1988 Article in Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone Magazine
IN THE AFTERNOON OF October 7, 1988, a new star will join the firmament of Hollywood’s immortals. At ceremonies on Hollywood Boulevard, Carol Serling and representatives from the new syndicated Twilight Zone television series will take part in the unveiling of a star in Rod Serling’s honor on Hollywood’s fabled “Walk of Fame.” Serling’s star will rest alongside other noted writer-producers, including John Houston, Alfred Hitchcock, and Orson Welles, as well as performers from Lawrence Olivier and Chaplin to Boris Karloff and Groucho Marx. As it happens, The Walk of Fame, sponsored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, is celebrating its 40th anniversary just like the original Twilight Zone series.
[Editor: The show debuted in 1959 and the article appeared in 1988; you do the math.]
The original Twilight Zone was a remarkable breakthrough for its time. In an era of bland sitcoms and hokey horse operas, the show offered a break from conformity; a breath of fresh air, a sense of the limitless power of the human imagination. Unlike early fantasy series, which were aimed only at hardcore fans, The Twilight Zone made the fantastic accessible by taking the viewer across the boundary between light and shadow. It made the magical real by putting it in universal terms anyone could understand. This same principle is behind the work of many of today’s most popular storytellers—from Steven Spielberg to Stephen King—who freely admit their debt to Rod Serling’s genius.
Although Rod Serling’s name will forever be connected with The Twilight Zone, his star recognizes far more than one series. Winner of six Emmy Awards, Rod Serling was one of a handful of brilliant young writers who helped shape the television medium into the force it is today. His award-winning teleplays, including “Patterns,” “The Rack,” and “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” are recognized as landmarks in live television drama. And Serling was also an accomplished screenwriter as well, writing scripts for such films as Seven Days in May, Planet of the Apes, and The Man.
But the Hollywood star is awarded for more than talent. According to the guidelines of the board which approves each new star, the recipient must have made a unique contribution not only to the entertainment field, but to all of humanity. Throughout his life, Rod Serling was passionately devoted to the cause of human rights. In fact, it’s said that he chose to leave a high-paying career as an independent screenwriter to write and produce The Twilight Zone because of his continuous clashes with network censors over the political and social commentary in his work. In those wary days in the aftermath of the McCarthy Era, The Twilight Zone provided Serling and his colleagues a forum to comment on the social issues of the day.
When another writer/producer—Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek—recently received his own “star” on the Walk of Fame, he remarked that he believed Rod Serling should have received his honor first. In a eulogy shortly after Rod Serling’s untimely death at the age of fifty in 1975, Roddenberry paid tribute to Rod Serling’s legacy:
No one could know Serling, or view or read his work, without recognizing his deep affection for humanity, his sympathetically enthusiastic curiosity about us, and his determination to enlarge our horizons by giving us a better understanding of ourselves… He dreamed of much for us, and demanded much of himself, perhaps more than was possible for either in this time and place. But it is that quality of dreams and demands that makes the ones like Rod Serling rare… and always irreplaceable.