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March 20, 2005 - The Lost Episodes of the Twilight Zone













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Book Wrangler

March 21, 2005

By Bob Patterson

 

When a successful television series is canceled, the episodes that have been broadcast usually being a rerun career that can last for decades, but what happens to the episodes that were being prepared for production when the shutdown occurred?  Where do they go?  What happens to them?  The scripts had been bought and the work to get them in front of the cameras was proceeding, but when the cancellation notice arrived, they were stalled in “the pipeline” and became a footnote to TV history.  What happened to those episodes?

 

On Sunday March 13, 2005, we attended the Paperback Collectors Show and Sale at the Mission Hills Inn in Mission Hills. 

 

One of the many interesting individuals we talked to was a fellow who is in the process of packaging “The Lost Episodes of the Twilight Zone.”  There were about nine episodes in various stages of development when the classic TV series was shut down.  What would it be like if the writers and people who knew the original guiding spirit for the series were to forge ahead with those episodes knowing what the man would have wanted, expected, and intended? 

 

The “restoration” process is underway and fans of the Twilight Zone should start looking for some stories in the MSM (Main Stream Media) soon.

 

Rain may have diminished the turnout for the event in the San Fernando Valley, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the folks who made the effort to get there.

 

We chatted briefly with a living link to Hollywood’s Golden Age.  A. I. Bezzerides, who wrote the script for Kiss Me Deadly, was there and we tried to make arrangements to do an interview him at another less hectic time.  The film starring Ralph Meeker was ahead of its time, and fans of the hard-boiled detective genre who haven’t see it have missed a classic.

 

Fredrik Pohl had a long line of fans waiting to speak to him and get some books signed.

 

Tedd Thomey, a veteran who fought on Iwo Jima and did a book about the two combat photographers who captured images of the famous flag raising there, was signing copies of his pulp novels. 

 

William F. Nolan, a former LA resident, took time out from his teaching duties up in Oregon to attend the event.

 

Obviously, if a fan had a chance to join one of these folks for lunch, the conversation would probably be a detailed examination of various minute details of some of their best known works, but what do they talk about if the columnist who is at the table doesn’t have an extensive knowledge of the literary milieu known as “speculative fiction?” 

 

Well, George Clayton Johnson was talking about the specifics of marketing a new CD spoken word album (with music by Paul B. Johnson [his son]) titled “A Message from the Twilight Zone.”  His mealtime banter was more like something you’d expect to hear if you were dining with members of a newly formed punk band.  His previous “album,” The Fictioneer is available online.  We missed our chance to ask George if he had ever heard the album that William S. Burroughs did titled Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales. 

 

Fans at the event were able to get autographed copies of the new album and so the conversation turned to the fact that some experts in forgery learn their “art” by practicing signing other folks signatures upside down.  Clayton, who worked as a draftsman while in the US Army, commented that that way the forgery student could focus on the form of the letters and not fall into his own style of handwriting for the practice session.

 

Several horror writers recently followed in the merchandising path of musicians by presenting a series of readings titled: “The Rolling Darkness Tour.”  If this trend develops, it will be like: Rolling Stones, move over, the Bloodfest posse will be coming to a stadium near you, soon, complete with tour merchandise and memorabilia accompanied by spoken word CD’s being played on the radio station (which will, of course, get free tickets to give away to their listeners.)

 

When he served in the US Army, Johnson worked as a telegrapher and also received draftsman training.  We have witnessed his cartooning ability, so it seemed natural to ask the man, who collaborated on the original story for “Ocean’s 11,”  if he had ever done a comic book.  He had done two, so it is no wonder that he is accorded celebrity status when he attends the annual Comic Con in San Diego every year. 

 

Later, we got a snapshot of Johnson having a long chat with Gary “Laugh In” Owen, but the film is still in the camera so we’ll have to use that in a future installment of the Book Wrangler column.

 

The event was a virtual gold mine for intrepid feature story writers.  We were disappointed to see that several well known journalists whom we had tipped off about the opportunity (yes, we do know some top journalists) missed the boat and the literary event.  Hah!  Their loss, is Just Above Sunset online magazine’s gain. 

 

One book title that caught our attention was Murder on Sunset Boulevard ($12.95 paperback Top Publications), a collection of short stories edited by Rochelle Krich, Michael Mallory, and Lisa Seidman.  The book was a collaborative effort done under the auspices of the LA branch of the Sisters in Crime writers association.  The group (which men may join) continues with a variety of programs and meetings.

 

Another active group of writers in the LA area, who have more events on their calendar than we can list (you expect the World’s Laziest Journalist to do that much typing?) is the Independent Writers of Southern California.

 

Peter De Vries has been quoted as saying: “I love being a writer.  What I can’t stand is the paperwork.”

 

Now, if the disk jockey will play the Beatle’s song Paperback Writer, we’ll make like a beatnik and be “real gone, daddy-o.”  Next week, we will write about writing about Paris (France, not Hilton.)  Until then have a pulp fiction week.

 

 

 

Copyright 2005 – Robert Patterson































 
 
 
 

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
 
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