Creative Mind

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The gift of a creative mind was given to a man who

many will recognize his work but not know his name:

Richard Matheson.

I cannot finish this late summer without telling Mr.

Matheson’s story all over again. This includes my

research and opinions, too.

Although, two years ago I posted about our losing a

“legend” of his own kind; the topic of “The Twilight

Zone” came up in Dan Antion’s comments recently.

There are many ways that Richard Matheson thrilled

you, along with moved you, and finally entertained you.

This is what we all strive for in our own craft.

“Nails bitten, on the edge of our seats– thrilling

writing.”

He was 87 when he died on June 23, 2013.

Mr. Matheson had genius in his unusual way to add

drama to story lines. He added literary “touches” that

make you suddenly remark,

“Oh yeah,  I remember that!”

Especially if you like a dose of Sci-Fy added to your

diet!

Stephen King has attributed or credited this man

with:

“Thoroughly Americanizing the horror story.”

Here are some of those fine “touches” that were

signature details of Richard Matheson:

~ Do you remember the gremlin on the wing of an

airplane in the t.v. show, “The Twilight Zone?”

(William Shatner starred in that episode.)

I had to look back at this post to refer to a mistake I

made on Dan’s comments. . . Not an alien, a “gremlin.”

~ Do you remember Dennis Weaver’s character being

chased in the movie, “Duel” by a tailgating truck?

Did you know this short story written by R. Matheson,

made into a movie script, was what established

Steven Spielberg as a young “up and coming”

director?

This was a 1971 movie, made for television.

~ Do you also possibly remember when Karen Black is

being chased by an African Zulu doll who has a spear

in its hand?

The teeth are so scary and bizarre in, “Trilogy of

Terror” is the name of that long ago thriller.

~ Do you remember the spider in the basement in

“The Incredible Shrinking Man?”

~ Robert Matheson added a different dimension to

the sweet movie, “Somewhere in Time,” which has

Christopher Reeve’s character entering a hotel and

being transported back in time to find Jane Seymour’s

character.

~ Matheson wrote the story that made Dick Van

Dyke’s character turn into an alcoholic,  a masterpiece,

“The Morning After.”  This was another great television

movie that could have played on the big screen.

☆ The fantastic elements that make a difference

between an average movie and a unique and

memorable one, often credit goes unnoticed. ☆

~ The landmark 1954 vampire novel, “I Am Legend,”

has been made into three distinguished movies.

This incredible man,  Matheson, was ahead of his

time writing that book!

Just in case you are curious:

~ “The Last Man on Earth” with Vincent Price was film

#1 based on Richard Matheson’s novel.

~ Followed by film #2, “The Omega Man” with great

actor Charlton Heston as the leading character.

~ Last film #3, more recently made with Will Smith,

using the original title, “I Am Legend.”

Two awesome movies whose screenplays were

written by R. Matheson I would highly recommend

are:

~ Robin Williams, in “What Dreams May Come”

(1998).

~ The other with  Kevin Bacon, in “A Stir of Echoes.”

Rod Serling managed to get Matheson to contribute

huge chunks of haunting and profound images to the

series, “Twilight Zone.”

Do you remember these significant episodes of “The

Twilight Show” called:

“Little Girl Lost,”

“Steel,”

“The Invaders,”

or “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet?”

The last one was remade as the best segment of

“Twilight Zone: The Movie.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer Television Critic, Mark

Dawidziak asked about why Matheson chose

basements and convenience stores, his response in

an interview was,

“Well, I’ve never been able to write stories about

strange kingdoms with trolls and monsters. . .

I’ve never been able to write Victorian or Gothic stuff.

I’ve always had to write contemporary-type stories

with environments I’m familiar with.

In ‘I Am Legend,’ I had vampires sleeping in freezer

cabinets.

I had to bring it to a world I knew.”

He was, according the this critic, modest and soft-

spoken. He emphasized he chose terror over horror.

He preferred no blood and guts, he told the Plain

Dealer reporter.

These were the words that touched my heart when I

read them.  Richard Matheson would prefer to be

known not as a science fiction writer, nor a

horror movie screen play writer, but either a “fantasy

writer or storyteller.”

Richard Matheson wrote for Gauntlet Press and there

are three collections of his short stories, the last one

being published in 2012.

He was 86 at the time when

they compiled his classics.

What other things can I tell you about this man?

Lots, but I will leave you with a bit of curiosity and

tell you this very special message from me to you:

“Don’t stop creating, don’t stop believing, and

especially don’t let your age stand in your way.”

(Robin Oldrieve Cochran, Aug. 10, 2013.)

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About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

54 responses »

  1. A memorable post and tribute to a man I now know about from your words. I respect Stephen King a lot and have a couple of his books on my shelf. For him to have also talked about the late Matheson really tells me that he was a great man and an icon. Thanks for the quote of encouragement that ended this post. I’m my greatest critic. It’s also very frustrating for me.

  2. It is interesting to see who and what inspires you. I can see how Richard Matheson’s genius would move you. I remember almost every example you listed, and they were truly memorable. Thank you for a fitting tribute to a great American creative genius.

    • I just find bits and pieces from newspapers, think I will mix it up a little hoping to keep my readers interested. No news on the love life in my life or others around me. I will take that in a positive way, as far as, “No news is good news!” I think my favorite movie that Matheson contributed to, “Somewhere in Time,” is different from some of the others, but again, time travel is interesting to me. Thank you for your nice comments, always! Take it easy this week, but enjoy your adventures, too!

  3. I’m not really a fan of horror. But I do remember that ‘Twinkie Zone’ episode with Bill. I love the quote you end with, too. And now my dear…I must attend to other mail… 🙂
    Distractions…Be Gone! *she giggles, knowing that distractions never do what they are told*

    • Oh, Jules, I love those words, “Be gone” to distractions. I would like to say, “Be gone” to library time limits! I am here blogging and posting, missing the youngest daughter’s laptop which usually sat unattended on weekends! She is off to Dayton, with laptop and will be possibly going to her new apt. She loves her Mom, though, and may make a half hour trip up and back. Not time to check most of your posts, but hope your kitchen renovation continues without too many more upheavals, electricity not up to code, being one! Take care, “other” Nana and friend!

  4. Matheson was certainly a name! The funny thing about I Am Legend is that, although the book uses the term vampires, and floats the idea of vampirism as a disease, the book in many ways is responsible for spawning the zombie genre.

    • Oh, good call! I am not sure if I would have caught that! Thanks, Wyrd Smythe. His story caught me and I really wanted to know more about him, afterwards! This man lived a long and productive life full of creativity and seemed so humble.

  5. Duel! That movie used to run all the time on independent TV stations, on weekend afternoons when I was a kid. My sister and I were just talking about it at Thanksgiving, how that truck scared the hell out of us. She happened to be in Utah and Nevada for a vacation this summer, and at one point they was stopped along the side of a road–about 50 miles east of nowhere–when a tanker truck rolled up, sort of slowed down, and idled towards them. She just about peed herself, she said, then the driver rolled down his window and asked if they needed any assistance. Ha!

    • Thanks so much for this great movie! It is an iconic horror but a real possibility that makes it terrifying! I am always a bit worried about being stranded on the road, alone! So sorry that I don’t check out my comments too often in the approve and reply area of wordpress. I am thankful they try to prevent bad connections but this separated me from you: a great connection! Take care, Robin

  6. Well, you’ve brought back some fun memories. Karen Black is a real trigger for me to go back to that period in time when I was a young adult and she was in everything.

    • Stephen King has some books that are scary and others twisted in psychological fears. I have only read a few but have seen King’s really frightening movies, Jill. I prefer not to watch them anymore. Reality is scary enough.

    • Johann, sorry to give you a “scare!” Hope you may think of the beautiful love movie, “Somewhere in Time.” It was one of my favorites! Superman actor, Christopher Reeves, and Medicine Woman, Jane Seymour were in this time travel film. Richard Matheson impressed me in his diverse writing skills. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  7. oh, i had no idea. everything you mentioned triggered a memory of a ‘terrorizing’ moment in my past movie, tv, and reading experience. what a unique talent. and i love the quote. thanks for this, robin –

    • Beth, I like how Richard Matheson could make situations “real” even when imaginary gremlin or Zulu doll came to life. Plus a sweet love story with handsome Superman and lovely Medicine Woman in one romantic movie.

  8. Robin … I have seen quite a few of the films that you mentioned and didn’t realize Richard Matheson’s genius was behind them. I was a huge “Twilight Zone” fan – the William Shatner scene with the gremlin was a stand out. I also was on the edge of my seat with Dennis Weaver’s plight in “Duel.” Thanks for sharing. 😉

    • Judy, thank you for being excited and letting us know some of R.Matheson’s works that were memorable and you had seen. It is always inspiring foe me to read about how a long list of “little” additions made quite an impact. Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting, Judy. I am happy especially since you are a movie “buff.” 🙂

  9. Robin, how amazing. I had no idea. So many people out there, contributing their genius to humanity and I missed this one! It was good of you to list all his contributions and accomplishments. If only we could have resumes like that!

    • I like to recognize people who are creative and started with small details and contributions but left us with a grand amount in their “body of work,” Beth. I also enjoy ones who broke age barriers, (or other cultural road blocks). I will be heading back to Mom’s apt and plugging phone in to read some of your posts. 🙂 She went to dinner in the rehabilitation center part of her senior living building. 🙂

    • It was interesting to me, sometimes what interests me “works,” Jenny. Thanks for letting me know. One is never sure what is considered common knowledge so was hoping to be informative. “Duel” was an original film and may have inspired Stephen King’s book, “Christine,” about the possessed car. One was man’s duel and other was haunting revenge.

    • This is why you were meant to write poetry, fantasy and fairy tales, Brenda. You know how to create interest, display beauty and incorporate a wide variety of intriguing details. You add many natural elements.
      I felt the best part of Richard Matheson was his elements he added. These were unique and contributed to each story’s plot line. He reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock in his writing creative stories, Brenda. Did you ever see the love story he wrote with the cast of Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour? “Somewhere in Time.” I think it was beautiful like “The Portrait of Jenny.”
      I am going to head to bed soon. 🙂

  10. What a wonderful tribute to this remarkable man! Age is not a barrier if your mind is bright. I am not watching extreme horror movies – have never seen Scream, for example – but I like “psychological” horror of Stephen King, and appreciate Richard Matheson’s ‘touches’. Somewhere in Time is a beautiful movie.

    • Thank you, Inese, found a few “loose ends.” Always good to look back at past posts and see what one missed. Hoping yhis new year, 2016, to be better connected. Happy new year and here’s to new beginnings and “old” friends who lost touch! 🙂

    • Terror is not nearly as horrible as horror. Psychological stories intrigue me more, too. Hope you have a wonderful and joyful new year. This is one of my loose ends I found on my posts! 🙂

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