Strange things you probably didn’t know about Stephen King (20 Photos)
Whether it was because of crazy Jack Nicholson or a terrifying gutter-dwelling clown, you’ve probably been scared by the work of Stephen King at least once. Everyone knows who he is but not everyone knows what he’s about. There’s more to him than just freaking you out via scary story.
While writing, King gets inspired by the music he listens to at the time and often includes several band references into his work. So it’s not surprising that he and his wife Tabitha own and operate The Zone Corporation, a company that oversees 3 radio stations in Maine. One of them, WKIT-FM, even boasts the tagline “Stephen King’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Station.”
In June 1999 King was famously hit by a van while walking outside. After 3 weeks of surgeries, he wasn’t sure he could go back to writing. After his slow recovery he actually bought the van that hit him. His original plan was to smash it up on the anniversary of the crash.
The writer is incredibly cautious about his home, and it’s equipped with a LOAD of security. You can’t exactly blame him for his paranoia however. “Secret Window, Secret Garden” is loosely based on something that actually happened to King, when a crazed fan broke into his home and threatened King’s wife with a bomb. He claimed King stole the idea for “Misery” with his aunt.
He loves baseball. Like… he REALLY loves baseball. He has stated that his perfect happiness would be sitting in the bath, smoking a cigarette and listening to the Red Sox game on the radio. In 1992 he and Tabitha paid for the construction of Mansfield stadium in Bangor, Maine. He threw the first pitch, and the scoreboard is placed so that he can see it from his house.
King used the name Richard Bachman for some of his best work, such as “The Running Man.” King was worried people would get sick of seeing his name on the shelves, and he also used the name to explore different genres. How did he come up with the alter-ego? He was listening to Bachman-Turner Overdrive and reading a Richard Stark book.
Dollar-Babies is a initiative where King will sell the rights to his short stories to fillm students for a dollar. His stipulation is that he has to be sent the finished product to watch, and if he likes it he puts it on his shelf marked “Dollar-Babies.”
King had originally thrown “Carrie” into the trash. “I thought, Who would want to read a book about a poor little girl with menstrual problems?’” He said. “I couldn’t believe I was writing it.” It was thanks to his wife that it got published, seeing as she fished it out of the garbage and insisted he finish the story.
He’s written a ton of comics. Recently he’s written back-up stories in Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque’s American Vampire stories because he’s a huge fan, but before that he wrote an intro to Batman #400 where he included a passionate argument in favor of the brooding hero over the other guy, Superman.
A small group actually thinks that King shot John Lennon. The starting point of “evidence” from conspiracy theorists is that he looks like the actual murderer, Mark David Chapman.
Other “proof” is apparently in his books in the form of coded messages throughout his books. Oh yeah, they also say that he got hit by the van because the CIA wanted to silence him.
He wrote a musical with John Mellencamp in 2012 called “Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County.” It all started when Mellencamp bought a house in Indiana that was said to be haunted by the spirits of 3 brothers who were accidentally shot in the forest around the house, and were said to still hang out there.
He came to King with the story and they set to work on the southern gothic tale about two argumentative brothers whose father forces them to spend a night in a haunted cabin…where they are visited by the ghosts of two brothers who also hate each other.
He’s had his share of directorial fails. After being famously unimpressed with Stanley Kubrick’s version of “The Shining,” King wrote and directed a TV series by the same name… and it failed miserably.
Even worse than that was “Maximum Overdrive,” a film about trucks gone wild trying to kill everyone. King wrote and directed this, and the result was so bad that he decided to never direct again…
…Which is probably why he turned down the chance to write and direct “A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.” He was taking a break from horror in general for personal reasons, and he didn’t really like the idea to being with, so he passed, leading the movie studio to turn to Frank Miller, director of “Sin City.”
Ever heard of The Rock Bottom Remainders? It’s a cover band made up of various authors. The name comes from the “remainder,” of unsold books that publishers sell of cheap to wholesalers. They have a rotating group of members, ranging from The Joy Luck Club’s Amy Tan, comedic writer Dave Barry, 127 Hours subject Aron Ralston, Tuesdays with Morrie’s Mitch Albom to The Simpsons creator Matt Groening. King played guitar in the band from 1992 until their final performance in 2012.
There are several myths about why King refuses to sign autographs, such as he’s afraid of them, or that if you send him a book to sign he will burn it and send you the ashes. In reality, it’s just that he doesn’t like the idolizing of celebrities. He does give autographs during book tours though.
He considers “Salem’s Lot,” his second book from 1975, as his favorite. It’s a vampire story based on the paranoid politics of the time, such as the Richard Nixon impeachment.
He’s a big scaredy cat. His most common response when asked why he writes in the horror genre is “What makes you think I have a choice?” His biggest fear? Spiders, and he hopes to one day write a story centered wholly around the 8-legged critters.