Rod Serling on Kamikazes
”The most unfettered imagination belongs to young people, and they don’t walk through life; they fly.” - Rod Serling in 1963.
- Well it's a very beautiful day
and it's made infinitely more pleasant for me,
by the fact, that I am going to talk to Rod Serling.
So many of you have enjoyed his television shows.
The Twilight Zone, I think,
is the one that everybody talks about.
I've just confessed to Rod that I haven't seen it.
- Believe me Binny, some of my best friends
are quite unaware of this program
back in the States, including relatives, I might add.
- We've been given the story.
You and your wife travel on different planes.
- Yes indeed, it's that we don't have any close relatives
who would be able to look after two rather small girls.
And I suppose, statistically, this is nonsensical
to travel on separate planes.
I rather think it's far more dangerous
to climb into a taxi really anywhere on earth.
We're on our way to Japan shortly here
and we're told that the Japanese cabs are called Kamikazes.
And that you literally take your life in your hand
when you drive in these things.
I was in the paratroops during the war
and I have since talked to old colleagues
of the chutes, we call it, who have traveled in Japan
and they tell me that it's far easier
to get up in a jumpstick in a C47 Aircraft,
leap out into enemy territory, than it is to climb
into the rear seat of a Japanese taxi cab.
I think, probably, they're going to start
giving medals and ribbons for service
in backseats of Japanese cabs.
- You know Rod, for the benefit of people
who haven't seen this,
I think just a very brief description of what this series
is about would be a good idea.
- Well The Twilight Zone is, in essence,
an imaginative itinerary of storytelling
in which we utilize bases of fantasy,
science fiction, Neo-Cult, extrasensory perception,
anything that is imaginative, wild,
or, as in the States we call it, kooky.
In normal earthbound drama, if a man is on top of a building
and it's burning, of necessity, he has to crawl down
either a ladder, or go through a skylight,
or is rescued by a helicopter.
In The Twilight Zone, he grows wings and he flies off.
But, as I say, this is a program
of imaginative storytelling.
And utilizing the idea of going back in time
or forward in time, this is provided considerable bases
of storytelling in our particular series.
I'm the kind of a guy who is now in that aging,
late 30, early 40 bracket in which suddenly
there is a tremendous bittersweet, poignant feeling
about wanting to go back to another time.
In my case, it would be the pre-war,
early teens time, which were particularly happy for me.
And, on occasion, I will go back to my old hometown
and walk through the streets and the places
that I grew up in and feel a sense of great loss,
that I wish I could recapture it.
And I think the answer is, much as Wolfe said,
you simply cannot go home again, it's quite impossible.
(sad piano music)
As evidenced by the youngsters liking the show,
I've always felt this is wonderful,
because the most unfettered imagination
belongs to young people.
And they don't walk through life, they fly,
and that's marvelous.
They defy the law of gravity, mentally anyway.
And that's the reason I think
we have astronauts orbiting now.
And that's the reason we're planning a trip to the moon.
People talk about science fiction
being very far out, very wild.
I don't think it's any of these things.
Everything we see in the way of space travel,
space concept, scientific advancement,
medical discoveries, was already predicted
by some good science fiction 25 years ago.
- [Binny] As a little boy,
did you find that you invented things?
Did you ever get ticked off for telling fibs?
- Oh indeed.
I was, to utilize a euphemism, I'll say I was imaginative.
Other people would say I was a liar.
As a matter of fact, when I played small boy games,
and if a bad guy, so called, would put a gun to my head
and fire, I would say I had an invisible shield,
which I pushed a button and it got in front of me.
Or, for example, if they lassoed me,
I'd say, you didn't really lasso me
because I pushed a button and went through
a trap door at that given moment.
And my friends called me "Impossibility."
That was the name they gave to me,
but I think it pointed the way toward,
professionally, what I would do with my life.
Some liars go to prison, others write television shows.
You know, it's as simple as that.
(suspenseful piano music)
This is the nicest interview I ever had.
I feel warm and belonging here.
- [Binny] Oh, that's a compliment, indeed.
I find that talking to someone
who's creative is always inspiring.
- [Rod] Well it depends,
creativity, of course, comes at odd times.
And I've done so much talking, Binny,
in the past couple of weeks, I hope not pontificating,
I hope talking is the correct word.
I feel sort of talked out.
- [Binny] Well I certainly have enjoyed chatting with you.
- [Rod] And I with you, Binny.
- [Binny] Thank you very much.
- [Rod] Righto.
- [Binny] Everyone, you have met Rod Serling.
Subtitles by the Amara.org community
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