GEORGE CLAYTON JOHNSON (1929-2015)
My friend the great George Clayton Johnson died on December 25th. The date, being Rod Serling's birthday, suggests a kind of hand-picked and narratively-appropriate closure to George's long and accomplished life. There are heart-felt and eloquent tributes all over the web and, rather than try and compete with them, I thought I'd mark his passing not with any words of my own, but with some justly-celebrated ones of his:
Mother, give me your hand
Looking at him, seeing the quietness in his eyes, her expression softens. Her hand trembles toward his. She tenses herself for a shock as her hand touches his. Nothing happens. She looks questioningly at him.
You see? No shock. No engulfment. No tearing asunder.
What you feared would come like an explosion is like a
whisper. What you thought was the end -- is the beginning.
FULL SHOT (SILENT)
In BACKGROUND, we see Wanda turn to Beldon eagerly. The LIGHTS go down in the ugly room as they pass through the door into the white, bright sunlight beyond. The door cuts a blazing hold in the blackness.
There is nothing in the dark that wasn't there when the light
was on. Proven in part by this brief excursion through the
strange geography of The Twilight Zone.
SLOWLY FADE TO BLACK
(From The Twilight Zone episode "Nothing in the Dark" by George Clayton Johnson, 1/5/62)
George, me, Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison
(back row) George, Dennis, me, Ashley Laurence, Mark Carducci, Paul Clemens.
(second row) Roberta Lannes, Christa Faust, Nancy Holder, Steve Jones.
(sitting) S P Somtow, David J Skal, David J Schow, Lisa Morton.
George, me, William F Nolan. (This is outside Mystery & Imagination and is the second-to-last time Bill and George, the co-authors of Logan's Run and friends for fifty years, saw each other.)