“Before the Play”—The Lost Prologue to Stephen King’s novel, The Shining


Alternative film poster for The Shining, a Stanley Kubrick film, 1980. Artist unknown. (Popbuzz.com)

“Before the Play” was originally part of the novel, The Shining, written by Stephen King and published in 1977; but, the Prologue never made it into the novel. It was published a few years later, separately, in August of 1982, in Whispers, Volume 5, Number 1-2.


Scene 1: The Third Floor of a Resort Hotel Fallen Upon Hard Times

It was October 7, 1922, and the Overlook Hotel had closed its doors on the end of another season. When it re-opened in mid-May of 1923, it would be under new management. Two brothers named Clyde and Cecil Brandywine had bought it, good old boys from Texas with more old cattle money and new oil money than they knew what to do with.

Bob T. Watson stood at the huge picture window of the Presidential Suite and stared out at the climbing heights of the Rockies, where the aspens had now shaken most of their leaves, and hoped the Brandywine brothers would fail. Since 1915 the hotel had been owned by a man named James Parris. Parris had begun his professional life as a common shyster in 1880. One of his close friends rose to the presidency of a great western railroad, a robber baron among robber barons. Parris grew rich on his friend’s spoils, but had none of his friend’s colorful flamboyancy. Parris was a gray little man with an eye always turned to an inward set of accounting books. He would have sold the Overlook anyway, Bob T. Watson thought as he continued to stare out the window. The little shyster bastard just happened to drop dead before he got a chance.

The man who had sold the Overlook to James Parris had been Bob T. Watson himself. One of the last of the Western giants that arose in the years 1870-1905, Bob T. came from a family that had made a staggering fortune in silver around Placer, Colorado. They lost the fortune, rebuilt it in land speculation to the railroads, and lost most of it again in the depression of ’93-’94, when Bob T.’s father was gunned down in Denver by a man suspected of organizing.

Bob T. had rebuilt the fortune himself, single-handedly, in the years 1895 to 1905, and had begun searching then for something, some perfect thing, to cap his achievement. After two years of careful thought (during the interim he had bought himself a governor and a representative to the U.S. Congress), he had decided, in modest Watson fashion, to build the grandest resort hotel in America. It would stand at the roof of America, with nothing in the country at a higher altitude except the sky. It would be a playground of the national and international rich – the people that would be known three generations later as the super-rich.

Construction began in 1907, forty miles west of Sidewinder, Colorado, and supervised by Bob T. himself.

“And do you know what?” Bob T. said aloud in the third-floor suite, which was the grandest set of apartments in the grandest resort hotel in America. “Nothing ever went right after that. Nothing.”


The Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood, Oregon picture here, was the model for The Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s film, The Shining, 1982.

The Overlook had made him old. He had been forty-three when ground was broken in 1907, and when construction was completed two years later (but too late for them to be able to open the hotel’s doors until 1910), he was bald. He had developed an ulcer. One of his two sons, the one he had loved best, the one that had been destined to carry the Watson banner forward into the future, had died in a stupid riding accident. Boyd had tried to jump his pony over a pile of lumber where the topiary now was, and the pony had caught its back feet and broken its leg. Boyd had broken his neck.

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High Fantastic: Colorado’s Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, and Science Fiction, ed. Steve Rasnic Tem, 1995, Contents


Table of Contents

Origin of Order • (1986) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
1 • Fellfield • (1993) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
3 • Introduction (High Fantastic: Colorado’s Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, and Science Fiction) • (1995) • essay by Steve Rasnic Tem
6 • Calling the Lightning by Name • short story by Edward Bryant
26 • Prococipio and the Shoes of Iron • (1949) • short story by William Jones Wallrich
30 • Survivors of Chapultepec • (1995) • poem by Lee Ballentine
35 • The Tavern of the Winds • (1946) • short story by Stanley Mullen [as by Stan Mullen]
44 • The Gold of the Vulgar • (1995) • short story by Don Webb
52 • Man on the Tracks, Ralston Station to Golden • (1995) • poem by Carrie Frasier
58 • Piñon Fall • (1970) • short story by Michael Bishop
71 • End of the Range • (1991) • poem by Anselm Hollo
71 • Space Baltic • (1991) • poem by Anselm Hollo
72 • Remember Boar’s Head • (1993) • poem by Anselm Hollo
78 • The Far Way • (1935) • short story by David R. Daniels
90 • Good Colors • (1995) • short story by Vance Aandahl
107 • Divide • (1986) • short story by Ronald Sukenick
113 • Cutthroat on a Full Moon • (1995) • poem by J. P. White
114 • On the Return of Halley’s Comet • (1995) • poem by J. P. White
116 • Broken Bones • (1995) • short story by Gregory R. Hyde
130 • Between the Flatirons and the Deep Green Sea • (1995) • short fiction by Caitlín R. Kiernan
140 • The Meaning Field • (1995) • novelette by David Ira Cleary
163 • Angel of the Atom • (1986) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
164 • The Doctrine • (1986) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
168 • Rabbi David’s Wife • (1994) • short story by Joanne Greenberg
174 • Rain Shadow • (1990) • short story by Melanie Tem
194 • Buffalo Ghosts • (1992) • short story by David Curtis
208 • Bonefinder • (1993) • short story by James B. Hemesath [as by James Hemesath]
222 • La Loma, La Luna • (1995) • short story by Sue Kepros Hartman
238 • Water Babies • (1995) • novelette by Jo Etta Ledgerwood
260 • How I Met My First Wife, Juanita • (1991) • short story by Robert Frazier
272 • Falling Back • short story by Michael A. Arnzen
280 • Windows • (1995) • short story by Caitlin Burke
294 • Heart Pains • (1995) • short story by Lucy Taylor
304 • Flight Pattern • (1979) • novelette by Joanne Greenberg
326 • The War Inside • (1991) • short story by Mark Budz
338 • Soul Food • (1995) • short story by Reginald McKnight
348 • What the Wind Carries • (1995) • short story by Bruce Holland Rogers
356 • Displaced • (1995) • short story by Robert Devereaux
364 • Swimmers • (1995) • poem by Reg Saner
365 • Denver Planetarium: The Archive Priject • (1995) • poem by Reg Saner
368 • Cibola • (1990) • short story by Connie Willis
384 • Tall Skies • short story by Steve Rasnic Tem
398 • Looking for Kelly Dahl • (1995) • novella by Dan Simmons
434 • The Death of Living Rocks and the Consequences Thereof • (1995) • poem by Patiann Rogers
436 •  A Short Hector Portfolio • (1995) • interior artwork by Hector
443 • 150 Centuries of Fantasy, Give or Take • essay by Edward Bryant
462 •  Fine Art Meets the Fantastic in Colorado, 1932-1952 • (1995) • interior artwork by Lee Ballentine

Loving Hearts: A Beautiful Reblog from Seasweetie’s Pages…


Love Always Wins!

Seasweetie's Pages

I live in a small town that has its origins in mining. That said, gentrification is taking over and the boundaries of neighboring towns are rapidly blurring with more houses, more people, and more development. This week though, our little town felt little again. We have a strong, vibrant, long-standing Hispanic community here, and earlier this week, one of the little mercados had racist graffiti spray painted on it, and the ice cream/sandwich/wine shop down the street had a rock thrown their window.

And we all hated it.

Tonight, many in our community patronized the Eats and Sweets shop, offering to help, and showing support, and then a whole crowd walked a few doors down to the Las Montanas Market to share the love and again, offer to help in any way possible, and reinforce the importance of this family, the business they run, and the community which they enrich.

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Winter Night in Colorado


Our first snow of the season started around 11 this morning. It is still coming down. Big white flakes like downy feathers. Things get awfully quiet up here. Not a yip from the rogue coyote pack that whines and barks after the midnight train. Not a single moo from the lone cow we’ve heard every evening since June. The air has changed; and the moon is cold; and with all this quiet white, comes the urge to pull things close, draw inward, and drift off to sleep.

Night, world.❄