Whenever I think about the International Network of Somewhere in Time Enthusiasts, I remark upon the fact that INSITE (also the title of their handsome quarterly journal)—among the very few fan societies devoted to a single motion picture—would not, indeed literally could not, have existed without the late Richard Matheson. Although the 1980 film it celebrates was of necessity a collaborative effort, and INSITE joyfully recognizes the contributions of all involved, both the screenplay and the 1975 novel upon which it was based, originally published as Bid Time Return, sprang from the mind of one man. So it’s no surprise that the lead story in the First Quarter 2013 issue of INSITE (Vol. 24 #1) is a loving tribute to Matheson, his career, and his passing, complete with a smiling cover photo in full period regalia from his cameo as the “Astonished Man.”
The issue includes a wealth of Matheson family photos and heartfelt reminiscences from INSITE President/Editor Jo Addie, who kindly solicited my modest contribution; founder Bill Shepard, whose book The Somewhere in Time Story: Behind the Scenes of the Making of the Cult Romantic Fantasy Motion Picture Jo revised for the 25th anniversary of the film’s release; and its respective producer and director, Stephen Simon (aka Deutsch) and Jeannot Szwarc. The only sour note for me, through no fault of INSITE, is that the MSN obit (reprinted with those from USA Today and The Los Angeles Times) perpetuates the myth that Richard appeared as a senator in The Godfather Part II. I presume that canard, which I have long sought to eradicate, sprang from the fact that Roger Corman, for whom Richard wrote several scripts, did have such an uncredited cameo and/or that X-Files creator Chris Carter paid homage to his Night Stalker influences with the character of “Senator Richard Matheson” (Raymond J. Barry).
In a bittersweet juxtaposition, the remainder of the issue is devoted to an event that epitomizes Matheson’s enduring legacy: the world premiere of the Somewhere in Time musical at the Portland (Oregon) Center Stage on May 31, 2013, which his final illness prevented him from attending. Produced by Tony Award-winning Broadway veteran Ken Davenport, who joined in the INSITE tributes, the show has music by Doug Katsaros and lyrics by Amanda Yesnowitz, and was a longstanding dream of Richard’s; before granting them the theatrical rights in 2006, he had pursued his own script version, with songs written by Duel composer Billy Goldenberg and lyricist Harry Shannon. The show is apparently based as much upon the novel as on the film, and although the consensus seems to be that it needs a somewhat stronger score, we can hope it moves toward Richard’s cherished hope of a Broadway production.
Profuse thanks to Jo, as always, for her support and generosity.