RADIO ROCK 92.6 THE BLITZ
But enough already about radio! Let's talk horror! Take it away, Mr. Amo.
It was a dark and stormy night.
Doesn’t it seem that most ghost stories, horror novels or anything to do with stuff that goes bump in the night, all begin with that classic first line? Well, for this author, it doesn’t have to be dark or stormy, to find myself immersed into the dark, paranormal corners of my mind. And with that said, we can begin our tour.
Unless you’re television generation, (ages 45 - 60) give or take, a great deal of references made in today’s blog may go over your head. However, don’t feel excluded. Quite often many people come to appreciate things that were created long before they were residents on this planet. So, you’re in luck. Who knows, perhaps you may find something new here today and add them to your list of likes?
It was 1969, yours truly was six-years-old, and hooked on all things spooky and scary. Especially, horror films and television shows. I know, six-years-old and already a creepy kid. I loved the classic black & white Universal horror films from the 1930s and 40s. My heroes were Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Lon Chaney Jr. How many kids that age could not only tell you who the stars were, but also knew the director’s names too? Add to that list, film composers and the makeup men as well. (Jack Pierce, incidentally.)
During this golden era of the “boob tube” a new series came in the form of a movie of the week. Rod Serling had returned to television and this time it wasn’t going to be the science fiction morality tales of The Twilight Zone. This was a place where horror, the strange, and bizarre would have a permanent home. This residence would be known as the Night Gallery.
From 1970 to 1973, every chance I got, I would sneak the channel to NBC to watch the popular anthology series. Being that it was on at 10pm it wasn’t always easy. Inevitably Night Gallery is always compared to Twilight Zone. And while there is no question that production value on TZ was exceedingly bountiful compared to NG. I still preferred to spend my time at the Gallery. I was too young to remember The TZ, as its original run was from 1959-1964. Later on, when I did begin to watch TZ, I simply thought of it as clever and creepy. But NG was chilling and properly scary. Naturally, as the years go by and you return to watch a show that terrified you as a child, you find it’s mediocre at best. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE the show and there are a handful of episodes that are gems. But for the most part, it’s pretty campy.
Nonetheless, Rod Serling remained a constant inspiration to me as a young would-be author. He was the Stephen King of his day, and there was no denying, he was truly a gifted writer. Noted as the only television writer to win seven Emmy Awards.
So, flash-forward to 2014, it’s a dark and stormy night, and this author cannot sleep. So instead of tossing and turning for the next hour, a trip downstairs, a cup of coffee and late night television is my prescription for this night of declined slumber. And what do I settle on to watch? You guessed it kiddies; Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. I can’t tell you which episode it was I watched, but it was on long enough to wake up my muse and get her back to work. As I reflected on the show, it not only took me back to a time, fondly remembered, but served to inspire me to pay homage to the creative forces that gave my imagination more material than it knew what to do with. I had never entertained the idea of writing a collection of short stories. The closest I had ever come to that, was writing episodic scripts for independent television.
Did I dare pay tribute to Rod Serling? Wouldn’t his fans hate that? Who was I to do such a thing? But wait, I’m a fan. While doing my research I watched every interview or documentary I could find on him. I learned that he would be the first one to encourage creative minds to create. He loved to debate, and getting people to engage in conversations about issues was important to him, topical, political, or otherwise. So, with that essential permission, I decided, I would write a book that would be my very own tribute to a show that had a tremendous, creative impact on my future artistic life. And also, more importantly to a man, I wished I could have met. If for no other reason than to simply to say, thank you.
Okay, now on to the show. “Midnight Never Ends” is an adult horror anthology of four tales, ranging from the subjects of death, to the consequences of black magic, and the occult. Each story, like in the Night Gallery itself is presented with its very own canvas, complete, with a Serling type narration to segue the reader into the story. I felt if I was going to attempt a tribute at this show and the man; then the artwork was going to be as essential as the stories themselves. Four original paintings by artist, Jeannifer Marciella Soeganda, provide rich details that capture the true essence and flavor of Night Gallery artist, Tom Wright.
Prepare yourself to return to a time, where a man in a black suit, resonate voice and a macabre smile, takes you on a tour where the paintings are tilted left of center. A place where, “Midnight Never Ends.
NOW ON SALE on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
NOW ON SALE on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
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MIDNIGHT NEVER ENDS by THOMAS AMO