It may feel like we're currently in the Twilight Zone — (be careful not to break your glasses, by the way) — and that feeling may only intensify on March 25. Why? Because that night, when we would otherwise be preparing for Opening Day, Cincinnati's WVXU-FM will be streaming Rod Serling's radio drama, "O’Toole From Moscow."
Written in 1955 — four years before "The Twilight Zone" debuted — the show is set during the Cold War and follows a Soviet Embassy worker who loves the Brooklyn Dodgers and skips town with a "comrade who suddenly becomes the greatest slugger ever for the Cincinnati Reds" — no word on if this slugger also ripped off his sleeves the way Ted Kluszewski did.
Rod Serling's "O'Toole From Moscow" aired only once on NBC in 1955.
It was not filmed or recorded. But now…
…it's coming to life on our airwaves thanks to the talents of @UC_CCM, @TVKiese, @TheRedKeys, and others!
Details here: https://t.co/HrBliAoDWR
3/25 at 8 PM! pic.twitter.com/7FLHwiw7fr
— 91.7 WVXU (@917wvxu) March 18, 2020
(It's a good time to remind you that the Reds reverted to the Redlegs in 1953 because of anti-communist sentiment.)
The drama, which featured an appearance from Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher, only aired once on NBC, and no recordings were ever made. Fortunately, Cincinnati journalist John Kiesewetter managed to hunt down the original script, and then edit it into a radio drama. With help from actors at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Anne Serling — Rod's daughter — to provide the narration, the show was recorded in November and now awaits its debut.
A dream come true for me, 30 years in the making! And it will be great to hear sounds of baseball on the radio again… in this revival of a 1955 Rod Serling comedy in which a Russian embassy worker plays outfield for the #Reds. 8pm Weds March 25 on @917wvxu https://t.co/ikeRWNKMFu
— John Kiesewetter (@TVKiese) March 15, 2020
This wasn't the only baseball-themed episode that Serling ever wrote, of course. The 35th episode of "The Twilight Zone" featured a robot baseball player named Casey that dominates batters with an unbeatable fastball. But after he's given a heart that allows him to continue playing, he's too upset to continue playing. If you're a CBS All Access member, you can watch the episode here.
"When my agent said anything about a Twilight Zone, I said, 'Oh, God, take it'. I didn't even have to read it." — Jack Warden, star of two TZs: "The Lonely" and "The Mighty Casey" pic.twitter.com/ZywXxOULP8
— The Twilight Zone (@TheNightGallery) June 26, 2019
You can tune in for "O'Toole from Moscow" at 8 p.m. ET on March 25 at 91.7 FM in the Cincinnati area, or online at wvxu.org.