Anne Serling Talks About Her Father's 'O'Toole From Moscow' Reds Comedy

Mar 25, 2020

Anne Serling is confident that her famous father would be pleased that Cincinnati Public Radio is reviving O' Toole From Moscow, his 1955 Cincinnati Reds comedy premiering 8 p.m. tonight on WVXU-FM and at wvxu.org.

"I have a thought about my dad, imagining him listening, nodding and just beaming. I am so grateful," said Serling, daughter of Rod Serling, creator of TV's The Twilight Zone.

Anne Serling with the 'O'Toole cast (from left) Chandler Bates, Jack Steiner, Lucas Prizant, Frankie Chuter, Matt Fox. Anne Serling, Austin James Cleri, Cameron Nalley and Dustin Parsons.
Credit John Kiesewetter / WVXU

Rod Serling, who started his career in Cincinnati (1950-54), wrote O'Toole for NBC's Matinee Theater. It was aired only once – live at 3 p.m. on a Monday afternoon – and not recorded, taped or filmed. O'Toole starred Chuck Connors, best known as TV's the Rifleman, as a security officer for the Russian Embassy in New York who ends up playing outfield for the Cincinnati Reds.

WVXU's radio adaption stars eight talented University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music students. Professor Richard Hess directed the show.

Full disclosure: It's been my dream for 30 years to find Serling's script and produce O'Toole for the Cincinnati audience.

Rod and Anne Serling.
Credit Courtesy Anne Serling

"One of the things about this script is that I can hear the joy my dad felt writing it. I can imagine him chuckling throughout it. The students clearly share that enthusiasm," said Serling, who came to Cincinnati from her upstate New York home in November to be host/narrator for O'Toole when we recorded the radio play.

While at WVXU-FM, I recorded an interview with Anne about O'Toole From Moscow, and how it was a relatively rare comedy from a man known for intense TV dramas.  She also talks about her father's love of baseball, and her memories of her father, who died in 1975 at age 50.

Here's a link to my conversation with Anne Serling on our website.

"O'Toole From Moscow" airs 8 p.m. tonight on WVXU-FM (91.7) and WMUB-FM (88.5), and streamed on wvxu.org. After that, the show will be made available to public radio stations nationwide. We'll offer an "O'Toole" stream and podcast later this spring.