Please enjoy these videos, compliments of the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation. Most cannot be found anywhere else, except through these links. And apologies: even though they are now digital, these videos are not high quality. Many began life as kinescopes–16mm film shot directly off video monitors during the 50s and 60s. Others were transferred and copied multiple times on VHS tape.
About the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation (2:11)
A little about the history of the Foundation and its mission.
This 1985 tribute to Rod Serling morphs into a promo for the TV series “The New Twilight Zone” apparently designed to entice potential sponsors. The biographical sections drew upon material provided by the Foundation.
Rod hosts one of TV’s first infomercials, circa 1965. This plug for the Famous Writer’s School in Bridgeport Connecticut, which Rod helped found, has a sincerity that is emblematic of those relatively innocent times. As with the kinescopes of Rod’s work during the Golden Age of TV, the accompanying atmosphere is a fascinating time capsule.
The Foundation itself produced “Day of a Playwright” in 1988, and released it in conjunction with the opening of a permanent display of Rod Serling historical materials at the Forum Theater in Binghamton, NY. Helen Foley, Rod’s middle school teacher and lead character in the Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare as a Child,” narrates the video.
This show stripped the soundtracks from old movie footage and substituted their own dialog. Rod’s 1963 guest appearance appears to be scripted, but it is apropos and funnier than the show itself.
In this 1988 introduction to a rebroadcast, actors Keenan Wynn and Jack Palance, producer Martin Manulus, and director Ralph Nelson discuss the amazing backstory of the 1957 Playhouse 90 episode “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” which was Ed Wynn’s first dramatic role. Tough Guy Palance reveals his sensitive side. And in a special treat, four-episode Twilight Zone star Jack Klugman introduces 1958 footage of Rod Serling accepting his Emmy award for the Requiem script.
In 1987, Ithaca College stage-read an episode of Rod Serling’s TV show “The Loner”. This raw recording is historic and unique, but unfortunately also of poor audio and video quality, and incomplete.
MORE! We didn’t upload these videos to YouTube, but they are worth watching.
- The Carousel — Jonathan Napolitano’s award-winning 2016 film about the Recreation Park carousel in Binghamton, New York that entertained a young Rod Serling and inspired “Walking Distance” years later.
- 1975 Promos for an imaginative on-the-radio rock concert that he recorded shortly before his death. There’s a lot of repetition in this 10+ minutes, but also variety to reward the patient.
- 1974? Rod Serling talks with Ithaca College students about writing for television
(1st of 12 videos from 1994 Twilight Zone LaserDisc releases)
- 1970 Radio Shack commercial, performed like the Twilight Zone introduction.
- 1970 SF Writer James Gunn interviews Rod Serling (1st of 2)
- 1997 PBS American Masters episode “Submitted for Your Approval”
- 1959 Mike Wallace interviews Rod Serling before the debut of Twilight Zone (1st of 2)
- 1961 Rod Serling Talks to Bob Crane about “The Shelter”
- 1963 Rod Serling appears in a Jack Benny sketch, as Mr. Zone.
- 1966 Rod talks politics in a 30 minute speech and over an hour of Q&A at UCLA.
- 2009 George Clayton Johnson’s keynote address at the Rod Serling Conference at Ithaca College
- circa 1980s Jan Rabson does a good impression of Rod Serling in an infomercial
- A brief video of the ‘maiden spin’ of the Rod Serling/Twilight Zone carousel, dedicated August 29th, 2011 in Serling’s hometown of Binghamton, NY. Serling often rode the carousel (vintage 1930) as a child. Cortlandt Hull painted the panels adorning the top, many of which are based on Twilight Zone episodes. (Spooky, it’s running empty. Very TZ)
- Binghamton resident’s VideoBlog Tour of Rod Serling landmarks
- Smokey the Bear commercial
- Anti-Drug Commercial: Speed Plays Rough