George Clayton Johnson
|George Clayton Johnson|
Johnson in 2006
July 10, 1929 |
Cheyenne, Wyoming, US
|Occupation||Draftsman, telegraph operator, writer|
|Notable works||Logan's Run|
George Clayton Johnson (born July 10, 1929 in Cheyenne, Wyoming) is an American science fiction writer most famous for co-writing the novel Logan's Run with William F. Nolan (basis for the 1976 film). He is also known for his work in television, writing screenplays for such noted series as The Twilight Zone, such as "Nothing in the Dark", "Kick the Can", "A Game of Pool" and "A Penny for Your Thoughts", and Star Trek, the first aired episode of the series, "The Man Trap". He also wrote the story on which the 1960 and 2001 films Ocean's Eleven were based. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies by editors such as Dennis Etchison, Jason V Brock, and Christopher Conlon. He was the proprietor of Cafe Frankenstein, and co-created the comic book series Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology with cartoonist Jay Allen Sanford for Revolutionary Comics, which adapted his stories from The Twilight Zone (including unproduced teleplays) and stories by his friends and contemporaries such as Larry Niven, Robert Bloch, and Dennis Etchison.
Born in a barn, he had to repeat the sixth grade and dropped out of school entirely in the eighth. He briefly served as a telegraph operator then draftsman in the United States Army, enrolled at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) under the G.I. Bill, quit to return to his travels around the U.S., working as a draftsman, before becoming a writer.
In 1960 the first story Johnson ever wrote served as the basis for the Rat Pack movie Ocean's 11, although most of the details were changed for the film. He joined the Southern California School of Writers that included Theodore Sturgeon, William F. Nolan, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury. Through them he met Rod Serling, to whom he sold his first story ("All of Us Are Dying", produced as "The Four of Us Are Dying") and, later, his first teleplay ("A Penny for Your Thoughts").
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.—George Clayton Johnson quoted in The Twilight Zone Companion
Twilight Zone episodes
George Clayton Johnson wrote the following stories for The Twilight Zone series:
- The Four of Us Are Dying (1960) (story)
- Execution (1960) (story)
- The Prime Mover (inadvertently credited solely to Charles Beaumont)
- A Penny for Your Thoughts (1961) (teleplay)
- A Game of Pool (1961) (teleplay)
- Nothing in the Dark (1962) (teleplay)
- Kick the Can (1962, also featured in the 1983 movie The Twilight Zone: The Movie) (teleplay)
- Ninety Years Without Slumbering (1963) (story, as Johnson Smith)
The Lost Twilight Zone episode
In 1960, George Clayton Johnson submitted a story to The Twilight Zone called "Sea Change" which was purchased by Rod Serling. The premise of the story was, "Off the coast of California, there's a man in a boat. Through an accident his hand is cut off. Miraculously, he re-grows a new hand. But what he doesn't realize is that out there in the kelp beds, the hand is re-growing a new man..."
Serling planned to produce "Sea Change" for the 1960 season, but General Mills, a sponsor for The Twilight Zone at the time, rejected it for being too violently graphic. Serling was then forced to call Johnson and ask him to buy the story back (for $500.00), which Johnson did. "Sea Change" was later adapted for Johnson's 1994 comic book series Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology (Revolutionary Comics). The story is currently under option to Chas Holloway who plans to produce it in 2014.
Star Trek episode
- The Man Trap (1966, first aired episode of the series)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
- I'll Take Care of You (1959) (story)
The AckerMonster Chronicles! (As himself. JaSunni Productions, LLC, 2012. Directed by Jason V Brock.)
"The Twilight Zone; The Definitive Edition, Vols 1 through 5" (As himself. Published by Image Entertainment, Produced and Directed by Chas Holloway)
All of Us Are Dying and Other Stories (Subterranean Press, 1999).
Anthologies in which Johnson's fiction has appeared
The Ring of Truth (Featured in Drastic Measures Anthology, Blueberry Lane Books, 2010).
- George Clayton Johnson at the Internet Movie Database
- George Clayton Johnson at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- All of us are dying, but writer George Clayton Johnson is still living it up (scifi.com)[dead link]
- Archive Interview Part 1 of 10 on YouTube or see playlist
- George Clayton Johnson interview video at the Archive of American Television