The gift of a creative mind was given to a man who
many will recognize his work but not know his name:
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
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
Stephen King has attributed or credited this man
“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”
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
~ 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
~ Robin Williams, in “What Dreams May Come”
~ 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,”
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
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
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.)