Los Angeles Morgue Files: “Twilight Zone” Writer Charles Beaumont 1967…

image

Charles Beaumont (January 2, 1929 – February 21, 1967) was a prolific American author of speculative fiction, including short stories in the horror and science fiction subgenres. He is remembered as a writer of classic Twilight Zone episodes, such as “The Howling Man,” “Miniature,” and “Printer’s Devil,” but also penned the screenplays for several films, among them 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, The Intruder and The Masque of the Red Death. As best-selling novelist Dean R. Koontz has said, “[Charles Beaumont was] one of the seminal influences on writers of the fantastic and macabre.” Beaumont is also the subject of a documentary, Charles Beaumont: The Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man, by Jason V Brock.

image

Illness and death

When Beaumont was 34 and overwhelmed by numerous writing commitments, he began to suffer the effects of what has been called “a mysterious brain disease.” He began to age rapidly. His speech slowed and his ability to concentrate diminished.

image

“He was rarely well,” his friend and colleague William F. Nolan (who went on to co-write the science fiction novel Logan’s Run) would later recall. “He was almost always thin, and with a headache. He used Bromo-Seltzer like most people use water. He had a big Bromo bottle with him all the time.” Other symptoms were of the professional as well as physical persuasion, Nolan went on: “He could barely sell stories, much less write. He would go unshaven to meetings with producers, which would end in disaster. You’ve got to be able to think on your feet [as a script writer], which Chuck couldn’t do anymore; and so the producers would just go, ‘We’re sorry, Mr. Beaumont, but we don’t like the script.'”

image

Some (including friend and early agent Forrest J Ackerman) have asserted that Beaumont suffered simultaneously from Alzheimer’s and Pick’s diseases, but it has also been speculated that the condition was related to the spinal meningitis he suffered as a child. The former diagnosis was echoed by the UCLA Medical Staff, who subjected Beaumont to a battery of tests in the mid-1960s. As recalled by Nolan, the UCLA doctors sent Beaumont home with a death sentence: “There’s absolutely no treatment for this disease. It’s permanent and it’s terminal. He’ll probably live from six months to three years with it. He’ll decline and get to where he can’t stand up. He won’t feel any pain. In fact, he won’t even know this is happening.” Nolan himself sums up what happened: “Like his character ‘Walter Jameson,’ Chuck just dusted away.”

image

Several fellow writers, including Nolan and friend Jerry Sohl, began ghostwriting for Beaumont in his final years, so that he could meet his many writing obligations. Privately, he insisted on splitting these fees.

image

Charles Beaumont died in Woodland Hills, California at the age of 38. But at that time, said his son Christopher later, “he looked ninety-five and was, in fact, ninety-five by every calendar except the one on your watch.” Beaumont’s last residence was in nearby Valley Village, California. He left behind his devoted wife Helen, and two sons and two daughters. One son died in 2004 of eerily similar circumstances. The other, Christopher, is a successful writer in his own right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Fernando_Mission_Cemetery
Charles Beaumont is buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery.

image

Like a Dead Man Walking, by William F. Nolan, Centipede Press,…

Like a Dead Man Walking, by William F. Nolan, Centipede Press, 2014. Cover art by David Ho, info and preview: centipedepress.com.

Like a Dead Man Walking, by William F. Nolan, Centipede Press, 2014. Cover art by David Ho, info and preview: centipedepress.com.

“Sherlock Holmes…Interdimensional demons…Aliens…Killers and child predators…Time travelers…Vampires…Even the end of the world, in more ways than one…All are contained within these pages. From the darkest corners of imagination to the precipice of human achievement, William F. Nolan delivers the goods in this assortment of recent works: his first all-new collection in his long and storied career. Working with editor Jason V Brock (Milton’s Children), Nolan brings to shocking life not only debauched murderers and depraved loners, but also fascinating portraits of personal reflection; the heroes of yore in poetry; pages from Nolan’s notebook; and an exclusive, intimate interview with his beloved friend, the late Richard Matheson (I Am Legend). Centipede Press is pleased and proud to offer this fantastic new assemblage of tales from an acknowledged master of the dark fantasy and science fiction genres, complete with insights into the stories, and a probing intrtoduction from editor Brock: This is not only Nolan’s most recent collection, but likely his very best. Come along for the ride and discover things that may (or may not) be Like a Dead Man Walking…You are sure to enjoy the journey. This signed limited edition is just 300 copies. The dustjacket is the work of David Ho. Each copy is signed by William F. Nolan, Jason V Brock, and David Ho.”

10:00 am |

Gennaio 26 2014

| 2 note

Recensione Di The Devil’s Coattails More Dispatches From The Dark Fron…

image

The Devil’s Coattails

William F. Nolan and Jason V. Brock

Cycatrix Press

2011

288 pagine

$39.95

Consiglio questa raccolta di racconti a coloro che sono in grado di leggere in inglese (purtroppo, come tutte le produzioni originali e interessanti, non è ancora uscita in italiano).
The Devil”s Coattails, curata da William F. Nolan e Jason Brock, ha un’introduzione firmata da S.T. Joshi, autore di molti studi critici e letterari, come The Weird Tale (1990). Al suo interno troviamo delle perle come un racconto di Ramsey Campbell, The Moons, una simbolica e terribile metafora dell’infanzia vista come periodo dell’esplorazione.
In Object Lesson, Jason Brock affronta il difficile tema dell’eutanasia con struggente delicatezza.
È presente un breve racconto di Dan O’Bannon, Invocation, sul tema dell’invocazione diabolica, puro orrore condensato in poche righe.
In Gunboat Whores, John Shirley immagina un episodio della vita del celebre pistolero Wyatt Earp.
William F. Nolan, in Dread Voyage, rielabora il tema epico classico.
Melanie Tema, in Best friends, è un racconto melanconico e amaro sul tema della perdita.
Il racconto breve Night Food, di Jerry E. Airth, parla di donne zanzare che seducono e uccidono uomini, ma alcuni hanno imparato a difendersi da esse, mentre in Too Good to be Human di J. Brundage, troviamo al bizzarra storia di Athena, una donna con tre braccia che lavora in un ufficio e viene vessata dai colleghi.
Il racconto di James Robert Smith, On the First Day, affronta anch’esso la tematica diabolica, dando un’interpretazione da brividi e insolita sul concetto di Dio.
Barrels Ready di Norman Corwin è invece un breve saggio su un personaggio del passato conosciuto dall’autore, intriso da una forte nostalgia, mentre Cattiwampus Steve Rasnic Tem si basa su un racconto popolare degli Appalachi, rielaborandolo in modo originale.
Troviamo inoltre uno scritto di Richard Christian Matheson (memorabile autore da poco scomparso), Interrogation, denso di significati nella sua brevità.
The Woods Colt di Earl Hamner Jr. è la storia di una casa infestata e di segreti di famiglia che riemergono.
Dying to Forget è un racconto di Sunni K. Brock che affronta i temi della morte e della rinascita, mentre Invisible di Nancy Kilpatrick è una ghost-story che parla di una macchina fotografica in grado di mostrare la presenza di spettri.
Can You Imagine di Paul Salamoff è un poema che immagina una società libera dalla tecologia, mentre A New Anthology Series – Knife Through the Veil di Marc Scott Zicree è una sceneggiatura che l’autore ha presentato alla CBS come episodio per Twilight Zone TV Show, ma che fu rifiutata perché ritenuta troppo violenta.
The Hidden Realm è un racconto di W.H. Pugmire e Maryanna K. Snyder in cui s’immagina che Oscar Wilde sia terrorizzato da una strega che incontra per la strada, e il suo amico pittore Frank Miles abbia visioni demoniache.
If You Love Me di Paul G. Bens Jr racconta la storia di un omosessuale che chiama il 911 a causa della morte del suo compagno.
Ritengo si tratti di un’antologia interessante, con racconti insoliti e con un buon livello generale.
Da consigliare vivamente a chi ama il genere fantastico, le atmosfere perturbanti, ma sempre con una certa raffinatezza e cura formale.

Prohibited.
%d bloggers like this: