Saturday, December 30, 2006

Old-Time Radio

The first time I ever heard an audio production of a Ray Bradbury story was back in the 1980s. It was a BBC radio dramatisation of Fahrenheit 451. I soon started collecting as many Bradbury recordings as I could lay hands on, either by off-air recording or by trading with other collectors. In those days I was collecting on audio cassette.

Sometime in the 1990s I switched to using miniDisc as my preferred recording format, despite the irritating 80-minute recording limit. (This has been overcome in recent times with the HD incarnation of miniDisc.)

Nowadays its much more convenient to keep everything on computer, so I have slooooooowwwwwwlllllyyy been moving over to MP3 for archiving.

I am reluctant to post complete MP3 recordings on the web, since all of the Bradbury source material is still in copyright. (Some of the older recordings - particularly the American productions - have slipped into the public domain, but the underlying Bradbury writings are still copyrighted.) But there are plenty of other people out there who either don't have my scruples, or who don't know much about copyright laws. Or who just don't care.

I recently came across a rather anonymous site called It has no explanations on it of what it is meant to be, or who it belongs to. It carries a large amount of old audio material, including some of Wally K. Daly's BBC science fiction plays (particular favourites of mine for many years).

From trawling through, I have found one Bradbury item (which I already have on CD, as it happens): CBS Radio Workshop's production of 'Season of Disbelief' and 'Hail and Farewell'. This item is unusual in having an introduction written and recorded by Bradbury himself. You can find the MP3 file here, and browse the entire site here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bradbury for Christmas

BBC radio broadcast a little piece of Bradbury for Christmas. Late on Christmas night they broadcast a radio programme called White Nights, featuring readings of stories and poetry "to reflect the moments between waking and sleeping". One of the readings was of Bradbury's Switch on the Night. You can listen to the entire show by clicking here. To get to the Bradbury section, you may wish to fast-forward approximately 15 minutes. (BBC radio shows are usually only available online for seven days - if that link is dead, you're too late!)

Switch on the Night (1955) was written for children, as an antidote to children's fear of the dark. According to Sam Weller's biography The Bradbury Chronicles, Ray wrote it a week after the birth of his daughter Susan. The baby slept fitfully and tearfully, and reminded Ray of his own childhood fear of the dark. His original manuscript for this work was in the form of a storyboard, with Ray's own sketches to illustrate the text. The published version is professionally illustrated, originally by Madeleine Gekiere. The 1993 edition was illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Some of the Dillons' superb work can be seen by using the 'Look inside this book' feature at

I was delighted to hear from Gene Beley, the author of the unauthorised biography of Ray Bradbury. Gene had seen my review comments on his book, and posted a comment on this blog. You can view our exchange of comments here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Coming soon...

Despite the expected rapid inset of winter, here in the UK the tabloids are full of photostories about summer plants which are still in bloom. I can't say I have personally seen any roses still in flower, but I did today see some dandelion flowers (on next door's lawn).

So maybe it's not a bad time to mention that Colonial Radio Theatre's CD of Dandelion Wine is nearly ready for release. I have covered this extensively in recent months, so I'll leave you to explore the archives for the relevant stories.

Suffice it to say that Colonial have unveiled the final artwork for the CD (pictured here). Sample clips from the CD, and ordering information, can be found on Colonial's website.