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Serling: the Rise and Twilight of Television's Last Angry Man

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Television was only a curiosity when young Rod Serling dreamed of writing for radio, but he never dreamed of the success he would achieve. Drawing on interviews with more than 200 of Serling's family, friends, and closest associates, including many screen stars, journalist Gordon Sander traces the writer's remarkable rise. More than biography, Serling's story is the story ...more
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published December 31st 1992 by Dutton Books (first published November 1st 1992)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  123 ratings  ·  27 reviews


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Rebecca McNutt
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
If only television today was actually as deep and intelligent as The Twilight Zone was. These days all television has to offer us viewers is a sea of crude humor, sadistic violence, reality shows and idiots on-screen dressed in yoga pants and toting cell phones. :(

In many ways The Twilight Zone was ahead of its time, bringing up themes that people were afraid to think about such as the end of the world and the destruction of man's legacy, nuclear war, mental illness, PTSD and the futility of
...more
Jamie
Feb 17, 2015 rated it liked it
First off, I love The Twilight Zone. Even as a kid, I loved the quirky little man that guided me through 'another dimension' in syndicated reruns. Unfortunately, Serling's vision of where television should go, and what it should aspire to be, never had a chance. Corporate profits and beancounters saw to that.

Sander does a good job of portraying the early pre-California days of television's infancy, New York playhouse theater, live acting, interesting plots, thought-provoking, heady times. If yo
...more
Joseph R.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rod Serling achieved his lasting fame in the early 1960s when he wrote, produced, and hosted the iconic science fiction and fantasy series The Twilight Zone. The series was wildly popular (and is still in syndication and streaming today) thanks to the intelligent scripts, the visual creativity, the twist endings, and the compelling nature of Serling's introductions and conclusions. The series spawned many imitators and the phrase "twilight zone" has become idiomatic.

Even before The T
...more
Tim
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Rod Serling cast a long shadow over my teen years. Even though the Twilight Zone had been off the air for some time, it lived on in nightly reruns, and many of the folks I knew stayed up late to watch them. With its uniquely eccentric and disquieting elements, such as Marius Constant's theme music and Serling's inimitable presence and introductions, it left a lasting impression on most of us. Probably it is still doing so to new generations of fans.

Naturally I was interested in who S
...more
Mark Johnson
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Serling's work has had a huge impression on how I think about fiction, particularly that speculative philosophies can be delivered within genre stories to uncanny effect. He's also an intriguing figure in that he's a blend of artist and sell-out, a predicament I've always related to whenever the rent came due.

The writing in this book isn't anything special, but since it's the only Serling biography out there, it's worth reading. There are some insights into how Serling developed his worldview a
...more
victor harris
Jun 08, 2016 rated it liked it
The content on the early history of TV and the quarrels between writers and the networks is interesting. Later sources have panned the work because some of the claims and interviews are suspect. I found the coverage of Serling's formative years in upstate NY (born in Binghamton) of particular interest, but that is a personal bias because I am from the area.
If this account is to be believed, Serling was an immensely talented though torn and often frustrated person who would dwell more on his fai
...more
JMN
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a more than avid Twilight Zone fan, I read this book with noted interest. Following Rod's journey from childhood to military (and the effect of WWII on so many stories) to writing ascent and descent was a pure thrill. Many reviewers are correct; We'll never see the likes of him again, writers who saw the power of thought-provoking tv for the greater good as opposed to profit margins.

One of the few books I've kept, and re-read, after initial reading. Likely one of the best reads I'
...more
Oliver Ho
I've been wanting to read a biography of Rod Serling for a long time, and this seems to be the main one available. As a biography, it does its job in a workmanlike fashion, getting all the relevant surface details, with quotes from Serling's friends and colleagues. It's about as good as a long magazine article. But it falls far short of helping us know Serling or his work. Still, I'll take what I can get--he's a fascinating subject and his work is monumental. I wish he had a biographer who was e ...more
Cassie May
3.25 stars. It was amazing to learn about Rod but the author toward the middle of the book, became incredibly descriptive regarding the inner workings of TV and didn’t focus much on Rod.
James
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating, honest portrait of a TV pioneer whose work was as autobiographical as it was innovative.
Mickie
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Enjoyed reading this in spurts because of the memories of early tv... the “golden age” before quiz shows and reality shows and simple minded sitcoms took over. There was a definite feeling that the author didn’t like his subject, and the writing was clunky and repetitive. The appendices were my favorite parts.
C Voutsinas
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Poor guy was never able to find the satisfaction he craved. What a story-teller though.
Lisa
Jan 25, 2015 rated it liked it
I am an avid fan of "The Twilight Zone" and this book about Rod Serling was one that I hadn't yet read. It covers Serling's life in a rather perfunctory manner, and as its title implies, sheds a negative light on this author, bringing up items such as longtime mistresses, being estranged from his wife and two daughters (interesting, since his younger daughter Anne has recently written a memoir about her good relationship with her father), and although he excelled in writing scripts about war, du ...more
Mark Singer
Well researched biography of Rod Serling, creator of "The Twilight Zone" and influential writer for the Golden Age of television. Although it is just under 300 pages, there is a lot of information here. Just as an example, Serling saw combat as a paratrooper in the Pacific during World War, was haunted by the experience, and used it in his writing. He even wrote the script for one of my favorite movies, "Seven Days in May"!
John Matthews
Dec 07, 2013 rated it liked it
This bio tours and detours us through Serling’s youth, military career, his rise as a writer during TV’s “Golden Age”, to the Zone and beyond to his unfortunate latter year product spokesman gigs. Though this “Video Aesop” should have known better than any of us how money and fame corrupt good men, Serling proved deaf to his own lesson. And we all know no one should smoke that much. This message, submitted for your approval, by The Twilight Zone.
James Lundy
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of Rod Serling who don't know anything about his life
I have to separate the man, Rod Serling, from the book and its writing. On one hand I have to give the book 5 stars for the in-depth treatment of the life and problems of the creator of one of my favorite tv shows. On the other side, this isn't one of those books where you are amazed at the art of its biography. This is journalism, at best.
Jaime
Oct 23, 2009 rated it liked it
The actual information in this book is really interesting, but the writing is absurd and full of conjecture. It became more than a little frustrating to keep reading what the author thought Serling might be thinking during important events in his life, rather than just read about the events that happened. Great subject, but not a very good book....
Jeffrey
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm as a big a fan of Serling's as you're likely to find but I found this biography somewhat lacking and unsatisfying. Much attention is paid to him growing up but once The Twilight Zone era happens the author seemed to be quickening the pace and running out of room. I guess I just wanted more.
Ben
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent, brief volume about America's Hitchcock, one of the seminal influences of TV drama and suspense. Flies by like a 25-minute episode of The Twilight Zone, though without the ironic twist at the end.
Jason
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An in depth look at a television icon, masterfully woven into a quick read of a biography. I've recently started watching all 5 season of Twilight Zone (half way down with season 4), and it was great to read about the brilliant man behind this groundbreaking, and still relevant tv show.
hrh
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Too much authorial voice and judgment mars this book. There are other biographies available, including by one of his daughters, that are probably better. The complete videography and awards list are useful, however.
Rupert
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
A very good starter bio on Rod Serling, but it leaves you wanting much more. It does delve fairly deep into his military experience and touches on his early work with Playhouse 90.
Eric
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
This would be one of the best bios I've ever read if a good editor had reined in Sander's pretentious wordplay and tendency to overwrite. Still, the story is superb.
Zhara
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
ENGROSSIN,AND SAD.
Muffin
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good and moving, if not especially thorough, biography.
John Kennedy
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Could have used more details about "The Twilight Zone."
Jason Brock
rated it it was amazing
Jan 24, 2012
Gene Howington
rated it really liked it
Aug 22, 2013
Marek
rated it really liked it
Nov 02, 2017
Grace
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Jun 05, 2013
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