William Johnston Named Tie-In Grandmaster for 2010


 The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is
bestowing The Faust, its Grand Master Award for excellence, to author William
Johnston, the writer of over a hundred tie-in novels and the most prolific
practitioner of the craft, it was announced today by organization co-founders
Max Allan Collins and Lee Goldberg.  

William Johnston 2008  Johnston was born in Lincoln, Illinois, in 1924.  He joined the Navy in 1942 and served in the
Pacific.  He worked as a disc jockey,
advertising executive, magazine editor, and PR man before his writing career
took off in 1960 with The Marriage Cage, a comic mystery that earned him
a Best First Novel Edgar Award nomination from the Mystery Writers of America. He
followed that book with a slew of pulp titles for Monarch Books, ranging from
light comedy (The Power of Positive Loving) to medical romance (the Doctor
trilogy) to soft-core erotica (Save Her for Loving, Teen Age Tramp,
Girls on the Wing

Johnston’s medical novels dovetailed with his first tie-in
assignments — original novels based on the TV series The Nurses, Doctor
and Ben Casey. Those books, published between 1962 and 1964,
were so successful that his next original medical romance, Two Loves Has
Nurse Powell,
was presented as “From the author of Ben Casey.” 

In 1965, Johnston wrote an original novel based on the TV
comedy Get Smart. The book was a huge success, leading to nine more
novels over the show’s five-season history and making him the “go-to” guy for
sitcom-based tie-ins. He wrote books based on Captain Nice, Room 222,
Happy Days, Welcome Back Kotter, The Flying Nun, The Brady
Nanny and the Professor, The Munsters, Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched,
The Monkees
and F-Troop, among

 But his TV tie-in work extended far beyond sitcom
adaptations. He wrote books based on Ironside,  Dick Tracy, The Young Rebels, The
Iron Horse,
Then Came Bronson,
Rod Serling’s The New People, to name a few. He even adapted the cartoon characters Magilla
Gorilla and Snagglepuss into books for children.   

Johnston also penned many novelizations, including the
pilots for the 1930s-era private eye series Banyon and the high school
drama Sons and Daughters. His feature film novelizations include Klute,
The Swinger, Echoes of a Summer, The New Interns, The Priest’s Wife, Lt. Robin
Crusoe USN
 and his final tie-in project, Gore Vidal’s
(under the pseudonym  “William
Howard”). 2055-1  

retiring from fiction writing, he opened his own bar, which he operated for
many years. He currently resides in San Jose, California. 

The International Association of
Media Tie-in Writers (www.iamtw.org) is
dedicated to enhancing the professional and public image of tie-in writers,
educating people about the craft and business of tie-in writing, and to
providing a forum for tie-in writers to share information, support one another,
and discuss issues relating to their field. 

The Faust, the IAMTW’s Grandmaster Award, is named in
honor of Frederick Faust (also known as Max Brand) and is given annually. The
award recognizes a writer for their extensive and exceptional work in the
tie-in field. Past honorees have been Donald Bain, Alan Dean Foster, and Keith
R.A. DeCandido.

9 thoughts on “William Johnston Named Tie-In Grandmaster for 2010”

  1. Congratulations to William Johnston. It is hard to believe he wrote so many tie-in novels. I wonder how many scripts he had to read and episodes he had to watch to get a handle on all the different shows. I wonder if he ever got characters or situations confused while writing.

  2. Interesting that the cover of the GET SMART novel essentially sells it as a straight dramatic spy novel, down to the dramatic dark blue background. The only clue that it’s a comedy is the adjective “hilarious.”

  3. Is this the same William Johnston who wrote such telling thrillers about women’s predicaments as “Clock and Bell” – under the name of Susan Claudia?

      • Nope. …THEN CAME BRONSON by Johnston was an original. It’s a story that might have *functioned* as a pilot, but it was wholly his own. (Pyramid Books seemed to have a policy of making the first book any a TV tie-in series serve as an origin myth—somehow only LOST IN SPACE escaped that particular notion—and usually the origin myth was wholly reinvented by the novelist. In this case, Bronson being a drifter and the sole regular, character Johnston’s story didn’t really contradict anything that had come before.)


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