Writer James moran remembers his friend
The first time I saw anything of Harlan’s was the “Shatterday” episode of the 1980s Twilight Zone. I instantly made it my mission to track down everything else he wrote. Luckily, he wrote a lot, with a blistering ferocity and childlike optimism, sometimes in the same sentence.
Later, I met him and we became friends, which was as wonderful and surreal as you’d imagine. He was warm and incredibly generous, full of enthusiasm for the world, with an incredibly tender side – and a not-so tender side, if you wronged him or his friends. He was a champion for writers getting paid, particularly with unscrupulous producers. He also loved giving stick to his friends, and getting it back – when he lost a dollar bet with me, I phoned him and yelled “you owe me a dollar, motherfucker!” He cackled for hours. I still have the dollar.
But I think my favourite memory was going to see him and discovering that he’d abandoned shaving exactly halfway across his face, right down the middle, because he figured “it’s only you visiting”, and couldn’t be bothered finishing. He sat there, making very serious points about something, with half a shaved face. Then he told a joke about a Jewish alien, sang a song, and said he was going back to bed. That was Harlan, ridiculous and random. I love him, and miss him.