“I want to be remembered as someone who early on in his life took control of his life… When someone expects certain behaviors from me, I will frustrate their expectations.” – George Clayton Johnson, 1929-2015
George Clayton Johnson, co-author of Logan’s Run, writer of seven Twilight Zone episodes, and author of what became the main inspiration of Ocean’s Eleven, has passed away at age eighty-six.
True to his above quote from an interview for TV Archive, his life was a whirlwind in his early years. From the army to a brief stint in the study of architecture at what is now Auburn University, to eventually settling down in Los Angeles, Johnson proved that he is meant to be remembered as both a science fiction legend for his work on Star Trek, AND as a horror legend for his hand in creating two of the most iconic alternate universes in Twilight Zone history.
George Clayton Johnson, author of several Twilight Zone episodes, Logan’s Run, and wrote what would become the inspiration for the Ocean’s Eleven series and remake. The episode of Star Trek that he wrote, “The Man Trap”, ended up being the first one aired. While he originally preferred to have the salt-consuming monsters be more hallucinatory — perhaps a nod to his old Cafe Frankenstein hang out — he managed to tweak the script to perfectly fit what the show needed — a monster like none had seen before.
His creativity and imagination for the truly terrifying even raised concerns with sponsor General Mills, causing them to shy away from an episode of The Twilight Zone that he had written and sold to Rod Serling. This episode, known to fans as the “Lost Episode”, was later changed and adapted for a comic book series entitled Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology.
Other notable works include Icarus Montgolfier Wright, a television script written with fellow author Ray Bradbury, Alfred Hitchcock Presents: “I’ll Take Care of You“, seven additional episodes of The Twilight Zone, as well as several entries in various anthropologies. For a full list of George Clayton Johnson’s accomplishments and further reading, see his IMDB page here.
While many classic fans of science fiction and horror alike grieve over the loss of Johnson, he is survived by a son, Paul, a daughter, Judy, and wife Lola. May he boldly go where no living man has gone before.