Johnny Smith (Dead Zone)
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2011)|
|First appearance||"Wheel of Fortune (Part 1)"|
|Created by||Stephen King
|Portrayed by||Christopher Walken (film)
Anthony Michael Hall (TV series)
Evan Smith (9)
|Family||John Smith (grandfather, deceased)
Herbert Smith (father, thought deceased, but found alive in Series finale)
Vera Smith (mother, deceased)
J. J. Bannerman (son)
John "Johnny" Smith is a fictional character and the protagonist of Stephen King's 1979 novel The Dead Zone. He is portrayed by Christopher Walken in the film adaptation and Anthony Michael Hall in the USA Network television series.
In the novel, Johnny Smith is an English teacher in New England, the only slight mar in his past being a fall on an ice rink when he was six years old in 1953 which he barely even remembered as an adult. After a date with his girlfriend Sarah to a county fair, he is caught in a car crash when sends him into a coma for four and a half years until May 17, 1975. When he regains consciousness, Johnny and his doctors swiftly discover that, apparently due to seemingly minor brain damage sustained while he was in his coma, a long-dormant part of his brain relating to touch has been reactivated, granting him the ability to touch people and objects and learn something about their pasts or futures.
While he initially desires to use these powers for good, such as to warn a woman that her kitchen is on fire, Johnny eventually denies their existence, the only exception being when he is contacted by a sheriff seeking assistance in tracking a serial killer. After finding the killer, Johnny goes into semi-retirement once again, taking a job as a private tutor when he finds himself unable to return to his old teaching job on the grounds that he is 'too controversial' to be an educator.
During a political rally, he shakes hands with candidate Greg Stillson and foresees an apocalyptic future that would take place if Stillson won the election. Although reluctant to resort to murder, Johnny's hand is forced when he discovers that he has developed a tumor as a result of his accident, leaving him with a short time to live. With no hope of gathering evidence to expose Stillson's threat in the time left to him, Johnny instead attempts to shoot him at a press conference. Although Stillson survives and Johnny is killed by his security force, Stillson's reaction to the attack — trying to use a child as a shield — ruins his political career. Johnny reassures himself of this by grabbing Stillson's leg briefly before he dies.
TV Show 
In the television series Johnny was introduced in the pilot episode, "Wheel of Fortune (Part 1)". Born John Robert Smith in 1967, Johnny taught Biology at Cleaves Mills High School until a horrific car crash on 6 June 1995 put him into a six-year coma from which he awoke on 1 September 2001. Since that time, he has experienced psychic visions, triggered by physical contact, of the future and the past; he has repeatedly used these visions to aid Penobscot County Sheriff Walter T. Bannerman, the man who had married Johnny's own fiance, Sarah Anne Bracknell, and subsequently helped her raise Johnny's son J.J. while Johnny was comatose. Unlike his novel counterpart, Johnny is very relaxed about the use of his abilities, using them on several occasions to help his friends investigate the mysteries and dangers surrounding them.