In Twilight Zone reruns, I search for my father in the man
on the screen, but I can’t always find him there. Instead, he appears in
unexpected ways. Memory summoned by a certain light, a color, a smell, and I
see him again on the porch of our old red lakeside cottage, where I danced on
the steps as a child.
To Anne Serling, the imposing figure the public saw hosting The Twilight Zone each week, intoning
cautionary observations about fate, chance, and humanity, was not the father she
knew. Her fun-loving dad would play on the floor with the dogs, had nicknames
for everyone in the family, and was apt to put a lampshade on his head and
break out in song. He was her best friend, her playmate, and her confidant.
After his unexpected death at 50, Anne, just 20, was left
stunned. Gradually, she found solace for her grief by talking to his friends,
poring over old correspondence, and recording her childhood memories. Now she
shares personal photos, eloquent, revealing letters, and beautifully rendered
scenes of his childhood, war years, and their family’s time together. Idyllic
summers in upstate New York, the years in Los Angeles, and the myriad ways he
filled their time with laughter, strength, and endearing silliness, all are
captured here with deep affection and candor.
Though begun in loss, Anne’s story is a celebration of her
extraordinary relationship with her father and the qualities she came to prize
through him: empathy, kindness, and an uncompromising sense of social justice. As I Knew Him is a lyrical, intimate
tribute to Rod Serling’s legacy as visionary, storyteller, and humanist, and a
moving testament to the love between fathers and daughters.
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