A big part of the Richard Matheson legend comes from his storied TV career.
The late, great genre writer composed dozens of novels and hundreds of short stories in his more than six-decade career, not to mention numerous screenplays, but he also gave us some of the finest genre television of the 20th century, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the 16 episodes he contributed to Rod Serling's iconic series The Twilight Zone.
Among Matheson's contributions to the series are tales of a pair of scientists trying to escape Earth ("Third from the Sun"), a writer who can make anything he says reality ("A World of His Own"), a father haunted by a daughter he can't find ("Little Girl Lost") and a world where robots do all the boxing ("Steel"). There's also, of course, the legendary "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," the William Shatner-led episode that's become one of the most famous and acclaimed chapters in Twilight Zone history. And lucky for you, you can watch them all, as well as the rest of the series, right now.
So, in celebration of Matheson's incredible career, take a look back at his Twilight Zone episodes streaming free on Hulu.
"And When the Sky Was Opened" (Season 1, Episode 11 - 1959)
Series creator Rod Serling penned the teleplay for this episode -- the story of three astronauts who crash land on Earth and find something is very different -- based on Matheson's short story "Disappearing Act."
"Third from the Sun" (Season 1, Episode 14 - 1960)
Serling also wrote the teleplay for this Matheson adaptation, which follows two scientists who plot to steal a spaceship and leave Earth as World War III looms.
"The Last Flight" (Season 1, Episode 18 - 1960)
A World War I British pilot flies his plane through a strange cloud and then lands at an airbase in France...42 years in the future. This was Matheson's first Twilight Zone teleplay, adapted from his own short story "Flight."
"A World of Difference" (Season 1, Episode 23)
This story of a businessman who must fight to set his life right after suddenly finding himself a movie star on a film set was Matheson's first original teleplay for the series.
"A World of His Own" (Season 1, Episode 36 - 1960)
The Matheson-scripted season one finale is the story of a writer who finds that his dictation machine will make anything he says real.
"Nick of Time" (Season 2, Episode 7 - 1960)
This Matheson-scripted episode is also the first of two Twilight Zone episodes to star William Shatner. In "Nick of Time," he plays a man who becomes obsessed with a remarkably accurate fortune-telling machine in a cafe.
"The Invaders" (Season 2, Episode 15 - 1961)
This Matheson episode features Agnes Moorehead as a woman who encounters what seem to be tiny aliens after they land their craft on her roof.
"Once Upon a Time" (Season 3, Episode 13 - 1961)
This Matheson-scripted episode stars legendary silent film comedian Buster Keaton as a dissatisfied janitor who is given a trip through time by his boss.
"Little Girl Lost" (Season 3, Episode 26 - 1962)
Matheson adapted this episode - the story of a father who finds his daughter has vanished, though he can still hear her crying for help - from his 1953 short story of the same name, itself based on a real-life incident involving his daughter.
"Young Man's Fancy" (Season 3, Episode 34 - 1962)
Matheson's final season three episode is the story of a pair of newlyweds who visit the home of the husband's dead mother, only to find that mother-son attachments aren't easily severed.
"Mute" (Season 4, Episode 5 - 1963)
Matheson adapted this episode from his own short story, the tale of a young girl raised by her parents to communicate telepathically who, after their death, struggles to learn to live in a world where people speak out loud.
"Death Ship" (Season 4, Episode 6 - 1963)
Also adapated from one of his short stories, this Matheson episode features a crew of astronauts who find duplicates of themselves (and their ship), crashed on the planet they were surveying.
"Steel" (Season 5, Episode 2 - 1963)
Matheson adapted this episode from his short story of the same name, set in a world where human fighting has been outlawed, so robots perform the boxing matches. The same story would later be adapted into the 2011 film Real Steel.
"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (Season 5, Episode 3 - 1963)
Matheson adapted this episode, widely considered one of the show's best, from his story about a man who's tormented by visions of a monster outside a plane he's riding in.
"Night Call" (Season 5, Episode 19 - 1964)
Based on his story "Long Distance Call," this Matheson episode follows an elderly woman haunted by mysterious phone calls.
"Spur of the Moment" (Season 5, Episode 21 - 1964)
Matheson's final Twilight Zone episode is the story of an heiress pursued by a woman on a horse, who begs her to not go through with her coming marriage.