Originally an airplane mechanic in San Francisco, Johnson took on the running of the Society from Samuel Shenton on the latter's death in 1972, from his base on a ranch near Edwards Air Force Base.
In one of Johnson's obituaries, Tim Bullamore wrote, "Although the world at large was slow to accept his work, Johnson remained cheerful and unruffled. He enjoyed smoking a cigar while watching the sun set over the flat desert. He was regularly interviewed by curious journalists and was often invited to speak about his subject. He received large quantities of mail, not all of it ridiculing his work, and on one occasion he starred in an ice-cream advertisement."