The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television – Koren Shadmi (Life Drawn)


Meet Rod Serling, a man forged in the crucible of war, drowned in the sorrow of watching his comrades die, denied the chance to say goodbye to his father and left to ponder the inequity of fate in far-away land.  A man who having witnessed the reality and futility of conflict first hand decided to plow his frustration and pent up creativity into entertaining others and who with a seemingly endless imagination and a taste of success was ensnared by the bright lights of the formative years of weekly screen drama and whose rise to the dizzying heights of fame was equalled only by his less than spectacular fall from grace and tragically early demise.

Consumed by his work, terrified of failure and being unrecognised, his show became his everything, and when it ended, his desperation to fill the gap that it left led him down unsuccessful avenue after unsuccessful avenue, until after finally finding a brief modicum of personal happiness and satisfaction, his existence was snatched away right at the moment that it began to make sense. That ladies and gentlemen is the story of Rod Serling and his journey into The Twilight Zone.

I’d be willing to wager that there isn’t a die-hard Science Fiction fan or geek steeped in the culture of the fantastic alive who doesn’t know who Rod Serling was, how he forever changed the face of television, brought the weird and wonderful into the homes of millions and transformed the mainstreams opinion of what had been, up until the late nineteen fifties, fringe entertainment. Haunted and driven by his own demons and ghosts, Serling was not only the architect of his own fate, he was also the engineer of his own demise and his story, told here in delicious and delightful, stark monochromatic art and captivating prose by by Koren Shadmi, is every bit as enthralling as an episode of his most famous creation, the basis for which The Twilight Man adopts to let his tale gradually unfold.  Shadmi doesn’t allow sentiment to get in the way of telling Serling’s story, and while it isn’t always a flattering portrayal of this most intriguing of men, The Twilight Man offers a brutally honest and forthright account of his life and is all the more powerful for doing so. Welcome to the dimension of imagination and the story of The Twilight ManTim Cundle

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