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The Rod Serling Conference: Celebrating 50 Years of the Twilight Zone, a two-day conference sponsored by the Park School of Communications, will be held October 2 and 3.

While registrations are now being accepted for the two-day event -- which features presentations of academic papers, panel discussions, and screenings -- there will also be a number of events free and open to the campus and Ithaca community (first-come, first-served).


Friday, October 2

War and Remembrance: Examining the Impact of War on Rod Serling’s Life and Work
Tony Albarella
Emerson Suites A and B, Campus Center
Immediately following his high school graduation in 1943, Rod Serling enlisted as a paratrooper and spent two years overseas during World War II. This wartime service earned him much more than a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star; Serling turned to writing to exorcise the demons that combat action had unleashed, and a storied career was born. Using excerpts of Serling’s letters, interviews, speeches, and fiction, this presentation will explore the writer’s political and philosophical views on warfare and trace his evolving perspective on the subject.

Surviving The Twilight Zone: An Alternate Reality with Alternate Rules
Samuel B. Prime and Dave Stinton-Czuprynski
Emerson Suites A and B, Campus Center
You may have perused the many misadventures and episodic occurrences that characterize the happenings in The Twilight Zone, but if you were suddenly to find yourself caught in “the zone,” a place beyond sight or sound, would you know how to escape or even survive? In this wildly theoretical tele-visual investigation, we access those episodes of The Twilight Zone penned by Rod Serling in order to uncover an ideal formula of response should we one day find ourselves in a place far stranger than our already strange world, an alternate reality with equally alternate rules.

From Serling to Simpson
Diana DePasquale
Emerson Suites A and B, Campus Center
As a fan of Matt Groening’s long-running animated series, The Simpsons, the presenter watched numerous “reimaginings” of Twilight Zone characters, plotlines, and episodes through the years. Both shows skewer the issues of our world, although their aims differ slightly. One aims for chilling yet intelligent commentary on our society and the other for laughs (while also issuing commentary on our society). For The Simpsons, a pop-culture powerhouse, to pay homage to The Twilight Zone, itself a pop-culture powerhouse, is quite telling. The astuteness of Serling’s message doesn’t dissipate when presented comedically; if anything the timelessness and profundity are rediscovered in a contemporary setting. Deeply etched within the framework of American popular culture, you will find both The Twilight Zone and The Simpsons. Much like chocolate and peanut butter, a synergistic energy occurs when these two forces come together. The Twilight Zone episodes that have been explored in The Simpsons are “To Serve Man,” “Little Girl Lost,” “A Small Talent for War,” “Living Doll,” “The Little People,” “It’s a Good Life,” and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”

Scriptwriting Competition Winners Panel
Emerson Suites A and B, Campus Center
Excerpts from this year's winning scripts will be read and discussed by some of the winning writers and members of the judge's panel. See a list of winners and descriptions of the winning scripts.

Keynote Speaker: George Clayton Johnson
Park Hall Auditorium
Johnson wrote a number of the classic Twilight Zone episodes, including "Nothing in the Dark," "Kick the Can," and "A Game of Pool." He also shares screenplay credit on Twilight Zone: The Movie. He co-authored the novels Ocean's 11 and Logan's Run, and wrote the premiere episode of Star Trek.

Saturday, October 3

Divining Rod: Illumination and the Twilight Zone Experience
Richard Rees
Park Hall Auditorium
The Twilight Zone is more than the name of the most far-reaching American television series ever made. It is a theory of art, a mode of being, and above all, a singular kind of experience. The presenter will try to identify, analyze, and tap into this experience through sounds and images from some of the show’s most representative episodes. While enjoying the show’s artistry, the presenter will try to discern what The Twilight Zone has to tell us about the nature of reality and the way to a better life.

Adapting The Twilight Zone to Graphic Novel
Mark Kneece
Park Hall Auditorium
The graphic novel makes its own demands on storytelling. Translating the stories of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone from television to graphic novel format would seem to be a natural process. The “still pictures” of graphic novels, however, create an interesting challenge. While it was absolutely essential that the stories maintain the qualities that made them great in the first place, it was also necessary to consider the contemporary audience and the needs of the artist tasked with illustrating them.

The Twilight Zone Marathon
Park Hall Auditorium
See original episodes of the classic show, digitally restored and on the big screen, including the very first episode “Where is Everybody?”  which originally aired on October 2, 1959. Other episodes will be chosen by popular online vote and introduced by scholars of Serling's work.

For those interested in attending all the events, registration information can be found at

Rod Serling Conference Events Open to the Campus Community | 0 Comments |
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