Jay Simms

Active - 1959 - 1971  |   Genres - Western, Action, Science Fiction, Spy Film, Horror

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Jay Simms was a screenwriter who was active from the late 1950s through the 1970s, and had a fascinating output of scripts, mostly in genres such as science fiction and westerns. His career wove between both the big-screen and the small-screen genres, and he was most active on western and adventure series across the 1960s such as Have Gun - Will Travel, Adventures In Paradise, The Rifleman, The Big Valley, The Travels of Jamie McPheeters, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Gunsmoke, and Here Come The Brides. But those scripts tended to be edgy and filled with conflicts of ideas, not just characters. And this side of his output was also evident in his feature film work, which began with the script for The Giant Gila Monster (1959) -- the latter is actually considered a surprisingly well-constructed low-budget sci-fi/horror vehicle, with strongly motivated characters and a fair amount of depth. And it was not long after that Simms wrote the screenplays for Ray Milland's Panic In Year Zero and Wesley Barry's The Creation of the Humanoids (both 1962) -- both films were among the more thoughtful and provocative science fiction thrillers of their time, the latter earning the imprimatur of no less a figure than Andy Warhol as his favorite film. A decade later, after confining his work to television, Simms re-emerged in feature films with the script to Bob Wynn's The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, a highly provocative science fiction/political thriller that addressed a brace of philosophical and moral issues concerning the science of cloning and its possibilities for good and evil, three decades before the science got us to that reality. Simms' last project was Chesty: A Tribute To a Legend, a documentary about history's most decorated US Marine, General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, which was directed by John Ford in 1970 but not released until 1976.

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