American Screenwriter, Playwright, Television Producer and Narrator, best known for Science Fiction Anthology, The Twilight Zone
Rod Serling, fully Rodman Edward "Rod" Serling
American Screenwriter, Playwright, Television Producer and Narrator, best known for Science Fiction Anthology, The Twilight Zone
Rod Serling: Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Gibbs, three days and two nights, all expenses paid, at a Las Vegas hotel, won by virtue of Mrs. Gibbs's knack with a phrase. But unbeknownst to either Mr. or Mrs. Gibbs is the fact that there's a prize in their package neither expected nor bargained for. In just a moment one of them will succumb to an illness worse than any virus can produce, a most inoperative, deadly, life-shattering affliction known as the fever? Mr. Franklin Gibbs, visitor to Las Vegas, who lost his money, his reason, and finally his life to an inanimate metal machine variously described as a one-armed bandit, a slot machine or, in Mr. Franklin Gibbs's words, a monster with a will all its own. For our purposes we'll stick with the latter definition because we're in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: Portrait of a bush-league Fhrer named Peter Vollmer, a sparse little man who feeds off his self-delusions and finds himself perpetually hungry for want of greatness in his diet. And like some goose-stepping predecessors he searches for something to explain his hunger, and to rationalize why a world passes him by without saluting. That something he looks for and finds is in a sewer. In his own twisted and distorted lexicon he calls it faith, strength, truth. But in just a moment Peter Vollmer will ply his trade on another kind of corner, a strange intersection in a shadowland called the Twilight Zone. Benefactor: You must talk to them on their frequency, on their level. If they are poor, talk to them of their poverty. If they are afraid, talk to them of their fear. And if they are angry, Mr. Vollmer! If they are angry! Give them objects for their anger. Make their hate your hate. Say things like, things like... 'They say we're prejudiced! They say we're biased. They say we hate the minorities. Minorities. Understand the term, neighbors...
Rod Serling: Submitted for your approval, one Max Phillips, a slightly-the-worse-for wear maker of book, whose life has been as drab and undistinguished as a bundle of dirty clothes. And, though it's very late in his day, he has an errant wish that the rest of his life might be sent out to a laundry to come back shiny and clean, this to be a gift of love to a son named Pip. Mr. Max Phillips, Homo sapiens, who is soon to discover that man is not as wise as he thinks - said lesson to be learned in the Twilight Zone? Very little comment here, save for this small aside: that the ties of flesh are deep and strong, that the capacity to love is a vital, rich and all-consuming function of the human animal, and that you can find nobility and sacrifice and love wherever you may seek it out: down the block, in the heart, or in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: The residence of Dr. William Loren, which is in reality a menagerie for machines. We're about to discover that sometimes the product of man's talent and genius can walk amongst us untouched by the normal ravages of time. These are Dr. Loren's robots, built to functional as well as artistic perfection. But in a moment Dr. William Loren, wife and daughter will discover that perfection is relative, that even robots have to be paid for, and very shortly will be shown exactly what is the bill? Let this be the postscript: should you be worn out by the rigors of competing in a very competitive world, if you're distraught from having to share your existence with the noises and neuroses of the twentieth century, if you crave serenity but want it full time and with no strings attached, get yourself a workroom in a basement and then drop a note to Dr. and Mrs. William Loren. They're a childless couple who made comfort a life's work, and maybe there are a few do-it-yourself pamphlets still available in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: This is one of the out-of-the-way places. The unvisited places. Bleak, wasted, dying. This is a farmhouse. Handmade, crude, a house without electricity or gas. A house untouched by progress. This is the woman who lives in the house. A woman who's been alone for many years. A strong, simple woman whose only problem, up until this moment, has been that of acquiring enough food to eat. A woman about to face terror, which is, even now, coming at her from the Twilight Zone. The Spaceman: Central Control...come in Central Control. Do you read me? Gresham is dead! Repeat, Gresham is dead! The ship's destroyed. Incredible race of giants here. Race of giants. No, Central Control. No counterattack. Repeat, no counterattack. Too much for us. Too powerful. Stay away. Gresham and I...we're finished! Finished! Stay away. Stay away... Rod Serling: These are the invaders, the tiny beings from the tiny place called Earth, who would take the giant step across the sky to the question marks that sparkle and beckon from the vastness of the universe only to be imagined. The invaders, who found out that a one-way ticket to the stars beyond has the ultimate price tag. And we have just seen it entered in a ledger that covers all the transactions of the universe, a bill stamped 'paid in full,' and to be found, on file, in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: What you have just looked at takes place three hundred feet underground, beneath the basement of a New York City skyscraper. It's owned and lived in by one Paul Radin. Mr. Radin is rich, eccentric and single-minded. How rich we can already perceive. How eccentric and single-minded we shall see in a moment, because all of you have just entered the Twilight Zone? Mr. Paul Radin, a dealer in fantasy, who sits in the rubble of his own making and imagines that he's the last man on Earth, doomed to a perdition of unutterable loneliness because a practical joke has turned into a nightmare. Mr. Paul Radin, pallbearer at a funeral that he manufactured himself in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: You're looking at Mr. Fred Renard, who carries on his shoulder a chip the size of the national debt. This is a sour man. A friendless man. A lonely man. A grasping, compulsive, nervous man. This is a man who has lived thirty-six undistinguished, meaningless, pointless, failure-laden years...and, who at this moment, looks for an escape. Any escape. Anyway, anything, anybody to get out of the rut. And this little old man...is just what Mr. Renard is waiting for? Street scene. Night. Traffic accident. Victim named Fred Renard, gentleman with a sour face, to whom contentment came with difficulty. Fred Renard, who took all that was needed? in the Twilight Zone.
The crowd slowly dispersed in soft, whispering groups, voices muted by the fascination of death that all men carry with them in small pockets deep inside them.
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man?s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
Why do I write? I guess that's been asked of every writer. I don't know. It isn't any massive compulsion.
Rod Serling: Mr. and Mrs. John Holt, aging people who slowly and with trembling fingers turn the last pages of a book of life and hope against logic and the preordained that some magic printing press will add to this book another limited edition. But these two senior citizens happen to live in a time of the future where nothing is impossible, even the trading of old bodies for new. Mr. and Mrs. John Holt, in their twilight years--who are about to find that there happens to be a zone with the same name? From Kahil Gibran's The Prophet: 'Love gives not but itself and takes not from itself, love possesses not nor would it be possessed, for love is sufficient unto love.' Not a lesson, just a reminder, from all the sentimentalists in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: Portrait of a frightened man: Mr. Robert Wilson, thirty-seven, husband, father, and salesman on sick leave. Mr. Wilson has just been discharged from a sanitarium where he spent the last six months recovering from a nervous breakdown, the onset of which took place on an evening not dissimilar to this one, on an airliner very much like the one in which Mr. Wilson is about to be flown home - the difference being that, on that evening half a year ago, Mr. Wilson's flight was terminated by the onslaught of his mental breakdown. Tonight, he's travelling all the way to his appointed destination, which, contrary to Mr. Wilson's plan, happens to be in the darkest corner of the Twilight Zone. Robert Wilson: Gremlins! Gremlins! I'm not imagining it, he's out there! Don't look, he's not out there now. He jumps away whenever anyone might see him, except me. Julia Wilson: It's alright now, darling. Robert Wilson: I know. But I'm the only one who does know...right know. Rod Serling: The flight of Mr. Wilson has ended now, a flight not only from point A to point B, but also from the fear of recurring mental breakdown. Mr. Wilson has that fear no longer, though, for the moment, he is, as he said, alone in this assurance. Happily, his conviction will not remain isolated too much longer, for happily, tangible manifestation is very often left as evidence of trespass, even from so intangible a quarter as the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: Submitted for your approval: the case of one Miss Agnes Grep, put on Earth with two left feet, an overabundance of thumbs and a propensity for falling down manholes. In a moment she will be up to her jaw in miracles, wrought by apprentice angel Harmon Cavender, intent on winning his wings. And, though, it's a fact that both of them should have stood in bed, they will tempt all the fates by moving into the cold, gray dawn of the Twilight Zone? A word to the wise now to any and all who might suddenly feel the presence of a cigar-smoking helpmate who takes bankbooks out of thin air. If you're suddenly aware of any such celestial aids, it means that you're under the beneficent care of one Harmon Cavender, guardian angel. And this message from the Twilight Zone: lotsa luck!
Rod Serling: The time is 1863. The place: the state of Virginia. The event is a mass blood-letting known as the Civil War, a tragic moment in time when a nation was split into two fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation? This is Joseph Paradine, Confederate cavalry, as he heads down toward a small town in the middle of a valley. But very shortly, Joseph Paradine will make contact with the enemy. He will also make contact with an outpost not found on a military map. An outpost called the Twilight Zone? On the following morning, Sergeant Paradine and the rest of these men were moved up north to a little town in Pennsylvania, an obscure little place where a battle was brewing, a town called Gettysburg. And this one was fought without the help of the Devil. Small historical note not to be found in any known books, but part of the records in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: This is Roswell G. Flemington, two hundred and seventeen pounds of gristle, lung tissue and sound decibels. He is, as you have perceived, a noisy man, one of a breed who substitutes volume for substance, sound for significance, and shouting to cover up the readily apparent phenomenon that he is nothing more than an overweight and aging perennial Sea Scout whose noise-making is in inverse ratio to his competence and his character. But soon our would-be admiral of the fleet will embark on another voyage. This one is an uncharted and twisting stream that heads for a distant port called... the Twilight Zone? When last heard from, Mr. Roswell G. Flemington was in a sanitarium pleading with the medical staff to make some noise. They, of course, believe the case to be a rather tragic aberration - a man's mind becoming unhinged. And for this, they'll give him pills, therapy, and rest. Little do they realize that all Mr. Flemington is suffering from is a case of poetic justice. Tonight's tale of sounds and silences from... the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: What you have just witnessed could be the end of a particularly terrifying nightmare. It isn't - it's the beginning. Although Alan Talbot doesn't know it, he is about to enter a strange new world, too incredible to be real, too real to be a dream. It's called the Twilight Zone? In a way, it can be said that Walter Ryder succeeded in his life's ambition, even though the man he created was, after all, himself. There may be easier ways to self-improvement, but sometimes it happens that the shortest distance between two points is a crooked line - through the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: You're looking at the house of the late Mrs. Henrietta Walker. This is Mrs. Walker herself, as she appeared twenty-five years ago. And this, except for isolated objects, is the living room of Mrs. Walker's house, as it appeared in that same year. The other rooms upstairs and down are pretty much the same. The time, however, is not twenty-five years ago but now. The house of the late Henrietta Walker is, you see, a house which belongs almost entirely to the past, a house which, like Mrs. Walker's clock here, has ceased to recognize the passage of time. Only one element is missing now, one remaining item in the estate of the late Mrs. Walker: her son Alex, thirty-four years of age and, up till twenty minutes ago, the so-called 'perennial bachelor.' With him is his bride, the former Miss Virginia Lane. They're returning from the city hall in order to get Mr. Walker's clothes packed, make final arrangements for the sale of the house, lock it up and depart on their honeymoon. Not a complicated set of tasks, it would appear, and yet the newlywed Mrs. Walker is about to discover that the old adage 'You can't go home again' has little meaning in the Twilight Zone? Exit Miss Virginia Lane, formerly and most briefly Mrs. Alex Walker. She has just given up a battle and in a strange way retreated, but this has been a retreat back to reality. Her opponent, Alex Walker, will now and forever hold a line that exists in the past. He has put a claim on a moment in time and is not about to relinquish it. Such things do happen--in the Twilight Zone.
The first sale, that's the one that comes with magic.
There is nothing in the dark that isn't there when the lights are on.
Writers vary tremendously. Was it Tom Wolfe who stood up or was it [Ernest] Hemingway who had to stand up? I don't know.
Rod Serling: Mr. Fitzgerald Fortune, theater critic and cynic at large, on his way to a birthday party. If he knew what is in store for him he probably wouldn't go, because before this evening is over that cranky old piano is going to play 'Those Piano Roll Blues' - with some effects that could happen only in the Twilight Zone? Mr. Fitzgerald Fortune, a man who went searching for concealed persons and found himself in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: Portrait of a honeymoon couple getting ready for a journey - with a difference. These newlyweds have been married for six years, and they're not taking this honeymoon to start their life but rather to save it, or so Eileen Ransome thinks. She doesn't know why she insisted on a ship for this voyage, except that it would give them some time, and she'd never been on one before - certainly never one like the Lady Anne. The tickets read 'New York to Southampton', but this old liner is going somewhere else. Its destination - The Twilight Zone. Millie McKenzie: Love has its own particular point of view. It sees everything larger than life. Nothing is too ornate, too fanciful, too dramatic. Love demands the theatrical, and then transfigures it. It turns the grotesque into the lovely, as a child does. With it, we can see what we wish to see in other people. Without it, we can't see anything at all. We can search forever, and never find. Rod Serling: The Lady Anne never reached port. After they were picked up by a cutter a few hours later, as Captain Protheroe had promised, the Ransomes searched the newspapers for news - but there wasn't any news. The Lady Anne with all her crew and all her passengers vanished without a trace. But the Ransomes knew what had happened. They knew that the ship had sailed off to a better port - a place called The Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: Sunnyvale Rest, a home for the aged, a dying place, and a common children's game called kick the can that will shortly become a refuge for a man who knows he will die in this world if he doesn't escape into the Twilight Zone? Sunnyvale Rest, a dying place for ancient people who have forgotten the fragile magic of youth. A dying place for those who have forgotten that childhood, maturity and old age are curiously intertwined and not separate. A dying place for those who have grown too stiff in their thinking to visit the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: The time is the day after tomorrow. The place: a far corner of the universe. The cast of characters: three men lost amongst the stars, three men sharing the common urgency of all men lost - they're looking for home. And in a moment they'll find home, not a home that is a place to be seen but a strange, unexplainable experience to be felt?Kirby, Webber, and Meyers, three men lost. They shared a common wish, a simple one, really - they wanted to be aboard their ship, headed for home. And fate, a laughing fate, a practical jokester with a smile that stretched across the stars, saw to it that they got their wish, with just one reservation: the wish came true, but only in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling: This is the face of Ramos Clemente, a year ago a beardless, nameless worker of the dirt who plodded behind a mule, furrowing someone else's land. And he looked up at a hot Central American sun and he pledged the impossible. He made a vow that he would lead an avenging army against the tyranny that put the ache in his back and the anguish in his eyes, and now one year later the dream of the impossible has become a fact. In just a moment we will look deep into this mirror and see the aftermath of a rebellion...in the Twilight Zone? Ramos Clemente, a would-be god in dungarees, strangled by an illusion, that will-o-'the-wisp mirage that dangles from the sky in front of the eyes of all ambitious men, all tyrants--and any resemblance to tyrants living or dead is hardly coincidental, whether it be here or in the Twilight Zone.