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 - talking to his friends, poring over old correspondence, and recording her childhood memories. Now she shares 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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Better In Print, Perhaps
I'm not sure that anything would have made the story better. It's Ms. Serling's story to tell as she pleases. The primary trouble is that I find her narrative (in a purely auditory sense) terribly distracting.
Since it's in essence an autobiography/memoir narrated by the author herself, there's not much I as a reader can suggest. It would simply be better in print form I think.
Her performance is acceptable enough (or might be to others) but I find it difficult to focus somehow.
It's far easier to "play editor" with visual content. Lacking that in this instance, I can't say.