Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Twilight Zone Marathon Starts Tonight

It starts in under 10 minutes and ends at noon on Sunday so I won't be back until Monday. Sorry.

"George Clayton Johnson, 86; coauthor of ‘Logan’s Run’" by John Rogers Associated Press  December 28, 2015

LOS ANGELES — George Clayton Johnson, the legendary science-fiction writer who wrote the first ‘‘Star Trek’’ television episode and several classic stories for the popular 1960s TV show ‘‘The Twilight Zone,’’ died on Christmas Day. He was 86.

Mr. Johnson, who also coauthored the dark futuristic tale ‘‘Logan’s Run,’’ died of cancer in Los Angeles on Friday, said his son, Paul B. Johnson.

‘‘Please emphasize how much he loved his fans, and judging by the overwhelming response I’ve received, from hundreds of people, known and unknown, he made quite an impact on them,’’ said his son, who has been deluged with calls, e-mails, and social media postings in recent days.

Although not widely known outside of science-fiction circles, Mr. Johnson was revered among fans of the genre for his work. A popular figure at science-fiction conventions for decades, the soft-spoken but friendly author was instantly recognizable for his long, flowing white hair and beard, as well as what might best be described as his hippie attire.

Mr. Johnson’s best-known science-fiction work was probably ‘‘Logan’s Run,’’ coauthored as a novel with William F. Nolan in 1967 and released as a film in 1976.

The dystopian story envisions a futuristic society in which young people live idyllic lives inside an enclosed dome but with one catch — they are executed when they turn 30.

One of them, Logan, is a so-called ‘‘sandman’’ whose job is to track down and kill those who attempt to avoid their ritualistic executions. His superiors, curious why the others want to run away, falsify his personal records, advancing his age to 29, then send him off to find those who don’t return.

The book was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film starring Michael York as Logan and Jenny Agutter as a fellow runner. It also included a brief but memorable appearance by a young Farrah Fawcett. It was followed by a short-lived TV series, and for years there has been talk of a remake.

Before ‘‘Logan’s Run,’’ Mr. Johnson also created several of the best episodes of “The Twilight Zone.’’

One that dealt poignantly with aging was ‘‘Kick the Can,’’ in which a group of elderly rest-home residents turn back their biological clocks and relive their childhoods by playing that simple children’s game.

‘‘Nothing in the Dark,’’ which starred a young Robert Redford as a kindly version of the Grim Reaper, was one of Mr. Johnson’s favorite stories, according to his son. In it Redford’s character has arrived to take an elderly woman, but he doesn’t reveal himself until he’s assured her that death is nothing to fear.

I will be looking for them in the episode guide.

Mr. Johnson’s most prominent mainstream work was ‘‘Ocean’s 11,’’ the 1960 film about a Las Vegas casino heist that starred Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack buddies Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Peter Lawford. He and fellow writer Jack Golden Russell created the story, which has resulted so far in a remake and two sequels, each starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

In 1966, Mr. Johnson wrote ‘‘The Man Trap,’’ the premiere episode of ‘‘Star Trek,’’ which introduced audiences to the crew of the USS Enterprise, including now-familiar characters Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock.

In addition to his son, Mr. Johnson leaves his wife, Lola, and a daughter, Judy Olive.


Live long and prosper, dear readers.

NDU: The notable figures who died in 2015

I've already moved on and am looking forward to the New Year.