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.