Rod Serling's bond with Binghamton, NY was incredibly strong, influencing both his
life and work. He lived in the upstate city only until the age of 18 but visited
constantly in the years to follow: sometimes for official reasons -- to deliver high school commencement addresses, to
officiate at local events -- but more often he returned out of pure
nostalgia. Even at the height of his success, Serling never forgot his home
town. Indeed, it could be said that Binghamton -- or at least the Binghamton of his
youth -- was a Serling obsession. This page explores some of the ways Serling was
affected by Binghamton, and how it in turn has been affected by him.
Thomas Wolfe warned us that You Can't Go Home Again, but Rod Serling, in his life and
art, kept trying.
A VIRTUAL TOUR OF SERLING'S HOME TOWN
(If you're in Binghamton and planning to visit all the locations,
you'll need a car, for this covers a lot of ground)
Rec Park | House
| High School |
Walk of Fame | Forum
The tour begins in this pleasant park on Binghamton's West Side.
"Rec" Park is the most famous Serling landmark in Binghamton thanks to
"Walking Distance," a powerful Twilight Zone episode inspired by the
park's bandstand and carousel. In the story Gig Young plays Martin Sloane, a
burned-out executive who returns home for the first time in 25 years, finding the town of
his childhood...literally. Sloane watches as his 11 year-old self carves his name in
the bandstand pillar, just like Serling did; later Sloane confronts the boy on a merry-go-round
much like the one in Rec park.
Look in the center of the bandstand to see the "Walking Distance" monument
installed by the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation.
Sounds: hear Sloane reminisce; hear Serling's closing narration
and Bernard Herrmann's haunting
Heading out of the parking lot, turn left onto Beethoven St. and go six
blocks until you reach Bennett Ave. Turn left on Bennett and proceed to...
Serling lived here from 1926 to 1941, and the street still appears much as it did in
those days. (In 1941, hard times forced the family to
move into an apartment on Chapin Street).
In his adult years Serling was known to periodically visit this neighborhood, like the
nostalgic character Martin Sloane in the Twilight Zone episode "Walking
The Bennett address is mentioned repeatedly in Serling's Emmy-nominated Night Gallery
episode They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's
Head back the way you came and turn left on Beethoven. Go two blocks
and turn left at Riverside Drive. Proceed .7 miles to Oak Street.
Turn left on Oak and go through two lights to the corner of Oak and Main, where stands...
BINGHAMTON HIGH SCHOOL
Formerly Binghamton Central High School, from which Serling graduated in
1943. A Serling commemorative marker stands in front. The school has
done much to honor its most famous graduate: in the 1990's the Rod Serling School for the
Performing Arts was born, offering a special fine arts and humanities curriculum; and
every year it hosts a video contest/festival
for young filmmakers. The school's Helen Foley Theater is named after Serling's
middle-school English teacher, who headed the Rod
Serling Memorial Foundation until her death in 2002.
Proceed east on
Main St., through one light and over the bridge onto Court St., then through two more
lights. At the second light, to the left, is the entrance to
Metrocenter, where you
WALK OF FAME
Binghamton's own version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located directly
in front of Metrocenter's Court Street entrance. Serling's bronze star was the first
to be installed, and was followed by stars honoring other famous area natives.
Head one block east to State Street, and turn left. Take State one block to
Henry St. Turn left on Henry and an immediate right on Washington Street.
will soon come to the...
In the lobby is the Rod Serling Memorial Exhibit, a large, permanent
collection of Serling photos, correspondence, and other memorabilia, some of it
rare. Call (607) 778-2480 for lobby hours.
By now you might be hungry. Head back to State Street the way you came,
but instead of turning right on Court Street, remain on State. You will soon cross a
bridge and enter Rt. 434 West. Stay on this for 3.9 miles until you
(Above courtesy Twilight Zone Archives)
|Finish your tour at the table featuring Rod Serling memorabilia.
Toast the man who gave us so many great moments in front of the small