Richard Matheson (1926-2013)
“When I was little & no longer afraid of the dark it was Richard Matheson who reminded me why I should be. Had a huge impact on me as a child.” — @OccultDetective
Imagine a little boy, less than two months from his sixth birthday, still basking in the afterglow of a magical Christmas that came but a couple of weeks before. This boy, already obsessed with Dark Shadows, Universal Monsters, and late night horror movies hosted by the incomparable Sammy Terry, is waiting in front of the television with near unbridled anticipation.
What has caught this child’s imagination so completely?
A television movie, airing on a Tuesday night. The date was January 11th, 1972… and the movie was a Dan Curtis production starring Darren McGavin called The Night Stalker.
And thus began my more than forty year obsession with Richard Matheson.
Matheson was an unbelievably gifted storyteller. It didn’t matter the media. Television, movies, short stories, novels… the man was a tour de force, penning the most magnificent works the twentieth century had ever seen.
Richard Matheson died late Sunday afternoon in his home in Los Angeles after a long illness. He was 87.
Matheson, the man, may have left us, but Matheson the storyteller is immortal.
His influence on me is immeasurable and I imagine nearly every writer of speculative fiction feels the same.
He was a giant and his shadow fell upon all of us.
Farewell and Godspeed, Richard Matheson. I want to thank you, not only as the forty-seven year old struggling storyteller I am today, but as the five year old little boy you inspired so long ago.