Richard Matheson Is Legend, And Was Born On This Day In 1926: Today In Science Fiction

By David Wharton | 6 years ago

MathesonThe Legend of Hell House. Somewhere in Time. The Incredible Shrinking Man (and Woman). What Dreams May Come. Stir of Echoes. The Box. Real Steel. People — ourselves included — may often complain about how Hollywood seems to only have eyes for Philip K. Dick when it comes to adapting classic science fiction literature for the big screen, but it’s easy to forget that the late Richard Matheson could easily give Dick a run for his money when it came time to compare screen credits. And all that’s without even mentioning the trifecta of The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, and I Am Legend, all based on Richard Matheson’s book that shares a name with the latter Will Smith movie. The world lost a powerful genre talent when Matheson passed away in 2013, but his legacy — both in his books and in the films they spawned — remains unquestionably impressive.

Matheson was born on February 20, 1926, the son of Norwegian immigrant parents, in Allendale, New Jersey. At the age of eight he made his first sale, with a local newspaper running one of his short stories. It was the beginning of a prolific career that stretched over nearly eight decades. In addition to all the unforgettable books mentioned above (and quite a few we didn’t mention), Matheson also worked extensively in television throughout the ’60s and ’70s, with credits popping up in shows including Have Gun Will Travel, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.. He also wrote for two of the greatest science fiction TV series of all time: he penned “The Enemy Within” for the original Star Trek run and contributed to a whopping 16 episodes of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. (You can watch our picks for his five best Zones right here.)

GFR raises a glass in honor of the late, the great Richard Matheson. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go rewatch Somewhere in Time

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