By JAMES HEAVEY, Binghamton Sunday Press, August 15, 1959
A suddenly non-controversial Rod Serling said in Binghamton last night that he’s outlived the role of “angry young man.”
The 34-year-old writer has sounded off frequently—from a point high on the totem pole of television dramatists—about network taboos and program policies.
The Binghamton-reared Serling preferred last night to talk about the “horrendous” work schedule he’s keeping these days—especially in connection with what will be a weekly series of 26 or 39 half-hour TV plays.
“When I was younger,” he said, “I could be called an angry young man—now I’m called petulant.”
Some of his reasons for being less controversial, he said, is the nature of his current work. He’s having little trouble with sponsors’ squeamishness.
“I’m dealing in acceptable stuff,” he explained in reference to the new series, which will have a heavy emphasis on fantasy.
Some of the recent hesitancy to criticize broadcasting policies, he indicated, is born of his own success.
He said he has reached a point when, if an attempt is made to change his script, he doesn’t have to sell it.
And he’s trying to avoid seeming to “bite the hand that feeds me.”
Mr. Serling said during an interview that he expects to have written 22 of the initial batch of 26 plays in the coming series, which will be seen first at 10 p.m. Oct. 1.
Seventeen of the plays, he said, are already on film. Besides doing a major part of the writing, Mr. Serling is co-producer (with CBS) and narrator.
“I’m the boss, in a sense,” he explained, with such prerogatives as choice of casts and directors.
The plays, he said, will exploit a “tilt-shock type of ending.” Title of the series is “The Twilight Zone.”
Mr Serling, who has been more used to filling 90-minute spots with live TV dramas, said he’s had no trouble writing shorter plays, mainly because he’s not dealing with burning social issues.
Besides his work on the new program, Mr. Serling has just finished a screenplay based on a novel about the RAF. It goes before the cameras in England next spring.
He’s also scheduled to do two Playhouse 90 dramas next season, while in the more remote future are a Broadway version of his TV play, “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” and a novel.
The writer was interviewed at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel A. Goodman, 6 Campbell Road Court, where a reception was held in his honor.