A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
May 10, 2007 Volume 37 / Number 7


Blasts from the Past: The Twilight Zone and The Time Machine

A thin, edgy, intense chain smoker with short, dark hair and deep-set eyes offers thoughts for our consideration in a grainy black-and-white video. He discusses characterization, illustrating his points with drawings by Chico State artist Ken Morrow and his own brilliant cartoons. In the midst of a discussion of “good versus bad astrology,” “developing an eye for type,” and the manner in which veins bulge on a murderer’s forehead, the show abruptly ends in midsentence.

Rod Serling in The Twilight Zone? No, it’s one of the finest American novelists of the 20th century, former Chico State English professor John Gardner, in Creative Writing, a film produced by our very own IMC in approximately 1960. For years, this film was “lost” until current English professor Steve Metzger wanted to see it again. Terry Nolan of the IMC managed to unearth a frequently viewed and badly worn copy of the original film, and we had it converted to DVD. It’s a quirky, fascinating 19-minute ride that comes off the tracks at the end, a short cult film for writers and cartoonists.

One of the first 5,000 books in Meriam Library was the 1928 edition of Tono-Bungay by H. G. Wells (author of The Time Machine and many other classic works) with an introduction by Theodore Dreiser. It disappears with a final checkout date of August 15, 1955. In 2007, it mysteriously reappears in the Interlibrary Loan Office. (Cut to Twilight Zone music.) In the meantime, it was replaced with the 1931 edition, originally owned by one Adrienne Merritt and, according to a stamp on the title page, “Retailed by Macy’s.” Although a slightly more recent edition, it lacks the introduction by Dreiser. It’s also heavily used and falling apart, so the mysterious return of the 1928 edition couldn’t come at a better time.

Your local library, where you never know what the bleep you might find!

—Jim Dwyer, Meriam Library
Bibliographic Services.