George Clayton Johnson 80th Birthday Party at Bookfellows Saturday July 11, 2009

George Clayton Johnson 80th Birthday Party

Amazing! George Clayton Johnson – where do I began!! How about that George and William F. Nolan wrote the science fiction classic Logan’s Run! George wrote several episodes of the original Twilight Zone (dee-dee-dee-dee) such as Kick the Can, Nothing in the Dark, A Game of Pool, and the very first aired episode of the original Star Trek - The Man Trap, more affectionately known as the SALT MONSTER!! And let’s not forget Ocean’s Eleven.

Bookfellows seems to be the happening place for birthday parties. I end up eating more cake there… Bill and I arrived a little early to do some shopping and George was already surrounded by fans. A huge birthday card was a work in progress throughout the afternoon. We managed to migrate upstairs for George’s talk, signing and of course, birthday cake! Before George was even able to sit down, he “got laid” by a pretty woman. Well, naturally! We sang a rousing Happy Birthday to You to our man of the hour, and he made a valiant attempt to blow out the candles. He got a couple of them, and then decided he was done. He seated himself and began talking, a few of the birthday candles happily burning away next to him. In time, they burned down to the moist frosting and sputtered out. Hilarious. George marches to a different drummer to say the least!

It was a fun talk… Dennis Etchison sat with George, who nursed his Corona, and they chatted about what it’s like to be writers in their “more seasoned” years. George gave sort of an odd take on his career… telling us how he felt he’d had big successes early on, and therefore sort of held back after that. He wanted to show now and then that he had still had something to offer and could “wow” everyone when he felt pressured to, but he didn’t feel the need to pump stuff out all the time. Dennis frowned a little at this view of George’s career, emphasizing instead how he produced quality rather than quantity, and how much he admires George’s work. They both mentioned how their wives were not only supportive of their career choice, but actually encouraged them to pursue their writing. Then John King Tarpinian approached George, cell phone in hand, apologizing for the interruption, but he had Mr. Ray Bradbury on the phone to wish him a happy birthday! George listened for a bit, said “Yes sir” and then good-bye and handed the phone back to John. George told us, “Ray told me to write more short stories, and he needs to see something in his mailbox asap”. He said that Ray is his commander, and basically he has no choice but to obey. :)

Dennis decided it was time for chocolate, and encouraged George to take a cake break. Christine cut pieces for everyone and George slipped outside for a “quick smoke”. After a bit, it was clear that we’d “lost George” and a search party was released in the wilds of Glendale. But no worries, George was rescued and safely returned to Bookfellows and John was able to usher him back upstairs for the book signing and Q&A.

John told Bill and me an amusing story…. Back in the day (and I mean “those daze”) George was the proud proprietor of Café Frankenstein and had charges brought against him for a nude photo session of model Barbara Kellogg in his establishment. But of course… We expect nothing less!

Bill and I said hello to the birthday boy and had our books and DVD’s signed, hoping to see him again really soon at Comic Con. We hope to see you too –our booth is number 5427 at the end of the 2400 aisle – near the food! The madness begins Wednesday July 22 and runs through the weekend. Talk about a major par-tay! Woo-hoo! Or rather, Wu-hoo!

Come by and see us in person!

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