Sunday, November 5, 2023

Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Parodied Studio Notes By Having Shakespeare Punch Burt Reynolds

 As I’ve noted here before, I was and am a huge fan of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. 

The TV series, now appearing on MeTV, offered tales of the supernatural, fantasy, horror and other dramas. One favorite episode was pure satire.

Rod Serling (seen in the above photo) wrote the clever and funny script which was based no doubt on his own negative experiences with TV studio executives and corporate sponsors. 

In The Bard, a talentless would-be-writer (Jack Weston, seen in the above photo with John Williams) conjures up William Shakespeare to help him write a television play. But when the great Bard visits the set and meets a famous stage method actor (Burt Reynolds doing a fine parody of Marlon Brando – which is perhaps why Brando hated Reynolds, who looked like the young Brando), he is none too pleased. 

Slash/ offers a look back at Rod Serling’s The Bard.        

There's a piece of advice that every writer gets at some point in their career, and it goes like this: "Write what you know." 

It's not bad advice if you don't take it too literally. "Write what you know" doesn't mean that you should only write about your own autobiographical experiences, it means that when you do write from experience you'll probably be able to write more truthfully, more meaningfully, and in more detail than if you had to make it all up from scratch. Even if you write about strange new planets filled with creatures totally unlike anything found on Earth, you're probably better off finding an angle that speaks somehow to your personal interests, your beliefs, or your memories. 

The irony of course is that as writers keep on writing, eventually "what they know" the most about is being a writer. You may have noticed that a whole heck of a lot of Stephen King characters are novelists. And you may have noticed that Hollywood types love to make movies and TV shows about working in Hollywood.  

"The Twilight Zone" creator Rod Serling was no exception to this rule, so although he wrote a lot of different stories about a lot of topics that spoke to him in various ways, he wasn't above writing the occasional tale about why the entertainment industry is a terrible place. Sometimes it's a story about how Hollywood Westerns are insipid and irresponsible. And sometimes it's a story about how Hollywood studios would ruin the works of William Shakespeare if he were alive today. 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

The Twilight Zone Parodied Studio Notes By Having Shakespeare Punch Burt Reynolds (

You can also watch The Bard via the below link:

Watch The Twilight Zone Classic Season 4 Episode 18: The Bard - Full show on Paramount Plus 

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