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Charles Beaumont

Charles Beaumont (1929–1967) dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and worked at a number of jobs before selling his first story to Amazing Stories in 1950. His story “Black Country” (1954) was the first work of short fiction to appear in Playboy, and his classic tale “The Crooked Man” appeared in the same magazine the following year. Beaumont published numerous other short stories in the 1950s, both in mainstream periodicals like Playboy and Esquire and in science fiction and fantasy magazines. His first story collection, The Hunger and Other Stories, was published in 1957 to immediate acclaim, and was followed by two further collections, Yonder (1958) and Night Ride and Other Journeys (1960). He also published two novels, Run from the Hunter (1957, pseudonymously, with John E. Tomerlin), and The Intruder (1959). Beaumont is perhaps best remembered for his work in television, particularly his screenplays for The Twilight Zone, for which he wrote several of the most famous episodes. His other screenwriting credits include the scripts for films such as The Premature Burial (1962), Burn, Witch, Burn (1962), The Haunted Palace (1963), and The Masque of the Red Death (1964). When Beaumont was 34, he began to suffer from ill health and developed a baffling and still unexplained condition that caused him to age at a greatly increased rate, such that at the time of his death at age 38 in 1967, he had the physical appearance of a 95-year-old man. Beaumont was survived by his wife Helen, two daughters, and two sons, one of whom, Christopher, is also a writer. Beaumont’s work was much respected by his colleagues, and he counted Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, and Roger Corman among his friends and admirers.

Perchance to Dream: A wonderful new collection from Penguin Classics

Perchance to Dream by Charles Beaumont

If the name “Charles Beaumont” strikes a familiar chord with you, it is likely because you have seen that name in the opening or end credits of any number of popular entertainments. Beaumont was the screenwriter for the 1958 sci-fi shlock classic Queen of Outer Space, The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, and the Roger Corman films The Premature Burial, The Intruder (featuring William Shatner’s finest performance ever, sez me), The Haunted Palace and The Masque of the Red Death. More likely, however, you have seen his name at the ending of various episodes of the classic television program The Twilight Zone; Beaumont contributed 22 screenplays to the series, more than his buddies Richard Matheson (15) and (the very recently departed) George Clayton Johnson (5), b... Read More

Thriller: One of the scariest TV shows of all time


Viewers who tuned into the new Thriller program on NBC, on the night of September 13, 1960, a Tuesday, could have had little idea that the mildly suspenseful program that they saw that evening — one that concerned a male ad exec being stalked by a female admirer — would soon morph into the show that author Stephen King would later call "the best horror series ever put on TV." The first eight episodes of Thriller came off as hour-long homages to Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which it immediately followed in the 9:00 slot; solid enough episodes of murder, intrigue and suspense, to be sure, with a touch of film noir at their heart. In the face of scathing reviews and poor viewership, however, the program brought in a new production team and drastically rebooted its image, gearing itself now more toward supernatural horror and crime melodramas; indeed, episode... Read More