Rod Serling Explores The Unknown

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The Twilight Zone creator’s extensive involvement in the strange phenomena documentaries of the early 1970s.

Rod Serling is best known as the genius behind The Twilight Zone, still by far the best anthology show to have ever been made, and the much under-rated follow-up series, Night Gallery. He also co-wrote Planet of the Apes and was behind several other significant movies and TV shows, including Seven Days in May and Requiem for a Heavyweight. He also lent his distinctive voice to the opening moments of Phantom of the Paradise, setting the scene magnificently, and narrated The Undersea World of Jacques Costeau for six years.

But in the years before his untimely death, aged 50, in 1975, Serling also narrated and presented a dizzying number of documentaries exploring UFOs, ancient mysteries and other strange phenomena and supernatural happenings. These subjects were, of course, all the rage in the early 1970s, but it’s still fascinating to see just how many Serling was involved with. Whether he was a believer or just in it for the paycheque is a matter of debate, but certainly, his vocal presence gave a substance to these documentaries that they might have otherwise lacked.

They are, to a greater or larger extent, all entertaining – some serious, some throwaway and a couple quite hysterical. Here is a selection to enjoy.

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