Tarpinian: Trekkers United

Sean Kenney, Michael Mallory and Arlene Martel at Myster & Imagination Books.

By John King Tarpinian: Sunday afternoon, December 2, there was a mini Star Trek/Twilight Zone/Outer Limits/SyFy Channel book signing and talk. (Whew) Science Fiction Historian Michael Mallory who has a new book, The Science Fiction Universe and Beyond, played host to Sean Kenney, Captain Pike: Found Alive!, and Arlene Martel, Mixed Messages.

Sean Kenney is best known as having played Captain Pike, in the wheelchair, in the Star Trek “Menagerie” two part episode. Sean was very personable and entertaining. Best known as Captain Pike he also was part of the original command crew…eventually replaced by Walter Koenig because the studio wanted a Davey Jones type character. He went on to say that was lucky for him as he was never type-cast as many of the actors became. One bit of interesting trivia was that when doing the makeup for Captain Pike they were having trouble with the appliances staying on. To solve the problem the assistant makeup man cut out a piece from his blue jeans and that is what is on Captain Pike’s face.

If you want to feel old, Sean was 24 when he was in “The Menagerie” which was 46 years ago. This week Sean will be 70 years old.

Arlene, best known as Spock’s betrothed, talked about her career. She knew and was friends with such icons as James Dean and Marlon Brando. Arlene has one of the most classic lines in any Twilight Zone when she utters, “Room for one more, Honey.” My favorite Outer Limits was written by Harlan Ellison, “Demon with a Glass Hand,” where she played Consuela opposite Robert Culp.

Michael Mallory has his hands in many pots. He writes mysteries, is an expert in pop culture and animation. He can write from the perspective Sherlock Holmes’s Doctor Watson’s second wife (try to follow that logic) to X-men and the Marvel universe. Then there is his acting career and writer for the likes of William Shatner when he hosts award shows. Michael has hosted the Annie Awards which are the Oscars of animation.

Even with the day having something we in Southern California call rain that most the rest of the country calls drizzle there was a nice attendance with good questions being asked of the panel with equally good answers.

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.