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Rod Serling: A Look at his life, minorities, and his fight with golden age television

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Madison King

This paper is meant to answer the question as to how the Twilight Zone represented minorities as well as show the writer's, Rod Serling, own experience with being a minority. Rod Serling is Jewish and dealt with Anti-Semitism despite being a well-known writer. The main focus was on prejudice and how that played into how minorities were seen at the time The Twilight Zone was written. How the research was conducted by looking at separate episodes of The Twilight Zone and analyzing them for how minorities would have been represented or how Rod Serling fought against television and human prejudice. There were three episodes analyzed, namely 'Eye of the Beholder, 'He is Alive' and 'I am the Night-Color me Black.' These episodes proved that much of The Twilight Zone was written to prove a point and that point was that prejudice is a great evil and we should learn to be open-minded and accepting of those around us. The paper also goes into depth with Rod Serling. From interviews with the daughter and other anecdotes of his life, Serling shows that he has no patience for those who will not accept the different and condemn the ostracized. The research was conducted by looking at books written about The Twilight Zone and its influence on society as well as the meaning behind the episodes. There were books on the political thinking in the Zone. Others talked about how the episodes were written which brought light to either the writers' thoughts or the episodes' tone. The Twilight Zone showed how prejudice was ruining society in the 1960s and much of what was talked about then can be applied to the events occurring today, such as trying to fit into a society that only values one look, or way of thinking, or how we keep up alive the things that scared us in the past with bigotry and hatred. The Twilight Zone and its meaning should not be forgotten. Rod Serling's lessons still apply no matter how the world has changed or has not.
University / Institution: Brigham Young University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Humanities
Faculty Mentor: Paul Kerry
Location: Sill Center Conference Room (11:45am)