Edward Rodman "Rod" Serling was born on Christmas day in 1924 in Syracuse, NY (my home town).He was a screenwriter and television series producer, best known for his TV series, The Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964 and can still be found in syndication today.
At an early age, his family moved 70 miles south to Binghamton, NY. It was there that he developed his writing skills at Binghamton Central High School writing for the school newspaper and participating on the debate team. He even spoke at his high school graduation. Wouldn't that be great to have on film. Immediately after graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he spent the next three years in various combat roles. For his role in the service he was awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and the Philippine Liberation Medal. His military experiences, witnessing death first hand, influenced much of his future writing.
After being discharged from the army he attended Antioch College in Ohio where he enrolled in the Physical Education program. But what caught his attention was the theater department which then lead to a interest in broadcasting. While still in college he began his professional career in Radio. He took odd jobs in other radio station in New York and Ohio. He moved into television as a writer for WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio while still an undergraduate. Eventually we became a freelance write, selling scripts to whoever he could. We would send rejected scripts from one program to another until they sold.
In 1955, his script titled "Patterns" was televised by the Kraft Television Theater program and won him praise from critics. Patterns soon changed his life. After that airing, Rod Serling was on the short list of good writers in Hollywood.
Next came Requiem for a Heavyweight a story about an over-the-hill heavyweight boxing champion staring Jack Palance, Keenan Wynn along with Keenan's father Ed Wynn. This tele-play aired on Playhouse 90. It went on to become a movie in 1962 staring Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason & Mickey Rooney.
In the fall of 1957, Rod Serling moved his family to California so he could be closer to the growing television industry. As TV went from live broadcasts to taped ones, the big studios moved production from the east coast to the west coast. More to come...