August 26 Tripleheader

Mystery & Imagination Bookshop weaves together three events on Sunday, August 26 from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

The Devil’s Coattails signing party brings together the story collection’s editors, authors and publishers — William F. Nolan, Sunni K Brock, Jason V Brock, Marc Scott Zicree, R. C. Matheson, Paul G. Bens, Jr., Earl Hamner, Jr., and Paul J. Salamoff.

At the same time some of those same folks, plus others, will participate in “Ray Bradbury: A Celebration of Life” — William F. Nolan, George Clayton Johnson, Marc Scott Zicree, R. C. Matheson, Paul G. Bens, Jr., Earl Hamner, Jr., Stan Freberg, Terence McVicker, Dennis Etchison, Pete Atkinson, and Paul J. Salamoff.

And there will be a simultaneous signing party for The Nefertiti-Tut Express, the last book of Bradbury’s to appear before he left us. Publisher Terence McVicker, the publisher, will be in attendance. The book features illustrations by Gary Gianni.

Mystery & Imagination is located at 238 N. Brand Bl., Glendale, CA 91204.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Tarpinian: Birthday Party for Earl & George

Earl Hamner Jr. and George Clayton Johnson at Mystery & Imagination Bookshop. (Photo by John King Tarpinian.)

By John King Tarpinian: The bookshop, Mystery & Imagination in Glendale, CA, hosted a dual birthday party on July 22 for two Twilight Zone legends, Earl Hamner, Jr. & George Clayton Johnson. The upstairs area of the bookshop was standing room only. Earl wrote eight TZ scripts while George wrote six. Earl and George credited Ray Bradbury for introducing them to Rod Serling.

Both talked about their lengthy careers and even lengthier marriages. They talked about the industry they were swept up in, the lessons they learned along the way.

Earl followed his TZ adventures with the movie, Spencer’s Mountain starring Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara which then turned into the TV show, The Waltons. His next venture was Falcon’s Crest. Earl talked about going to studio meeting now with the “twelve-year-old executives” and how the industry has changed. He read a piece he recently wrote about being eighty-nine years old.

George also talked about his career starting with writing the original Ocean’s Eleven for the RatPack, then his TZ episodes. Among them, working with a very young actor Robert Redford to Jack Klugman and Jonathan Winters. Not to mention Steven Spielberg selected his Kick the Can for the TZ movie. Having the luck of the first aired original Star Trek being his The Man Trap.

There were a few other authors who attended to pay their respects, Peter Atkins (The Hellraiser movies), Horror Writer and TZ radio writer Dennis Etchison, mystery writer and comic expert Michael Mallory.

It was a lovely afternoon honoring two men who have given us so much enjoyment over the decades.

Mystery & Imagination Birthday Bash

Two writers celebrating their birthdays on the 22nd at Mystery & Imagination Bookshop in Glendale – what could be more numerologically significant?

George Clayton Johnson will be 83. Earl Hamner Jr. is turning 89.

They have in common is that both wrote for Twilight Zone.

Johnson also wrote the first aired Star Trek episode, co-authored the novel Logan’s Run, and the script for the original Ocean’s 11.

Hamner wrote for and produced The Waltons and Falcon Crest.

See you July 22, 1-4 p.m., at Mystery and Imagination, 238 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91204

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Photos From the Paperback Show

By John King Tarpinian: On Sunday March 25th I got to play the Author Wrangler for the 33rd Annual Vintage Paperback Collectors Show & Sale in Los Angeles. The show has two major draws, first, the ability to buy vintage dime novels, pulps, comics and magazines. Second, you have the chance to meet some of your favorite authors and get them to sign your books. I am told that there are only two other shows of this type, one in New York and another in the UK.

There were forty-seven dealers selling and forty-four authors greeting their fans and signing books. If you were unable to attend I am sure a goodly number of the books signed are already for sale on eBay.

It is always fun to be able to talk to these authors but I will only highlight a few. We have a couple authors who seem to be connected at the hip. Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. A close third would be buddies Tim Powers and James Blaylock. Tim has a new book out just last week. Nobody came in Steampunk costume to visit with Blaylock.

One of the nicest men you’ll ever meet in the print world or the TV world is Earl Hamner, Jr. (Think Twilight Zone, The Waltons and Falcon Crest) Another jovial man is Peter Atkins, you’d never know he wrote the script and books for the some of Hellraiser series for his buddy Clive Barker. Or Dennis Etchison who wrote the scripts for Halloween II and Halloween III. If you are in the need of an Encyclopedia on Halloween there is the sweet Lisa Morton. Lastly, I’ll highlight Harry Turtledove who is great to joke around with.

We were afraid that most people in the other part of the world call drizzle but us Angelinos call a StormWatch would keep people away but it was the largest turnout recorded.

You can find the complete list of authors who attended here:

[Photos by John King Tarpinian.]

Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven

Ann Bannon and Lisa Morton.

Cody Goodfellow and John Skipp.

Earl Hamner Jr.

Tim Powers and James Blaylock.

Twilight Zone Celebrated
at Mystery & Imagination

The 50th Anniversary of the original Twilight Zone will be celebrated Sunday, December 12 from 2-4 p.m. at Mystery & Imagination Bookshop in Glendale, CA. Six famous Twilight Zone personalities will talk and sign:

  • Marc Zicree, screenwriter and World’s Twilight Zone expert who was put to the test live on NPR  last year;
  • Director Rober Butler (who directed George Takei in the Twilight Zone episode “The Encounter”)
  • Actress Arlene Martell (Twilight Zone, Outer Limits)
  • Dennis Etchison, who wrote over 100 Twilight Zone radio scripts)
  • George Clayton Johnson, who wrote Twilight Zone episodes “The Four of Us Are Dying,” “Execution, “The Prime Mover,” “A Penny for Your Thoughts,” “A Game of Pool” (Jonathan Winters and Jack Klugman), “Nothing in the Dark” (Robert Redford), “Kick the Can” (remade by Steven Spielberg in the Twilight Zone movie), and “Ninety Years Without Slumbering.” 
  • Earl Hamner, Jr., creator of The Waltons and Falcon Crest and writer of Twilight Zone episodes “The Hunt,” “A Piano in the House,” “Jess-Belle, Ring-a-ding Girl” (Carol Burnet), “You Drive,” “Black Leather Jackets,” “Stopover in a Quiet Town” and “The Bewitchin’ Pool” (the last aired episode of Twilight Zone).

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Egyptian Premieres
Charles Beaumont Documentary

Left to Right: John Tomerlin, William F. Nolan, Marc Zicree, Jason Brock, Sunni Brock and George Clayton Johnson.

Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater screened Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man on March 27. On hand were John Tomerlin, William F. Nolan, Marc Zicree, Jason Brock, Sunni Brock and George Clayton Johnson, Earl Hamner Jr. and Norman Corwin.

John King Tarpinian reports:

The premiere of the documentary was well attended with a book signing preceding the 90 minute documentary and a Q&A afterwards. 

John Tomerlin related a story about the time he, Bill Nolan and Charles Beaumont returned to New York from an auto racing event in Nassau with only $1 among them.  At the end of the taxi ride the taxi driver gave them money. 

Bill Nolan related a story about Charles Beaumont and Ray Bradbury. They were driving somewhere around Los Angeles and they passed a cemetery which had a sign out from advertising FREE DIRT. They both agreed that would be a great title for a story. They argued over who should write the story. Beaumont won the coin toss and wrote the story first, years later Ray wrote his story.

Bleeding Edge Signing in Glendale

Seated: Ray Bradbury, Norman Corwin, George Clayton Johnson. Standing: Cody Goodfellow, John Tomerlin, Lisa Morton, Earl Hamner Jr., John Shirley, William J. Nolan. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

Ray Bradbury and many other contributors to the The Bleeding Edge signed copies of the book at the Mystery and Imagination Bookstore in Glendale, CA on February 20.

Stefan Rose posted two YouTube videos of the event. In the first Ray Bradbury arrives and greets Norman Corwin. The second scans the writers assembled around the autograph tables

John King Tarpinian notes, “Very nice event. The only ones missing in action were Richard and R.C. Matheson due to their having forgotten that it was Richard’s birthday when they committed to attend. Darn. We hope that he will be making it to the Charles Beaumont documentary premiere next month. Everybody else listed on the flyer was in attendance plus John Shirley came down from the Bay Area.” 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Honoring Twilight Zone at the Egyptian

The 50th anniversary of Twilight Zone will be celebrated at American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre on October 30th (click link and scroll to bottom of page), with showings of Emmy-winning episodes and discussions with Carol Serling (schedule permitting), Richard Matheson, Earl Hamner Jr., George Clayton Johnson, H.M. Wynant, Robert Butler, and Arlene Martel.

Marc Scott Zicree, author of The Twilight Zone Companion, told the Los Angeles Times:

“He created a new form of television… Science fiction was basically viewed as kids’ stuff,” [Zicree] says. “There is a great interview that Mike Wallace did with Rod just prior to ‘The Twilight Zone’ where he says to Rod, ‘Now you are doing this kind of kids’ stuff, are you giving up writing anything important?'”

Among the episodes tentatively scheduled to screen Friday are: “It’s a Good Life,” by Serling, starring Billy Mumy as a 6-year-old boy who is a little monster; “Kick the Can”; “The Howling Man,” by Beaumont, about a scholar who unleashes the devil; “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” by Matheson, about a young man (Shatner) recovering from a nervous breakdown who sees a monster on the wing of the airplane; and Serling’s “Time Enough at Last,” about a bookish man who survives a nuclear holocaust.

Happy Birthday, Twilight Zone Writers!

George Clayton Johnson and Earl Hamner, Jr. not only have in common the fame of having written memorable scripts for television’s The Twilight Zone, they also share a July 10 birthday. Best wishes to them both!

The Twilight Zone episodes written or co-written by George Clayton Johnson are “The Four of Us Are Dying” (1960), “Execution” (1960), “A Penny for Your Thoughts” (1961), “The Prime Mover” (1961), “A Game of Pool” (1961), “Nothing in the Dark” (1962), “Kick the Can” (1962), “Ninety Years Without Slumbering” (1963), and “A Game of Pool” (1989).

Earl Hamner, Jr.s Twilight Zone credits are “The Hunt” (1962), “A Piano in the House” (1962), “Jess-Belle” (1963), “Ring-a-Ding Girl“, (1963), “You Drive” (1964), “Black Leather Jackets” (1964), “Stopover in a Quiet Town” (1964), “The Bewitchin’ Pool” (1964)

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]