By Brent Johnson
June 30, 2018 - I just heard about Harlan Ellison’s death and wish to express my very sincerest condolences. The world has lost a truly great man and he will be sorely missed.
I met Harlan at a Star Trek convention back in 1974. We met at a blackjack game and we hit it off. I was so very impressed by the kind of person he was; his honesty, forthrightness, and genuineness touched me, and I determined to get to know him better, which I did over many years.
I was always amused by how brusque his public persona was, knowing as I did the magnificent and kind (yes, kind) being he really was. It was as if Harlan put on a mask of what many deemed mean in order to weed out those who only wanted to know him because of his celebrity. His attitude was, “If you really want to know the real me then show me by getting past my brusque exterior.”
I remember one science fiction convention in New York, at the old Commodore Hotel. It was around 10:00 pm and he went to the hotel coffee shop for a snack. The coffee shop was closed. He walked out, muttering, “This place would make a nice fire!” Many who heard him thought he meant it and that he was inappropriate, but I knew he would never actually do such a thing and it was a sophisticated attempt at humor.
Harlan had a heart of gold. I recall an incident where he had attended one of the science fiction conventions I organized as a personal favor to me. We were robbed at the convention and I was unable to pay him his full speaker fee as a result. He never said anything about it. I sent him money every month to pay off the debt. I was unable to send him a lot, but I sent him what I could send each month. He told me several years later that he was very appreciative of my integrity and he ultimately forgave the last of the debt.
There are very very few people I have known who I admire. My father was one of them (Harlan actually met my dad once). Patriot Dr. Ron Paul (the former congressman and presidential candidate) is another. Harlan is the only other person I admire. I respect and love many, but I do not admire (meaning look up to) people. I admired Harlan. He stood by his beliefs, and never compromised his values (though he was often asked to do so).
I remember reading Memos from Purgatory, his first published book. He went into one of the toughest areas of New York City and became a gang member in order to learn about that way of life. He had the courage of his convictions, and inspired me (and I am sure many others) by his presence.
The world has lost a truly great man. I will grieve his loss for some time. He will be missed.
With much Love and the utmost of respect,
By Brent Johnson
SHERMAN OAKS, Kalifornia (PNN) - June 28, 2018 - Speculative-fiction and fantasy author Harlan Ellison, who penned short stories, novellas and criticism, contributed to TV series including The Outer Limits, Star Trek, and Babylon 5, and won a notable copyright infringement lawsuit against ABC and Paramount and a settlement in a similar lawsuit over The Terminator, has died. He was 84.
Christine Valada tweeted that Ellison’s wife, Susan, had asked her to announce that he died in his sleep Thursday.
“Susan Ellison has asked me to announce the passing of writer Harlan Ellison, in his sleep, earlier today. ‘For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.’ - HE, 1934-2018. Arrangements for a celebration of his life are pending.”
The prolific but cantankerous author famously penned the Star Trek episode City on the Edge of Forever, in which Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock must go back in time to Depression-era America to put Earth history back on its rightful course, a goal that for Kirk means sacrificing the woman he loves (played by Joan Collins). The final script was rewritten by Star Trek staffers, leaving Ellison unhappy.
His 1995 book, The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay That Became the Classic Star Trek Episode, contained two drafts by Ellison.
The author was still steaming over his experience more than four decades after the episode originally aired: In 2009, Ellison sued CBS Paramount Television seeking revenue from merchandising and other sources from the episode; a settlement was reached six months later.
The author of a 1980 L.A. Times profile declared, “Ellison is fiercely independent, proudly elitist, frequently angry, tenacious, and downright vengeful.”
Talking about the Hollywood establishment, Ellison told the author, “They’ve got to know that everybody isn’t frightened and won’t back down. These people are not creators; they belong to the AAA - agents, attorneys and accountants. They aren’t comfortable dealing with writers - they think we’re madmen. They’re really only comfortable dealing with numbers.”
In a separate case, Ellison won $337,000 (later reduced a bit in a settlement) from ABC and Paramount Studios in 1980 for copyright infringement on a short story the author had penned with Ben Bova, Brillo. Ellison and Bova had been asked to develop it at ABC, but the option there had lapsed; Ellison then showed it to Paramount executives, who said they weren’t interested. ABC aired a Paramount-produced telepic called Future Cop in May 1976 and later a brief series of the same name. The premise, about the first android policeman, was identical to that in Brillo.
In the litigious writer’s third victory against Hollywood, Ellison sued James Cameron and others behind 1984’s The Terminator, claiming that the film drew from material in two episodes of the original The Outer Limits series, Soldier and Demon With a Glass Hand, which he had penned and that had aired in 1964. Production company Hemdale and distributor Orion Pictures settled out of court and were required under the terms of the settlement to acknowledge Ellison’s work in the film’s end credits. Cameron, however, labeled Ellison “a parasite”.
Curiously, Ellison had little sympathy for others who brought copyright-infringement lawsuits against the studios, telling the L.A. Times, “You’ve got to realize that there are hundreds of these claims and most of them aren’t valid. This is a town of amateurs. You have to separate these people and their complaints from the professionals who really work at writing and have viable ideas.”
Born in Painesville, Ohio, Ellison grew up in the only Jewish family in a small town where he said he had to defend himself in physical altercations on a daily basis. During the 1950s, Ellison attended Ohio State University for 18 months, served in the Army, and began to sell science fiction stories to pulp magazines.
He moved to California in 1962.
Ellison was famously fired on his first day of employment as a writer at Walt Disney Studios after making highly irreverent suggestions about the company’s beloved characters.
He penned scripts for Route 66, Burke’s Law, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and even The Flying Nun. For a 1964 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Memo From Purgatory, he adapted his own nonfiction memoir about having joined a street gang in Brooklyn.
Ellison also penned the screenplay to the Hollywood melodrama The Oscar, and the post-apocalyptic cult classic A Boy and His Dog (1975), starring a young Don Johnson, was based on an Ellison novella.
Ellison was also editor of the very influential fantasy anthologies Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions.
When he dealt with Hollywood, he fearlessly said exactly what he thought again and again - often causing fallout as a result. In the wake of the 1977 release of Star Wars, a Warner Bros. executive asked Ellison to adapt Isaac Asimov’s short story collection I, Robot for the big screen.
Ellison penned a script and met with studio chief Robert Shapiro to discuss it; when the author concluded that the executive was commenting on his work without having read it, Ellison claimed to have said to Shapiro that he had “the intellectual capacity of an artichoke.” Needless to say, Ellison was dropped from the project. Ellison’s work was ultimately published with permission of the studio, but the 2004 Will Smith film I, Robot was not based on the material Ellison wrote.
Perhaps Ellison’s most famous story not adapted for the screen was 1965’s Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman, which celebrates civil disobedience against a repressive establishment. Repent is one of the most reprinted stories ever.
In September 2011, however, Ellison sued to block the release of New Regency’s thriller In Time, starring Justin Timberlake, claiming that the film hews too closely to Repent, then dropped the lawsuit. In the early 1970s, Ellison created his only TV series, the Canada-produced The Starlost. He was so unhappy with the changes made by producers, however, that he took his name off the skein, which aired in 1973.
Ellison was a creative consultant for the 1980s edition of The Twilight Zone, for which he wrote several episodes, and was conceptual consultant for the 1990s sci-fi series Babylon 5. He also appeared in several episodes.
In 1995, Ellison adapted his story I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream for the video game of that name. He was also credited with design of the game and voiced the main character.
Dreams With Sharp Teeth, a documentary centering on Ellison and his work, received a theatrical release in 2008. Interviewees included Ellison and Robin Williams. Ellison also appeared in other documentaries, including The Masters of Comic Book Art, Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy, Brother Theodore (2007), and With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story (2010).
In addition to numerous genre awards - including multiple Hugos, Nebulas and Edgars - Ellison received four Writers Guild of America Awards for his TV work and the Silver Pen for Journalism, conferred by international writers union PEN, for his An Edge in My Voice column in the L.A. Weekly in defense of First Amendment rights.
Despite the kudos he amassed, however, Ellison penned a guest column for Variety in November 2013 in which he declared, “I do not merely hate all awards shows, I wish to see them beheaded, stakes driven through their black and corrupted widdle hearts, and to see the decapitated remains buried at a crossroads come midnight.”
Ellison was married five times, with at least two of those marriages lasting only weeks or months. Survivors include his fifth wife, Susan Ann Toth, whom he loved very much.
Eulogy by Brent Johnson.
DETROIT, Michigan (PNN) - American Patriot Carl Miller has died at the age of 65.
For more than forty years, Carl Miller was dedicated to educating people as to the legal methods of preserving the liberty that our Founding Fathers fought and died to establish in this country.
He successfully challenged the corrupt court and judicial systems on many occasions, and showed through legal processes how to circumvent the established way of doing things and live life as a free individual, despite the efforts of the State and federal governments to stamp out personal freedom and individual liberty.
Carl Miller studied American law relentlessly, up until the very end of his life, and developed effective ways for people to protect their property and reclaim their rights under the law. He defeated efforts by the Michigan and United States governments to enslave his body, mind and spirit, and his brilliance was exemplified in the manner in which he used the law to protect his and others’ rights.
American Patriot Carl Miller, dead at 65. He will be sorely missed.
SANTA CLARA, Kalifornia (PNN) - June 4, 2018 - San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark passed away Monday at the age of 61, his family confirmed. An All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion, Clark was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, in March of 2017.
"The San Francisco 49ers family has suffered a tremendous loss today with the passing of Dwight Clark," the team announced in a statement. "We extend our condolences and prayers to Dwight's wife, Kelly, his family, friends and fans, as we join together to mourn the death of one the most beloved figures in 49ers history.”
The team statement continued, "For almost four decades, he served as a charismatic ambassador for our team and the Bay Area. Dwight's personality and his sense of humor endeared him to everyone he came into contact with, even during his most trying times. The strength, perseverance and grace with which he battled ALS will long serve as an inspiration to so many. Dwight will always carry a special place in our hearts and his legacy will live on as we continue to battle this terrible disease."
Clark was on the receiving end of the iconic game-winning touchdown - memorialized as "The Catch" - in the 1981 NFL Championship Game. That era-defining play shifted the balance of power in the NFC, ending the hegemony of the 1970s Dallas Cowboys and launching the 49ers dynasty of the 1980s.
The Niners would go on to win Super Bowl XVI, the first professional sports championship the city of San Francisco had ever experienced.
Clark spent the entirety of his nine-year career with the 49ers, ranking third and fourth in franchise history in receiving yards (6,750) and receptions (506), respectively. A big, physical target at 6-foot-4, Clark emerged as Hall of Famer Joe Montana's go-to receiver, as Bill Walsh's West Coast offense reigned supreme throughout the 1980s.
If not for a serendipitous phone call intended for former Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller, Clark's career might have been a dream. When Walsh called to arrange a workout for Fuller, Clark happened to answer the phone. Walsh invited the receiver to come along and catch passes for his roommate. Weeks later, the 49ers drafted Clark in the 10th of 12 rounds, pairing him with their third-round quarterback from Notre Dame. The rest is history, as Montana-to-Clark became one of the greatest connections in NFL lore.
Overseeing the entire operation was Hall of Fame owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who released his own statement on Clark's passing.
"My heart is broken. Today, I lost my little brother and one of my best friends. I cannot put into words how special Dwight was to me and to everyone his life touched. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother, and a great friend and teammate. He showed tremendous courage and dignity in his battle with ALS and we hope there will soon be a cure for this horrendous disease.”
DeBartolo continued, "I will always remember Dwight the way he was - larger than life, handsome, charismatic, and the one who could pull off wearing a fur coat at our Super Bowl parade. He was responsible for one of the most iconic plays in NFL history that began our run of Super Bowl championships, but to me, he will always be an extension of my family. I love him and will miss him terribly. Our hearts and prayers are with his wife Kelly, his children, and the entire Clark family."
Following his sterling career on the field, Clark worked his way through San Francisco's front office, ultimately rising to general manager. He went on to become Director of Football Operations for the reconstituted Cleveland Browns from 1999-2002.
In a moving tribute to Clark’s legacy, NFL Network's Michael Silver wrote last September that the former player and executive "carried an aura of awesomeness into his post-football existence: Handsome, charming, and perpetually cheerful, the man lit up a room without acting as though he owned it."
"More importantly," Silver recalled, "Clark taught me that a man could live out a remarkable dream, emerge as a beloved icon for one of Amerika's most storied cities, receive the spoils that come with such a regal role, and never, ever act as though he were owed a morsel of it."
PAHRUMP, Nevada (PNN) - April 13, 2018 - He was awake when most of the country was asleep, cultivating a loyal following while sharing his fascination with the unexplained on his nighttime paranormal-themed show.
For the better part of two decades, longtime late-night radio personality Art Bell was his own producer, engineer and host of his show, Coast to Coast AM. He later launched his own satellite radio program from his Pahrump home after retiring from full-time hosting duties in 2003.
On the airwaves, Bell captivated listeners with his fascination for the unexplained, such as UFOs, alien abductions, and crop circles. He died Friday at his home at the age of 72.
“As he begins his journey on the ‘other side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us,” Coast to Coast said in a statement Saturday.
Coast to Coast was syndicated nationwide on about 500 stations across the Fascist Police States of Amerika and Canada in the 1990s before he left in 2002. He broadcast the show from Pahrump’s KNYE 95.1 FM, a station he founded.
Lorraine Rotundo Steele, who had been listening to Bell for more than 21 years, said Saturday that she was stunned by the news of her favorite radio host’s death. The 60-year-old Canada resident started tuning in to Bell’s show after her dad died.
“Art taught me how to keep an open mind,” she said. “At a very dark time in my life, he kept me sane. Art’s fascination with life after death was what I needed after losing my father.”
Bell’s show had a huge national following in part because he played to people’s imaginations, “like a Disneyland for sci-fi,” local talk show radio host Alan Stock said. He remembered Bell as a creative, unique, nice man who will undoubtedly live on as a radio icon.
“Nobody talked about Area 51, and about chupacabras and about aliens,” Stock said Saturday night. “He talked about that on a regular basis.”
His show, popular with truckers and others awake in the wee hours of the day, offered a look into a world nobody else on the radio had touched, Stock said.
Stock recalled listening to his show early one morning in the 90s. A caller into Bell’s show said he was piloting a small plane toward Area 51 - the classified Air Force facility located about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas - to find out “what’s really going on.”
“Art said, ‘Don’t do it, they will shoot you down,’” Stock said.
Bell and the caller went back and forth for about an hour and 20 minutes, he said, until the man reported seeing military planes flying behind him, signaling him to ground the plane. Despite Bell’s insistence on the man obeying their commands, the caller said he would keep flying.
“The next thing you know it went dead and you heard nothing at all,” Stock said. Stock had Bell on his show about two weeks later, and he asked Bell what happened to the caller. Bell said he never heard from the man again.
Bell retired several times in his career, which included a short-lived show on SiriusXM satellite radio in 2013. He also co-authored a book, The Coming Global Superstorm, with Whitley Strieber.
Returning to terrestrial radio afterward was not a difficult decision, he told the Pahrump Valley Times in August 2013.
“That’s easy, because I love it,” he said at the time. “It’s my life, and that’s all I have ever done. I went through a lot of family problems, so that interrupted things, and I was overseas for four years, and that certainly interrupted things. I went back into radio because I love it.”
Bell was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2006 and into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008, the same year he sold KNYE to Karen Jackson.
Bell’s genuine interest in the topics he discussed contributed to the interest and entertainment his show generated.
“Art was a pioneer in broadcasting, taking overnight talk radio to new heights, which generated huge audiences,” Jackson said. “He was a master at creating spell-binding, intriguing, sometimes frightening, and thoroughly compelling talk radio.”
“No one has been more loved by their family, friends and listening audience,” she added.
For a time, Bell also held the Guinness world record for a solo broadcast marathon, logging more than 115 hours of airtime while working as a DJ in Okinawa, Japan. The stunt raised funds to rescue over 100 Vietnamese orphans left stranded by the conflict in their country, according to Coast to Coast.
Bell was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on June 17, 1945. The only child in a military family, he moved around a lot as a youth.
He later served in the Air Force as a medic during the Vietnam War, but his love for radio was always there. According to Coast to Coast AM, he was an FCC licensed radio technician at age 13, and while in the Air Force, he created an on-base pirate radio station that played anti-war music.
It wasn’t until the mid-1980s, when he returned to the Fascist Police States of Amerika and joined KDWN-AM in Las Vegas, that talk radio captivated Bell. There he mastered his famous blend of contemporary and unsettling.
“I want to bring topics on radio you otherwise might not hear,” Bell, then 50, told the Pahrump Valley Times in January 1996.
His cause of death has not yet been determined. Bell’s autopsy is scheduled for later this week, according to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.
Bell leaves behind his wife, Airyn, whom he married in 2006, and his children Asia, Alex and Art Bell IV. He is preceded in death by his parents.
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