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The Terrifying Reality Behind The Twilight Zone

True Fiction explores how Rod Serling's life gave birth to a fascinating new realm of science fiction.


They say that truth is often stranger than fiction. Behind every bizarre story told in the movies, TV, and books we read, there's a little known reality that inspired it. But what about an entire realm of weird, where not just a single oddity is contained, but an endless stream of bizarre stories that shake the mind and heart. Something like… the Twilight Zone?

Well, it turns out there is a very real inspiration for the Twilight Zone and, as with most of the subjects we cover on True Fiction, the source of it lies in the personal history of a person. That person is Rod Serling, who lived through war and was irrevocable changed by it. The impact his life experiences had on him were given life in the stories he told--real-life traumas explored through the science fiction of a strange alternate realm.

When it came to telling his story in True Fiction, writer and presenter Kurt Indovina leveraged his own love of Serling's work. Kurt is a huge fan of Serling, and as longtime watchers of True Fiction will no doubt have noticed, his presenting style has striking similarities to Serling's. So, it only made sense to hear from Kurt on how he approached this particular story and what it was like to work on an episode of True Fiction about Twilight Zone.

For more True Fiction, head over to the YouTube playlist, where you'll find episodes on Twin Peaks, Jackie Chan, Star Wars, and more.

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Kurt: There's no greater influence on my hosting style for True Fiction than Rod Serling--the creator, writer, and host of The Twilight Zone. I knew the moment I started working on True Fiction that I wanted to emulate Rod Serling, the way he wrote, the way he spoke and articulated every word, and the commanding presence he brought to the intro of every episode. Oh, and of course, to wear a suit. So when the opportunity came to adapt his real story into an episode of True Fiction, the task was a little daunting.

My admiration for Rod stretches far beyond just his on-screen presence, how he spoke, or how he wrote. His unrelenting obligation to speak against the injustice of mankind has left an imprint on me. Rod was a World War II veteran who came back mentally and physically scarred from the horrors of war, and somehow managed to channel his inner torment into his writing. As a result, he created some of the most iconic pieces of television ever written. All of which served as Rod’s commentary on race, war, death, and man’s inhumanity to man. His fiction is the greatest reflection of his views on reality.

It's remarkable that Rod's legacy is known as the black and white face of an anthology science fiction, but his principles and the topics he addressed ranged in an endless spectrum of grays. And with this episode of True Fiction, I hope to broaden the view of one of the most important faces in the television medium.

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