2008 Rod Serling Conference at Ithaca College

The conference drew international attention. Here's how:

Rod Serling was outraged at the 1955 murder of a black Chicago teenager in Mississippi. He dramatized the incident twice for TV, with "Noon on Doomsday" and "A Town has Turned to Dust."

But both teleplays were censored and altered before being broadcast. Frustrated, Rod wrote a stage play version of "Noon on Doomsday" that pulled no punches.

The work was never produced, but it finally got a public reading, by Ithaca College students, on Saturday night of the conference (March 29). The performance was electric!

This event would probably have been ignored by the media as old news, except that Barack Obama gave his now-famous speech on race on March 11.

That accident of timing brought the media to the doorstep of the Rod Serling community. Although it appears that the newshounds mostly covered the fact that the reading took place and not the reading itself, I'll still take it ...over being ignored.

People will read about the event and the history behind it, and that's good for Rod's legacy. Here are links to the CNN and NPR stories.

If you want to see more worldwide coverage, go to Google.com and search for the phrase Serling Emmett Till Ithaca. As I write this, that search yields 9,550 hits!

Those news stories quote RSMF President Andy Polak, ATAI editor Tony Albarella, and Amy E. Boyle Johnston, who spent the last 3 years researching and writing what will likely be the definitive book on Rod Serling. At least, a serious work ...read more here.

—Steve Schlich, webmaster