saints or sinners?

In the same vein as Jay Leno's perennial question "straight or gay" (lest it is "gay or straight" - who cares in this P.C. world anymore - eh? It is a funny segment on Leno's show) - let us thoroughly analyze now the qualities and the faults of many an illuminary... shall we? Ok? Good! ~ NOTA BENE: perhaps because of the subject matter, this blog is neither perfect with IE, nor with Firefox!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Rod Serling

His voice is the baritone barometer for mystery, hosting... and instilling fear in an audience's heart! Hitchcock had the brains for that - Serling had the voice for it! The latter also had a flair for crafting a surreal atmosphere, with intrigue and suspense aplenty that *crenscendoed* towards a climax of terror and fright that had no equal; especially when it pertained to the small screen, of course. His Twilight Zone and Night Gallery have since been tainted by mere *associology* with lesser fare that was intentionally similarly named - but that shall not at all diminish the value of his original creations, ever!

On another note, Serling had many personal flaws - and personal demons.
He was a heavy smoker, was he not? He died at the ripe old age of 50, for crying out loud...! And yet he knew that his family history was one of heart problems, with both his father and grandfather having died of it around the exact same age of 50...! Sort of like Bruce Lee, Rod Serling could not escape that family curse either... And yet - his older brother, Robert, died only at the age of 92. Rod, for his part, did not see anything done on TV past the year 1975 - and his honors, he received them in an era where television was still in its infantile stages. Nonetheless, his achievements would have stood out in any age and his posthumous entry into the Television Hall of Fame in 1985 is entirely justified as long overdue already back then.
Rod Serling had, unfortunately, certain flaws of character that might have contributed to his short lifespan as well: he was always tense, stressed for any reason at all, "angry" at a 1001 different things going backstage... His bouts with censorship were real and frequent. He hated the kind of red tape that big corporate sponsors of the new medium of television continuously stuck him with. Basically, he had to deal with it all throughout his tenure as a television writer. No wonder he was angry all the time - but still...
Some believe that the man had a misanthropic side to him, perhaps due to that indeed. Specifically, some refer to "the degree to which his vision of human life is dark, pessimistic, cynical and even misanthropic" in many of the stories that he crafted for television, then an aborning medium he made genial use from the get-go. But to what degree? Serling actually sermonizes all the time - and his misanthropy seems confirmed when he repeatedly makes the worst specimens of the human race get theirs and all that is coming to them through supernatural punishment, nothing less. Obviously the message is clear: no human justice meted out will do, because all of humanity is the same. Thus the only way to set it right is to have it stuck to us, shoved down our throats, via some greater power from the unknown.
Was Mr. Serling a follower of the occult? Was he, like French director and poet Jean Cocteau, a member of some secret order that promulgated ancient knowledge through new mediums? Like Cocteau, he could not contain himself and let some drops of knowledge distill onto his creative efforts, distinguishing himself in an otherwise vast wasteland of nothingness permeating the airwaves and the printed industry?
His being the editor of Triple W: Witches, Warlocks & Werewolves shows an even darker side of Mr. Serling to me. But wait - it gets worse still: he also edited something titled Rod Serling's Devils & Demons. One shivers at the thought of what his Lost Classics truly were meant to contain...!
Maybe his widow knows... Maybe his brother knew... Maybe, just maybe, his daughters know... Maybe the only ones who do know are all to be found... in the Twilight Zone!


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