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The Mike Wallace Interview Featuring Rod Serling (1959)

As The Twilight Zone was about to premiere on CBS, journalist Mike Wallace interviewed on his show Rod Serling. The fascinating television writer expresses his opinion of the medium and goes through his career as one of the pioneers of TV.

Over 55 years later, everything Serling has to say it still very relevant.

Topics include: (pre-)censorship, pressure by sponsors and networks, viewers’ complaints, the Lassie series, story content, creating shows, The Twilight Zone‘s place in his career, writing outside of television, why TV isn’t just a “commercial medium”, working 14-hour days, and making money vs. making art.

Rod Serling also exposes his frustration towards sponsor-run television content. “I think it’s criminal that we’re not permitted to make dramatic note of social evils as they exist; of controversial themes as they are inherent in our society.”

Funnily enough, Serling also points out that his upcoming 30-minute show (The Twilight Zone) “doesn’t use scripts as vehicles of social criticism. [They’re] strictly for entertainment.” He continues claiming that “because [the stories] deal in the areas of fantasy, imagination and science-fiction, there are no opportunities to cop a plea or chop an ax or anything.”

The TV writer doth protest too much, methinks.

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