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.
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.
"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.