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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more.Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU.Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

My Conversation With 'Rod Serling' Author Airs Sunday

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University Press of Mississippi
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"Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination" was published Oct. 16.

Author Nick Parisi talks to me about Rod Serling's early 1950s TV scripts, and how they shaped his  writing for The Twilight Zone and other network TV shows, on Around Cincinnati 7 p.m. Sunday Oct. 28 on WVXU-FM and WMUB-FM.

Parisi published Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination earlier this month. (Full disclosure here: I did a few days of research for him by reading early 1950-52 TV columns in the Cincinnati Post, Enquirer and Times-Star on microfilm at the downtown Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.)

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Credit Courtesy CBS
CBS publicity photo of Rod Serling for 'The Twilight Zone' premiere in 1959.

The 584-page book is the first comprehensive look at all of Serling's scripts, starting with shows he wrote for The Storm, WKRC-TV's live half-hour drama series in 1951-52. Parisi devotes the second chapter to Serling's Cincinnati days.

In the interview, which airs after 7:15 p.m., Parisi and I discuss:

--How Serling rewrote and expanded concepts from The Storm for The Twilight Zone and other network shows, including "The Time Element" (the 1958 Twilight Zone pilot on Desilu Playhouse); "Mr. Finchley vs. The Bomb (NBC); "No Gods To Serve" (NBC) and "The Twilight Rounds" (Requiem For A Heavyweight).

--How Serling wrote perhaps the first TV production about racial prejudice, an April 1952 episode of The Storm called "As Yet Untitled," about San Francisco area residents refusing to let a Chinese man buy a home in their suburb.

--And how Parisi grew up on Long Island as a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. I couldn't resist asking Parisi about what kind of drama Serling might have written about Cincinnati's tragic sports hero, Pete Rose.

You can read more about the book in my Oct. 16 story, "New Rod Serling Book Explores His Cincinnati TV Work."

Around Cincinnati airs 7-8 p.m. Sundays on WVXU-FM (91.7), WMUB-FM (88.5) and wvxu.org.