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A mysterious blind man known only as The Collector arrives to tour the mansion of a murdered eccentric with the intent of purchasing it. The vast estate is filled with artifacts — mementoes with stories to tell — and only The Collector can “see” the tales associated with them by touching the objects. But there is far more occurring within the mansion as The Collector entraps a murderer to reveal himself and dispenses justice only he knows how to impose.


Touch of Darkness

Touch of Darkness was the first screenplay I wrote using a computer. The year was 1984 and I was late to the party. I bought a KayPro 2X and taught myself to use it by converting five of my old short stories, several of them concocted back in my high school days, into a Twilight Zone-wannabe. I am not alone in this. There are thousands of writers who have crafted an homage to Rod Serling’s breakthrough TV series. Loved that Rod.

I enjoyed the process of adapting now lost short stories so much that I re-adapted them back into prose and sold several — The Visitor, Nightwatch, Cell Life — to various magazines, and then created new short stories that also sold. It was the era of the ‘little magazine’ ushered in by the introduction of computers, an era killed by the World Wide Web. Just as quickly as the little magazines appeared in the mid-‘80s, they disappeared in the mid-‘90s. RIP.

Here is the pitch for Touch of Darkness: The Collector, a mysterious, blind billionaire, buys a mansion once belonging to another mysterious fellow that houses exhibits, a collection of strange artifacts and mementoes. The Collector need merely touch these artifacts to see the dramatic events that occurred in their vicinity, which on a weekly basis he does and we share. No Rod stepping from the shadows saying, “I present for your approval a tale about...” As an added twist of the tail I also made the wrap-around involving The Collector a story, too. Think of Alfred Hitchcock solving a mystery as he introduces the feature tale of the evening.

Touch of Darkness went nowhere because I was not, am not, and clearly will never be a successful television writer. No one is going to buy a pilot from someone on the outside, and I focused all of my attention on screenplays, and later novels. It was, in truth, a training exercise that resulted in my becoming proficient in CP/M, the operating language of my first computer, just as it was being made obsolete by MS-DOS. After several of those machines I left Microsoft behind in favor of Apple and have never looked back. Well, not until now.

The Visitor is based on a series of nightmares I had as a boy. My father was the bad guy. Nothing more horrible than your most trusted adult becoming the heavy in your dreams.

Nightwatch is drawn from my experiences as a night guard/writer.

The Cage is an entitlement tale I thought of in high school.

Cell Life is very much like an episode done by Twilight Zone. Did I steal it? Was I influenced by TZ? I have no memory of being influenced, but you never know.

Forever Yours just came to me when Jackie and I were touring Hollywood Memorial Cemetery (now Hollywood Forever) and came across the grave of one of my favorite actresses, Joan Hackett, in one of the mausoleums. Go away, her gravestone read, I’m only sleeping... God, I hope so. She was wonderful. The shock of seeing her recent grave got me to thinking, and the result was Forever Yours, go figure.

And now, for your reading pleasure, allow me to present... you know the rest.

-- Richard Taylor, Cambria, California, August 2010


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