m also proud of how “Shadow & Substance” offers a variety of pieces: long, short, serious, funny. I spotlight Serling’s other works, including “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery,” the anthology series that followed TZ; “The Loner,” Serling’s one-season western; and the live teleplays in the ’50s that made him a household name. I go behind the scenes, feature top-10 lists, and poll readers about their favorite episodes.

What excites me most, though, is knowing there’s so much more to explore. The more I delve into Serling’s works — and my collection of books, screenplays and discs grows all the time — the more I realize how much more there is to examine and enjoy.

Anniversary1

So if you’re a fan of this blog, you’ll be happy to know I’m just getting started. There are some great projects and posts ahead for you.

Hope you’ll come along for the ride. As I titled my first blog post two years ago, “there’s the signpost up ahead …”

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Photos courtesy of Wendy Brydge. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook 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

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 06/08/2013, in General and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. *walks in with a plate of homemade brownies, sets them down, pours two cups of coffee* Happy Anniversary, Boss! :D

    I can still remember the first Shadow & Substance post I read — “An Alienating Thought”. It was last April. Since then, I have read every single post on your blog, and I can tell you, each one is better than the last. You provide such wonderful insight and analysis here. Your passion for Serling and his brilliant work makes each and every post shine. You never fail to impress me.

    And I may be your Gal Friday — always at the ready to brainstorm, edit, pull pics or anything else you might need – but I also happen to be your biggest fan. I’d be lost without my daily dose of TZ on Twitter, and getting a new blog post in my inbox for review is like opening a gift on Christmas morning.

    A toast to what’s to come! I know that you, my friend, will continue to give Serling a run for his money. :)

    • *eyes widen* Brownies? Homemade by YOU? Gal Friday, you shouldn’t have! … *takes a bite* I’m lying. Yes, you should have. ;D

      Seriously, thank you for the kind words, dear friend. More importantly, thank you for all your gracious assistance. It’s no coincidence, I think, that the first post we really collaborated on was “freshly pressed”. We’re the Lennon-McCartney of the blogging world, IMHO — an unbeatable team. :)

      I can’t wait to see what’s to come either! One thing’s for sure. Whatever it is, I’ll have a blast plotting and planning with my biggest fan. Working with you is MY Christmas gift. ;)

  2. Congratulations on the two-year anniversary! I do appreciate your clear, concise, and thoughtful writing on TZ and all the rest, as well as your faithfulness in Twitter conversations! Looking forward to much, much more to come.

  3. Congratulations on the anniversary, Paul! You and Wendy are doing an outstanding job! It was quite cool to find an outlet for my interest in things-Rod Serling—and, by the appearance of it, thousands of others feel the same way! Keep up the excellent efforts, Barrel mates!

    • Thanks, Frank! Meeting fellow fans like yourself is really the best part of the experience. So glad you enjoy the blog. Wendy and I are very grateful for all your comments and well-wishes. And yes, we’ll certainly keep it up!

  4. Reblogged this on Reality Check and commented:
    Happy anniversary to Paul and Girl Friday, Wendy, for the success that is Shadow & Substance! Congratulations on two years of outstanding effort! Keep it up!

  5. That a TV show from the 60’s can still provide a basis for relevant and interesting analysis is a testament to Rod Serling’s ability and talent. That you can provide that analysis and present it in an evermore interesting manner is a testament to your ability and talent (and the help you get from your Girl Friday). I thoroughly enjoy this blog, it’s one of the few on my radar screen that I never miss. I love the show, and I like being reminded of the lessons it brought into our living rooms when I was a child (more scared than reflective). This blog makes me look forward to each marathon, and often makes me review the ones hanging on my DVR.

    • Thanks for the compliments, Dan! Much appreciated. You’re so right about Serling’s talent and how relevant it remains.

      I was reminded of that recently when the Writers Guild of America put TZ at #3 on their Best Written Series of All Time list. I was grumbling that it wasn’t #1, but a couple people noted that having a 50-year-old series in the top 3 was pretty damned impressive, and I have to agree. It’s timeless.

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