Monday, June 24, 2013
Never to be forgotten:
Richard Matheson 1926-2013
Richard Matheson was born on February 20, 1926, the same year the magazine Amazing Stories was first published. It's nearly meaningless to call the science fiction writers of the fifties and sixties "prolific", because if they weren't prolific, they either starved or were forgotten and found other work.
Matheson wrote sixteen scripts for the original Twilight Zone and one of the segments for Twilight Zone: The Movie. He wrote an episode of the original Star Trek, "The Enemy Within". He wrote scripts for non-genre TV shows like Combat! and Have Gun, Will Travel, still one of my favorite titles for a TV series ever.
He wrote the short story and the screenplay for a 1971 ABC Movie of the Week titled Duel starring Dennis Weaver. It was the first big break for a kid director named Steven Spielberg. Spielberg returned the favor later, hiring Matheson to write for several of his productions, including the Amazing Stories TV anthology.
You might think I would end this eulogy with his work The Incredible Shrinking Man as a shout out to My People and Our Agenda. But any fair observer would say that his 1954 novel I Am Legend is the starting point for the genre of stories now called Zombie Apocalypse and in 2013, this is his great addition to the field.
Richard Matheson gave us thrills and chills and he made us think. You cannot ask more from a writer of science fiction and fantasy.
Richard Matheson died on Sunday, 23 June 2013. May he never be forgotten.