George Worthing Yates

Active - 1944 - 1960  |   Genres - Science Fiction, Drama, Adventure, Horror, Mystery

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George Worthing Yates enjoyed a career of a little over two decades in Hollywood as a screenwriter. He was the nephew of Herbert J. Yates, the president of Consolidated Film Laboratories and later the head of Republic Pictures, but Yates spent only a small part of his career at Republic. His actual screen credits seem to go back as far as the late 1920s, but the main body of his career starts nearer to the end of the 1930s with the Republic serial The Lone Ranger (1938), and over the next few years he worked in the western and action/adventure genres, also delving into satire of the latter with The Spanish Main (1945) at RKO. One of Yates's most interesting credits during this period was the story for Anthony Mann's The Tall Target (1951), an MGM thriller based on an actual historical incident from 1861 involving President-elect Lincoln. In 1953, Yates wrote the screenplay for Them! (1954), which marked his introduction to the science fiction genre. Over most of the next decade, he would be kept busy by producers at studios ranging from Columbia Pictures to Allied Artists and American International Pictures, writing science fiction thrillers such as Conquest of Space and Space Master X-7. Many of his best scripts incorporated elements of manhunt stories and other thriller subgenres. He worked on two of Ray Harryhausen's early features, It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955) and Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), and also put in considerable time working for director Bert I. Gordon on stories built around size transformation, including The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) and its sequel, War of the Colossal Beast (1958), Attack of the Puppet People (1958), and Earth vs. the Spider (1958), although he finished out his work with Gordon on the latter's psychological thriller Tormented (1960). Yates' last screen credit was the story for King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962). Although there was some considerable variation in the quality of Yates's scripts and stories -- Them! was a subgenre-defining work, whereas The Flame Barrier had a great idea at its core, bogged down by considerable padding -- many of his stories are fondly remembered by fans of science fiction. This work outside of the genre, apart from The Tall Target, is less distinctive.

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