Ib Melchior with his wife, Cleo Baldon
|Born||Ib Jørgen Melchior
September 17, 1917
|Died||March 14, 2015 (aged 97)
West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
|Occupation||novelist, short-story writer, film producer, film director, screenwriter|
Ib Jørgen Melchior (September 17, 1917 – March 14, 2015) was a novelist, short-story writer, film producer, film director, and screenwriter of low-budget American science fiction movies, most of them released by American International Pictures. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Fiction and non-fiction
Melchior's novels include Code Name: Grand Guignol, Eva, The Haigerloch Project, The Marcus Device, Order of Battle: Hitler's Werewolves, Sleeper Agent, The Tombstone Cipher and The Watchdogs of Abaddon.
His non-fiction includes the books Quest: Searching for Germany's Nazi Past (with co-author Frank Brandenburg) and Lauritz Melchior: The Golden Years of Bayreuth, the latter a biography of his father, the opera singer and movie star Lauritz Melchior. In 1993 Melchior published an account of his career as a staff sergeant with the US Counterintelligence Corps during World War II, Case by Case: A U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent in World War II. With his wife, L.A. architect Cleo Baldon, Ib Melchior wrote the non-fiction books Reflections on the Pool: California Designs for Swimming and Steps & Stairways.
Melchior also wrote Hour of Vengeance, a play based on the Viking story of Amled that also inspired William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. In 1982, it was awarded the Hamlet Award for best playwriting by the Shakespeare Society of America.
Films and television
As a filmmaker, Melchior wrote and directed The Angry Red Planet (1959) and The Time Travelers (1964). His most high profile credit was as co-screenwriter (along with John C. Higgins) of Byron Haskin's critically acclaimed Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964). He cowrote the screenplays for two U.S.-Danish coproductions, Reptilicus (1961) and Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962), and provided the English language script for Mario Bava's Planet of the Vampires (1965).
Melchior's short story The Racer was adapted as Paul Bartel's cult film favorite, Death Race 2000 (1975), starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone and produced by Roger Corman. It was later remade as Death Race (2008), starring Jason Statham and Joan Allen, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and produced by Tom Cruise.
He claims to be the creator of the original idea upon which Irwin Allen based his television series Lost in Space, although he never received onscreen credit for this. In 1960, Melchior had created an outline for a series he called "Space Family Robinson", which later became a Gold Key comic book. Ed Shifres' book Lost in Space: The True Story is a detailed documentation of how Irwin Allen allegedly plagiarized Melchior's script, with the two outlines presented side by side.
Decades later, Prelude Pictures hired Melchior as a consultant on its Lost in Space feature film adaptation, but later sold his contract to New Line Cinema, its production partner on the film. New Line agreed to pay Melchior a $75,000 production bonus and $15,000, but refused him his contractually promised two percent of the producer's gross receipts from the film.
Melchior, who was a decorated war hero of World War II, served in the US Counterintelligence Corps and participated in the liberation of Flossenbürg concentration camp as well as the discovery of stolen currency, gold and art at Merkers-Kieselbach Cavern, and the capture of a Werwolf unit in 1945, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star. He has also been involved in a long legal battle involving his father's estate, Chossewitz in Brandenburg, Germany, which was confiscated by the communist government of East Germany and never returned.
In 1965, he was dubbed Knight Commander of the Militant Order of Saint Bridget of Sweden.
In 1976, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films awarded Ib Melchior its Golden Scroll Award of Merit for Outstanding Achievement.
Biographies include Ib Melchior: Man of Imagination by Robert Skotak, as well as Melchior's own autobiography Case by Case: A U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent in World War II.
Melchior died on March 14, 2015 at the age of 97.
- Melchior, Ib. Case by Case: A U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent in World War II. Presidio Press, 1993. ISBN 978-0891414445
- "Ib Melchior v. New Line Productions, Inc. (2003) [ Cal.App.4th ]". findlaw.com. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- George Dyer, XII Corps: Spearhead of Patton's Third Army, Ch. 16 – AUSTRIA AND VE-DAY. 22 APRIL 45 – 9 MAY 45
- Melchior Versus Germany. Legal document related to Chossewitz.
- Mike Barnes. "Ib Melchior Dead: 'Robinson Crusoe on Mars' Screenwriter Was 97". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- Monster Bash Magazine 2007 no. 6 "The Man From Angry Red Planet Ib Melchior" interview by Lawrence Fultz Jr.
- Planet X Magazine October 2000 Vol. 1 No.4 "Return To The Angry Red Planet" by David C. Hayes
- Ib Melchior at the Internet Movie Database
- A documentary film on the life of famed Hollywood director IB Melchior on YouTube.
- Ib Melchior's author page on Goodreads.
- Trailers from Melchior's best-known films, with his own commentary.
- Unproduced screenplays.