Interview by Dymowski

Gordon writes: As promised, here are my five interview questions for your blog.

1) You’ve discussed Rod Serling multiple times on your blog. My question – what are your favorite Serling-written pieces? (You can pull from anywhere – the Playhouse 90 stuff, Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, et al)

There were some pre-Twilight Zone pieces, and maybe a Night Gallery or two, but I think I’ll stick with Twilight Zone, because there were so many:
“Time Enough at Last” with Burgess Meredith as a man after a nuclear war with time enough to read (finally!), but then who breaks his glasses.
“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” with Claude Akins and Jack Weston. The power goes out. Is it the aliens? It turns out the monsters are ourselves. For some reason, in some ways, reminds me of an old EC comics story about the guy who is not saluting the flag, so the crowd beats him to death, figuring he’s a Commie, when, in fact, he lost his sight fighting in the war on our side.
“It’s a Good Life” with Billy Mumy as a very scary, and powerful, kid.
“A Game of Pool” with Jack Klugman, playing the game of, and for, his life.
“Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” with William Shatner. Is there something on the wing of the airplane, or is he crazy? This segment also appears in the Twilight Zone movie, perhaps to lesser effect.
I’m sure there are others: “The Dummy”, “To Serve Man”. There’s one, Little Girl Lost, with a kid going under the bed and ending up in another dimension, that TERRIFIED me in the day. I must also mention “Walking Distance”, that DOES have a carousel that reminds me of Rec Park in Binghamton. There was a segment, Nightmare as a Child, that was also in the Twilight Zone movie; I laughed out loud when I saw it at movie’s world premiere in Binghamton, because it namechecked Helen Foley, his favorite teacher and one of mine, who was in the audience at the time.
BTW, Gordon sent me this link to a bunch of “The Twilight Zone” TV Bumpers; here’s a definition of a bumper. Lots of them are for cigarette ads, especially early on; tobacco killed Rod Serling far too young. Oh, the picture above was purloined from here; when IS that museum going to open?

2) As a relatively new father, what aspect of parenting – or your daughter’s future – are you a little concerned about? Any adjustments that you think you will have to make?

There is always a balancing act between letting her do as much as she wants and making sure she doesn’t get hurt or frustrated or spoiled. She tends to be wary of strangers, which has its good and not-so-good elements. The world can be scary, and I want her to be cautious without being paranoid. It’s a fine line, that.

3) Does your local public library have a summer reading program? And if so, do you participate?

Yes, and as a matter of fact, as a member of the Friends of the Albany Public Library has authorized money to subsidize the program. Do I participate myself? No, but I’m sure we will in the future.

4) What strange, hidden secret of Fred Hembeck do you think the comics-reading public should know?

Interesting. I saw Fred, his wife Lynn, and daughter Julie just yesterday. He is a piler. He has piles of stuff. Reference materials for his blog here, reference materials for his cover redoes there. His Superman DVDs under those for Gilmore Girls. It’s not messy, exactly; it’s rather organized chaos.

5) What is your all-time favorite book?

I once said the World Almanac, and it’s probably true, or maybe one of those Billboard singles or album books. But if you’re talking about books with actual paragraphs, O Albany! by William Kennedy. I know this is sacrilege, but I’ve never gotten through any of Bill Kennedy’s Albany-based fiction, and I’ve tried. But I enjoyed his non-fiction piece. Favorite fiction, and I read very little these days: A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.


Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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