The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television

Humanoids. Oct. 2019. 168p. ISBN 9781643375717. pap. $22.95. Rated: Teen+. BIOG
In 1943, Rod Serling joins the U.S. 511th Parachute Infantry Unit. He spends the war traveling across the Philippines and Japan and afterward returns home disoriented and depressed. In college, he begins channeling these emotions into his writing, which leads to a career scripting radio plays and eventually an opportunity to pioneer a brand new entertainment medium, television. His socially conscious scripts, which delve into the darkness he feels in himself and lurking behind the American dream, as well as his ferocious disagreements with network executives, censors, and sponsors, earn him a reputation as Hollywood’s “angry young man.” In 1957, he begins developing a series that will embed socially relevant themes inside of sf and fantasy stories in order to make them more palatable to the public. In 1959, The Twilight Zone finally premiers, and in 2019, Rod Serling remains an icon revered for altering the course of American popular culture, despite the personal and professional failures he endured between The Twilight Zone’s cancellation in 1964 and his death at age 50 in 1975.
VERDICT Shadmi (Highywayman) cleverly allows his subject to narrate his own story, adding poignancy and depth to this comprehensive, entertaining biography.

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