In my daily online search of all things Stephens, I came across news of Richard Matheson’s death.
OK, so the guy was iconic in sci-fi, influenced Stephen King and was an MU graduate. What does that have to do with Stephens?
Bob Priddy of Missourinet explains that one of Matheson’s books-turned-movie was “Bid Time Return,” which later became “Somewhere in Time,” and “begins at Stephens College.”
Of course, I needed more info. So here’s what I learned.
Matheson’s original tale was somewhat autobiographical—or rather, he wanted it to be. According to somwhereintime.tv — a portal of all things related to this tale — Matheson was inspired to write the book after he saw a portrait of Maude Adams hanging in the Opera House in Nevada.
Apparently, this was the photo
Matheson was mesmerized. He researches her and reportedly professed that he fell in love with her, creatively speaking.
For those not familiar with Adams, she had an amazing theatre career, playing Peter Pan, Joan of Arc and dozens of leading lady roles. And her portraits are, indeed, mesmerizing.
In the prime of her career, she left the stage and accepted a position in the drama department at Stephens in 1937, where she stayed until 1950.
In his book, Matheson created a character of a dying young man in the 1970s who stumbles across a portrait of an early 20th century actress and, like the author, falls for her. Only in his fictional account, Matheson was able to travel back in time and woo the intriguing star.
So when you’re watching or reading the coverage of Matheson’s death this week, no doubt reporters will focus on his famous Twilight Zone episodes or “I Am Legend,” made famous again by Will Smith. I suspect on the other side, though, Matheson is more interested in trying to track down Maude Adams.