Conference History

2008 Conference

Keynote Speaker

“Rod Serling as a Teacher at Ithaca College”
John Keshishoglou, Ph.D., and IC alumni

Professor Keshishoglou, the dean of the Park School when Serling was a faculty member, will share his personal and professional relationship with the legendary writer. He will also share video of Serling in the classroom as he discusses creativity and the process of coming up with a story idea. Additionally, some of Serling’s former students, including David Wickstrom, will talk about the lasting influence of having Serling as a professor.

Featured Event

Staged Table Read of Noon on Doomsday
Directed by Jeffrey Tangeman

Presented in partnership with the Ithaca College Department of Theatre Arts

As examined in a previous conference session, Serling tried twice to tell the story of Emmett Till and the acquittal of his killers, but Serling was met with network and sponsor censorship. The table reading, featuring Ithaca College students, will bring to life Serling’s original, never-before-produced script for Noon on Doomsday.

Conference Sessions

“Evolution of a Serling Character: The Rise and Fall of the Business Executive”
Tony Albarella

By using examples from Kraft Television Theatre, The Twilight Zone, and Night Gallery, Albarella will trace the arc of Serling’s treatment of a specific character archetype – the business executive. He will also make a case that the evolution of the character type mirrored Serling’s professional career.

“Untilled Serling: Rod Serling’s Attempts to Dramatize the Emmett Till Story”
Amy E. Boyle Johnston and Tony Albarella

In the mid-to-late 1950s, Rod Serling tried twice to dramatize the murder of Emmett Till and the shocking acquittal of Till’s killers. In both cases the writer met with sponsor censorship and network interference that diluted his final work. Using film clip highlights, detailed research, and Serling’s own words, Albarella and Johnston will examine those attempts.

The Twilight Zone Marathon
See original episodes of the classic show, digitally restored and on the big screen. Episodes will be chosen by popular online vote and introduced by scholars of Serling’s work.

“Cincinnati 1950-1954”
Amy E. Boyle Johnston

After graduating from Antioch College in 1950, Serling created four series that ran exclusively in Ohio: Leave It to Kathy, Adventure Express, The Storm (with producer Bob Huber), and a radio program called It Happens to You. All four series will be discussed, based on both the original scripts and interviews with producers and actors of the series.

“Visions from The Twilight Zone
Arlen Schumer

Based on his book, Schumer uses a multimedia presentation to trace the show’s roots in early-20th-century surrealist art and ideas, and in turn its influence on modern art and American pop culture. Schumer reads excerpts of dialogue and narration from the series like spoken word poetry – part lecture, part performance piece – while Twilight Zone soundtrack music plays in sync and images from the episodes form the backdrop. From high art to low art and back again, “Visions from the Twilight Zone” will make you look at The Twilight Zone – and television itself – as you never have before.

“Influencing Public Opinion: Rod Serling and Seven Days in May
Barbara Audet

The film, with the screenplay written by Serling, based on the novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II, is a prophetic exploration of the roles of the U.S. military and the government’s legislative branches in times of political stress. Audet will discuss the enormous shifts of public opinion and political allegiances that followed its opening in 1964.

Scriptwriting Competition Winners Panel
Moderators: Elena Pizzaro and Eric Sterbenk

Excerpts from this year’s winning scripts will be read and discussed by some of the winning writers and members of the judges panel. “The Donor” by 2006 scriptwriting competition winner Paula Smith will also be screened.

“You Unlock This Door with the Key of Imagination: The Twilight Zone as Philosophical Concept”
Richard Rees

What do people usually mean when they invoke The Twilight Zone or its instantly recognizable theme music: that the rules of reality have just been subverted. Let’s explore this idea further and talk about what a “twilight zone” involves: a strange space where multiple realities converge, both for postwar America and the present.

“Ape and Essence: Rod Serling Revisited”
Mark Graham

Examining Serling’s script as literature, Graham will take an in-depth look at the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes and analyze its political and philosophical themes, relating them to Serling’s professional life in The Twilight Zone and his public role as antinuclear activist.

“The Rod Serling Archives at Ithaca College: More Than The Twilight Zone
Bridget Bower

Ithaca College’s archivist will provide an insider’s tour to the Rod Serling Archives. This extensive collection of Serling’s creative work includes Serling's television scripts, movie screenplays, stage play scripts, films, published works, unproduced scripts, and secondary materials.

“Rod Serling Teaches Writing”
Steve Schlich

This presentation offers writing lessons in Rod Serling’s own words – drawn from print, audio, and video sources. Whenever Rod taught his craft to others, he did it in the most believable way: he offered his own experience and his own work as examples. And he wasn’t afraid to hold up his worst works as examples of what you should not do.

“Little Girl (and Boy) Lost (and Found): Children in The Twilight Zone
Doug MacLeod

Children played a fundamental role in many episodes of The Twilight Zone. Drawing specifically on Serling-written episodes, MacLeod will examine Serling’s respect for the sanctity of childhood purity, how these children became hapless victims when their parents or adult friends chose the wrong path, and how their sacred innocence was lost and sometimes found in the strangest of situations and amongst the most volatile of environments.

“The Rod Serling Video Festival”
Lawrence Kassan

The Rod Serling Video Festival, is a K-12 student video festival started in 1995 to promote the creative use of video technology in both the home and classroom. Included will be a screening of award-winning student videos, a discussion on the creative process, and festival information. Whether it is a comedy, drama, or animated work, you will be inspired and amazed at the quality of the work being performed by these young people.

Roy H. Park School of Communications  ·  311 Park Hall  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-1021  ·  Full Directory Listing