Storytellers have long had a place in our collective society. For all, before writing developed, it was the oral history passed on to generations that provided perspective for a question we all ask – where is it that we come from.
As innovation and invention changed how we communicate the reasons why haven’t. We learn, we grow closer together and we are entertained.
It was the feeling of being less important as the world seems to be growing beyond our reach and control that fueled the story behind 1956’s "The Shrinking Man" written by Richard Matheson. The sci-fi author died this week. He was 87.
Although his influence from short stories made its way to big screen theaters around the world, many like me, were influenced by his work on the small screen. Matheson’s ability to use the theater of the mind as a viewer absorbed the acting on the tube, allowed our fears of the unknown to entertain us.
In an interview with the Archive of American Television in 2002, Matheson recounted how, while he was flying in a plane, pictured someone skiing on the clouds as the puffy vapors resembled freshly fallen snow.
"But when I thought it over, that’s not very scary, so I turned it into a gremlin out on the wing of the airplane," Matheson said.
It was that vision that created one of the most memorable episodes of "The Twilight Zone." The episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" stared a young William Shatner frightening himself and others on the plane in 1963.
For decades later, tens of thousands of passengers will check out the wings while on a flight.
I’m always amazed of how Hollywood seems to recycle the best original stories from TV’s golden era to entertain new audiences. We see brushstrokes of Matheson’s vision in "I Am Legend," Hugh Jackman’s "Real Steel" and TV’s "Lost."
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter "Lost" co-creator Damon Lindelof said Matheson was a huge influence.
"Richard Matheson was a juggernaut of genre," Lindelof said. "But his writing never lost sight of the characters who inhabited the incredible worlds he created. Every time I fly, I look out at the wing, just in case. He will be profoundly missed."
BIG BANG: Toya Washington and Jason Newton will host the "The Big Bang" fireworks show Wednesday night on WISN-TV Ch. 12.
The Bartolotta Fireworks Company Inc. will launch the automated 22-minute spectacular on the opening day of Summerfest. The HD presentation will start at 10:30 p.m. and be set to the music of the performers who will be featured on various stages during the annual music festival.
"This annual fireworks extravaganza is a fun-filled and festive community event," Jan Wade, WISN-TV president and general manager, said in a statement.
"We love to bring this spectacular event to our viewers each year, and every year it just seems to get bigger and better. We’ve been doing this event for more than a decade and consider it a great way to kick off Summerfest."
Festival goers and others on the lakefront Downtown will have an incredible view of the display. However, knowing how difficult it can be, I’m always amazed by the work of the talented photographers, engineers, producers and directors do in the wonderful TV presentation done on location at the Pilot House at Discovery World. For this event, my favorite chair is the recliner in my home.
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.