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Lost Rod Serling Interview ★ Mike Wallace Interviews 1959 Sci Fi - Twilight Zone Science Fiction

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Some background from the webmaster: Censorship flourished in the Fifties as an outgrowth of the Cold War. Paranoia was in the National Interest, and Sponsors ruled the “new medium” called Television. They paid the bills and felt within their rights to suggest program content.  Too young to know better, Television obeyed.

 

 

Rod Serling bristled under these restrictions.

 

Rod Serling was the New Medium’s most decorated writer, and its most controversial. Both because he dared to write about his strong sense of injustice—especially concerning race. Don’t believe Serling’s assertion that he intended no social relevance for Twilight Zone. He was protecting his investment. Rod Serling hated censorship and used fantasy to fool the censors into ignoring him. It worked for a while.

 

The following interview was conducted on September 22, 1959, on the ‘eve’ of Twilight Zone’s network premiere.

 

The Mike Wallace Interview is a series of 30-minute television interviews conducted by host Mike Wallace from 1957 to 1960.

 

Rod Serling died when he was 50, that was in 1975.

 

Even though the black & white video quality of this is pretty bad, the quality of the interview is excellent. Mike Wallace quizzes Rod Serling on several issues that were strong concerns in the late 1950′s. Serling is very upfront with his answers too.

 

On Censorship, Rod Serling definitely lashes out about how ridiculous the codes were at that time illustrating his point about a script where a ship captain could not order tea from his ships galley because the sponsor was a coffee company. Wallace cultivates several other nuggets out as well. He goes over the resume Serling had already built up by 1959.

 

A timely thing about this is Serling is just starting production on The Twilight Zone when this interview is being conducted. Serling states he is working on the series 7 days a week & 13 hours a day on average. Serling actually addresses the fact that with the kind of success he already had, that he was having a tough time finding time for his wife & kids because of our system even then. Amazing as this family-life issue for the rest of us was not addressed by Corporations until the late 1990′s. 

 

This shows Serling is ahead of his time, & Wallace brings it out with a darned fine interview.

 

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