Rod Serling is a household name for anyone over 50 years old. He was the creator of the iconic TV series “The Twilight Zone,” but was so much more. He was a prolific writer, including his award-winning “Requiem For A Heavyweight” and the original “Planet Of The Apes,” a teacher, a beloved father, and a social activist.
“As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling” is an intimate and inspiring memoir written by Anne Serling. Her love for him, and the lingering grief to this day, make her story particularly poignant and revealing. Rod Serling was, in many ways, just like most of us–frustrated, insecure, dedicated, and curious. But he played the hand he was dealt with grace and passion.
Anne Serling tells his story, starting with his younger years, his service in World War 2, and his eventual success in his chosen profession: writing. She reveals his personal side, which most of us who watched him growing up knew nothing about. He was not the brooding, serious man narrating the start of each Twilight Zone episode. He was a family man first, and she shares wonderful stories of his life outside Hollywood. One quote reveals his humility:
Apparently on the screen, I look tall, dark, and close to omniscient, issuing jeopardy-laden warnings through gritted teeth. And then they look at me [in person] and say, “Why, God, this kid is five-foot-five, he’s got a broken nose, and looks as foreboding as a bank teller on a lunch break.”Rod Serling
And yet, Twilight Zone remains his most important legacy to us as fans. We all have favorite episodes–2 of mine are “Time Enough At Last,” starring Burgess Meredith as the man who was annoyed by people and wanted to be left alone to read, only to have his wish granted and his necessary reading glasses shattered, and “To Serve Man”–who can forget the scream “It’s a cookbook!”
Discovering the real Rod Serling through his daughter’s eyes is satisfying and inspiring and a fitting tribute to an amazing man.
Book review written by: Larry Pollack
Pair It With:
Gin Gimlet: This staple cocktail is a staple classic cocktail. Gin, lime, sugar and you have a delicious treat. If you’re more of a vodka fan, check out our recipe for a cucumber gimlet.