328. “Holy cow, didya have Rod Serling over for dinner?”

The episode:Teen-Age Crime Wave,” ep. 522

The riff: Exclaimed by Mike as a sheriff investigates a home where a couple is being held hostage and notices a plethora of cigarette butts all scattered around the ground.

The explanation: Rod Serling is of course well-remembered as the creator and narrator of “The Twilight Zone,” and those who remember him are also likely to remember his heavy smoking. A survivor of World War II, he got hooked on cigarettes in the army and smoked like a chimney for the rest of his life. Almost every publicity shot he ever took was with a cigarette or cigar. They eventually led to his death of a heart attack while already undergoing heart surgery, in 1975. He was only 50 years old.

Novelty factor: I was slightly confused for just a moment but then it occurred to me that Serling had been smoking in just about every “Twilight Zone” introduction.

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2 thoughts on “328. “Holy cow, didya have Rod Serling over for dinner?”

  1. There is a great Serling interview with Mike Wallace in which they both smoke throughout. So jarring to look at today, especially with the interviewer also smoking.

    Rod Serling’s father also died around the age of 50 due to heart problems, so Serling was probably genetically predisposed to them even if he hadn’t been a smoker.

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