As I Knew Him
My Dad, Rod Serling
by Anne Serling
For all his impact on American culture over the past 55 years, not much has been written about Rod Serling. His daughter Anne's book about him is a rare treat and all the more welcome for its lack of company on the bookshelf.
Don't pick it up expecting an in-depth examination of Serling's life and work. Anne, his younger daughter, was not yet 10 when The Twilight Zone was cancelled in 1964 and only 20 when Serling died in 1975. Her memories of her father's early career are understandably hazy and liberally supplemented with material drawn from Zicree's excellent Twilight Zone Companion (a must-read for TZ fans).
Instead, immerse yourself in Anne Serling's nostalgic family history and you will be rewarded with a tale more surprising and more touching than you ever would have imagined. By all accounts Serling was anything but the macabre, tormented personage suggested by his Twilight Zone persona. Rather, he was a non-stop talker and inveterate prankster, a soft-hearted animal lover and a sun-worshiper on a par with George Hamilton. Above all, though, Serling was a devoted family man who loved his parents, wife and children with almost unfathomable exuberance.
As I Knew Him is, in the end, a story of intense familial love spanning three generations. Read it and you will never see The Twilight Zone or its smoke-wreathed host in quite the same light again.
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Review by Don Beistle