Mini-course on Rod Serling will precede the national 2009 Rod Serling Conference on campus
A two-day mini-course will focus on the work of famous TV writer and one-time Ithaca College instructor Rod Serling. Retired I-C communications professor Gordon Webb conceived the course as a way of encouraging student involvement in the upcoming Rod Serling Conference -- set for 10/2 and 10/3 on campus. The evening mini-course will be held 9/30 and 10/1, and will require students to attend parts of the conference in order to earn credit.
Timing for both the conference and the course couldn't be better, since October 2nd marks the exact 50th anniversary of the premiere of "The Twilight Zone" -- Serling's landmark series which still enjoys reruns around the world. According to Webb, Serling's work is pertinent for today's students for the same reasons it endures as a scf-fi/fantasy program: "it packaged important social issues within human stories that everyone can identify with... and although filmed in black-and-white, the show's high production values have created a 'look' that holds up well when compared with modern TV programming." Serling -- a long-time critic of censorship and sponsor control -- found he could make statements within the fantasy/sci-fi genre that would never make it on the air otherwise.
The writer won two of his six Emmy awards for work on "The Twilight Zone," but already had three others on his shelf when that series premiered -- earned during the 1950's -- known as "The Golden Age of Television" when Serling and his new medium were learning how to craft powerful drama form the small screen. New writers, directors and actors were flocking to television to work on anthology series -- which presented new characters and stories with each episode.
Students in Webb's mini-course will be exposed to a wide range of Serling's work -- which also includes screenplays such as the original "Planet of the Apes" and "Seven Days in May."
Originally published in Gordon C. Webb: Mini-course on Rod Serling will precede the national 2009 Rod Serling Conference on campus.