NEWSLETTER—SPRING 2011

RSMF CELEBRATING 25th ANNIVERSARY

 Twenty-five years ago in Rod Serling's hometown of Binghamton, New York, the Memorial Foundation was formed.  The formidable Helen Foley, Rod's teacher and mentor, along with twenty-seven other caring individuals created the Rod Serling Memorial Committee to create the "Day of a Playwright" exhibit at the Broome County Forum Performing Arts Center.  In the fall of 1986 the Memorial Committee became the non-profit Memorial Foundation.  This October we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary and thanks to all the work from many individuals and from the support of everyone reading this newsletter we have been successful in meeting and continuing our goals.  We plan to honor our founding members and highlight successful programs such as the Binghamton School district's "5th Dimension" program.  Watch the RSMF website for news of special guest speakers and the date of our silver anniversary celebration.  I hope to see many of you there!

                                                                                                                                 Andrew M. Polak

                                                                                                                                 President, R.S.M.F.

Serling in Space

A fortuitous eBay find and purchase has added another rare Serling documentary on 16mm film to our archive.

In the late 1960’s, Rod hosted and narrated a NASA-

sponsored film about NASTRAN, the computer program that allowed for the expansion of the space program. In it, Serling described the planned space shuttle fleet – a program that would not be complete until well after his passing – and appears next to artist renditions of prototype shuttles.

The RSMF intends to transfer the film to a more modern and accessible medium in the near future..

FOURTH ROD SERLING CONFERENCE

AT  ITHACA COLLEGE

Ithaca College will once again be honoring Rod Serling (who taught there in the early 1970’s) with a major national conference.  This year’s event will be held on September 9-10 at the College in Ithaca, NY…  not far from Cayuga Lake where the family still owns a cottage.  The interdisciplinary academic conference will feature screenings of classic Serling work, and presentation of papers exploring themes found in his scripts, including: politics… human rights/gender/diversity… technology… religion, etc.

The RSMF’s own Tony Albarella and Gordon Webb will present a multi-media discussion of “The Man” — Serling’s obscure script about the first African-American in the White House (starring James Earl Jones).

Keynote speaker at the conference will be I-C alum Bill D’Elia. 

The Emmy-nominated director (Chicago Hope, Boston Legal and Ally McBeal) and executive producer/director

of the current hit NBC series Harry’s Law studied with Serling while at I-C and attributes much of his success to Serling’s inspiring work.

Check the Conference Website for more details and registration information… and some vintage Serling images — like this rare photo from the Ithaca archives of Serling appearance on the I-C student TV station.

NEW R.S.M.F. MEMBERS

The following new Serling aficionados have joined our ranks since the last Newsletter:

 

 

 

 

The complete membership listing is available on the RSMF website.

RARE LBJ PROFILE UNEARTHED

 

Mere days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the United States Information Agency recruited Rod Serling in a critical public relations effort. His task? Comb through film footage and write a testimonial on Lyndon Baines Johnson – a half-hour

documentary to convince foreign countries with disparate political systems that they could trust the new president. Serling and then-Twilight Zone Producer William Froug were whisked away to the offices of the USIA and given less than a week to assemble a newsreel that would never see distribution in their home country. “Rod said he was writing the film as the funeral procession went past his hotel,” Carol Serling recalls of the surreal snapshot in time. Never before released to the public, the film was recently posted online by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image.

What’s NEW on

rodserling.com?

If you’re not already a frequent visitor to the RSMF website — please check it out. Our webmaster Steve

Schlich works tirelessly to keep its content fresh… and for more than a decade he’s been creating a treasure-trove of information about Rod Serling, his colleagues, his family and his friends. A new twist is his series of special Newsletter articles about — in his words — “what's old on the website—but may still be new to you.” You’ll find some gems at: Inside Rod Serling (.com)

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The caricature of Rod Serling on our masthead is by the late Johnny Hart — internationally-known

cartoonist (“B.C.” and “The Wizard of Id”)… another creative genius who called the Binghamton area home.

On January 18, 2011, Pioneers of Television – the PBS series that highlights “visionaries who shaped a fledgling medium with their creativity, foresight and wisdom” – aired an episode focusing on science fiction television. The hour-long retrospective featured three vintage series: Star Trek, Lost in Space, and The Twilight Zone, and Serling’s contributions to the genre were discussed. The episode is commercially available on DVD at retailers or for a discounted price at the PBS store (including an online preview).

57-T Productions, Santa Monica, CA

Robert Shofner, Lakewood, CO

Andrew McLaughlin, Dekalb, IL

Herbert Carleton, Grahamsville, NY

Steven Dirkx, Dallas, TX

Colin Macklin, UK