Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rod Serling Archive Needs Your Help

A preservation effort is underway in Binghamton, New York, the hometown of Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone. The purpose of The Rod Serling Archive is to collect, preserve, and make accessible to the public, the works of Rod Serling, material relevant to his works and display rare artifacts. The aim of the Archive is to educate, entertain, and inspire people through the creative genius of Rod Serling, and encourage examination of and discourse about his works and their impact on popular culture.
On display at the museum you can find all sort of merchandise and collectibles, as well as original props seen on the television episodes of The Twilight Zone. Any effort to preserve the legacy of Rod Serling is a blessing these days -- in an era when anything pre-1980 is overshadowed by the digital age and consumption for information... regardless of accuracy or quality.
The carousel that was inspired for a scene in "Walking Distance."

The pavilion that was inspired for a scene in "Walking Distance."

The carousel in "Walking Distance."

The pavilion in "Walking Distance."

My wife and I went up to Binghamton recently to check out the museum, which recently graduated from a single display case and a handful of items to an entire room in the Bundy Museum of History and Art. This is how museums start -- one room at a time. In the process we browsed the small town of Binghamton... the Boscov's that inspired the department store in "The After Hours," the carousel and pavilion evident in "Walking Distance," the train station inspired in "Mirror, Image," and of course, Rod Serling's home where he grew up as a young boy. The course has since gone under renovations and art depicting various episodes of The Twilight Zone can be seen on the top of the carousel.
I don't think I need to point out the best part of road trips -- the destination is the goal but those off-the-side landmarks worth checking out can be really, really cool.
Boscov's inspiration for "The After Hours."
The museum continues to purchase original props used on episodes of The Twilight Zone. A helmet worn by Leonard Nimoy in "A Quality of Mercy," a telephone used in "Third from the Sun" and others. When you get to the museum, ask for Mike Pipher. He is the resident Rod Serling historian in the area. But more importantly, the entire museum is funded by donations. Without donations, no such museum can exist. To help fund the purchase of Twilight Zone props, the museum requires financial assistance.
So the museum has agreed to post your name alongside any acknowledgement of Twilight Zone props, on display, in return for a donation of $20 or more. This is your chance to see your name in lights, achieve a tax-deductible donation which comes in handy at the end of the tax year, and do something good at the same time. So if you want to make a donation to the Rod Serling Archive and have your name next to a Twilight Zone prop, contact Mike Pipher at grampagranite12@aol.com
As of this writing, the latest acquisition was a gambling prop from "The Prime Mover," now on display. On blind faith and my suggestion, the museum bought the prop. But they had no money at the time so they are seeking donations... right now. Check, money order, Paypal or credit card is acceptable. Only takes a few minutes. Contact Mike today and he will give you instructions on how to place your donation. Friends of mine, along with my wife and I, made a donation two months ago and as you can see by the photograph below, our names are listed among the contributors.

The Rod Serling Archive is housed and curated by the Bundy Museum of History and Art, 129 Main St., Binghamton, NY 13905, as part of its mission to “educate and entertain the public about the history and art of Broome County of the state of New York,” and “to establish and maintain an historical research collection and archives.” The Bundy Museum is chartered by New York State and is a 501c3 non-profit organization, TIN 27-4976890. Your donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

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