George Clayton Johnson

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For other people named George Johnson, see George Johnson (disambiguation).
George Clayton Johnson
George Clayton Johnson.jpg
Johnson in 2006
Born (1929-07-10)July 10, 1929
Cheyenne, Wyoming, U.S.
Died December 25, 2015(2015-12-25) (aged 86)
North Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Writer
Genre Science fiction, magical realism, fantasy, literary, Western, and horror
Notable works Logan's Run, Ocean's 11, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek
Notable awards Inkpot Award Winner, 1976; Balrog Award Winner, 1983
Years active 1959–2015
Spouse Lola Johnson (m. 1952–2015; his death)
Children Paul Johnson and Judy Olive

George Clayton Johnson (July 10, 1929 – December 25, 2015) was an American science fiction writer, best known for co-writing with William F. Nolan the novel Logan's Run, the basis for the MGM 1976 film. He was also known for his 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 on which the 1960 and 2001 films Ocean's Eleven were based.

Early life[edit]

Johnson was born in a barn in Cheyenne, Wyoming,[2] 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.[3]

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."[4]

—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 movie.[5] Later, Johnson joined the Southern California School of Writers that included, among others, William F. Nolan, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] In his later years, he wrote comic books and was a frequent guest at sci-fi and comics conventions. Johnson co-created the comic book series "Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology" with cartoonist and author Jay Allen Sanford.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson married Lola Brownstein on October 10, 1952 in Los Angeles, and fathered two children, Paul and Judy.[3][6][10] He was a vocal advocate for the legalization of marijuana.[6] Along with his writing output, Johnson was instrumental to the early development of San Diego Comic Con.[11] He was also a longtime vegetarian.[9]

Death[edit]

Johnson died on Christmas Day 2015,[10][12][13] of bladder and prostate cancer at a Veterans Administration Medical Center hospital in North Hills, California. Johnson was survived by his son Paul, his daughter Judy, and his wife Lola of 63 years.[14]

Partial bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Ocean's 11 (1960) – Novelisation (based on the treatment of the film by Johnson and Jack Golden Russell)[2]
  • Logan's Run (1967) – Novel (with William F. Nolan)[2]

Television and film scripts[edit]

Alfred Hitchcock Presents[edit]

  • "I'll Take Care of You" (1959; story by)[13]

The Twilight Zone[edit]

Route 66[edit]

  • "Eleven, the Hard Way" (1961; story by)[16]

Honey West[edit]

  • "The Flame and the Pussycat" (1965; teleplay)[13]

Star Trek[edit]

Kung Fu[edit]

  • "The Demon God" (1974; teleplay)[16]

Film, TV and documentary appearances[edit]

Fiction collections[edit]

  • Writing for The Twilight Zone (Outre House, 1980)[20]
  • George Clayton Johnson Twilight Zone Scripts & Stories (Streamline Pictures, 1996)[21]
  • All of Us Are Dying and Other Stories (Subterranean Press, 1999)[22]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result ref
1976 Inkpot Award Lifetime achievement Won [23]
Nebula Award Nebula Award for Best Script Logan's Run Nominated [24]
1977 Hugo Award Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation Logan's Run Nominated [25]
1980 Balrog Award Best works and achievements of speculative fiction A Penny For Your Thoughts (The Twilight Zone) (S 2:Ep 16) Nominated [26]
Nothing in the Dark (The Twilight Zone) (S 3:Ep 16) Nominated [26]
1981 Sea Change (The Twilight Zone)1 Nominated [26]
1982 All of Us Are Dying (Twilight Zone May 1982)2 Won [26]
Notes
  1. ^ Unused script by Johnson not selected for the original television series.[27]
  2. ^ Story was turned into a teleplay by Serling to the episode named The Four of Us Are Dying.[28]

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". startrek.com. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Slotnik, Daniel E. (December 27, 2015). "George Clayton Johnson, Science Fiction Writer Known for 'Logan's Run,' Dies at 86". New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "George Clayton Johnson , Quotes , Quotable Quote". Good Reads. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "George Clayton Johnson". Emmy TV Legends. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d Reuters (December 25, 2015). "George Clayton Johnson, Writer of First 'Star Trek' Episode, Dies at 86". NBCNews.com. NBCUniversal. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  7. ^ Cushman & Osborn (2013): p. 176
  8. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1531642/ Charles Beaumont: The Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man
  9. ^ a b "Dark Discoveries – Issue #14". Journal Store. March 30, 2015. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "George Clayton Johnson". wbmtagency.com. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  11. ^ "George Clayton Johnson, R.I.P.". News From Me. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  12. ^ McNary, Dave. "George Clayton Johnson, Writer of First 'Star Trek' Episode, Dies at 86". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Derschowitz, Jessica. "George Clayton Johnson, Star Trek and The Twilight Zone writer, dies at 86". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Logan's Run author George Clayton Johnson dies at 86". BBC News. December 27, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c d McNary, Dave (December 26, 2015). "Writer of first 'Star Trek' episode, George Clayton Johnson, dies at 86". Zap2it. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  17. ^ Sandford, Jay Allen (5 September 2007). "Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology: Inside Story of a Local Twilight Zone Spin-Off". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  18. ^ a b c "George Clayton Johnson (1929–2015)". Legacy.com. December 26, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  19. ^ Rogers, John (December 25, 2015). "'Logan's Run' co-author George Clayton Johnson dead at 86". CNS News. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  20. ^ "George Clayton Johnson". Science Fiction Awards Database. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Twilight Zone (television program)". Writers Guild Foundation. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  22. ^ "All of Us Are Dying and Other Stories". Subterranean Press. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  23. ^ Hahn, Joel, ed. "Inkpot Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on November 30, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  24. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1977 Nebula Awards". Locus. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  25. ^ "1977 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b c d "George Clayton Johnson". Science Fiction Awards Database. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine". The Twilight Zone Vortex. January 27, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  28. ^ "The Four of Us Are Dying". The Twilight Zone Vortex. November 9, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 

External links[edit]