Rod Serling quotes:

+1
Share
Pin
Like
Send
Share
  • There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.

  • It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.

  • For the record, suspicion can kill, and prejudice can destroy. And a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own, for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.

  • I would guess that Ray Bradbury would be equally resentful of what they did with Illustrated Man, which, you know, took a central idea thesis of his and pissed all over it - made it into one of the worst movies ever made.

  • Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.

  • The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices . . . . And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.

  • It may be said with a degree of assurance that not everything that meets the eye is as it appears.

  • I don't have close relationships with agents. They're friends, but they're not confidants.

  • I don't enjoy any of the process of writing. I enjoy it when it goes on if it zings and it has great warmth and import and it's successful.

  • I guess Requiem for a Heavyweight as old as it is was as honest a piece as I've ever done.

  • Not since the British raided Cologne had so many bombs landed in such a small space in such a short time.

  • Hollywood's a great place to live... if you're a grapefruit.

  • I'm frequently surprised, sometimes bugged off, and sometimes happy, depending on the actor. It's a fact of life that just as often as not an actor can breathe life into a line as he can destroy it by misinterpretation, and I've been blessed frequently by having good actors.

  • Some people possess talent, others are possessed by it. When that happens, a talent becomes a curse.

  • We're developing a new citizenry. One that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won't be able to think.

  • I think the essence of the argument has always been, first of all, the Guild doesn't want writing on spec. And that's been a major problem over the years. But obviously, to the young writer that's unfair and it's discriminatory, and it can be very hurtful to one's career.

  • I was a Christmas present that was delivered unwrapped.

  • Writers, like most human beings, are adaptable creatures. They can learn to accept subordination without growing fond of it. No writer can forever stand in the wings and watch other people take the curtain calls while his own contributions get lost in the shuffle.

  • The ultimate obscenity is not caring, not doing something about what you feel, not feeling! Just drawing back and drawing in; becoming narcissistic.

  • Most screenplays, most motion pictures, owe much more to the screenplay. Ingmar Bergman has such an economy of language, so little language in his piece, it is so visual, his moods are introduced and buttressed by camera rather than by word or character. But again, that's unique.

  • I think I'd rather win, for example, a Writer's Guild award than almost anything on earth. And the few nominations I've had with the guild, and the few awards I've had, represented to me a far more legitimate concrete achievement than anything.

  • Bias and prejudice make me angry...more than anything.

  • There is nothing in the dark that isn't there when the lights are on.

  • The ultimate obscenity is not caring, not doing something about what you feel, not feeling! Just drawing back and drawing in, becoming narcissistic.

  • An Ingmar Bergman film would probably owe a sizeable bulk of its import and its direction and its quality to the directorial end and to the director because it's uniquely a Bergman film. But that again is not the general - no, that's much more the exception than the rule.

  • All the Dachaus must remain standing.

  • If the producer doesn't like you, consequently he reads the script with a very negative view. But I wouldn't preoccupy myself with that, I don't give a damn. You can be a hunchback and a dwarf and whatall.

  • I choose to think of tv audience as nameless, formless, faceless people who are all like me. And anything that I write, if I like it, they'll like it.

  • Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of three paintings, displayed here for the first time. Each is a collectors' item in its own way - not because of any special artistic quality, but because each captures on a canvas, and suspends in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare.

  • As long as they talk about you, you're not really dead, as long as they speak your name, you continue. A legend doesn't die, just because the man dies.

  • It's part of the business of really not caring about topping myself because I really don't care what's going to happen. I think just surviving is a major thing. I'd like to write something that my peers, my colleagues, my fellow writers would find a source of respect.

  • You must always assume that the relationship between writer and producer is that of adversaries - however you slice it. They may be your dearest friends, and they'll invite you to dinner, but when all the smoke clears and the ozone lifts, your enemy is the producer, that's the guy you're competing with, and you have to battle him, just as if you were an adversary.

  • I have compromised down the line. I've disliked it intensely in the old days when you were trying to talk race relations and they would not allow you to talk about the legitimacies of race relations. In the old days, you didn't talk about black, you talked about Eskimo or American Indian, and the American Indian was assumed not to be a problem area.

  • Science fiction makes the implausible possible, while science fantasy makes the impossible plausible.

  • If in any quest for magic, in any search for sorcery, witchery, legerdemain, first check the human spirit.

  • Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible.

  • You can become much more independent, much more courageous with a bank account. And also, much more independent and self-reliant when you know you have money behind you.

  • There's a marvelous and unique man named Frank Gilroy. He's the only writer I know who absolutely, pointedly refuses to do any changes that he doesn't feel are absolutely essential and totally in keeping with his own view and perspective. But not too many writers are that independent and that strong-willed.

  • How can you put on a meaningful drama when, every fifteen minutes, proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits with toilet paper?

  • There are weapons that are simply thoughts. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy.

  • The writer's no different. When he's rejected, that paper is rejected, in a sense, a sizeable fragment of the writer is rejected as well. It's a piece of himself that's being turned down.

  • for civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized

  • Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting in the Twilight Zone.

  • But it makes you wonder, doesn't it? Just how normal are we? Just who are the people we nod our hellos to as we pass on the street? A rather good question to ask - particularly in The Twilight Zone.

  • You're looking at a species of flimsy little two-legged animals with extremely small heads whose name is Man...Very tiny undeveloped brain; comes from primitive planet named Earth. Calls himself 'Samuel Conrad'. And he will remain here in his cage with the running water and the electricity and the central heat- as long as he lives. Samuel Conrad has found the Twilight Zone.

  • Coming up with ideas is the easiest thing on earth. Putting them down is the hardest.

  • ...the worst aspect of our time is prejudice... In almost everything I've written, there is a thread of this - man's seemingly palpable need to dislike someone other than himself.

  • a basic "must" for every writer: A simple solitude-physical & mental.

  • A word to the wise to all the children of the twentieth century, whether their concern be pediatrics or geriatrics, whether they crawl on hands and knees and wear diapers or walk with a cane and comb their beards. There's a wondrous magic to Christmas, and there's a special power reserved for little people. In short, there's nothing mightier than the meek, and a merry Christmas to each and all.

  • According to the Bible, God created the heavens and the Earth. It is man's prerogative - and woman's - to create their own particular and private hell.

  • All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes -all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the earth into a graveyard, into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its rememberance. Then we become the grave diggers.

  • Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete

  • Apparently on the screen I look tall, ageless, and damned close to omniscient-delivering jeopardy-laden warnings through gritted teeth. But when people see me on the street, they say 'by God, this kid is 5 foot 5, he's got a broken nose, and looks about as foreboding as a bank teller on a lunch break.'

  • Being like everybody is the same as being nobody.

  • Do I want to start my own production company? No, I doubt it. I'm too old for that. I don't want to start anything.

  • Emmies, for example, most of that's bullshit. Oscars are even worse. We have a strange, terrible affliction in this town. Everybody walks around bent-backed from slapping each other on the backs so much. It looks like arthritis but it isn't. It's hunger for recognition. And it's sort of like, well, I'll scratch you this time if you'll scratch me next time. That kind of thing.

  • Essentially, the scripts are not that different. Let's say, in literary terms, it's the difference between writing horizontally and writing vertically. In live television, you wrote much more vertically. You had to probe people because you didn't have money or sets or any of the physical dimensions that film will allow you. So you generally probed people a little bit more. Film writing is much more horizontal. You can insert anything you want: meadows, battlefields, the Taj Mahal, a cast of thousands. But essentially, writing a story is writing a story.

  • Every Superstate has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and the truth is a menace.

  • How can you put out a meaningful drama when every fifteen minutes proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits with toilet paper? No dramatic art form should be dictated and controlled by men whose training and instincts are cut of an entirely different cloth. The fact remains that these gentlemen sell consumer goods, not an art form.

  • I ask for your indulgence when I march out quotations. This is the double syndrome of men who write for a living and men who are over forty. The young smoke pot - we inhale from our Bartlett's.

  • I couldn't direct because I'm too impatient and I couldn't put together a package because I don't understand money. I'd rather just do what I'm doing.

  • I don't believe in reincarnation. That's a cop-out, I know. I don't really want to be reincarnated.

  • I don't believe in reincarnation. That's a cop-out. . . . I anticipate death will be a totally unconscious void in which you float through eternity with no particular consciousness of anything.

  • I don't feel, God dictated that I should write.

  • I don't have any system. I dictate a lot, through a machine, and I also have a secretary. But I used to type just like everybody else.

  • I don't know what my friends do. Generally they become producers. That way they can stop writing!

  • I don't think it's man's function to write. I don't think it's a normal thing like teeth-brushing and going to the bathroom. It's a supered position on the animal.

  • I don't think playing it safe constitutes a retreat, necessarily. In other words, I don't think if, by playing safe he means we are not going to delve into controversy, then if that's what he means he's quite right. I'm not going to delve into controversy. Somebody asked me the other day if this means that I'm going to be a meek conformist, and my answer is no. I'm just acting the role of a tired non-conformist.

  • I find dictating in the mass media particularly good because you're writing for voice anyway; you're writing for people to say a line and, consequently, saying a line through a machine is quite a valid test for the validity of what you're saying.

  • I find it very difficult to live through the censorship of profanity on television.

  • I found that it was all right to have Martians saying things Democrats and Republicans could never say.

  • I guess we all have a little vaunting itch for immortality, I guess that must be it.

  • I just want people to remember me a hundred years from now. I don't care that they're not able to quote any single line that I've written. But just that they can say, "Oh, he was a writer." That's sufficiently an honored position for me.

  • I miss the comraderie of live television - the fact that you were on the set, you worked closely with the director and the cast, that I miss. But, no, I'm happy, I'm happy doing film.

  • I remember the first sale I made was a hundred and fifty dollars for a radio script, and, as poor as I was, I didn't cash the check for three months. I kept showing it to people.

  • I suppose we think euphemistically that all writers write because they have something to say that is truthful and honest and pointed and important. And I suppose I subscribe to that, too. But God knows when I look back over thirty years of professional writing, I'm hard-pressed to come up with anything that's important. Some things are literate, some things are interesting, some things are classy, but very damn little is important.

  • I think I would like to be in Victorian times. Small town. Bandstands. Summer. That kind of thing. Without disease.

  • I think the destiny of all men is not to sit in the rubble of their own making but to reach out for an ultimate perfection which is to be had. At the moment, it is a dream. But as of the moment we clasp hands with our neighbor, we build the first span to bridge the gap between the young and the old. At this hour, it's a wish. But we have it within our power to make it a reality. If you want to prove that God is not dead, first prove that man is alive.

  • I think Willa Cather did a short story called "Paul's Case," and in it, when he finally commits suicide, it says, "He surrendered to the black design of things." And that's what I anticipate death will be: a totally unconscious void in which you float through eternity with no particular consciousness of anything. I think once around is enough. I don't want to start it all over again.

  • I was deeply interested in conveying what is a deeply felt conviction of my own. This is simply to suggest that human beings must involve themselves in the anguish of other human beings. This, I submit to you, is not a political thesis at all. It is simply an expression of what I would hope might be ultimately a simple humanity for humanity's sake.

  • I would guess that the price of the script really is secondary. The credit is much more the essence.

  • I write much better in the nonconfines of the early morning than I do the clutter of the day.

  • I'd love to be able to write an in-depth piece of what causes men like [Richard] Nixon and [H.R.]Haldeman and [John] Ehrlichman and all the rest of them not only to run, but what causes us to vote for them.

  • I'd rather go along with this sense of illusion that I'm a neutral beast going along through life doing everything that's preordained.

  • Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized.

  • Ideas come from the Earth. They come from every human experience that you've either witnessed or have heard about, translated into your brain in your own sense of dialogue, in your own language form. Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized. Ideas are probably in the air, like little tiny items of ozone.

  • If it sounds good as you say it, likely as not it'll sound good when an actor's saying it.

  • If survival calls for the bearing of arms, bear them you must. But the most important part of the challenge is for you to find another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow man.

  • If you have the temerity to try to dramatize a theme that involves any particular social controversy currently extant. . . then you're in deep trouble.

  • If you need drugs to be a good writer, you are not a good writer.

  • If you want to prove that God is not dead first prove that man is alive.

  • If you write beautifully, you write beautifully, that's all.

  • If you write, fix pipes, grade papers, lay bricks or drive a taxi - do it with a sense of pride. And do it the best you know how. Be cognizant and sympathetic to the guy alongside, because he wants a place in the sun, too. And always...always look past his color, his creed, his religion and the shape of his ears. Look for the whole person. Judge him as the whole person.

  • If you're really a good writer and deserve that honored position, then by God, you'll write, and you'll be read, and you'll be produced somehow. It just works that way. If you're just a simple ordinary day-to-day craftsman, no different than most, then the likelihood is that you probably won't make it in writing.

  • I'm a Western-cultured man who subscribes to the ancient saw that men do not cry, I don't cry either. I'll go to a movie, for example, and not infrequently something triggers the urge to weep, but I don't allow myself.

  • I'm afraid that if I started to ponder who I am and what I am, I might not like what I find.

  • I'm an affluent screenwriter and all that - I'm a known screenwriter, but I'm not in the fraternity of the very, very major people. I would say a guy like Ernie Lehman, William Goldman, and a few others are quite a cut above.

  • I'm sufficiently independent to know that I can live well and comfortably all the rest of my life whether I'm rejected or not.

  • Imagination... its limits are only those of the mind itself.

  • In eleven or twelve years of writing, Mike, I can lay claim to at least this: I have never written beneath myself. I have never written anything that I didn't want my name attached to. I have probed deeper in some scripts and I've been more successful in some than others. But all of them that have been on, you know, I'll take my lick. They're mine and that's the way I wanted them.

  • In terms of screenwriting adaptations it's trying to cut out stuff that's extraneous, without doing damage to the original piece, because you owe a debt of some respect to the original author. That's why it was bought.

  • Infinitely more taboos, on television.

  • It has forever been thus: So long as men write what they think, then all of the other freedoms - all of them - may remain intact. And it is then that writing becomes a weapon of truth, an article of faith, an act of courage.

  • I've never planned ahead.I just sort of go through life checking the menu of three meals that day. I never worry about tomorrow. It's only since I've gotten older that I've begun to wonder about time running out. Is it sufficient unto itself that I don't plan? Because maybe next Thursday won't come one day. And then, I'm concerned about that. But that's not uniquely the writer's concern, that's the concern of every middle-aged man who looks in the mirror.

  • I've never really topped myself, because awards in themselves really don't reflect major accomplishment. It's kind of a strange, backslapping ritual that we go through in this town where you get awards for almost everything. For surviving the day you're going to get awards.

  • I've written all that I've wanted to write to date.

  • Just drawing back and drawing in; becoming narcissistic.

  • Justice can span years. Retribution is not subject to a calendar.

  • Most shows, buying shows, have a standard fee for the first shot of the writer and if you have a very militant agent, I suppose he might jack it up four percent or something. But in essence, you sell for what is the going rate.

  • Now death is with us in such abundance and hovers over us in so massive a form that we don't have time to invent a mythology, nor is our creativity directed toward same. Now it's to prevent death.

  • Our greatest responsibility is not to be pencils of the past.

  • Over the long haul I'd say that most directors I've worked with have been pretty sensitive to the quality of the interpreted scenes.

  • People are put down in television now, not because they're not qualitative, not because they're not talented - but because there's no room for them, and worse than that, there's nowhere they can find exposure. Their own good talent may die of mourning, just for want of having somebody read what they've written. I don't presume to say how we can best provide platforms for new writers to get read. I don't know. But therein lies the major problem.

  • Personally, my daughter's wedding gave me a tremendous pleasure.

  • Personally, my daughter's wedding gave me a tremendous pleasure. And the wedding was a radiant event and I enjoyed it. I was afraid I'd cry. I'm given to crying at odd times, and I was very much afraid of the emotionalism of that moment, but I didn't even come close to crying.

  • Seeing does not always believe.

  • Somehow, some way, incredibly enough, good writing ultimately gets recognized. If you're a really good writer and deserve that honored position, then by God, you'll write, and you'll be read.

  • Someplace between apathy and anarchy is the stance of the thinking human being. He does embrace a cause, he does take a position, and can't allow it to become business as usual. Humanity is our business.

  • Somewhere between apathy and anarchy lies the thinking human being.

  • Star Trek, I thought, was a very inconsistent show, which at times sparkled with true ingenuity and pure science fiction approaches, and other times was more carnival-like, and very much more the creature of television than the creature of a legitimate literary form.

+1
Share
Pin
Like
Send
Share