October 1, 2020

Charles Beaumont

Charles Beaumont (January 2, 1929 – February 21, 1967) was an American writer of thrillers, screenplays, teleplays, comics, and short stories. Born Charles Nutt, he left high school after tenth grade to join the Army, changed his name in the late 1940s, and sold his first short story to Amazing Stories in 1950. He was prolific throughout the 1950s, and made a huge impact despite his brief time working in the field.

Many who are familiar with Beaumont’s work probably know him due to his association with The Twilight Zone. He wrote several teleplays for the TV show in its heyday, including the popular adaptations of his stories “The Howling Man,” “The Beautiful People,” and “Perchance to Dream” (which some believe served as inspiration for Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street). In all, Beaumont wrote or co-wrote 19 episodes of The Twilight Zone. The bulk of his more than 80 short stories appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction, If, Orbit, Playboy, and three short story collections published between 1957 and 1960. Later collections included some unpublished stories; one of the better known latter collections was The Howling Man, published in paperback by TOR in 1992.

Beaumont’s 1959 debut novel The Intruder was adapted to film from his screenplay directed by Roger Corman in 1962, with William Shatner in the starring role. Charles went on to write other films for Roger Corman, including Poe adaptations The Premature Burial and The Masque of the Red Death. He also co-wrote an adaptation of Fritz Leiber’s novel Conjure Wife (released as Burn, Witch, Burn! in the U.S.) with George Baxt and Richard Matheson.

Beaumont was diagnosed with an untreatable brain disease in 1963, which led to rapid deterioration of his faculties. Much of the work in Hollywood released under his name from that time until his death was co-written or ghost written under his name by friends and colleagues to help support him during his debilitating illness. He died at age 38, survived by his wife and their four children. He was held in high regard by his contemporaries, including Richard Matheson, William F. Nolan, and Robert Bloch. Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury remained outspoken fans of the man and his work.

The following scans are from my personal library.

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Christopher Fulbright

Christopher Fulbright is the author of short stories, novellas, and full-length novels of fantasy and horror. His short stories have appeared in many venues--webzines, magazines, and anthologies--since 1993. Fulbright received the Richard Laymon President's Award in 2008 from the HWA, and his short stories have received honorable mentions in "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror" and "Best Horror of the Year." He is a former journalist turned technical writer, an unrepentant horror fan, and owner/webmaster of Realms of Night.

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