NEWS -

Celebrity Deathmatch

Posted: March 17, 2002, 00:00
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On Thursday the 14th MTV aired episode 66 of their show Celebrity Deathmatch and in one of the three matches that took place in that episode King fought Harry Potter's creator JK Rowling.

Some time in to the fight Rowling, after casting spells and flying around on her broomstick for a few minutes, killed King with a huge lightning bolt. King's injured leg came back to life though and finished off Rowling. The winner was Stephen King's right leg. Here is a clip of a part of the match.

   

King comments on his retirement rumors

Posted: February 26, 2002, 00:00
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King comments on his retirement rumors on the official site.

"When asked on a recent episode of The View about his plans to retire, Stephen said that he has enough projects to keep him busy for the next 2 years and that he'll make a decision about retiring then. Don't worry, folks, finishing The Dark Tower books is first on the "to do list" during this next 2 years."

Sad news for The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon

Posted: February 23, 2002, 23:16
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In an FAQ at Ain't it cool News they reported the following sad news about the movie version of The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon.

In the course of the Q & A, I found out that "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" doesn't have enough star-power potential; there just aren't enough 12 year-old girl actresses who have drawing power. So that film might never get made. I was forlorn, and felt like vomiting. Man, George and Stephen King, when collaborating, produce some fun stuff (come on, how can anybody forget, "Thanks for the ride, lady...thanks for the ride!" You know, Creepshow II?...never mind.) Granted, "The Girl..." hardcover can be purchased at Barnes & Noble for $4.95 'cause it is one of the worst things Steve ever wrote. (Give him credit, though: He had just got knocked the fuck out by that lunatic that ran him down.) Either the girl lost in the woods lives or she dies...not the most layered of plots, but hey, if George was writing the screenplay with Steve helping, it would be great. Well, it's all moot now, cause George says he's probably won't be able to do it--the lack of star-power thing.

Darabont doing The Mist

Posted: February 18, 2002, 13:24
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Today (at http://www.robertrmccammon.com/faq.html) Frank Darabont said the following about The Mist:

Now that the last five years of intense directing crapola is behind me, I'm absolutely blissed about shifting gears back into writing mode for a year or two. Topping my list of priorities are at long last finishing MINE (I've had the first HALF of the script written for five years now, but got waylaid by GREEN MILE and MAJESTIC!), finally adapting Steve King's THE MIST, and also adapting Mr. Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451. These are all possible directing/producing projects for me. Rick and his fans should know that my enthusiasm for MINE has never dampened, and I'm itching to get back to it.

Frank Darabond is turning The Mist into a movie. No info or releases dates have been released on it yet, but Daily Variety reports that Michael J. Fox is being approached for a lead role. Fox is a HUUUUUUGE Stephen King fan and has wanted to find the right project to be in for years. Fox was actually up for the William Sadler role in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, but had to bow out for other film commitments.

Thanks to Anders.

Comments on King's retirement

Posted: January 31, 2002, 00:00
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King's agent commented on King's upcoming retirement:
"He's spoken about retiring many times in the past," Greene told The Associated Press Thursday. "In my own mind, I think it's unlikely he'll stop working."

The article also said:
A spokeswoman for King said the author had not yet read Sunday's article and would have no immediate comment.

King talks

Posted: January 27, 2002, 00:00
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In an interview with Kim Murphy King talks about the next projects he has coming out: a book of short stories [Everything's Eventual], due in March. Then in the fall, the long-delayed novel From a Buick Eight, postponed because it involves a car accident and didn't seem appropriate before. The last three novels in the Dark Tower series, to be completed in the coming year. A limited series about a haunted hospital [The Kingdom] for ABC.

He also says that after that he's done writing books

Or, at least, publishing books. "You get to a point where you get to the edges of a room, and you can go back and go where you've been, and basically recycle stuff," he says. "I've seen it in my own work. People when they read 'Buick Eight' are going to think Christine. It's about a car that's not normal, OK? You say, 'I've said the things that I have to say, that are new and fresh and interesting to people.' Then you have a choice. You can either continue to go on, or say I left when I was still on top of my game. I left when I was still holding the ball, instead of it holding me.


Frank Muller injured

Posted: January 4, 2002, 00:00
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On November 5, 2001, Frank Muller was in a very serious motorcycle accident near Los Angeles, California. He sustained multiple fractures, lacerations and abrasions, and went into cardiac arrest three times. He also suffered severe head trauma, which was subsequently diagnosed as Diffuse Axonal Injury.

The audio books community has responded to Frank with an outpouring of support for him and his family. As part of this support, Stephen King, John Grisham, Pat Conroy and Peter Straub will hold a benefit performance at 8:00 pm on Saturday, February 2, 2002, which will include live readings and reflections.

King a character

Posted: December 21, 2001, 19:25
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The Destroyer series is a well-written series that has been published for over 27 years. It contains insightful political satire and often lampoons well-known people. In the latest volume #125 The Wrong Stuff, Stephen King is featured as a major character and appears throughout the novel. The author is clearly very familiar with King, and his portrait of him is accurately drawn with details of King's life that betray the hand of a fan of his fiction.

Glowing introduction

Posted: December 21, 2001, 19:24
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Tor has been republishing Richard Matheson for a number of years, bringing back into print such classics as Hell House, I Am Legend and The Incredible Shrinking Man. This month the company has collected 20 of his best short horror stories under the title Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.

The book boasts a glowing introduction by Stephen King, who states, "When people talk about the genre, I guess they mention my name first, but without Richard Matheson, I wouldn't be around. He is as much my father as Bessie Smith was Elvis Presley's mother."

Speed Queen

Posted: December 7, 2001, 19:23
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Christina Ricci will star in and direct Speed Queen based on Stewart O'Nan's novel of the same name about a convicted murderer who tries to give her life story to a famous horror writer (Stephen King). O'Nan originally wanted to call his book Dear Stephen King but that didn't go over too well with all concerned.

Willis to do Bag of Bones

Posted: December 5, 2001, 22:39
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According to the site 4filmmakers.com Bruce Willis (it doesn't mentions if it's the same Bruce Willis that stars in the Die Hard movies though) and Arnold Rifkin will be the producers for Bag of Bones. The Production Companies will be Cheyenne Enterprises. No word on where they are in the production though.

According to Reuters King has sold the movie rights for "Bag Of Bones" to Deborah Raffin and her husband Michael Viner. Raffin is an actress (Death Wish 3, Scanner 2 and Sidney Sheldons The Sand Of Time) and Viner a movie producer. Let's hope that they do a great job with it!

Jay, Mick, Bernie and more

Posted: November 26, 2001, 19:23
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On Saturday December 1st (2:00 p.m. - 5.00 p.m.) director Jay Holben, director Mick Garris, artist Bernie Wrightson, actors Miguel Ferrer and Cynthis Garris and screenwriter Dennis Etchinson will be in Burbank, CA. with British author Stephen Jones who will sign copies of his latest book: The Illustrated Guide to Stephen King Movies. These are specially imported copies of the book currently only available overseas (they will be selling for $29.95).

To reserve copies or mail order your signed copies with a credit card contact: DARK DELICACIES, Books & Gifts for the Horror Lover, 4213 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505, 818-556-6660 / 888-darkdel, www.darkdel.com, e-mail: darkdel@darkdel.com.


Thanks to Jay Holben.

The Monkey

Posted: November 25, 2001, 15:36
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In the book Creepshow - The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Guide author Stephen Jones says that Frank Darabont is currently planning an official adaptation of King's story The Monkey, probably for cable TV.

The unofficial one that is referred to in the book is a movie called The Devil's Gift.

Lilja's Library goes WAP

Posted: November 23, 2001, 19:21
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From today, Sep. 23, you can access Lilja's Library from your wap-phone. Obviously this is a limited version of the site, as of now it only contains news updates. This is an experiment though so I need you to check it out and then let me know what you think of it. Is it something that you need, something you want, what should it contain? Let me know!

The address you need to enter in your phone is: http://mywaphosting.com/users/liljas_wap/index.wml

Here is how the site looks in a phone:

Sly out of the Cadillac

Posted: November 19, 2001, 20:53
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The Seattle Times: Arts & Entertainment: Seen, heard, said Seattle Times staff

There's some intrigue involving the filming of Stephen King's "Dolan's Cadillac," the tale of a mild-mannered teacher who seeks revenge after his wife, an eyewitness to a mob murder, is killed by the mobster.

The New York Daily New says Sly Stallone, once attached to it, is out and speculates the production company that has the rights Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner's wanted him to play the mobster and Kevin Bacon to be the teacher.

Other explanations include: 1. Sly asked for more money and 2. Sly's rep thinks the project is kaput.

Thanks to Bev Vincent.

Libretto done and listen to IT

Posted: November 17, 2001, 13:09
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I now have gotten confirmation from Eve Beglarian that the libretto for The Man in the Black Suit is complete. She told me that I've begun the music; the plan is to have a workshop with music in april or may of 2002.

She also told me that she has a song based on a single line from IT. An mp3 demo of the song is on her website. This is not the final version, but it gives you an idea of the song...

You can listen to it here. Just click on the link: all ways (2001) mp3.

Stephen and Tabitha donates

Posted: November 16, 2001, 19:21
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Stephen and Tabitha donated money to the Red Cross with the help of the listeners of WKIT.

On Friday, WKIT which is part of Stephen King's The Zone Corporation, had a 'pay for play 'day. Listeners could hear their request for a minimum pledge of $10.00 to The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The station took requests and pledges until 6 pm . The unofficial total was $70,230.00 from their listeners and this was matched by the Stephen And Tabitha King Foundation dollar for dollar. Approximately $140,460.00 will be sent to the Red Cross thanks to the listeners of WKIT and the King's.

The Talisman 3 around 2006

Posted: November 9, 2001, 23:29
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In interviews (you can find one of them in The Interview Section) Peter Straub has said that he and King probably will write a third book about Jack Sawyer and now, according to a post in SKEMERs, he said (at a signing in Mequon, Wisconsin yesterday) that King and he hope to write another book in "around five years".

This means that we could have The Talisman 3 around 2006 or so...

Dolan's Cadillac to start filming next year...

Posted: November 9, 2001, 20:51
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Las Vegas Review Journal reports that Dolan's Cadillac is expected to start filming around the first next year. Here is what they say:

And currently scouting around town: "Dolan's Cadillac," based on a Stephen King tale, about a science teacher who exacts complex revenge when a Las Vegas mobster murders his wife, who witnessed a hit. Sylvester Stallone, who starred as a Vegas-based hit man in the "Get Carter" remake, plays the mobster. Cameras are expected to roll around the first of the year with Stacy Title ("The Last Supper") directing.

ABC has dropped The Talisman

Posted: November 6, 2001, 23:01
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Creature Corner reports that ABC has dropped the miniseries version of The Talisman. Here is what they says:

With the success of ‘The Black House’ novel, the latest collaboration from Stephen King and Peter Straub – and sequel to ‘The Talisman’, you’d think that the ABC miniseries adaptation of ‘The Talisman’ would be going full steam ahead without a hitch. Right?

Wrong.

After lingering in development hell for years, it seems ‘The Talisman’ has been stopped at the gates yet again. The Creature Corner learned today that ABC has dropped the Mick Garris-directed miniseries which would have become the network’s third King project in the works after ‘Rose Red’ (which airs in ’02) and King’s ‘The Kingdom’ remake (presumably due in ’03). “This does not mean that there will be no ‘Talisman’. There are other potential homes,” says Garris. “and a theatrical version is not out of the question.”

‘The Talisman’ chronicled the adventures of young Jack Sawyer, a boy forced to cross into another dimension to save his mother. With the help of Wolf, Jack took on many strange beasties while trekking across a bizarre land. No doubt ‘The Talisman’ would have been epic television. The Kennedy-Marshall team was set to produce. Mick’s screenplay adaptation was well-received. What went wrong? Most likely money issues, perhaps on the network’s end, but who really knows? This business is strange.

Ghost-story musical

Posted: November 2, 2001, 20:12
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Jonathan over at STEPHEN KING COLLECTORS sent me the following:

The following short article, "The Sing of Horror" comes from the November/December 2001 "Pages" magazine:

"John Mellencamp and Stephen King are continuing to develop their ghost-story musical, which is expected to open in the spring of 2002. Mellencamp says he hopes to see the as-yet-unnamed musical on Broadway--someday. The rocker and the writer will finalize the project some time in Febuary. Mellencamp, who's writing 15 songs for the show, calls King's script "the most beautiful story."

Libretto done

Posted: October 30, 2001, 13:06
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I e-mailed Eve Beglarian (the woman who started work on the opera for Stephen King's Man in the Black Suit about a year ago) about the status of the opera and here is what she responded with:

"Hi Jonathan,
The libretto for the opera is now complete (co-wrtten by Eve Beglarian and Grethe Holby), and I am beginning work on the music this winter.
Thanks for your interest,
Best,
Eve"

Thanks to Jonathan over at STEPHEN KING COLLECTORS

Sun Dog dropped

Posted: October 25, 2001, 01:07
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IMAX now reports that The Sun Dog has been dropped from IMAX's development slate.

Stephen King Day

Posted: September 28, 2001, 19:21
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October 3, 2001 will be Stephen King Day at the University of Maine. Several sources have just chimed in that King will be doing a reading that night around 7:30. The reading will be held at the Maine Center For The Arts on the Orono campus. Although it's free and open to the public, seating there is rather limited. If you want to attend what is sure to be a very cool event, you must call ahead for tickets. The phone number is 1-207-581-1755 (You might also try 1-800-622-8499 but this might be instate only) and I recommend you do that ASAP. King will not be signing anything, so don't bother dragging along your box of books. :)

Pet Sematary 3

Posted: September 15, 2001, 15:38
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According to Dark Horizons Brendan Fehr is the top candidate for the lead in Pet Sematary 3.

September 12, 2001
Greek magazine Nostos News and Dark Horizons reports that a second sequel is in the works to the original Stephen King horror adaptation Pet Sematary. Director Mary Lambert and Producer Ralph S. Singelton will be at work on the tale which will wrap up what happened to the family in the second film - Ed Furlong may make a cameo.

Thanks to Anders and Justin Brooks.

King settles

Posted: September 4, 2001, 19:18
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Donation to hospital settles author's suit with insurance company
By Associated Press, 8/30/2001 02:15


BANGOR, Maine (AP) Stephen King's insurance company settled a lawsuit with the horror writer by donating $750,000 to the hospital that cared for him after he was hit by a car two years ago.

King sued OneBeacon Insurance for $10 million in February, claiming it failed to provide full coverage for injuries he sustained when in the accident.

King was insured personally and by his business policy, both through Commercial Union, which was later bought by OneBeacon. But his lawsuit claimed an umbrella policy should entitle him to additional payments.

King, 53, was injured in June 1999 when a van driven by Bryan Smith of Fryeburg struck the author as he was walking along the shoulder of Route 5 near his vacation home in Lovell.

King suffered a broken leg and hip, punctured lung, broken ribs and other injuries. He has undergone five surgeries since the accident.

Tony Payne, vice president of marketing for OneBeacon, said the donation to Bridgton Hospital was a compromise.

"(The lawsuit) wasn't likely to be easily resolved without long and expensive litigation,'' he said. ''So we collaborated and said, 'How can some good come out of this that can impart community good?"

The Kings summer in Lovell, and live the rest of the year in Bangor.

King donated $100,000 to the hospital after the accident. The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, a charitable organization King founded with his wife, donated $500,000.

"They're wonderful supporters of the hospital," said Pamela Smith, director of development and community relations at the hospital. "He realizes how important keeping a community hospital in the Lakes Region is."

The contribution helps completed a capital campaign to pay for a new hospital building. The building is slated to open in December.

Read a message from Stephen & Tabitha

Posted: September 4, 2001, 19:18
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Here is a message from Stephen & Tabitha that was posted on the S&S bulletin board.

Stephen & tabitha king 49 Florida Avenue, Bangor, ME 04401

August 2001

Dear Parents,

We are delighted to join First Lady Mary Herman, Maine's Family Literacy Task Force, and the Verizon Foundation in welcoming your child to Kindergarten.

Reading with and to your children daily is the most important thing you can do to ensure your child is off to a good start in school. You know that we love to WRITE books; what you may not know is that we read to our children when they were growing up and now happily read to our grandchildren all the time. Lap time with your child, looking at and talking about the pictures, reading, re-reading, talking about the book, connecting the story to your life when possible, is crucial to getting your child started well in school.

Please, turn off the TV and make a promise to yourself that you will read the enclosed books, and others available at the library and bookstores, with your children often. You'll enjoy this special time and the rewards are lifelong!

Best wishes,

Stephen King Tabitha King
Thanks to Bev Vincent for letting me know.

King will finish musical in February

Posted: August 7, 2001, 12:36
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According to John Mellencamp he and King will finish the musical that they have been working on in February:

Tuesday August 7 9:09 AM ET
Mellencamp, King Work on Musical

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - John Mellencamp and fiction writer Stephen King expect to complete the musical they're working on sometime in February.

Mellencamp said the two plan to meet in February to finish the musical, which he termed "an American story."

"Steve has written the most beautiful story," he said. "I've written about five songs for this thing and there's not one rock song anywhere near it."

Mellencamp said he still has about 10 songs to write for the production.

"If this works like we think it's going to, it'll be great," he said.

Thanks to Bob Ireland

Dolan's Cadillac to be filmed in Mexico?

Posted: July 12, 2001, 20:49
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USA Today reports that Dolan's Cadillac might be filmed in Mexico. Here is what they said:

Other U.S. movies in the works in Mexico include Vampires: Los Muertos, starring rocker Jon Bon Jovi, and possibly a Tom Cruise production of the Stephen King short story Dolan's Cadillac, which is to star Kevin Bacon and Sylvester Stallone.

The movies' ascending star here is a result of dramatic change in the way the government does business. It streamlined permit applications for filmmakers who want to work in Mexico and overhauled union rules and tax laws.

The Essential Stephen King

Posted: July 9, 2001, 19:18
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Stephen Spignesi is now releasing The Essential Stephen King - The Complete and Uncut Edition.

Update on Last Rung on the Ladder

Posted: July 4, 2001, 00:39
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The reports of the project's death have been greatly exagerated.

In Late october, Tim Pugliese got a call that his father's mastasticized cancer had come back and nothing could be done for him. They gave him just a few months. Shortly after getting the news, Tim went back to Ottawa to take care of him. His father passed on March 24, 2001.

Tim has just returned after having to stay longer to help get his father's affairs in order. He has been trying to put his life back together again.

Unfortunately, Lisa Goodness left Bangor, and moved to Florida. She's 'uncast' from Last Rung, and a few others simply vanished, it seems. So, now they have to start all over again.

They managed to get the elusive video edit card for the computer ($800). They're currently searching for the proper shotgun mic and sound mixer for the camera. Then they'll be ready to recast. But there are no firm dates right now.

Lately, they've been working hard producing STRANGE AMERICA. Since it got on commercial TV in April, they've now ended up with a deadline. Strange America has been a template for upcoming projects. They've improved camera angles and found where their technical shortcomings were.

Thanks to Rosandra.

Frank Muller is doing...

Posted: June 12, 2001, 19:17
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Frank Muller is doing the audio adaptation of The Talisman for Simon and Schuster Audio. It's supposed to be about 27 hours long. No word yet on who will read Black House.

Thanks to Bev Vincent.

Creepshows: The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Guide

Posted: June 7, 2001, 19:17
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The upcoming book about King adaptations; Creepshows: The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Guide by Stephen Jones will contains all major cast and credit information, info about sequel and spin-off, television adaptations, stage shows, radio plays, computer games and details of unproduced and forthcoming projects. As well as contributions from Mick Garris, Bernie Wrightson, Harlan Ellison, Peter Straub, Dennis Etchison, Frank Darabont, David J. Schow and others. Look for a review of it in The Review Section soon!

King won a Bram Stoker award

Posted: May 29, 2001, 19:16
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King won a Bram Stoker award this past weekend at the Stoker Awards in Seattle for best non-fiction piece (On Writing).

One remake and one miniseries...

Posted: May 23, 2001, 00:52
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Creature Corner had a report about the remake of Salem's Lot today. They reported that there would be one feature movie and one miniseries.

Denise DiNovi (Edward Scissorhands) is currently developing it with Village Roadshow and Warner Bros. P.J. Hogan (Muriel's Wedding & My Best Friend's Wedding) is attached to direct.

There has been no word about when it will be done though.

Transcript and images from Vassar

Posted: May 21, 2001, 19:14
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Stephen King Commencement Speech
20 May 2001

Thank you, President Fergusson—Trustees—members of the faculty—family members—and—of course—you graduates of 2001.

Last week, this week, next week; all over America young men and women—and some not so young—in caps and gowns are listening to scholars, politicians, eminent thinkers, and probably Oprah Winfrey send them forth into their lives. You here at Vassar have invited the man most commonly seen as America's Bogeyman to do that, and I have to ask you What were you thinking? What in God's name were you thinking?

Possibly that I'd take the day off and paint you a shining picture—"shining," get it? that one's mine—of a glorious American future where George W. Bush rules like Glinda the Good, with Dick Cheney at his right hand and John Ashcroft at his left? Not going to happen. Dubya may be the Wizard of Oz but he's no Glinda, and the bogeyman never takes the day off. I guess no one told you that. . . and now it's too late.



In that spirit, I invite you now to take a look around and imprint this cheerful scene on your mind. Make it a mental Kodak Moment. Have you got it? Okay, now close your eyes. Seriously, Nothing will bite you. All I want you to do is to see what you were just looking at with your eyes open.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, cast your minds a hundred years into the future. It's May 20, 2101. Imagine this stage and these same folding chairs on this same lawn, but now there's a sign over the stage that says VASSAR WELCOMES THE SURVIVORS OF THE 2001 COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES. Keep your eyes shut just a moment longer, okay? They've put out a chair for everyone that's here today. One for each student, parent, grandparent, sibling; one for each faculty member and invited guest. Do you see those chairs? Sure you do. Your imagination is getting a great view of them. Because if we reuned a hundred years from today, we wouldn't need to hold the festivities on this lawn; we could get everyone left into the newsstand at the Courtyard Marriot out on Route 9.

We're looking at some marvelous medical advances over the next hundred years—most cancers will be treatable and beatable, at least for those who have the resources; with genetic tailoring, a good many children may actually be born cancer-immune…but none of those wonder-children are here today. We have incredible new drugs to protect against stroke and heart attack—drugs which should be almost unnecessary, given what we now know about the lifestyle markers leading up to stroke and heart attack, but what we know and how we behave are often divergent paths, aren't they? Human nature is for the most part an alligator that just wants to doze in the sun and snatch whatever prey happens to wander too close. We know too much cholesterol is bad for us, but God I love a box of french fries. And I'm not the only one.



Our pills and treatments are largely designed to work in spite of human nature, and more and more often they actually do that. Given what we now know about the human genome, there are apt to be even more striking advances over the coming decades, some of which we can foresee now no more than the visionaries of 1970, when I graduated college, could foresee America's amazing transition from a purveyor of goods to a purveyor of information. The land of big shoulders has become the land of smart guys and gals with pens in their pockets, CD players in their computers, and beepers on their belts. Hardly anyone saw it coming, but here it is.

What I'm saying is that I don't see all empty chairs when I close my eyes. I do believe that there are people here today who could still come to a reunion a hundred years from today, but as I say, I think you'd hardly need this lawn to accommodate them. Since we started today, have you heard the occasional cry of a baby? Some young American more interested in eating or getting into a dry diaper than in listening to all this rhetoric? I'd suggest that those few crying babies are your most likely hundred-year survivors—always assuming the world itself continues to survive—and while a few of them might show up in wheelchairs or on walkers, I'll bet many would be tres spry. Alzheimer's? Nah. Most of them will have ninth-generation computer chips in their heads, serving as firewalls against that problem. Diabetes? Maybe, but those who have lost limbs to the disease will have computer-driven prosthetics which have complete range of motion and even feeling—they'll occasionally itch, and go numb if you fall asleep in the wrong position.



So there will be hundred-year survivors. But I have to tell you the scary truth, because that's my job. You know the old proverb, don't you, about the woman who carries the drowning scorpion across the raging stream? Once they're on the other side it stings her and as she staggers to her knees, dying, she reproaches it for ingratitude. "C'mon, lady," it says, "you knew I was a scorpion when you picked me up." And you knew I was the scary guy when you picked me for this job, so deal with it.

Any trustees, Board of Directors, faculty, at our one-hundred-year get-together in 2101? Maybe a couple of faculty. We'll be generous and say two. But they're in their hundred-and- thirties and not much good in a game of Frisbee. Grandparents? Gone, of course. Aunts and uncles? Gone. Parents? With maybe a couple of exceptions, gone. Graduates? Let's be generous here. Fourteen surviving members of the class of 2001. Men and women ranging in ages from one hundred and nineteen, let us say, to a hundred and twenty-two. Many more little brothers and sisters—except by 2101, the annoying little brothers and sisters are going to be old, gray, slow, and cranky. And those crying babies, of course.



Now I'm sure that there are those—I hope their number is small, but I'm sure they're out there—who feel that I am being tasteless, casting gloom—even the pall of death—on what should be a joyous and wonderful day. Let me respond by reiterating the obvious: you knew I was a scorpion when you picked me up. And I do have a point to make. Because I do, I apologize not at all for pointing out the simple fact of your mortality on the day of your commencement.

Let us suppose the world has that coming century. Let's suppose no one decides it's time to start the next nuclear exchange in Pakistan or Jerusalem or Kansas City. Let us suppose you go forth from this happy place in good health and no one drops a safe on your head, hits you with a taxicab, or dumps you out of a hot-air balloon. Let us suppose cancer misses you, that you continue to run and work out and avoid Mickey D's and your heart grows stronger as the years get longer. Let's suppose you are fortunate enough to land the job you want the friends you love (and who love you) and maybe even a life's mate that you can reach over and touch in the night when the hours spin long and you've got the blues. Let's suppose you have those years, that fullness of time. I wish that for you. I do. I wish you the passion of this springtime, a long and productive summer, and a harvest ripe beyond your dreams come fall. I do. But you have to think about what I'm talking about. There's a Jackson Browne song, "The Pretender," that goes, "I'm aware of the time passin' by, they say in the end it's the blink of an eye." They say, and it's true. Time is short.



That human life is brief when placed in time's wider perspective is something we all know. I am asking you to consider it on a more visceral level, that's all. Thinking of all those empty chairs a hundred years from now is frightening. Yet it also offers some valuable perspective.

What are you going to do, Vassar oh-one? Who will be the doctors, the lawyers, the writers, the painters, the executives, the politicians? Who's going to look around at age forty-five, surprised as hell to find himself or herself the head concierge at the Hotel Carlyle in New York and say, "How in the hell did I wind up here?"

What will you do? Well, I'll tell you one thing you're not going to do, and that's take it with you. I'm worth I don't exactly know how many millions of dollars—I'm still in the Third World compared to Bill Gates, but on the whole I'm doing okay—and a couple of years ago I found out what "you can't take it with you" means. I found out while I was lying in the ditch at the side of a country road, covered with mud and blood and with the tibia of my right leg poking out the side of my jeans like the branch of a tree taken down in a thunderstorm. I had a MasterCard in my wallet, but when you're lying in the ditch with broken glass in your hair, no one accepts MasterCard. If you find yourself in the ER with a serious infarct, or if the doctor tells you yeah, that lump you felt in your breast is a tumor, you can't wave your Diners Club at it and make it go away. My life, as it happened, was saved. The man who saved it was a volunteer EMT named Paul Fillebrown. He did the things that needed to be done at the scene, and then he drove me to the nearest hospital at a hundred and ten miles an hour. And while Paul Fillebrown may have an American Express Card, I doubt very much if it's a gold one, or God save us, the black one that offers double Frequent Flyer miles and special deals at Club Med.



We all know that life is ephemeral, but on that particular day and in the months that followed, I got a painful but extremely valuable look at life's simple backstage truths, We come in naked and broke. We may be dressed when we go out, but we're just as broke. Warren Buffet? Going to go out broke. Bill Gates? Going to go out broke. Tom Hanks? Going out broke. President Fergusson? Broke. Steve King? Broke. You guys? Broke. Not a crying dime. And how long in between? How long have you got to be in the chips? "I'm aware of the time passin' by, they say in the end it's the blink of an eye." That's how long. Just the blink of an eye.

Let me give you some rough numbers, okay? The class of 2001, if everyone graduated on time , would consist of six hundred and twenty-four men and women. But things come up and a probably a fewer number will actually get diplomas today. Say six hundred. Now let's take an average year's salary for a Vassar graduate—and when I say average, I mean knocked down to reflect the scuffling early years, when you won't be paid what you're really worth and won't care—if you're normal, in those early years you're going to care more about seeing U-2 or Wilco in concert. So we'll say forty-one grand. Now let's say each of you works forty years. Given those marvelous medical advances we were talking about, many of you may work longer, but let's be conservative. Forty years. Given these numbers—these very conservative numbers—this class as a group can expect to earn 984 million dollars during its active years in the American economy. These are still not Bill Gates numbers, but we need to remember that Vassar is only one of the many good schools graduating seniors today. Almost a billion dollars. And so what? I'm aware of the time passin' by, they say in the end it's the blink of an eye, and the scary man said I was going to go out broke. The scary man actually says more than that. The scary man says all the money you will earn, all the credit you will swing like Tom Sawyer's dead cat on a string, all the stocks you will buy, all the mutual funds and precious metals you will trade—all of that is mostly smoke and mirrors. You will continue to put on your pants one leg at a time no matter how many T-bills you have or how many shares of General Electric in your portfolio. It's still going to be quarter-past getting late whether you tell the time on a Timex or a Rolex. No matter how large your bank account, your kids will still play their music too loud when you get to be my age. No matter how many credit cards you have, sooner or later things will begin to go wrong with the only three things you have which you can really call your own: your body, your spirit, and your mind.



Yet for a short period—let's say forty years, but the merest blink in the larger course of things—you and your contemporaries will wield enormous power: the power of the economy, the power of the hugest military-industrial complex in the history of the world, the power of the American society you will create in your own image. That's your time, your moment. Don't miss it. I think my generation did, although I don't blame us too much; it's over in the blink of an eye and it's easy to miss.

Of all the power which will shortly come into your hands—gradually at first, but then with a speed that will take your breath away—the greatest is undoubtedly the power of compassion, the ability to give. We have enormous resources in this country—resources you yourselves will soon command—but they are only yours on loan. Only yours to give for a short while. You'll die broke. In the end, it's the blink of an eye. I came here to talk about charity, and I want you to think about it on a large scale.

Should you give away what you have? Of course you should. I want you to consider making your lives one long gift to others, and why not? All you have is on loan, anyway. All you want to get at the getting place, from the Maserati you may dream about to the retirement fund some broker will try to sell you on, none of that is real. All that lasts is what you pass on. The rest is smoke and mirrors.



Don't I think wealth—and some of you are going to finish up very wealthy, although you may not think it now—should be kept in the family? Some, yes—charity begins at home. Those of you who have been able to pay for the college educations of your sons and daughters—their Vassar educations—have done a wonderful thing. It's a great gift. If you're able to go on and give them a further start in life—a place in business, possibly help with a home—so much the better. Because charity begins at home. Because—up to a certain point, at least—we are all responsible for the lives we add to the world. But I think the most chilling thing a young man or woman can hear is "Some day all this will be yours." And of course, the runner-up: "I do it all for you." I think what a lot of new grads would like to hear is some version of, "You're on your own, good luck, call if you need help. And reverse the charges."

Here's another scary thing to think about before you leave here. Imagine a nice little back yard, surrounded by a board fence. Dad—a pleasant fellow, a little plump, wearing an apron that says YOU MAY KISS THE COOK—is tending the barbecue. Mom and the kids are setting the picnic table by the backyard pool: fried chicken, cole slaw, potato salad, a chocolate cake for dessert. And standing around that fence, looking in, are emaciated men and women, starving children. They are silent. They only watch. That family at the picnic is us, ladies and gentlemen; that back yard is America, and those hungry people on the other side of the fence, watching us sit down to eat, include far too much of the rest of the world. It's Asia and the subcontinent; it's countries in Central Europe where people live on the edge from one harvest to the next; it's South America, where they'[re burning down the rainforests to make room for housing developments and for grazing lands where next year's Big Macs are now being raised; most of all it's Africa, where AIDS is pandemic—not epidemic but pandemic—and starvation is a fact of life. Am I overstating? Well, America contains five percent of the world's population and uses up seventy-five percent of the world's resources, so you tell me. What we scrape down the kitchen disposal after Thanksgiving dinner for a family of eight would feed a Liberian village for a week, so you tell me. And the Woodstock Generation, which set out to change the world, has, by and large, subsided into a TV-driven existence of quiet and unobtrusive selfishness. While our national worth has tripled over the last quarter-century, the help we give the world's poor has sunk back to 1973 levels, so you tell me, you dare to tell me I'm overstating the case." In West Africa, the average lifespan is thirty-nine years. Infant mortality in the first year is fifteen percent. It's not a pretty picture, but we have the power to help, the power to change. And why should we refuse? Because we're going to take it with us? Please.



We've elected an administration—I guess we elected them, we might as well say we did—that takes a dim view of charity as national policy. George W. Bush talks about "compassionate conservatism," an oxymoron right up there with "jumbo shrimp." What he's talking about has been Republican Party bedrock for a hundred years; it amounts to, "Don't give a man a fish, give him a fishing pole and teach him to fish." (This, of course, would be before idiotic conservation and environmental policies render the whole concept of "fish" irrelevant.) My own philosophy—partly formed as a young college graduate without a job waiting in line to get donated commodities for the kids—is by all means give a man a pole and teach him to fish, but people learn better with full bellies. Why not give him a fish to get started?

Giving isn't about the receiver or the gift but the giver. It's for the giver. One doesn't open one's wallet to improve the world, although it's nice when that happens; one does it to improve one's self. I give because it's the only concrete way I have of saying that I'm glad to be alive and that I can earn my daily bread doing what I love. I hope that you will be similarly grateful to be alive and that you will also be glad to do whatever it is you wind up dokng…even that guy who's going to end up as the concierge at the Carlyle Hotel. Giving is a way of taking the focus off the money we make and putting it back where it belongs—on the lives we lead, the families we raise, the communities which nurture us.

I wish you the most pleasant day—both graduates and families. I wish you the joy of your fellowship, one with the other. This isn't a hundred years from now, after all; it's just today, and today we're fine. Today nobody's better than us. But when you go somewhere and sit down to break bread with your families, as most of you will, I want you to remember that image of the hungry and the dispossessed standing on the other side of the backyard fence. For the most part, they do not want to harm you, or take away your joy in this day; they only want what you want and we all want: food for themselves and their children, clothes for the body, a roof to keep the rain off at night. There are people who need these things right here in Poughkeepsie, as well as in India and Sierra Leone. Many of you know that; in April of this year, Vassar College held a panel discussion called "Faces of Homelessness."

Dutchess Outreach is one local organization dedicated to helping the hungry, the sick, and the homeless. They're at 70 South Hamilton Street, near a part of town which is very different from this green and pleasant campus, a part of Poughkeepsie where you might feel uncomfortable walking at night. Dutchess Outreach runs an Emergency Food Bank for those who are hungry and have nothing to eat. They run something called the Lunch Box, which serves midday meals six days a week. They have a Children's Clothes Closet for kids who need pants and coats and shoes. They provide nutrition, information, and emergency services for people with AIDS.



I don't as a rule talk about charitable giving; I actually do happen to believe that the left hand should not know what the right hand is doing…or if it does, it shouldn't discuss it. Today I'm going to make an exception to that rule. I intend to give $20,000 to Dutchess Outreach, in honor of the Class of 2001. I would take it kindly if those of you who are here today would help to match that amount. Each strictly according to his or her resources; nobody gets hurt. I don't ask that you do this because it will solve the problem of hunger and want in Poughkeepsie or Dutchess County, let alone in the whole world, but because you'll enjoy your own coming meal more fully knowing that you shared your joy and your good fortune in having been a part of this happy occasion. And don't let it be a one-shot. Let it be the beginning of a life's giving, not just of money but of time and spirit. It repays. Not least of all because it helps us remember that we may be going out broke, but right now we're doing okay. Right now we have the power to do great good for others and for ourselves. So I ask you to begin the next great phase of your life by giving, and to continue as you begin. I think you'll find in the end that you got far more than you ever had, and did more good than you ever dreamed.

Thank you.

No Tom Gordon in the near future

Posted: May 20, 2001, 23:15
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I recently spoke to Ronnie (Webmaster at www.georgearomero.com. He told me that The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon wouldn't be shooting anytime soon. It is still very alive though. As recently as a few weeks ago, George was discussing the script with Stephen King, followed by a major re-write.

He further told me that from what he understand, the movie will be VERY faithful to the novel (thank God) and that he had heard that Tom Gordon himself had expressed interest in playing himself in the movie. Nothing is confirmed though.

King will write introduction

Posted: May 20, 2001, 19:13
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King will write the introduction to M.G. Lewis novel The Monk. It will be released by Oxford University Press will release it sometime next year.

On Writing winners

Posted: May 11, 2001, 19:13
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King does not expect to pick a winner in the "On Writing exercise" until this fall.

King gets a house in Florida

Posted: May 10, 2001, 19:13
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Stephen King has bought a 7,500-square-foot home on Sarasota’s Casey Key for $8.9 million.

News from the Dead Zone

Posted: May 7, 2001, 19:12
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King expert Bev Vincent debuts with his column, News from the Dead Zone in Cemetery Dance issue #34. The issue is now out. Get it today!

Desperation as a miniseries on CBS?

Posted: May 4, 2001, 23:28
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Smilin Jack Ruby talked about Desperation with Mick Garris. Here is his report (from Dark Horizons):

The Talisman: 'Smilin Jack Ruby' talked with Mick Garris about his upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's "The Talisman" that he'll be doing once he returns from a trip to Cuba with his wife. The four-hour mini-series will begin production on a date depending upon the length of the upcoming strikes, and after he plans to turn King's "Riding the Bullet" (which Garris has already adapted into a screenplay) into a theatrical feature. "The Sun Dog" IMAX project is on hold, whilst "Desperation" may become a miniseries as CBS has approached him about it (but he usually works with ABC so will give them 'first dibs' as they say).

Garris talked Talisman

Posted: May 4, 2001, 01:13
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Mick Garris have now commented on the news that he will be doing the TV version of The Talisman. Here is what he said:

Yes, TALISMAN is real. The deal was just made. It's with DreamWorks, Kennedy-Marshall, and ABC. Don't know when, since the strikes might happen, but I'm about to begin the script, working from the feature draft by Richard LaGravenese. No cast yet.

Garris have also talked to Smilin Jack Ruby. In that talk Garris also spoke about Riding the Bullet, The Sun Dog and Desperation. Here is his report (from Dark Horizons):

The Talisman: 'Smilin Jack Ruby' talked with Mick Garris about his upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's "The Talisman" that he'll be doing once he returns from a trip to Cuba with his wife. The four-hour mini-series will begin production on a date depending upon the length of the upcoming strikes, and after he plans to turn King's "Riding the Bullet" (which Garris has already adapted into a screenplay) into a theatrical feature. "The Sun Dog" IMAX project is on hold, whilst "Desperation" may become a miniseries as CBS has approached him about it (but he usually works with ABC so will give them 'first dibs' as they say).

Thanks to Bev Vincent.

Garris to direct Talisman

Posted: May 3, 2001, 01:12
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Creature Corner reports that Mick Garris will direct this 4-hour miniseries based on The Talisman. No release date or update on how far into production they are is mentioned though.