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Fatherhood No ‘Twilight Zone’ For Rod Serling

Posted by Fatherhood Admin

One of the duties of my position as Web Editor at NFI is to scour the Internet looking for interesting stories and news bits to place on our homepage and blog. As part of the Communications team, I’m often swimming in words and ideas – a chief joy of being a writer in my opinion. In my discovery, I found yet another reason to connect with the work I do here.

I came across an article from Salon.com featuring an excerpt of an upcoming memoir from writer Anne Serling, daughter of famed The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling. Her book, Another Dimension: Growing Up With The Man Behind The Twilight Zone, serves not only as a memoir, but also as a way for Ms. Serling to resolve the grief behind losing her father at the age of 50 in 1975; Ms. Serling was just around 20 at the time.

In the excerpt, Ms. Serling takes care to detail her pain regarding her father’s death after open-heart surgery and how his famous show helped connect her to the man she loved, a television program she largely avoided because of his passing.

“Later that summer, a little more resilient, I began to watch my father’s “Twilight Zones,” doing this more to see him than the actual show. I randomly selected one called “In Praise of Pip.” The episode was filmed at the Pacific Ocean Park, the same amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier that my dad took my sister and me to.

What was so striking, so personal and so moving about this particular story was some of the dialogue. In this episode, Jack Klugman says to his son, “Who’s your best buddy, Pip?”
“You are, Pop.”

Just like the routine my dad and I did.”

I grew up watching The Twilight Zone, always amazed at how this show managed to expand my imagination while injecting some relatable themes to boot. I have a few favorite episodes, some I still wish I could watch on my old VHS player: “A Nightmare At 20,000 Feet,” “A Short Drink From A Certain Fountain,” and the classic “To Serve Man” episode. I just read that cable station SyFy will be continuing its New Year's Eve tradition of running a Twilight Zone marathon, so there’s no guesswork on where I’ll be parked all weekend.

Ms. Serling’s words about her dad touched me deeply and my research on her father revealed that he was not a simple man. But what stood out, Mr. Serling’s own daughter wasn't impressed with her dad’s fame and accomplishments (he was a decorated serviceman and a part-time parachute tester). What she loved about her father was that he was much more to her than a masterful weaver of tales. Ms. Serling referred to her father as a playmate and confidant – something all fathers should aspire to be, even when they’re off creating worlds of wonder elsewhere.

This will be my final blog post of 2011, so to all Father Factor readers, I wish you all a happy 2012, and stay tuned as we have a lot of great stories and blogs in store for the coming year.

Topics: fatherhood, fathers, father-daughter, Twilight Zone, Rod Serling

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