Blog Archives

George Clayton Johnson, Writer of “Wisdom Fiction”

I’ve written a blog post about Richard Matheson and his Twilight Zone episodes. I’ve written one about Charles Beaumont. I’ve even written one about Earl Hamner. And Heaven knows I’ve written plenty about Rod Serling.

But I’ve never written one about George Clayton Johnson. And now the news of his death at 86 is making me wish I had done so much sooner.

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True, I did spotlight one of his wonderful TZ episodes before now, “A Game of Pool” (twice, in fact – here and here). But no post yet about “Nothing in the Dark”? “Kick the Can”? “A Penny For Your Thoughts”? There’s hardly a Twilight Zone fan out there who doesn’t list at least one of those classics among his favorite episodes. Read the rest of this entry

“Jonathan Winters, Report to Heaven’s Pool Room …”

“The place is Heaven. The time is now. And the pool game we’re about to witness will take place between two gifted performers who once starred in a classic episode … of the Twilight Zone.”

It’s not hard to imagine, is it?

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Yes, the news that Jonathan Winters died today can’t help but make us feel a little sad. A man who brought laughter to millions has told his last joke. That it comes so soon after the death of Jack Klugman, his co-star in “A Game of Pool“, only magnifies our sense of loss.

But as my TZ-like opening suggests, maybe the show isn’t over. Perhaps Winters is sharing stories right now with many of the talented actors and actresses that he worked with over the years. Seeing him on a billowing cloud at the start of his Twilight Zone episode suddenly seems more fitting than ever. Read the rest of this entry

In Praise of Jack

The stars in the fifth dimension dimmed a bit tonight with the sad news that Jack Klugman had died.

Klugman was such a gifted and versatile actor, in fact, that his four appearances on The Twilight Zone are not even his most famous roles. He’ll forever be known for two other TV characters: sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple, and as a sleuthing coroner on Quincy, M.E.

But there isn’t a Twilight Zone fan out there who heard the news about Klugman’s passing and didn’t think of “A Passage for Trumpet“, “A Game of Pool“, “Death Ship” and “In Praise of Pip”.

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He wasn’t classically handsome and had none of the usual “leading man” characteristics. He didn’t need them. His richly appealing “everyman” persona never failed to draw viewers in. You immediately liked and trusted him. What better qualifications could one need to take a plunge into the far corners of the fifth dimension? Read the rest of this entry