Monday, September 9, 2019

Reading Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine, Part 15

In which we take a closer look at each issue. For our capsule history of the magazine, go here.

Volume 2, Number 3 (June, 1982)

Cover Art: Malcolm McNeill (for Richard Matheson’s “The Doll”)

TZ Publications, Inc.

President & Chairman: S. Edward Orenstein
Secretary/Treasurer: Sidney Z. Gellman
Executive Vice-Presidents: Leon Garry, Eric Protter
Executive Publisher: S. Edward Orenstein
Publisher: Leon Garry
Associate Publisher and Consulting Editor: Carol Serling
Editorial Director: Eric Protter
Editor: T.E.D. Klein
Managing Editor: Jane Bayer
Assistant Editors: Steven Schwartz, Robert Sabat
Contributing Editors: Gahan Wilson, Thomas M. Disch
Design Director: Michael Monte
Art and Studio Production: Georg the Design Group
Production Director: Stephen J. Fallon
Controller: Thomas Schiff
Assistant to the Publisher: Judy Borrman
Public Relations Manager: Jeffrey Nickora
Accounting Manager: Chris Grossman
Circulation Director: William D. Smith
Circulation Manager: Janice Graham
Eastern Circulation Manager: Hank Rosen
Western Newsstand Consultant: Harry Sommer
Advertising Manager: Rachel Britapaja
Adv. Production Manager: Marina Despotakis
Advertising Representatives: Barney O’Hara & Associates, Inc.


--In the Twilight Zone: “The mind’s eye . . .”
--Other Dimensions: Books by Thomas M. Disch
--Other Dimensions: Screen by Gahan Wilson
--Other Dimensions: Music by Jack Sullivan
--Other Dimensions: Etc.
--“Browning’s Lamps” by David Nemec
--Fantasy in Clay, photographs by Scott Hyde
--“Anniversary Dinner” by D.J. Pass
--“The Dark Ones” by Richard Christian Matheson
--TZ Interview: Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) by John Boonstra
--TZ Screen Preview: Blade Runner by James Verniere
--“Alan’s Mother” by Steve Rasnic Tem
--“Zombies” by Dolly Ogawa
--“Home Visit” by Roger Koch
--“Mrs. Halfbooger’s Basement” by Lawrence C. Connolly
--“The Broken Hoop” by Pamela Sargent
--“Some Days Are Like That” by Bruce J. Balfour
--Show-By-Show Guide: TV’s Twilight Zone, Part Fifteen by Marc Scott Zicree
--“The Story Behind Richard Matheson’s ‘The Doll’” by Marc Scott Zicree
--TZ Discovery: “The Doll” by Richard Matheson
--Looking Ahead: In July’s TZ

--In the Twilight Zone: “The mind’s eye . . .” by T.E.D. Klein
-Klein begins his editorial column with a reminiscence of fantasy writer John Collier (1901-1980), author of many highly-regarded short stories, including “The Chaser,” which was adapted for the first season of The Twilight Zone by writer Robert Presnell, Jr. and director Douglas Heyes. Collier also had several of his stories adapted on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Klein then introduces the gem of the issue, Richard Matheson’s “The Doll,” a teleplay originally slated for the fifth season of The Twilight Zone which went unproduced for over twenty years before appearing on Amazing Stories. The column finishes up with the customary snippet bios of the issue’s contributors along with thumbnail images.

--Other Dimensions: Books by Thomas M. Disch
-Disch takes a look at T.H. White’s The Maharajah and Other Stories, edited by Kurth Sprague, and finds it competent but lacking the power of White’s masterpiece, The Once and Future King. Disch next looks at Michael Bishop’s No Enemy But Time and praises its imaginative approach while also faulting the construction of the novel’s time travel element. Disch is more critical of Spacetime Donuts by Rudy Rucker, which he feels lacks the skill shown in Rucker’s first published novel, White Light. Finally, Disch absolutely skewers The Engines of the Night by Barry N. Malzberg (the author is left unnamed in the review), which he finds to be both defeatist and self-serving. This personal history of science fiction writing was later expanded by Malzberg as Breakfast in the Ruins: Science Fiction in the Last Millennium, in which Malzberg writes about the devastating effect Disch’s review had upon him. 

--Other Dimensions: Screen by Gahan Wilson
-Wilson reviews Quest for Fire (1981), directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, which was the subject of a full-color screen preview in the December, 1981 issue of Twilight Zone Magazine (part 9 of our series). Wilson generally praises the film with particular attention given to the actors, the technicians who created the behavior and language of the characters, and the practical special effects.

--Other Dimensions: Music by Jack Sullivan
-Sullivan devotes his column on spectral music to Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich, giving particular attention to the composer’s struggles under the oppressive Stalin regime. He covers these works:

Fourth Symphony
Fifth Symphony
Eighth Symphony
Violin Concerto No. 1
Tenth Symphony
Symphony No. 13
Symphony No. 14
Sonata for Violin and Piano
String Quartet No. 15

--Other Dimensions: Etc.
-A new column for the magazine, described as “a department for you, the readers. We’re looking for pithy views, provocative quotes, unusual photos, weird and amusing newspaper items, surprising uses in the media of that magic phrase ‘The Twilight Zone,’ and any other tidbits suggesting that the Twilight Zone exists right here and now on earth.” Readers are encouraged to send in items with the promise of a poster of Twilight Zone cat Maximilian. This column presents a reader’s photos of gargoyles in Europe, a letter received by TZ Magazine contributor Tom Seligson from director Wes Craven, two cartoons, a quote from an H.P. Lovecraft letter giving recommended reading, and a quote from author Peter Straub on science fiction.

--“Browning’s Lamps” by David Nemec
Illustrated by Marty Blake
“Searching for the greatest batter in baseball history, he discovered the dreadful secret of . . .”

-A sports journalist discovers the story of baseball’s greatest hitter, who never made it to the big leagues because of his lack of fielding skills. When the journalist tracks the player down he discovers that the secret of the hitting success lies in the man’s eyes. The journalist arranges to receive the man’s eyes after the man’s death only to discover, almost too late, the high price one pays for the gift of miracle sight.

-David Nemec is described by T.E.D. Klein as “a New York writer whose most recent novel was Bright Lights, Dark Rooms, published in 1980 by Doubleday, with two more due to appear this October: Bad Blood from Dial and The Systems of M.R. Shurnas from Riverrun Press. Two of his stories have also been included in Martha Foley’s yearly honor roll of Best American Short Stories.” Nemec (b. 1938) is equally well-known as a baseball historian, as “Browning’s Lamps” capably demonstrates. The story does take some pretty wild leaps of logic dealing with the transference of eyes but is very well-written and engaging. It will hold particular interest for those readers who are also interested in baseball.

--Fantasy in Clay
Photographs by Scott Hyde
“The Martin Brothers, four Victorian English potters, created a grotesque menagerie of ‘boobies, boojums, and snarks.’”

-The eccentric Victorian English brothers and potters Robert Wallace Martin, Walter Martin, Edwin Martin, and Charles Martin are profiled on the occasion of a New York gallery exhibit of their work. Their rather tragic lives are briefly discussed followed by a photo gallery with many examples of their works.

--“Anniversary Dinner” by D.J. Pass
Illustrated by Robert Morello
“A modern American cautionary tale about onions, marijuana, and the generation gap.”

-A pleasant old couple, who live semi-reclusive lives on their self-sustaining farm, encounter a young female hitchhiker on one of their occasional trips into town. They invite the young woman to stay the night at their farm and have her for dinner, literally.

-This humorous horror tale was memorably adapted for the first season of Tales from the Darkside. That program mined quite a bit of material from the pages of TZ Magazine. The story was adapted by writer James Houghton, directed by John Strysik, and featured Mario Roccuzzo and Alice Ghostley as the cannibal couple, and Fredrica Duke as their unfortunate dinner guest. It first aired on February 3, 1985.

--“The Dark Ones” by Richard Christian Matheson
Illustrated by Annie Alleman
“Hundreds pursued him – and the only escape was death.”

-Richard Christian Matheson, son of TZ writer Richard Matheson, returns to the magazine with this darkly ironic short-short about the hunter and the hunted. Richard Christian Matheson at this time was building a career as an acclaimed writer of dark short fiction after a precocious beginning as a prolific television writer. “The Dark Ones” was collected in Scars (1987).

--TZ Interview: Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) by John Boonstra
Photographs by Kim Gottlieb
“A final interview with science fiction’s boldest visionary, who talks candidly about Blade Runner, inner voices, and the temptations of Hollywood”

-Philip K. Dick died on March 2, 1982, shortly after this interview was conducted. His untimely death meant that Dick did not get to see how the film Blade Runner spawned a small industry of films adapted from his novels and short stories. The heartbreaking part of this interview is the optimistic tone struck by Dick, who felt that he still had a lot of great work ahead of him and who also felt that he was finally at a place to do the work he had wanted to do for years. The interview covers all areas of Dick’s career, including his beginnings as a writer, his mainstream work, his most recent novels, the novel he was currently working on (the unfinished The Owl in Daylight), as well as Blade Runner, the highly anticipated adaptation of Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Dick speaks about his initially contentious relationship with the studio, his refusal to write a novelization of the film, and his joy at reading the script changes made by writer David Peoples. Dick also discusses how his fiction was related to the type of fantasy presented on The Twilight Zone (though he never wrote for the series), his marriages and divorces, and the ways in which science fiction is reflected in modern society. This is essential reading for fans of Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner, or science fiction in general.

--TZ Screen Preview: Blade Runner by James Verniere
Illustrated with stills from the film
“Harrison Ford confronts a world of renegade androids in Ridley Scott’s film of the Philip K. Dick novel.”

-A full-color preview of Blade Runner (1982), based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), adapted by writers Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. James Verniere focuses on the design of the film and the challenges of the production with quotes from director Ridley Scott, screenwriter David Peoples, production designer Lawrence G. Paull, and concept artist Syd Mead. Blade Runner was not initially successful financially or critically when it arrived before audiences in 1982 but its reputation has steadily increased to the point of being considered among the finest science fiction films ever made, and the finest of the many adaptations of Philip K. Dick on screen. Author K.W. Jeter wrote three sequels to Blade Runner: The Edge of Human (1995), Replicant Night (1996), and Eye and Talon (2000). The definitive book on the making of the film is Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner by Paul M. Sammon. A sequel to the film, Blade Runner 2049, appeared in 2017 from director Denis Villeneuve. 

--“Alan’s Mother” by Steve Rasnic Tem
Illustrated by Harry Pincus
“She was wise in the ways of magic, but she had something more important to teach: a lesson in reality.”

-A meditation on childhood and the loss of innocence centered around a young boy who comes to disbelieve his mother’s magic ways as he matures, thus spoiling the ability for her magic to help him. Tem (b. 1950) is an award-winning and highly-regarded author of dark fantasy novels and short stories. He appeared earlier in the March, 1982 issue with the creepy and effective story, “Sleep.” “Alan’s Mother” is a gentler tale of the ways in which cold reality can destroy the magic of the world, and how rationality can destroy imagination. The story was reprinted in 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories (1995).

--“Zombies” by Dolly Ogawa
Illustrated by Peter de Seve
“It was a real Rocky Horror show – directed by his own mother.”

-A spoiled, overgrown child of a man who cares about nothing except playing music with his band the Zombies discovers that his mistreated mother has rented out his bedroom to a very scary border. “Zombies” was a debut story from Ogawa. It was reprinted in the Summer, 1985 issue of Night Cry.

--“Home Visit” by Roger Koch
Illustrated by D.W. Miller
“There was something subtly wrong over at the Martin place . . . and those dead rats were the least of it!”

-Two social workers pay a home visit to a frightening family who harbor a deadly secret. This wonderfully nasty horror story would have been right at home in the pages of a pre-code horror comic. It is part killer family story and part creature feature with plenty of shocking detail. Koch once worked as a social services case worker and used that experience to imagine this horrible scenario. The story was reprinted in the first issue of Night Cry.

--“Mrs. Halfbooger’s Basement” by Lawrence C. Connolly
Illustrated by Ahmet Gorgun
“Was she a witch, or just a crazy old lady? The answer (enough to make you scream) lay hidden in the darkness of . . .”

-A boy is coerced by his friends to enter the home of a mysterious old lady who has not been seen for days. Once inside, he meets the feeble old woman and her truly awful young companions. This was another fun horror story which will remind readers of the type of macabre tale presented on programs like Tales from the Darkside. Its gruesome and ironic ending was clever and well-orchestrated. Karl Edward Wagner included the story in The Year’s Best Horror Stories: Series XI (1983) and it was collected in Voices: Tales of Horror (2011).

--“The Broken Hoop” by Pamela Sargent
Illustrated by Bruce Waldman
“Torn between two cultures, she also had to choose between two worlds – and only one of them was real.”

-An American Indian woman raised among whites squanders her chance to travel to a parallel dimension where her native people can find peace. Pamela Sargent (b. 1948) returns to the magazine after appearing in the October, 1981 issue (part7 of our series) with this poignant and timely fantasy about the American Indian experience in the early days of American settlement by Europeans. The story was reprinted in Top Fantasy (1985) and collected in The Best of Pamela Sargent (1987).

--“Some Days Are Like That” by Bruce J. Balfour
Illustrated by Randy Jones
“Being the last man on Earth wasn’t all fun and games!”

-A short-short about a man who returns from a trip to find himself the last person on Earth, or so he believes. After days of boredom and despair he decides to jump off a building only to hear a phone ringing on his way down. Balfour is described as having interviewed many science fiction and fantasy writers for magazines. “Some Days Are Like That” is his fiction debut.

--Show-By-Show Guide: TV’s Twilight Zone: Part Fifteen by Marc Scott Zicree
­-Zicree, author of The Twilight Zone Companion, continues his early guide to the series with cast and crew listings, summaries, and Rod Serling’s narrations for the following fourth season episodes: “The New Exhibit,” “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville,” and “The Incredible World of Horace Ford.”

--“The Story Behind Richard Matheson’s ‘The Doll’” by Marc Scott Zicree
-Zicree provides the history of Richard Matheson’s teleplay with quotes from Matheson himself. The teleplay was originally slated to appear during the fifth season of The Twilight Zone when it was purchased by producer Bert Granet. It was then shelved by producer William Froug after Granet’s departure from the series due to the fact that Charles Beaumont’s (and Jerry Sohl’s) “Living Doll” was already in production and two doll stories was more than Froug wanted to do during one season. Matheson also divulges that he originally pictured Martin Balsam and Mary LaRoche in the lead roles. Both of these performers will be familiar to Zone viewers as Balsam appeared in “The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine” and “The New Exhibit,” and LaRoche appeared in Matheson’s “A World of His Own” and, ironically, Beaumont’s and Sohl’s “Living Doll.”

--TZ Discovery: “The Doll” by Richard Matheson
Illustrated by Perry A. Realo
“The ‘Twilight Zone’ episode you never saw: a bittersweet saga of loneliness and love in which fate takes the form of a dollmaker.”

-An middle-aged bachelor purchases a doll from an eccentric German doll maker as a gift for his niece. When the niece seems disinterested in the doll, the bachelor takes it back, intending to return it only to become smitten by its image of a lovely woman. He returns to the doll maker to inquire about the model only to discover the woman who is the doll's likeness has become smitten by a doll which resembles the bachelor. The doll maker, it seems, has worked a sort of magic to bring these two lonely people together. 

-In Marc Scott Zicree’s history of the teleplay he quotes Richard Matheson as believing there is no longer a wide audience for the type of gentle fantasy displayed in “The Doll.” Matheson arrived at this conclusion largely from the fact that Somewhere in Time (1980), the film adaptation of his 1975 novel Bid Time Return, failed to find a wide audience during its theatrical run (though it soon developed a rabid cult following). Matheson did not expect “The Doll” to ever be produced. Happily, he was mistaken and “The Doll” was produced on Steven Spielberg’s fantasy anthology program Amazing Stories. It was broadcast on May 4, 1986 as part of the first season. It’s inclusion in this issue of TZ Magazine no doubt sparked Spielberg’s interest. The episode was directed by Phil Joanou and featured John Lithgow, Anne Helm, Sharon Spelman, John Christopher Jones, Rainbow Phoenix, and Albert Hague. Lithgow’s performance was awarded an Emmy. Two of Matheson’s other stories were adapted for Amazing Stories, “One for the Books,” adapted by Matheson, and “Miss Stardust,” adapted by Richard Christian Matheson.

--Looking Ahead: In July’s TZ
-Next month looks like another great issue. We get stories from Robertson Davies (also interviewed), Lewis Shiner, Joe R. Lansdale, Joan Aiken, and Robert Silverberg, as well as Rod Serling’s teleplay for “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim.” Stephen King guest writes the film review column and there are also features on Ghostly Britain and John Carpenter’s The Thing. See you then!