George Clayton Johnson

George Clayton Johnson (July 10, 1929 – December 25, 2015) was an American science fiction writer, who co-wrote with William F. Nolan the novel Logan's Run, the basis for the MGM 1976 film. He also wrote television scripts for The Twilight Zone (including "Nothing in the Dark", "Kick the Can", "A Game of Pool", and "A Penny for Your Thoughts"), and the first telecast episode of Star Trek, entitled "The Man Trap".[1] He also wrote the story and screenplay[2] on which the 1960 and 2001 films Ocean's Eleven were based.

George Clayton Johnson
Johnson in 2006
Johnson in 2006
Born(1929-07-10)July 10, 1929
Cheyenne, Wyoming, U.S.
DiedDecember 25, 2015(2015-12-25) (aged 86)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Science fiction
  • magical realism
  • fantasy
  • literary
  • Western
  • horror
Years active1959–2015
Notable works
Notable awards
  • Inkpot Award (1976)
  • Balrog Award (1983)
Lola Johnson
(m. 1952)

Early life edit

Johnson was born in a barn in Cheyenne, Wyoming,[3] was forced to repeat the sixth grade, and dropped out of school entirely in the eighth. He briefly served as a telegraph operator and draftsman in the United States Army, then enrolled at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) under the G.I. Bill, but quit to return to his travels around the U.S., working as a draftsman, before becoming a writer.[4]

Writing career edit

"For me, fantasy must be about something, otherwise it's foolishness ... ultimately it must be about human beings, it must be about the human condition, it must be another look at infinity, it must be another way of seeing the paradox of existence."[5]

—Johnson quoted in The Twilight Zone Companion

In 1959, Johnson wrote the story "I'll Take Care of You" for Alfred Hitchcock Presents. From 1959 onward, Johnson's work began to regularly appear in magazines such as Playboy, Los Angeles, The Twilight Zone Magazine, Rogue, and Gamma, and he began to write stories and scripts for TV. In 1960, he co-wrote the treatment (with Jack Golden Russell) for the Rat Pack film Ocean's 11, although most of the details were changed for the actual film.[6] Later, Johnson joined the Southern California School of Writers that included, among others, William F. Nolan, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury.[7]

Through them he met Rod Serling, to whom he sold his story "All of Us Are Dying", which was produced as "The Four of Us Are Dying", scripted by Serling. Eventually, after selling other stories and having them scripted by other writers for the show, Johnson asked Serling to let him attempt a teleplay for the series, which was "A Penny for Your Thoughts". Later, after completing more scripts for The Twilight Zone, he worked as a writer for other television series, including Honey West, Wanted Dead or Alive, Route 66 and Kung Fu. Johnson also wrote the Star Trek episode "The Man Trap", which was the first episode telecast.[8] Johnson briefly had a L.A.-based radio program called "The Writer and the Story" which featured interviews with authors, including Charles Beaumont and William F. Nolan.[9] As his career progressed, Johnson formed, in the 1960s, a loose, short-lived federation with fellow authors and friends Matheson, Theodore Sturgeon, and others called "The Green Hand". The intent was to leverage their works in the fashion of a union within the Hollywood system for TV production. Unfortunately, the enterprise fell apart after a few months.[10] In his later years, he wrote comic books and was a frequent guest at science fiction and comics conventions. Johnson co-created the comic book series Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology with cartoonist and author Jay Allen Sanford.[7]

Personal life edit

Johnson married Lola Brownstein on October 10, 1952, in Los Angeles, and fathered two children, Paul and Judy.[4][7][11] He was a vocal advocate for the legalization of marijuana.[7] Along with his writing output, Johnson was instrumental to the early development of San Diego Comic Con.[12] He was also a longtime vegetarian.[10]

Death edit

Johnson died on Christmas Day 2015,[11][13][14] of bladder and prostate cancer at a Veterans Administration Medical Center hospital in North Hills, California.[15] He is interred at Riverside National Cemetery.

Partial bibliography edit

Novels edit

  • Ocean's 11 (1960) – Novelization (based on the story by George Clayton Johnson and Jack Golden Russell and screenplay by "George Johnson")[3]
The Logan series
  • Logan's Run (1967) – Novel (with William F. Nolan)[3]
  • Jessica's Run: A New Sequel for the Logan's Run Universe (George Clayton Johnson's long rumored personal sequel to Logan's Run said to be "in development";[16] yet to be published)

Television and film scripts edit

Alfred Hitchcock Presents edit

  • "I'll Take Care of You" (1959; story by)[14]

The Twilight Zone edit

Route 66 edit

  • "Eleven, the Hard Way" (1961; written by)[18]

Honey West edit

  • "The Flame and the Pussycat" (1965; teleplay)[14]

Star Trek edit

Kung Fu edit

  • "The Demon God" (1974; teleplay)[18]

Film, TV and documentary appearances edit

Fiction collections edit

  • Writing for The Twilight Zone (Outre House, 1980)[22]
  • George Clayton Johnson Twilight Zone Scripts & Stories (Streamline Pictures, 1996)[23]
  • All of Us Are Dying and Other Stories (Subterranean Press, 1999)[24]

Awards and nominations edit

Year Association Category Work Result ref
1976 Inkpot Award Lifetime achievement Won [25]
Nebula Award Nebula Award for Best Script Logan's Run Nominated [26]
1977 Hugo Award Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation Logan's Run Nominated [27]
1980 Balrog Award Best works and achievements of speculative fiction A Penny For Your Thoughts (The Twilight Zone) (S 2:Ep 16) Nominated [28]
Nothing in the Dark (The Twilight Zone) (S 3:Ep 16) Nominated [28]
1981 Sea Change (The Twilight Zone)1 Nominated [28]
1982 All of Us Are Dying (Twilight Zone May 1982)2 Won [28]
  1. ^ Unused script by Johnson not selected for the original television series.[29]
  2. ^ Story was turned into a teleplay by Serling to the episode named The Four of Us Are Dying.[30]

Further reading edit

  • Cushman, Marc; Osborn, Susan (2013). These are the Voyages: TOS, Season One. San Diego, CA: Jacobs Brown Press. ISBN 978-0-989-23811-3.

References edit

  1. ^ "George Clayton Johnson 1929—2015". Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  2. ^ "WBMT Literary, Film and Television represents the Literary Estate of George Clayton Johnson". Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "WBMT Literary Film and Television". Agent's Website. September 19, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Rogers, John (December 25, 2015). "'Logan's Run' Co-Author George Clayton Johnson Dead at 86". ABC News. ABC. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  5. ^ "George Clayton Johnson, Quotes". Good Reads. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "George Clayton Johnson". Emmy TV Legends. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d "George Clayton Johnson, Writer of First 'Star Trek' Episode, Dies at 86". NBCUniversal. Reuters. December 25, 2015. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  8. ^ Cushman & Osborn (2013): p. 176
  9. ^ Charles Beaumont: The Life of Twilight Zone's Magic Man [user-generated source]
  10. ^ a b "Dark Discoveries – Issue #14". Journal Store. March 30, 2015. Archived from the original on December 27, 2015. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  11. ^ a b "George Clayton Johnson". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  12. ^ "George Clayton Johnson, R.I.P." News From Me. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (December 25, 2015). "George Clayton Johnson, Writer of First 'Star Trek' Episode, Dies at 86". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d Barnes, Mike. "George Clayton Johnson, 'Twilight Zone' and 'Star Trek' Writer, Dies at 86". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  15. ^ Derschowitz, Jessica. "George Clayton Johnson, Star Trek and The Twilight Zone writer, dies at 86". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  16. ^ "Jessica's Run". Archived from the original on February 4, 2015.
  17. ^ "Logan's Run author George Clayton Johnson dies at 86". BBC News. December 27, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d McNary, Dave (December 26, 2015). "Writer of first 'Star Trek' episode, George Clayton Johnson, dies at 86". Zap2it. Archived from the original on December 27, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  19. ^ "The Twilight Zone Vortex: "The Prime Mover"". July 4, 2014.
  20. ^ Sandford, Jay Allen (September 5, 2007). "Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology: Inside Story of a Local Twilight Zone Spin-Off". San Diego Reader. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  21. ^ a b c "George Clayton Johnson (1929–2015)". December 26, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  22. ^ "George Clayton Johnson". Science Fiction Awards Database. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  23. ^ "Twilight Zone (television program)". Writers Guild Foundation. Archived from the original on January 30, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  24. ^ "All of Us Are Dying and Other Stories". Subterranean Press. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  25. ^ Hahn, Joel (ed.). "Inkpot Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on November 30, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  26. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1977 Nebula Awards". Locus. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  27. ^ "1977 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  28. ^ a b c d "George Clayton Johnson". Science Fiction Awards Database. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  29. ^ "Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine". The Twilight Zone Vortex. January 27, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  30. ^ "The Four of Us Are Dying". The Twilight Zone Vortex. November 9, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2015.

External links edit