Friday, June 19, 2009

Enter The Economic Realities of The Twilight Zone

I stumbled upon the first issue of this long defunct magazine in Detroit in '81. Its Editorial Director was T.E.D. Klein and its Associate Publisher was Carol Serling, Rod's widow.

I wrote to Mr. Klein to congratulate him on the launch of the mag and wish him well. He sent a kind note back and we exchanged several notes over the following couple of years.

I liked the mag a lot. The first issue's interview with Stephen King was by Charles L. Grant, a solid horror writer of the "quiet horror" persuasion, and a giant of the genre in his own right.

"Grail", the Ellison story, was a terrific way to kick things off. Ellison rarely disappoints.

I loved the mag. I never missed an issue.

At the time, I was regularly buying Fangoria, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Starlog, Hustler, Adult Cinema Review, Adam Film World, The Writer, Continental Films, Films and Filming, American Cinematographer, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Starburst, American Film, Film Comment, Lotus, and Doll Collector.

At least half of those are still kicking.

Starlog ceased publication quite recently, but has on-line dreams.

Speaking of Hustler... The cover of the October '86 issue looks suspiciously like an issue of Larry Flynt's flagship mag (minus the boobage). If they'd slapped Hustler or Swank on the masthead, I wouldn't have batted an eyelid.

Clearly, the economy realities of publishing a serious, mass market, quiet horror fiction magazine were hitting Publisher and President S. Edward Orenstein hard.

Perhaps he was eying the readership of mags like Future (from Starlog), Omni, and Bob Guccione's New Look. Any way you looked at it, the mag's newsstand identity was confused.

Inside, however, the content remained consistent.

T.E.D. Klein eventually moved on, and was replaced by Michael Blaine.

Contributing Editor Gahan Wilson remained for the journey; his co-Contributing Editor, the great science fiction scribe Theodore Sturgeon (More Than Human, '53), exited the mag (and the planet) due (in all probability) to his exposure to asbestos when he was a young Merchant Marine.

And speaking of Sturgeon... from the late 70's to the early 80's, he was on Larry Flynt's payroll, too. He reviewed books and culture for, you guessed it, Hustler.

The mag's last issue was February '89, and its Editor-in-Chief in demise was career editor and author Tappan King.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you gave Harlan a mentch...

    I have been watching a lot of his stuff on you tube lately, and I am delighted to report he still has that 'edge in his voice'...

    I wonder if conventional weaponry could possibly kill this man? Or would the uber lords need to develop some kind of specially designed bacteria to do away with him?

    I look forward to seeing the movie...