Thursday, April 21, 2022

Staying up to date with Bradbury 101 videos

The original idea for my Youtube series Bradbury 101 was to provide an introduction to Ray Bradbury, but over time I have also gone down some of the more obscure rabbit-holes of his work. It's been a while since I made any new episodes, but I hope to get back to making more in the coming months.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to catch up with what you may have missed, here's the story so far...

 

Episode 1 - Introduction to the series and to the works of Ray Bradbury

 


 

Episode 2 - Ray Bradbury's 'Lost' Book: Dark Carnival

 


 

Episode 3 - Confessions of a Bradbury Collector

 


 

Episode 4 - Stuck in Science Fiction: The Illustrated Man

 


 

Episode 5 - Ray Bradbury Makes the Mainstream: The Golden Apples of the Sun

 


 

Episode 6 - This is not a Novel: Fahrenheit 451

 


 

Episode 7 - The Unstoppable Re-Writer: The October Country

 


 

Bonus Episode - My discovery of the original cut of Something Wicked This Way Comes

 


 

Bonus Live Episode - A live episode of Bradbury 100 to celebrate Ray's 101st birthday

 


 

Bonus Live Talk- My illustrated talk on The Martian Chronicles at seventy

 


 

Bonus Live Talk - My illustrated talk on The Illustrated Man at seventy

 



The best way to never miss an episode is to subscribe for free on YouTube!




Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Staying up to date with the Bradbury 100 podcast

 

To make it easier for you to discover my Bradbury 100 podcast, you'll periodically see this page, which gathers all the episodes and shows together.

Bonus Video episode - video of my public lecture on The Illustrated Man at seventy (extended, lavishly illustrated video version of podcast episode 27)

Bonus Video Episode -  video of my public lecture on The Martian Chronicles at seventy (extended, lavishly illustrated video version of part of podcast episode 17)

Bonus LIVE Episode - writer Steven Paul Leiva returns as we celebrate Ray's 101st birthday 

Episode 30 - Ray Bradbury's other Mars stories

Episode 29 - Ray Bradbury and the question of "style"

Episode 28 - the best Martian Chronicles films never made

Episode 27 - The Illustrated Man at Seventy (also available in extended, illustrated, video form - see Bonus Video episodes at the top of this list)

Episode 26 - tracking down "The Lonely One"

Episode 25 - with Bradbury scholar Phil Nichols!

Episode 24 - with writer and Bradbury scholar Steve Gronert Ellerhoff

Episode 23 - with writer and actor David J. Loftus

Episode 22 - with filmmaker and visual effects artist Christopher Cooksey

Episode 21 - with Russian author Pavel Gubarev, webmaster of the Russian Ray Bradbury website

Episode 20 - April 2021 update

Episode 19 - introducing my new podcast, Science Fiction 101!

Episode 18 - with science fiction writer and scholar Howard V. Hendrix, on Bradbury's influence and legacy

Episode 17 - with highlights from two centenary events: Bradbury 100 Live and The Martian Chronicles at Seventy (both of these events are also available in extended video form - see Bonus Video episodes at the top of this list)

Episode 16 - with writer and friend of Ray, Gregory Miller

Episode 15 - with Emmy-winning actor Bill Oberst Jr, who appears as Ray in a one-person show

Episode 14 - with writer and scholar Jeffrey Kahan on how Bradbury's fiction works

Episode 13 - with storyteller Megan Wells on performing Bradbury's stories and characters

Episode 12 - with writer/director/actor Jerry Robbins, who adapted many Bradbury works for Colonial Radio Theater

Episode 11 - with writer and editor Charles Ardai, who edited the new Bradbury crime story collection Killer, Come Back To Me

Episode 10 - with Ray Bradbury Theatre composer John Massari

Episode 9 - with scholar Miranda Corcoran, talking about Ray's "Elliott family"

Episode 8  - the second part of my interview with award-winning dramatist Brian Sibley, talking mostly about adapting Bradbury for radio

Episode 7 - with writer and broadcaster Brian Sibley, talking mostly about Disney

Episode 6 - continuing my interview with Jonathan R. Eller, Bradbury biographer and scholar

Episode 5 - with Jonathan R. Eller, Bradbury biographer, whose latest book Bradbury Beyond Apollo completes his biographical trilogy

Episode 4 - with photographer Elizabeth Nahum-Albright, who has a current exhibition on Ray Bradbury's house

Episode 3 - with Sandy Petroshius of the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum

Episode 2 - with Jason Aukerman of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies

Episode 1 - with author Steven Paul Leiva, creator of Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles

 

The best way to never miss an episode is to subscribe for free with your podcast app/service of choice!


And you can also follow Bradbury 100 on Facebook.




Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Phil talks about The Martian Chronicles - Continuum Drag podcast

I recently joined the team of the Continuum Drag podcast to discuss the 1980 TV miniseries of The Martian Chronicles. It was a lot of fun, especially since the regulars were watching the series with fresh eyes (whereas I was bringing baggage from having watched the series when it first went out).

Ray Bradbury himself said that this miniseries, starring Rock Hudson, was "boring". He got in trouble with NBC and Charles Fries Productions for this, but he wasn't wrong. Fries' lawyers, however, pointed out that Bradbury's contract forbade him from badmouthing the production...

Here's the podcast, where we're discussing episode 2 of the miniseries:

https://continuumdrag.podbean.com/e/189-the-martian-chronicles-part-2/


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Glimpses of Ray in Mythic Quest

There's a terrific episode of Apple TV's Mythic Quest set in the 1970s, where we see behind the scenes of a pulp magazine publisher. And who should be there, but one Ray Bradbury!

The episode, titled "Backstory!", is somehing of an origin story for recurring character C.W.Longbottom, normally played by F. Murray Abraham, but here played by Josh Brener. We learn that Longbottom was a talentless writer who only achieved any form of success because of his morally dubious use of a manuscript that has been improved by Isaac Asimov.

Asimov is a character in the drama, albeit with just a few lines. But Asimov's story function is decisive. He is played here, complete with hallmark mutton chops, by Chet Grissom.

But what of Bradbury? He appears fleetingly, as part of a meeting going on. The meeting participants? Asimov, Bradbury, and Ursula Le Guin!

 

Asimov, Le Guin and Bradbury confer

 

Ursula and Ray


Another view. I wonder what they were discussing...

"Backstory!" is a great episode, and works even if you are not familiar with Mythic Quest as a series, and even if you don't know the series regulars. It's really just a standalone story of three wannabe SF writers, each at a different stage of their writing journey. Their chief obstacle is a kind of John W. Campbell figure, played by Craig Mazin, who also wrote the episode. Mazin is best known as the Emmy Award-winning writer of Chernobyl.

"Ray" is on screen for just a fraction of a second, and while it seems unlikely that he would be in the offices of a New York pulp magazine at this stage of his career, his presence with Le Guin and Asimov gives the episode an odd air of authenticity.


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Movies on Mars

 Here's a little curiosity that I've mentioned before, but now with added evidence:

In the 1980 TV miniseries of The Martian Chronicles, there is a brief scene of people coming out of (what I assume to be) a cinema. Either side of the door is a rather amateurish poster with the title The Silver Locusts. The artwork on the poster is taken from... the UK paperback of The Silver Locusts, which was the original UK title for... The Martian Chronicles.

How meta is that? People in MC going to watch a film about themselves!

I noticed this in 1980, when the show was first aired on British TV. But this was before VCRs, and the appearance of the artwork was so fleeting as to be unprovable. The commercial DVD release allowed the image to be paused, but it was rather muddy.

But thanks to Bluray, we can now get a closer look. So here is the proof:


Silver Locusts posters as the crowd emerges from the cinema.






UK paperback, 1970s. Artwork by Peter Goodfellow.



When the miniseries was released, UK publisher Granada decided to cash in by re-issuing The Silver Locusts as The Martian Chronicles.






In the same sequence, there are some other posters on display, but I haven't been able to figure out what they are. They're probably completely fictional, but who knows? What are we looking at here? mtext? Invasion?









Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Phil guests on WORDS TO WRITE BY podcast

Words To Write By is a podcast for those interested in the craft of writing. Co-hosts Kim and Renee have set themselves the challenge of reading "how to..." books, the ones that claim to reveal the rules you have to follow, or the secrets that only a true writing guru can reveal.

Having progressed through John Gardner's The Art of Fiction (1982), the team are now ready to take heed of the advice of Ray Bradbury, as they tackle Ray's inspirational essay collection on writing, Zen in the Art of Writing.

In their latest podcast episode, they give their final thoughts on Gardner before introducing Zen - and they very kindly asked me to help with the introduction. Click the link below to find more, and to hear me opine on Ray's advice to writers.

https://wordstowritebypodcast.com/podcast/goodbye-gardner-hello-bradbury/


Thursday, January 20, 2022

New Bradbury 100 podcast - Ray Bradbury's OTHER martian stories

In the latest Bradbury 100 podcast episode, I discuss Ray Bradbury's other martian stories - stories set on Mars which are not part of The Martian Chronicles.

These stories have only once been all collected together, and that was in the limited-edition book The Martian Chronicles: The Complete Edition (2009). I've mentioned this book before, and have also mentioned my love-hate relationship with it. On the one hand, the book was a great idea, but on the other hand, it turned out to be far from "complete".

One section of that book is titled "the other martian tales of Ray Bradbury", and is based on a selection of stories originally collated by Marc Scott Zicree, writer of the famous Twilight Zone Companion. Zicree figured out which other Mars-related stories Bradbury wrote, and also dug around in Ray's archives to find any that remained unpublished. Zicree's proposed book didn't happen, but the selection of stories was absorbed into the Complete Edition. Actually, not everything Zicree collated ended up in the book; the editors of the Complete Edition decided to only include stories set on Mars, and to eliminate any that were set elsewhere. A reasonable choice... except not all of The Martian Chronicles is set on Mars... so they hadn't thought it through...

Here's the list of "other Mars stories" used in the so-called Complete Edition, which I work through in the podcast episode (UPDATE: I somehow missed "The Martian Ghosts" of this list - but I've added it now):

  1. The Lonely Ones
  2. The Exiles
  3. The One Who Waits
  4. The Disease
  5. Dead of Summer
  6. The Martian Ghosts
  7. Jemima True
  8. They All Had Grandfathers
  9. The Strawberry Window
  10. Way in the Middle of the Air (included in the "other" section, because the Complete Edition contains a version of The Martian Chronicles which deliberately omits this story)
  11. The Other Foot
  12. The Wheel
  13. The Love Affair
  14. The Marriage
  15. The Visitor
  16. The Lost City of Mars
  17. Holiday
  18. Payment in Full
  19. The Messiah
  20. Night Call, Collect (aka I, Mars)
  21. The Blue Bottle
  22. Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed (aka The Naming of Names)

Anyone who is expecting any major revelations in this list will be disappointed. It is mostly a list of (a) stories which are easily available in Bradbury's other books; (b) unfinished stories; and (c) tiny fragments and bridging material, pages or paragraphs left on the cutting-room floor. The only truly interesting find here is "They All Had Grandfathers".

Please listen to the episode, where I go through the intricacies of these stories, and explain how a couple of the fragments such as "The Wheel" and "The Disease" reveal something of Bradbury's process of assembling The Martian Chronicles. 

 

 

Thursday, January 06, 2022

New Bradbury 100 podcast episode - A Question of Style

Another new episode of my Bradbury 100 podcast!

I've been putting off doing this one, but finally decided to bite the proverbial bullet.

What makes Ray Bradbury's writing distinctive? The usual answer is "style".

But what exactly is style? In the podcast I address this question while trying not to be too academic. Although some of my academic friends might quibble with my definitions and my argument...

 

Sunday, January 02, 2022

A Plethora of Pods...

Happy New Year - although I'm acutely aware that 2022 is the year in which the events of Soylent Green take place...

As the new year begins, you can catch me on three different podcasts. Yikes! You can currently hear me on:

  • Bradbury 100 - talking about Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles screenplays, and on...
  • Science Fiction 101 - reviewing the Christmas 1951 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction magazine, and on...
  • Hugos There (where I discuss Arthur C. Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise with host Seth Heasley)

 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

New Bradbury 100 Podcast Episode: The Best Martian Chronicles NEVER Made!


Seasons Greetings!

It's time for a new episode of my Bradbury 100 podcast. This time I explore some of the best movies never made, by looking at Ray Bradbury's multiple unfilmed screenplays for The Martian Chronicles.

The book came out in 1950, and The Martian Chronicles immediately became a mini sensation that same year, thanks to the radio drama series Dimension X, which dramatised several stories from the book. Ray knew that there was dramatic potential in his Martian tales, and the late 1950s saw him - by now an established screenwriter, thanks to Moby Dick and It Came From Outer Space - drawing up plans for a TV series to be called Report From Space.

Alas, the series didn't make it to air, and his attempts to develop The Martian Chronicles further for the big screen also came to nothing. But the scripts are pretty good, and allow us to play a game of what if:  

  • What if Ray Bradbury's TV series came on air the same year as The Twilight Zone or Men Into Space?
  • What if the producer-director/actor team from 1962's To Kill A Mockingbird had succeeded in making The Martian Chronicles before 2001: A Space Odyssey (or Star Trek) had come along?

To find out more... listen to the episode...!

 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Now with added video: The Illustrated Man at Seventy

A week ago (or so) I put out a Bradbury 100  podcast episode containing the audio of my recent talk about The Illustrated Man. Well, now the University of Wolverhampton has released the full video recording of the talk, so you can now see me as well as hear me.

While that is certainly not a good reason to watch, there is a significant advantage in watching: it's a heavily illustrated talk. How appropriate is that?

Here it is:


Friday, November 19, 2021

New Bradbury 100 podcast episode: The Illustrated Man - at Seventy!

A few days ago, I gave a livestreamed talk on Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, a book which is seventy years old this year. The talk was given as part of the University of Wolverhampton's Artsfest Online.

A video recording of the event will be made available shortly, but in the meantime below is the audio from the talk, slightly edited so that it works without the illustrations. (Anyone who has seen any of my talks knows that I firmly believe in using illustrations!)

Thanks to everyone who attended the live version of the talk, which generated some interesting Q&A at the end. I've left the Q&A out of the podcast audio because it was poor quality, but it should be included in the video version when that is released.

One person asked me a tough question: was Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives influenced by Ray Bradbury's short story "Marionettes Inc"? You may recall that both of these works deal with robot replacement humans in a domestic environment. I admit to being stumped by that question - and I still am!

Levin and Bradbury were contemporaries (Bradbury was nine years older than Levin), and while Bradbury appears to have begun writing at an earlier age than Levin, they both started writing for television in the 1950s. Around the time Bradbury was writing for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Levin was writing for Lights Out and other TV shows. 

I've never seen anything that specifically connects the two writers, but given Levin's interest in dark subjects and fantastical story premises (not only Stepford but Rosemary's Baby, The Boys From Brazil, and others) it's hard to imagine that he wasn't aware of Bradbury's fiction. And "Marionettes Inc" was a story which was well known in the 1950s. It was adapted for radio more than once, and Bradbury adapted it for Hitchcock. It was also widely anthologised.

But short of reading a biography of Levin - which I now feel compelled to do! - I don't have an answer to that Stepford Wives question.

What I do know, however, is that Bradbury felt that Rosemary's Baby borrowed heavily from his classic short story "The Small Assassin". I think Bradbury was more bothered by the film version than Levin's book; and, of course, the only thing they have in common is the basic premise of an evil baby. But that's all I know of Bradbury versus Levin.



Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Illustrated Man is seventy years old!

Ray Bradbury's seminal short story collection The Illustrated Man is seventy years old. To celebrate, I'm giving an illustrated online talk as part of the University of Wolverhampton's Artsfest. Please join me on 16th November (7pm UK time)!

It's free and open to all, but you have to register. Details here:

Saturday, October 30, 2021

October: Bradbury Season!

 Halloween is upon us once more, that most Bradburyan of seasons. 

By way of celebration, here's another chance to listen to the Bradbury 100 podcast episode I put out last Halloween, in which I discuss what October meant to Ray Bradbury, and interviewed the remarkable actor Bill Oberst Jr, the man dubbed "the King of Horror"!



Saturday, October 02, 2021

New Bradbury 100 Episode: Revealed at Last - The Lonely One!

Time for a new episode of my podcast Bradbury 100. With this episode, I'm starting on an occasional series of shorter episodes. The topic is one which has previously brought thousands of visitors to this website:

The Lonely One.

The Lonely One is a fictional character in Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. I say "character", but he is really just a shadowy figure who never comes into focus, and never occupies the foreground.

But the Lonely One was also a real criminal in Ray's childhood home of Waukegan, Illinois. I exclusively revealed his true identity in 2009, and my blog post about him has had more "hits" than any other page on the whole of Bradburymedia. So I thought I would share my findings with the podcast audience.

Here's the podcast episode:


 

And to read my original 2009 blog post about the Lonely One - which includes a photo of this notorious petty criminal - click here.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Ray and JFK

You may have seen this post on LitHub. It reproduces a 1962 letter that Ray Bradbury wrote to Arthur M. Schlesinger, the historian who was a special advisor to President Kennedy. Bradbury offers his services - whichever services the president might feel appropriate - in promoting the new space age.




This is another illustration of how Ray's book publication history fails to reflect his "real" interests.
By 1962 - when he wrote this letter - in the public eye he had move far beyond science fiction. He had published The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man and Fahrenheit 451 - and that was it for SF. Then he was on to Dandelion Wine, The October Country, The Golden Apples of the Sun, A Medicine for Melancholy - all quite far removed from SF. Plus he had been busily writing the screenplay for Moby Dick, episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and a bunch of one-act Irish plays.
 
But what wasn't visible to the public was that he was deeply involved in trying to get The Martian Chronicles filmed. He had worked on various script drafts since 1957, and in 1962 he seemed closest to getting the film made. What perfect timing this would have been for him, for The Martian Chronicles: The Movie to have been made just as Kennedy was launching the real space programme.
 
Despite all the claims that he didn't like being called a science fiction writer, you can see from this letter that he really did want to be known for his SF. The "space age" meant a lot to him. It was vindication of his "silly" childish fantasies about rocketships.
 
JFK replied to Bradbury, thanking him for the books he had gifted. But he didn't go so far as to invite Ray to become a space advisor. However, around that same time, Bradbury wrote a number of articles about space for Life and other publications. He was determined to be associated, in the public mind, with space. And, indeed, he eventually succeeded. See Jon Eller's Bradbury Beyond Apollo for a full account of Ray's space activities!
 
Alas, Kennedy's assassination the following year brought a big interruption to everything. In various interviews Ray talked about where he was the day Kennedy died: he was on his way into Hollywood for a script meeting about The Martian Chronicles. He knew that nobody would be able to concentrate on anything, so the meeting was cancelled and he returned home instead.
 
By 1965, The Martian Chronicles movie was cancelled. Ray had written at least two distinctly different scripts, and was working with the makers of the successful To Kill A Mockingbird. But they couldn't get the movie into a shape they were all happy with, and so the project died. (The 1980 Martian Chronicles TV miniseries was an unrelated attempt to adapt the book; Ray played no part in the scripting of that version.)
 
Arguably, the death of Kennedy brought a renewed determination to achieve the goal, by the end of the decade, of "putting a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth". And when it happened, Bradbury was prominent in media coverage - as was his science fiction friend and colleague Arthur C. Clarke. On the night of the Moon landing, Bradbury walked out of a British David Frost entertainment show (it was more concerned with showbiz than with celebrating humanity's setting foot on another world), but was also interviewed on national TV in the US.


Monday, August 23, 2021

Bradbury 100 LIVE

On Saturday 21st August - the eve of Ray Bradury's 101st birthday - I took to the "airwaves" of Facebook with another live edition of Bradbury 100.

I was joined over Zoom by writer and former Hollywood animation producer Steven Paul Leiva. Steve knew Ray Bradbury well, having worked with him on the abortive Little Nemo In Slumberland film project, and having organised "Ray Bradbury Week" in Los Angeles in 2010. Steve was also the very first interview guest on the Bradbury 100 audio podcast about a year ago, and it was great to talk to him again.

The live show was recorded, and below you will find a slightly remastered version of the show. Highlights of the show:

  • never-before-seen photos from Ray's 90th birthday party
  • never-before-seen video from the same party
  • Steve's inside scoop on what went wrong (and occasionally right) with Little Nemo in Slumberland
  • discussion of Ray and his good friend, the animation legend Chuck Jones

You can find out more about Steven Paul Leiva on his blog, which also has information on his books, which I heartily recommend.



Sunday, August 22, 2021

Bradbury 101!

Today would have been Ray Bradbury's 101st birthday - so what better way to celebrate than with a new episode of my Youtube series, Bradbury 101. This time, I look at The October Country. Scroll down to play it.

Thanks to everyone who joined me for yesterday's Bradbury 100 LIVE on Facebook. The recording is still there if you missed it and want to take a look. Or you can wait a few days, and I'll put a better quality version on here. (The live show was done through Zoom, which degrades the picture and sound quality terribly. But I also recorded it "locally", so I can put out a kind of re-mastered version!)

 

 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Bradbury 100 - new episode - AND Live Show

Phil 'n' Ray, back in the day...
 

Tomorrow (22nd August 2021) would have been Ray Bradbury's 101st birthday. That means that the "Bradbury centenary year" is drawing to a close. And so, to round out the centenary I offer you a new episode of the Bradbury 100 podcast as well as Bradbury 100 - LIVE!

The LIVE show will be streamed on Facebook, and I'll also post a recording of it here after the event. (Give me a couple of days - these things don't happen instantly!)

But the "standard", audio podcast is available now. Scroll down and click play, or of course pick the episode up on your podcast app.

In this end-of-centenary podcast episode, I turn the tables (or the microphone) on myself. Instead of interviewing a guest, I talk about my own experiences with Ray - the handful of times I met him, what we talked about, and so on. I'm a bit more brutal when editing myself than when editing interviewees, so this episode is a bit shorter than usual!

Among the things I talk about in the podcast:

 

Of course, now that the Bradbury Centenary is closing, you may be wondering what becomes of Bradbury 100. Well, I already have my sequel/spin-off, the Youtube channel Bradbury 101, but I'm not done with the audio podcast yet. Watch this space to see what happens next...

 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Bradbury 100 in Top 10% of podcasts!

According to podcast aggregator Listen Notes, my podcast Bradbury 100 is in the top 10% of all podcasts. The figure is based on their estimate of number of downloads.

Thanks to everyone who has ever listened; I couldn't have done it without you!


Bradbury 100 - celebrating the centenary of Ray Bradbury | Listen Notes


Saturday, August 14, 2021

Bradbury 100 - with Steve Gronert Ellerhoff

It's time for another new episode of the Bradbury 100 podcast. This week, I'm joined by writer and Bradbury scholar Steve Gronert Ellerhoff.

We talk about Ray Bradbury - and also Kurt Vonnegut! Did you know that Bradbury and Vonnegut knew each other? Or that they both had a TV series at the same time, from the same production company?

Following on from the success of Ray Bradbury Theatre (1985-1992), production company Atlantis signed up with Vonnegut to do a similar series, adapting Vonnegut's short stories in a similar way to Bradbury's stories. Kurt Vonnegut's Monkey House ran for two very short seasons - a total of seven episodes altogether. This pales in comparison to Ray's sixty-five episodes. 


Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury, in a publicity still for Atlantis by leading photographer Karsh.


In the podcast, we talk a bit about Vonnegut because Steve Ellerhoff wrote a book called Post-Jungian Psychology and the Short Stories of Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut: Golden Apples of the Monkey House!

We also tackle the difficult issue of how race is portrayed in some Bradbury stories from the 1950s. Bradbury took a strong stand against racism in a number of stories, including two of his Mars tales. Ironically, because they use dated language, they are today sometimes accused of being racist stories. I generally defend these stories as bold and brave anti-racist works, but I admit to being uncomfortable with the language used.

Find out more about Steve Ellerhoff's work on his website: http://www.sgellerhoff.com/

 





Friday, August 13, 2021

The Tip Jar - and new episodes on their way!

The eagle-eyed among you may have occasionally noticed the tip jar on this website. You know, this thing here:

 



I just wanted to reassure you that it's not a piece of malicious code that invaded the site. It's just a relatively non-intrusive way of inviting you to, maybe, contribute a little to the running costs of this little hub of Bradbury fandom. (Running costs, you say? Well, yes. Web hosting doesn't pay for itself, and nor does the software and hardware I used to make the Bradbury 100 podcast and the Bradbury 101 videos!)

All you do is click on the little floating Tip Me button down below, and you can buy me a metaphorical coffee! (I prefer Americano. No milk, no sugar.) Thanks.

Now that the commercial message is over, a quick update: there will be another new Bradbury 100 tomorrow (Saturday), where I'll be talking to writer and scholar Steve Gronert Ellerhoff; and another new one the following Saturday, where I'll be talking to... myself...

And don't forget on Saturday 21st August 2021 there will also be a LIVE episode of Bradbury 100, which will be streaming on Facebook. I will give you more details of this a few days before the live show!


Saturday, August 07, 2021

Bradbury 100 - new episode - with David Loftus

Time for another new episodes of Bradbury 100 - and joining me this week is writer and actor David Loftus.

David has read the works of Ray Bradbury a lot. Aloud.

Yes, aloud!

In the podcast, he explains how he came to read Something Wicked This Way Comes out loud multiple times!

David also once wrote an appreciation of Something Wicked for the now-defunct Bookdrum website. Although Bookdrum is no longer with us, an archived version of the site survives on the Internet Archive, and so you can still find David's composition, preserved for the ages, at this link.

There is plenty more of David's writing on his Patreon page, here.

In the introduction to this podcast episode, I talk about Ray Bradbury's own audiobook readings of his works. Some of these are still commercially available (and many of them are available without permission on various website...). You can find a fairly detailed listing of these audiobooks on one of the oldest pages on my website, right here.

And now, enjoy the podcast!



 
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Bradbury 100 - LIVE!

As we approach Ray Bradbury's one-hundred-and-first birthday, I thought we should celebrate! And so I'm staging another LIVE episode of Bradbury 100 on 21st August 2021 (from 4pm-5pm UK time).

You may recall that the first Bradbury 100 - LIVE was back in September last year. I ran a Zoom meeting and invited people to "call in", and then livestreamed the meeting to Facebook.

Well, nearly a year on, let's do the same again. One difference, though: this time I'll be joined via Zoom by Steven Paul Leiva. Steven was the very first guest on the Bradbury 100 podcast, and had some great stories to tell about his times of working with Ray Bradbury. Steve was also the driving force between the city of Los Angeles' official declaration of "Ray Bradbury Week" back in 2010, and a whole series of events that accompanied that declaration.

If you'd like to take part in the show - ask a question, tell us about your experience of Ray, or tell us which Bradbury item you'd take to the mythical desert island - you will be able to join in via Zoom. I'll post the link to the Zoom meeting nearer to the time.

But if you just want to sit back and watch, you'll be able to watch the livestream on Facebook, in the "Ray Bradbury Fan Club" group. (I'll also post a copy of the video here on Bradburymedia, after the event; and there will be an edited, audio-only version of the show in the normal Bradbury 100 podcast feed.

Here's the link to the Facebook event. More details will be added as 21st August approaches!

https://www.facebook.com/events/2884945031759983




Saturday, July 31, 2021

Bradbury 100 - new episode

Time for another all-new episode of my audio podcast Bradbury 100. This week I'm joined by filmmaker and visual effects artist Christopher Cooksey to discuss the challenges and joys of bringing Ray's work to life in the visual realm.

Christopher is the co-producer of Bill Oberst Jr's stage production Ray Bradbury - LIVE (Forever). Ostensibly a one-person show, it's really a visual feast. Bill, alone on stage (except for one dance scene), is nevertheless able to walk around Bradbury's world with the aid of visual projections and audio effects. This video, from Christopher's Youtube channel, shows some of the work that went into making the visuals for the show.



 

 

To put Bill and Christopher's work in context, in the first part of the podcast I talk about Bradbury's own use of audio-visual elements in his stage plays. You can find Ray's plays in print in a number of books. Dramatic Publishing carries nearly all of them for would-be performers and play producers, and there are some play collections aimed at general readers. The introductions and production notes in these are often as entertaining as the plays.

Find out more about Christopher Cooksey from his extensive Youtube channel and from his website.

And now, enjoy the episode:



Saturday, July 24, 2021

Bradbury 100 - New Series!


As we approach 22 August, Ray Bradbury's birthday, we come to the end of Bradbury's centenary year. To mark the occasion and to close out the year, I have a new miniseries of Bradbury 100 podcast episodes!

Over the next few weeks, you can hear interviews with scholars, artists and performers who have all worked with Bradbury material. But we start the series with a super fan: Pavel Gubarev.

 

Pavel Gubarev with his shot story collection. And yes, that is Sigmund Freud on the cover...

 

Pavel's Russian website at www.raybradbury.ru is an extraordinary piece of work. It predates Bradburymedia by a good few years, and in its early days it was one of the best Bradbury websites even for non-Russian fans. In those days, it did have a fair bit of English-language content, although today it is largely monolingual.

Pavel is a fascinating guest. Not just a webmaster, he is also an award-winning author. And his unique experience of spending his formative years in the Soviet Union, and then in Russia, gives him great insight into Bradbury's popularity in Russia.

Pavel once created an English-language tribute to Bradbury on a website called Immersion. For this site he collaborated with fans from various countries to produce introductions to Bradbury's work. Although the site itself is no longer extant, a version of it can still be accessed via the Internet Archive.

In this episode of Bradbury 100 I talk about the arcane Soviet copyright system,  and mention a Mikhail Iossel article from the New Yorker.

You can find Bradbury 100 through your podcast app, or you can listen the latest episode below. I hope you enjoy it.


Friday, July 23, 2021

New Bradbury 100 Episodes

Coming soon, to a podcast app near you:

A new mini-series of Bradbury 100 podcast episodes!

 I have several interviews "in the can", and will be dropping the episodes every weekend for the next few weeks. The first will appear on this blog tomorrow (Saturday 24h July 2021).

Look for it here, or on your podcast app.

The first interview guest of the series will be Pavel Gubarev, award-winning writer and creator of the remarkably popular Russian-language Ray Bradbury website.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Screaming Woman on Blu-ray

In 1972, there was a TV movie based on Ray Bradbury's short story "The Screaming Woman". It was directed by Jack Smight, who had earlier directed another Bradbury-based film, The Illustrated Man (1969). The TV movie has been difficult to get hold of for years, although it keeps popping up on YouTube, probably illegally. But later this year, it receives an official home-media release, with a Blu-ray edition.

Bradbury's original story centres on a young girl, and when Bradbury later adapted it himself for The Ray Bradbury Theatre in the 1980s, the starring role went to a young Drew Barrymore. But the 1972 version - which Bradbury was not involved with - recasts the central role to an adult woman, with the legendary Olivia de Havilland taking that role. In fact, the TV movie sounds like something from an earlier age, since its other key cast members are Golden Age Hollywood stars Joseph Cotten and Walter Pidgeon.

It's a decent enough TV movie, and a reasonable expansion of the Bradbury story, given that it needs a lot more added plot to bring the Bradbury short up to feature length. It was shot on 35mm film, so should stand up well to a Blu-ray presentation. I have my fingers crossed that the release will be an untampered-with 4:3 scan, and not some misguided attempt to re-format it for modern 16:9 TVs.

The Blu-ray comes from Kino Lorber, who are renowned for bringing obscure classics back into the light. They promise a commentary from leading fantasy media writer Gary Gerani. It should be out in early October, so this might make a neat addition to your Bradbury Halloween screening roster...

Read more here: https://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=28862


Sunday, June 27, 2021

Moby Dick at Sixty-Five!

Sixty-five years ago today - 27th June 1956 - John Huston's film version of Moby Dick was released, with a screenplay co-written by Ray Bradbury. As regular readers of Bradburymedia will be aware, Ray's experience of working on this film cast a very long shadow.

Bradbury became somewhat obsessive over Herman Melville's story, and was driven to write his own prose version of Moby Dick in the form of Leviathan '99, which was initially a radio play, then a stage play and opera, and eventually a novella.

Bradbury's time in Ireland working on the script inspired him to write a number of Irish stories, initially as short plays and later as short stories. He later gathered up all of his Irish tales and laced them together with fictionalised recollections of his working with Huston, in the novel Green Shadows, White Whale.

Over the years, as I've researched the making of Moby Dick, I've blogged a number of times on different aspects of the film, so here's a selection of posts:

Bradbury's time in Ireland was really quite brief - less than a year - but he became very attached to the city of Dublin and its surroundings. Here's my attempt to follow in Bradbury's footsteps as I wandered around the Irish capital.

Bradbury left Ireland before the filming of Moby Dick began. As far as I know, he never saw any of the Irish locations used in the film. The small town of Youghal was one of the key locations, representing New Bedford in the film. In this post, I show how Youghal still shows distinct evidence of Moby Dick's presence.

Naturally, Moby Dick is full of symbolism of whales and fish. This simple post collects some of the key fishy moments from the film.

There has been some dispute over who exactly wrote what for the Moby Dick screenplay. Bradbury claimed to have written most of it, and fought against Huston's claim of half the screenplay credit. Rumours also circulate that Roald Dahl and others had a hand in the script (Dahl's own account says that he spent very little time on it, and didn't contribute a word). And Orson Welles - famed for re-writing any role he was asked to play - claimed to have written his own lines for the part of Father Mapple. In this post, I dig into Welles' lines and establish the truth of that particular claim.

Bradbury put a lot of detail into his script which Huston eventually removed or ignored. But in this post, I look at a detail which Huston kept, even modifying an existing building to accommodate it in the movie.

Finally, Ray Bradbury wasn't the only person to have a run-in with the larger-than-life Huston. In this post, I run through some of the other writers who fictionalised Huston or otherwise incorporated him into their recollections.