129+ Best Rod Serling Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Rodman Edward Serling was an American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, and narrator known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science-fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone. Serling was active in politics, both on and off the screen, and helped form television industry standards. Inspirational Rod Serling quotes will get you through anything when the going gets tough and help you succeed in every aspect of life.

If you’re searching for life quotes and sayings that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of Jim Henson quotes, Stanley Kubrick quotes, and Fred Rogers quotes.

Most Famous Rod Serling Quotes

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone. – Rod Serling

This is not a new world – it is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements…technological advances…and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like everyone of the super-states that preceded it – it has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and truth is a menace. – Rod Serling

Some people possess talent, others are possessed by it. When that happens, a talent becomes a curse. – Rod Serling

Our greatest responsibility is not to be pencils of the past. – Rod Serling

For civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized. – Rod Serling

If you’re really a good writer and deserve that honored position, then by God, you’ll write, and you’ll be read, and you’ll be produced somehow. It just works that way. If you’re just a simple ordinary day-to-day craftsman, no different than most, then the likelihood is that you probably won’t make it in writing. – Rod Serling

You’re looking at a species of flimsy little two-legged animals with extremely small heads whose name is Man…Very tiny undeveloped brain; comes from primitive planet named Earth. Calls himself ‘Samuel Conrad’. And he will remain here in his cage with the running water and the electricity and the central heat- as long as he lives. Samuel Conrad has found the Twilight Zone. – Rod Serling

Bias and prejudice make me angry…more than anything. – Rod Serling

In eleven or twelve years of writing, Mike, I can lay claim to at least this: I have never written beneath myself. I have never written anything that I didn’t want my name attached to. I have probed deeper in some scripts and I’ve been more successful in some than others. But all of them that have been on, you know, I’ll take my lick. They’re mine and that’s the way I wanted them. – Rod Serling

But it makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Just how normal are we? Just who are the people we nod our hellos to as we pass on the street? A rather good question to ask – particularly in The Twilight Zone. – Rod Serling

Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible. – Rod Serling

Essentially, the scripts are not that different. Let’s say, in literary terms, it’s the difference between writing horizontally and writing vertically. In live television, you wrote much more vertically. You had to probe people because you didn’t have money or sets or any of the physical dimensions that film will allow you. So you generally probed people a little bit more. Film writing is much more horizontal. You can insert anything you want: meadows, battlefields, the Taj Mahal, a cast of thousands. But essentially, writing a story is writing a story. – Rod Serling

I would guess that the price of the script really is secondary. The credit is much more the essence. – Rod Serling

I don’t enjoy any of the process of writing. I enjoy it when it goes on if it zings and it has great warmth and import and it’s successful. – Rod Serling

I’d rather go along with this sense of illusion that I’m a neutral beast going along through life doing everything that’s preordained. – Rod Serling

In terms of screenwriting adaptations, it’s trying to cut out stuff that’s extraneous, without doing damage to the original piece, because you owe a debt of some respect to the original author. That’s why it was bought. – Rod Serling

I choose to think of tv audience as nameless, formless, faceless people who are all like me. And anything that I write, if I like it, they’ll like it. – Rod Serling

a basicmustfor every writer: A simple solitude-physical & mental. – Rod Serling

If survival calls for the bearing of arms, bear them you must. But the most important part of the challenge is for you to find another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow man. – Rod Serling

Apparently on the screen I look tall, ageless, and damned close to omniscient-delivering jeopardy-laden warnings through gritted teeth. But when people see me on the street, they say ‘by God, this kid is 5 foot 5, he’s got a broken nose, and looks about as foreboding as a bank teller on a lunch break.’ – Rod Serling

I find it very difficult to live through the censorship of profanity on television. – Rod Serling

Whenever you write, whatever you write, never make the mistake of assuming the audience is any less intelligent than you are. – Rod Serling

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. – Rod Serling

Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull. – Rod Serling

I suppose we think euphemistically that all writers write because they have something to say that is truthful and honest and pointed and important. And I suppose I subscribe to that, too. But God knows when I look back over thirty years of professional writing, I’m hard-pressed to come up with anything that’s important. Some things are literate, some things are interesting, some things are classy, but very damn little is important. – Rod Serling

I’ve never really topped myself, because awards in themselves really don’t reflect major accomplishment. It’s kind of a strange, backslapping ritual that we go through in this town where you get awards for almost everything. For surviving the day you’re going to get awards. – Rod Serling

There are a lot I’m proud of, and a lot I wish the hell I’d never written. – Rod Serling

I have compromised down the line. I’ve disliked it intensely in the old days when you were trying to talk race relations and they would not allow you to talk about the legitimacies of race relations. In the old days, you didn’t talk about black, you talked about Eskimo or American Indian, and the American Indian was assumed not to be a problem area. – Rod Serling

It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper. – Rod Serling

Justice can span years. Retribution is not subject to a calendar. – Rod Serling

I don’t think playing it safe constitutes a retreat, necessarily. In other words, I don’t think if, by playing safe he means we are not going to delve into controversy, then if that’s what he means he’s quite right. I’m not going to delve into controversy. Somebody asked me the other day if this means that I’m going to be a meek conformist, and my answer is no. I’m just acting the role of a tired non-conformist. – Rod Serling

When I dig back through memory cells, I get one particularly distinctive feeling-and that’s one of warmth, comfort and well-being. For whatever else I may have had, or lost, or will find-I’ve still got a hometown. This, nobody’s gonna take away from me. – Rod Serling

A word to the wise to all the children of the twentieth century, whether their concern be pediatrics or geriatrics, whether they crawl on hands and knees and wear diapers or walk with a cane and comb their beards. There’s a wondrous magic to Christmas, and there’s a special power reserved for little people. In short, there’s nothing mightier than the meek, and a merry Christmas to each and all. – Rod Serling

Coming up with ideas is the easiest thing on earth. Putting them down is the hardest. – Rod Serling

If you have the temerity to try to dramatize a theme that involves any particular social controversy currently extant. . . then you’re in deep trouble. – Rod Serling

It has forever been thus: So long as men write what they think, then all of the other freedoms – all of them – may remain intact. And it is then that writing becomes a weapon of truth, an article of faith, an act of courage. – Rod Serling

The Chancellor, the late Chancellor, was only partly correct, he was obsolete. But so was the State, the entity he worshipped. Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete. A case to be filed under ‘M’ for mankind… in the Twilight Zone. – Rod Serling

It may be said with a degree of assurance that not everything that meets the eye is as it appears. – Rod Serling

I’m afraid that if I started to ponder who I am and what I am, I might not like what I find. – Rod Serling

Ideas come from the Earth. They come from every human experience that you’ve either witnessed or have heard about, translated into your brain in your own sense of dialogue, in your own language form. Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized. Ideas are probably in the air, like little tiny items of ozone. – Rod Serling

Writing is a demanding profession and a selfish one. And because it is selfish and demanding, because it is compulsive and exacting, I didn’t embrace it. I succumbed to it. – Rod Serling

Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting in the Twilight Zone. – Rod Serling

Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized. – Rod Serling

The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone. – Rod Serling

This is, if not a lifetime process, it’s awfully close to it. The writer broadens, becomes deeper, becomes more observant, becomes more tempered, becomes much wiser over a period time passing. It is not something that is injected into him by a needle. It is not something that comes on a wave of flashing, explosive light one night and say, ‘Huzzah! Eureka! I’ve got it!’ and then proceeds to write the great American novel in eleven days. It doesn’t work that way. It’s a long, tedious, tough, frustrating process, but never, ever be put aside by the fact that it’s hard. – Rod Serling

The ultimate obscenity is not caring, not doing something about what you feel, not feeling! Just drawing back and drawing in; becoming narcissistic. – Rod Serling

Emmies, for example, most of that’s bullshit. Oscars are even worse. We have a strange, terrible affliction in this town. Everybody walks around bent-backed from slapping each other on the backs so much. It looks like arthritis, but it isn’t. It’s hunger for recognition. And it’s sort of like, well, I’ll scratch you this time if you’ll scratch me next time. That kind of thing. – Rod Serling

If you need drugs to be a good writer, you are not a good writer. – Rod Serling

If in any quest for magic, in any search for sorcery, witchery, legerdemain, first check the human spirit. – Rod Serling

Hollywood’s a great place to live… if you’re a grapefruit. There are weapons that are simply thoughts. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. – Rod Serling

Imagination… its limits are only those of the mind itself. – Rod Serling

There is nothing in the dark that isn’t there when the lights are on. – Rod Serling

I grew up in a single family household and when you decide to go to the wall on your first project you really want to go with material that you’re passionate about and I think that is one of the reasons I felt so compelled to make this film. – Rod Serling

I kept waiting for Rod Steiger to come out of the closet because I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. … The Twilight Zone. – Rod Serling

I don’t believe in reincarnation. That’s a cop-out… I anticipate death will be a totally unconscious void in which you float through eternity with no particular consciousness of anything. – Rod Serling

I was a Christmas present that was delivered unwrapped. – Rod Serling

Somewhere between apathy and anarchy lies the thinking human being. – Rod Serling

How can you put on a meaningful drama when, every fifteen minutes, proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits with toilet paper? – Rod Serling

Science fiction makes the implausible possible, while science fantasy makes the impossible plausible. – Rod Serling

I ask for your indulgence when I march out quotations. This is the double syndrome of men who write for a living and men who are over forty. The young smoke pot – we inhale from our Bartlett’s. – Rod Serling

I was deeply interested in conveying what is a deeply felt conviction of my own. This is simply to suggest that human beings must involve themselves in the anguish of other human beings. This, I submit to you, is not a political thesis at all. It is simply an expression of what I would hope might be ultimately a simple humanity for humanity’s sake. – Rod Serling

Writers, like most human beings, are adaptable creatures. They can learn to accept subordination without growing fond of it. No writer can forever stand in the wings and watch other people take the curtain calls while his own contributions get lost in the shuffle. – Rod Serling

Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of three paintings, displayed here for the first time. Each is a collectors’ item in its own way – not because of any special artistic quality, but because each captures on a canvas, and suspends in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare. – Rod Serling

I don’t have any system. I dictate a lot, through a machine, and I also have a secretary. But I used to type just like everybody else. – Rod Serling

I find dictating in the mass media particularly good because you’re writing for voice anyway; you’re writing for people to say a line and, consequently, saying a line through a machine is quite a valid test for the validity of what you’re saying. – Rod Serling

The tendency when you dictate is to overwrite, because you’re not counting pages, you don’t really know what the hell the page count is. – Rod Serling

Writers vary tremendously. Was it Tom Wolfe who stood up or was it [Ernest] Hemingway who had to stand up? I don’t know. – Rod Serling

When I first went into freelancing, I think there was a period of about eight months when nothing happened. Everything that I wrote crumbled up, and then it became a self-destructive thing – when you begin to doubt yourself, when doubt turns into – it’s sort of like impotence. Once impotent, you’re forever impotent. Because you’re always worried about being impotent. – Rod Serling

I miss the comraderie of live television – the fact that you were on the set, you worked closely with the director and the cast, that I miss. But, no, I’m happy, I’m happy doing film. – Rod Serling

I’ve written all that I’ve wanted to write to date. – Rod Serling

Why do I write? I guess that’s been asked of every writer. I don’t know. It isn’t any massive compulsion. – Rod Serling

Not since the British raided Cologne had so many bombs landed in such a small space in such a short time. – Rod Serling

It’s part of the business of really not caring about topping myself because I really don’t care what’s going to happen. I think just surviving is a major thing. I’d like to write something that my peers, my colleagues, my fellow writers would find a source of respect. – Rod Serling

I think I’d rather win, for example, a Writer’s Guild award than almost anything on earth. And the few nominations I’ve had with the guild, and the few awards I’ve had, represented to me a far more legitimate concrete achievement than anything. – Rod Serling

If the producer doesn’t like you, consequently he reads the script with a very negative view. But I wouldn’t preoccupy myself with that, I don’t give a damn. You can be a hunchback and a dwarf and whatall. – Rod Serling

I’ve never planned ahead.I just sort of go through life checking the menu of three meals that day. I never worry about tomorrow. It’s only since I’ve gotten older that I’ve begun to wonder about time running out. Is it sufficient unto itself that I don’t plan? Because maybe next Thursday won’t come one day. And then, I’m concerned about that. But that’s not uniquely the writer’s concern, that’s the concern of every middle-aged man who looks in the mirror. – Rod Serling

You can become much more independent, much more courageous with a bank account. And also, much more independent and self-reliant when you know you have money behind you. – Rod Serling

Most shows, buying shows, have a standard fee for the first shot of the writer and if you have a very militant agent, I suppose he might jack it up four percent or something. But in essence, you sell for what is the going rate. – Rod Serling

I don’t think it’s man’s function to write. I don’t think it’s a normal thing like teeth-brushing and going to the bathroom. It’s a supered position on the animal. – Rod Serling

The major difference frequently is in time. The motion picture, for example, gives you considerably more freedom of expression than does the confined thirty-minute television show. But in essence, they’re not that dissimilar. – Rod Serling

I write much better in the nonconfines of the early morning than I do the clutter of the day. – Rod Serling

You know, writer can write about the Foreign Legion without ever having been in the Foreign Legion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that what he’s written doesn’t necessarily reflect the nature of him as an individual – or her. Using the male gender because it’s me speaking. I don’t mean to put down the female. – Rod Serling

I couldn’t direct because I’m too impatient and I couldn’t put together a package because I don’t understand money. I’d rather just do what I’m doing. – Rod Serling

Do I want to start my own production company? No, I doubt it. I’m too old for that. I don’t want to start anything. – Rod Serling

I guess Requiem for a Heavyweight as old as it is was as honest a piece as I’ve ever done. – Rod Serling

I think Willa Cather did a short story called Paul’s Case, and in it, when he finally commits suicide, it says, He surrendered to the black design of things. And that’s what I anticipate death will be: a totally unconscious void in which you float through eternity with no particular consciousness of anything. I think once around is enough. I don’t want to start it all over again. – Rod Serling

I think I would like to be in Victorian times. Small town. Bandstands. Summer. That kind of thing. Without disease. – Rod Serling

Personally, my daughter’s wedding gave me a tremendous pleasure. – Rod Serling

I’m a Western-cultured man who subscribes to the ancient saw that men do not cry, I don’t cry either. I’ll go to a movie, for example, and not infrequently something triggers the urge to weep, but I don’t allow myself. – Rod Serling

Now death is with us in such abundance and hovers over us in so massive a form that we don’t have time to invent a mythology, nor is our creativity directed toward same. Now it’s to prevent death. – Rod Serling

I just want people to remember me a hundred years from now. I don’t care that they’re not able to quote any single line that I’ve written. But just that they can say, Oh, he was a writer. That’s sufficiently an honored position for me. – Rod Serling

An Ingmar Bergman film would probably owe a sizeable bulk of its import and its direction and its quality to the directorial end and to the director because it’s uniquely a Bergman film. But that again is not the general – no, that’s much more the exception than the rule. – Rod Serling

There’s a marvelous and unique man named Frank Gilroy. He’s the only writer I know who absolutely, pointedly refuses to do any changes that he doesn’t feel are absolutely essential and totally in keeping with his own view and perspective. But not too many writers are that independent and that strong-willed. – Rod Serling

Infinitely more taboos, on television. – Rod Serling

I’d love to be able to write an in-depth piece of what causes men like [Richard] Nixon and [H.R.]Haldeman and [John] Ehrlichman and all the rest of them not only to run, but what causes us to vote for them. – Rod Serling

Over the long haul I’d say that most directors I’ve worked with have been pretty sensitive to the quality of the interpreted scenes. – Rod Serling

You could do much more in movies than you could on TV, and even movies were heavily censored. But in television, the areas of timorousness were fairly laid out. Race relations. Sex. Politics. There was a whole conglomeration of taboo themes. And even to date, though television has become a much freer medium, it’s still far less free, far less creatively untrammeled than are the movies. They’re infinitely more adult in that respect. – Rod Serling

I would guess that Ray Bradbury would be equally resentful of what they did with Illustrated Man, which, you know, took a central idea thesis of his and pissed all over it – made it into one of the worst movies ever made. – Rod Serling

I don’t have close relationships with agents. They’re friends, but they’re not confidants. – Rod Serling

The good agent probably is not the reader, he’s just the guy who can put together a deal. – Rod Serling

If you write beautifully, you write beautifully, that’s all. – Rod Serling

I think the essence of the argument has always been, first of all, the Guild doesn’t want writing on spec. And that’s been a major problem over the years. But obviously, to the young writer that’s unfair and it’s discriminatory, and it can be very hurtful to one’s career. – Rod Serling

Seeing does not always believe. – Rod Serling

Just drawing back and drawing in; becoming narcissistic. – Rod Serling

Star Trek, I thought, was a very inconsistent show, which at times sparkled with true ingenuity and pure science fiction approaches, and other times was more carnival-like, and very much more the creature of television than the creature of a legitimate literary form. – Rod Serling

I’m frequently surprised, sometimes bugged off, and sometimes happy, depending on the actor. It’s a fact of life that just as often as not an actor can breathe life into a line as he can destroy it by misinterpretation, and I’ve been blessed frequently by having good actors. – Rod Serling

I guess we all have a little vaunting itch for immortality, I guess that must be it. – Rod Serling

I’m sufficiently independent to know that I can live well and comfortably all the rest of my life whether I’m rejected or not. – Rod Serling

You see. No shock. No engulfment. No tearing assunder. What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end is the beginning. – Rod Serling

I don’t know what my friends do. Generally, they become producers. That way they can stop writing! – Rod Serling

Somehow, some way, incredibly enough, good writing ultimately gets recognized. If you’re a really good writer and deserve that honored position, then by God, you’ll write, and you’ll be read. – Rod Serling

The writer’s no different. When he’s rejected, that paper is rejected, in a sense, a sizeable fragment of the writer is rejected as well. It’s a piece of himself that’s being turned down. – Rod Serling

I think the destiny of all men is not to sit in the rubble of their own making but to reach out for an ultimate perfection which is to be had. At the moment, it is a dream. But as of the moment we clasp hands with our neighbor, we build the first span to bridge the gap between the young and the old. At this hour, it’s a wish. But we have it within our power to make it a reality. If you want to prove that God is not dead, first prove that man is alive. – Rod Serling

All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes -all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the earth into a graveyard, into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its rememberance. Then we become the grave diggers. – Rod Serling

Every Superstate has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and the truth is a menace. – Rod Serling

For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone. – Rod Serling

We’re developing a new citizenry. One that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won’t be able to think. – Rod Serling

If you write, fix pipes, grade papers, lay bricks or drive a taxi – do it with a sense of pride. And do it the best you know how. Be cognizant and sympathetic to the guy alongside, because he wants a place in the sun, too. And always…always look past his color, his creed, his religion and the shape of his ears. Look for the whole person. Judge him as the whole person. – Rod Serling

In almost everything I’ve written there is a thread of this: man’s seemingly palpable need to dislike someone other than himself. – Rod Serling

I found that it was all right to have Martians saying things Democrats and Republicans could never say. – Rod Serling

This highway leads to the shadowy tip of reality: you’re on a through route to the land of the different, the bizarre, the unexplainable…Go as far as you like on this road. Its limits are only those of mind itself. Ladies and Gentlemen, you’re entering the wondrous dimension of imagination. . . Next stop The Twilight Zone. – Rod Serling

Being like everybody is the same as being nobody. – Rod Serling

Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of Man, that state is obsolete. – Rod Serling

You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead—your next stop, the Twilight Zone. – Rod Serling

Someplace between apathy and anarchy is the stance of the thinking human being; he does embrace a cause, he does take a position, and can’t allow it to become business as usual. Humanity is our business. – Rod Serling

According to the Bible, God created the heavens and the Earth. It is man’s prerogative – and woman’s – to create their own particular and private hell. – Rod Serling

There are weapons that are simply thoughts. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. – Rod Serling

If you want to prove that God is not dead, first prove that man is alive. – Rod Serling

The writer’s role is to menace the public’s conscience. He must have a position, a point of view. He must see the arts as a vehicle of social criticism, and he must focus on the issues of his time. – Rod Serling

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