Remembering Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling

Faithful TG readers know we’re big fans of Rod Serling, the man who gave us one of the greatest shows in genre history, The Twilight Zone.

Serling also penned the legendary TV drama Requiem For a Heavyweight, he co-wrote the screenplay for the original Planet of the Apes, and much more. 

Serling was one of those leading lights that left us much too soon. He died in 1975 at the age of 50, and even though he left a large body of work behind, it really would have been nice to see what else he could have given us if he was able to stick around longer. (There were many times during the Bush administration where I felt we needed Serling to point out the dark absurdity of everything more than ever).

Serling’s best work still stands strong, and now his daughter Anne has written a memoir, As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling, which hits store shelves on April 30 courtesy of Citadel. Unlike a lot of children of celebrity books, this won’t be a Daddy Dearest hatchet job, but a fond look back at Serling as a father and family man, and how Anne struggled to cope after he passed away. 

In the book description, Anne writes, “In Twilight Zone reruns, I search for my father in the man on the screen, but I can’t always find him there. Instead, he appears in unexpected ways. Memory summoned by a certain light, a color, a smell – and I see him again on the porch of our old red lakeside cottage, where I danced on the steps as a child.”

Robert Redford also gave a favorable review of the book, writing that As I Knew Him is a “haunting and beautifully written memoir about her father,” and added that “readers will come to know Rod Serling in a personal way, as I did.”

The book description also reminds us that the Serling we saw on The Twilight Zone was not the same person who raised two daughters. We Twilight Zone fans of course figured that our tour guide into the unknown was a much different man in private, and it will be interesting to learn about Rod Serling the father and husband, not just the great television writer and genre genius. 

Although I’ve read and written a lot about Serling and The Twilight Zone, as far as I’m concerned there aren’t enough books out there about him and his greatest creation. Needless to say, I’ll gladly welcome this one on my shelf as well.