“Twilight Zone” Mastermind On Why Your Lying Child Is Destined For Genius (Or Jail)

PBS Digital Studios animated a 53-year-old interview with Rod Serling in which he talks about childhood creativity.

“Twilight Zone” Mastermind On Why Your Lying Child Is Destined For Genius (Or Jail)

“Some liars go to prison, others write television shows,” said Rod Serling. Luckily for TV history, Serling falls into the latter camp—he created the kooky science fiction series The Twilight Zone in 1959.


That quote comes from an interview Serling did with an Australian radio station in 1963. More than 50 years later, PBS Digital Studios has animated that interview as part of its Blank on Blank series.

Serling’s edition is called Rod Serling on Kamikazes. In the interview, he talks about how Japanese taxis were sometimes called kamikazes because of how dangerous they were. He also praises young people for their “unfettered” imaginations—which in his case, manifested itself in lots of lying as a child.

His stories of making up defenses during childhood play (a spontaneous shield or trapdoor to protect from an imaginary shootout, for example) bring up an interesting question: do children who lie, or more nicely, make up things, become more creative adults?

Researchers have been trying to figure this out for years, often coming out with evidence that kids who can lie successfully might just end up more, well, successful. A 2010 Toronto University study says that youngsters who tell fibs early on show evidence of faster cognitive development.

But, as Serling reminds us, it really can go either way.

Watch the quirkily animated interview below.

About the author

P. Claire Dodson is an editorial assistant at Fast Company. Follow her on Twitter: @Claire_ifying.