(Edward) Rod(man) Serling Tod Raper - Essay

Tod Raper

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Don't look for any green-headed monsters or rattling skeletons, or Shirley Temple fairy tale atmosphere [in "The Twilight Zone"]. Each episode is set up in the context of the plot to be shocking, unexpected, but at the same time, in retrospect, valid and honest….

We watched the pilot film, "Where Is Everybody?" this morning and in the half-hour felt the hair on our neck rise, the skin on our back cringe, and our heart flop at the finish with a feeling of relief. Here is presented the situation of a man walking into town in a state of amnesia, and nobody is in town. A cigar butt in the chief of police's office is smoking; the coffee is perking in a cafe. But nobody is there. Serling puts over a sense of loneliness that is hair-raising, and then in three minutes lifts the whole thing. It's magic….

"The Twilight Zone" is … about the hottest show that CBS-TV has coming up, and the most interesting. It's a collection of stories of imagination that reach out and touch the stars. There's fantasy, stories of the unusual, the bizarre, the different, the novel. They are stories of the unreal told in terms of reality. They dramatize events that have never happened but conceivably might happen….

Best of all, [Rod Serling] has a new idea for television. We think you'll like "The Twilight Zone."

Tod Raper, "'Twilight Zone' Is Hottest CBS Series," in Columbus Dispatch, August 23, 1959, p. 3A.