A Birthday for Beaumont

Charles Beaumont

Charles Beaumont was born on this date (January 2) in 1920.  If you watched The Twilight Zone marathon on the SyFy Channel over the weekend, you probably saw one or two episodes that he wrote. His birthday is often overlooked since he shares it with a more famous author, Isaac Asimov.

Beaumont died way too young in 1967, but he left a mark of the field of the fantastic that still lingers today if you know where to look and what to look for.  And not just because he wrote some of the best remembered episodes of The Twilight Zone, either.

Beaumont was mentored by Ray Bradbury and was a central figure in the what became known as the California School that included such writers as Richardson Matheson, Chad Oliver, William F. Nolan, and George Clayton Johnson.

His prose output was mostly short fiction, but what short fiction it was. Beaumont’s stories included humor and compassion mixed with a strong dose of disquiet and fear.  And while those things might seem somewhat exclusive, Beaumont could mix them like sugar in iced tea, so that you couldn’t remove any element without taking everything else out with it.

Several collections of Beaumont’s stories are currently available in either print or electronic form. I would suggest starting with this volume (shown left)  from Penguin, so if you aren’t familiar with him, check him out.

8 thoughts on “A Birthday for Beaumont

  1. Matthew

    I know him mostly from his episodes of the Twilight Zone. So Brackett mentored Bradbury and Bradbury mentored Beaumont. Interesting and in alphabetical order.

    1. Keith West Post author

      And all three are worth reading. There was a thing going around on Twitter last week to list five books that best reflected your reading tastes. I listed d works by Brackett and Bradbury and almost listed Beaumont.

  2. Randy Stafford

    If you haven’t done it already, the documentary “Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man” is worth a look.

    I saw William F. Nolan at a con in October. He talked about Beaumont’s deterioration toward the end including a frightening episode where Beaumont went into kind of a fugue and almost drowned his son. The incident was incorporated into Nolan’s script for the movie “Burnt Offerings”.

    1. Keith West Post author

      I read a Beaumont story the other night entitled “The Pool” where a writer almost does that. I wondered at the time if it were based on a real incident, the writing was so vivid. Now I know. The story is in A Touch of the Creature.

      Thanks for the tip on the documentary. I wasn’t aware of it.


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