Rod Serling talks to Mike Wallace about sponsors and censorship on TV.
Mike Wallace: You can understand the position of the sponsor, can’t you?
Rod Serling: In many ways I suppose I can. He’s there to push a product.
Mike Wallace: He has a considerable stake, thus, in what goes on the air.
Rod Serling: Most assuredly, and in those cases where there is a problem of public taste, in which there is a concern for eliciting negative response from a large mass of people, I can understand why the guys are frightened. I don’t understand, Mike, for example, other evidences and instances of intrusion by sponsors. For example, on Playhouse 90, not a year ago, a lovely show called Judgment at Nuremberg, I think probably one of the most competently done and artistically done pieces that 90’s done all year. In it, as you recall, mention was made of gas chambers and the line was deleted, cut off the soundtrack. And it mattered little to these guys that the gas involved in concentration camps was cyanide, which bore no resemblance, physical or otherwise, to the gas used in stoves. They cut the line.
Mike Wallace: Because the sponsor was…
Rod Serling: Did not want that awful association made between what was the horror and the misery of Nazi Germany with the nice chrome wonderfully antiseptically clean beautiful kitchen appliances that they were selling. Now this is an example of sponsor interference which is so beyond logic and which is so beyond taste—this I rebel against.