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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.

AIRED: September 23, 2016 | 0:05:14

(tape rewinding)

(jazz bass)

- 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.

(jazz music)

- 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.

(suspenseful music)

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.

(jazzy piano)

(tape rewinding)

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