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Finding the Twilight Zone in Kentucky

article in Courier-JournalCourier-Journal
Louisville, Kentucky
October 30, 2002

Postmark this from 'Twilight Zone' fan
by Byron Crawford

No copyright violation intended. Read the original article here.

Raceland, Ky., and Rod Serling's ''The Twilight Zone'' may have been many miles apart, but Serling and 10-year-old Dwight Deskins came face-to-face through a 19-inch black-and-white TV.

Deskins, who still lives in Raceland in Greenup County, had bought his own television with money he won answering a trivia contest on a local radio station. Otherwise, he recalled, he might never have gotten to watch ''The Twilight Zone'' in his family's one-TV household.


Deskins and TZ actor Read Morgan in August 2002

One night during the mid-1970s, young Deskins saw a rerun of the ''Twilight Zone'' episode ''Five Characters in Search of an Exit,'' and has been hooked on the show and on Serling's work ever since.

Now a 37year-old forensic firearms examiner, Deskins is among the many Rod Serling admirers around the country who are pressing the U.S. Postal Service to commemorate Serling with a postage stamp. Although the Postal Service has repeatedly rejected annual nominations of Serling, the group is still collecting names on its online petition on the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation's Web site--www.RodSerling.com--and is determined to keep nominating the 1950s and '60s icon until someone at the Postal Service takes notice.

[NOTE: To sign the petiton, go to The Twilight Zone Archives and click on the stamp at top right]

''WE DEFINITELY need a Rod Serling postage stamp,'' Deskins said. ''Serling was such a pivotal person and force in the development of the concept of writing drama for television.''

In Serling's hometown of Binghamton, N.Y., where his family moved from Syracuse when Rod was 2, historian Gerald Smith said two young fans stopped by his office just this week.

''In terms of name and image recognition, I think Serling has gotten credit for his work. But as a writer I don't think so,'' Smith said. ''I think one of the foundation's goals is to make people realize that he was extremely talented in a lot of areas. He was very good at science fiction, but he did a lot of other marvelous writing as well.''

Serling, who once worked at WLW Radio in Cincinnati, died in 1975 during heart surgery. He was 50.

In addition to Serling deserving a commemorative postage stamp, Deskins insists that a Rod Serling Museum in the writer's hometown is also overdue to house ''Twilight Zone'' and Serling memorabilia.

''My favorite personally owned Serling item is a canceled check that I was able to obtain from his daughter,'' Deskins said. ''A friend who was much more lucky -- and who has much deeper pockets -- has purchased such items as Serling's Army jacket, his Hollywood Walk of Fame certificate and even the only briefcase that the man supposedly ever owned.''

LAST AUGUST, Deskins and a handful of other Serling devotees organized a two-day convention of ''Twilight Zone'' and Serling fans in North Hollywood and invited many of the actors who had appeared on the series. The list of ''Twilight Zone'' alumni includes Cliff Robertson, Julie Newmar, Robert Duvall, Carol Burnett, William Shatner, Charles Bronson, Mickey Rooney and a host of others.

Already, discussion is under way for another gathering of Serling-''Twilight Zone'' fans and friends in 2004. For more information, click on www.RodSerling.com or the Web site operated by Dwight Deskins and a friend: www.twilightzonemuseum.com.

Byron Crawford's column appears on the Kentucky page Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. To contact him, call (502) 582-4791 or write bcrawford@courier-journal.com.

Original Article