Friends, as most of you are already aware of, we lost Harlan Ellison on Thursday. An iconic writer in many genres to say the least. Horror, fantasy, mystery, and science-fiction to name a few. To say nothing of Harlan Ellison’s work in comics, television, movies, and even video games. Harlan’s legacy is vast, with over 1,700 short stories alone. Don’t take our word for it though, friends. Look at what others in the industries he worked in have said on his passing.
Another Author that I am passionate about, happened to be a dear friend to Ellison. That is Neil Gaiman. Follow this link Neil Gaiman to see what he shared about the legend’s passing. Be warned there is some salty language.
Opinionated. Angry. Honest. Passionate. These are of course just a few of the words that described Ellison. While I never had the pleasure of meeting the writer. I did enjoy listening to what he had to say. Certainly I may not have always agreed with his viewpoint but it was always interesting nonetheless.
Case in point. Check out his thoughts on 1993’s The Death of Superman.
The first time I was introduced to the works of Harlan Ellison, it was probably the same as many of you. The infamous 1967 episode of Star Trek entitled The City on the Edge of Forever. I say infamous because Ellison was so very upset that his script was rewritten by Gene Roddenberry. It didn’t help that Roddenberry took credit for elements that Ellison wrote. In fact, back in 2009 Ellison sued CBS television as well as the Writers Guild of America. The former for 25% of net on merchandising and publishing earned from the episode. The latter was due to the Author feeling they hadn’t protected his interests over the years. In a press release published by Variety on March 16th, 2009:
“It ain’t about the ‘principle,’ friend, it’s about the money! Pay me! I’m doing it for the 35-year-long disrespect and the money!”
I began to notice Ellison’s name thanks to yet another TV series. This time it was the 1985 Twilight Zone revival. Furthermore it was the very first episode of the series, entitled Shatterday. The teleplay was written by Alan Brennert but based on Ellison’s 1975 short story. It was also directed by the late and great Wes Craven. It concerns a man who accidentally calls home from a bar…only to hear himself answer.
Shatterday also happens to star none other than Bruce Willis
Friends, these are just some highlights that come to mind on Ellison’s work. While it is sad that he has passed away, we can take some small comfort in what he has left behind. An enormous body of entertainment in myriad forms. As a lasting legacy that is no small feat. As always in these cases, we will dim the lights in the Vault auditorium.
I will leave you with the esteemed Mick Garris interviewing Harlan Ellison.
For this episode of the Fantasy Film Festival, the two discuss A Boy and His Dog.
[Via] Mick Garris Interviews