In a letter to a former teacher, Rod Serling comments on fame...
March 20, 1964
Mr. Lloyd Hartman
Broome Technical Community College
Binghamton, New York
Thanks for your letter of March 17th. Needless to say, I was delighted that you liked "Seven Days in May". The picture seems to be doing quite wall, though a few of our more militant right-wingers have accused me of perpetrating vicious Communist propaganda against the Republic. I have changed somewhat since we were teacher-student, but you'll find me about as radical, Lloyd, as Daniel J. Kelly. I hope your memory serves you so that this last point makes sense.
As to your arrangements - they sound fine. I would ask you to take note of a speech I made at the University of Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago with an audience well over two thousand. I did take questions from the floor, repeating them after they were broached, and the results were quite good. I generally shy away from the prepared question bit because it seems so pat and prearranged. So with your permission, I'd like to go ahead with the idea of a question and answer period from the floor right after the few cogent remarks that I'll preface with.
As to a topic - you can pick your own poison. I think just a general talk on the "mass media" with an emphasis on the writer's position, would be relevant and perhaps interesting.
I can't tell you at this date how long I'll be there because there will be a side trip up to the lake to check on my boat and get things ready for the family whose arrival, along with mine, will be sometime late in June. But I think you could count on a full day there and I think a press conference is much to be desired rather than a series of "cocktails" which leave me somewhat limp and boiled by the time I hit the podium. So you can handle this any way you want, too.
[A wry observation on
If possible, I'd like to stay at the Sheraton because I'm treated well there and they do a good job screening off well-wishers, strangers who claim to be my best friend, kooks who want to assassinate me, and assorted and sundry sycophants who want me to buy oil wells, interest in super markets, and other commercial schemes.
And this personal aside: It'll be a delight sitting down and chatting with you after to these many years. I think that, more than anything, motivates the trip.
Stay in touch, and best to anyone who remembers me.