Thursday, April 05, 2007


I'm currently researching adaptations of three Bradbury stories: "Mars is Heaven!", "Zero Hour" and "The Veldt". It's for a paper I'm preparing to deliver at a conference in July.

I've chosen these particular stories because they seem to be recurringly popular, with repeated adaptations for radio and television.

"Mars is Heaven" is an interesting case because Bradbury himself has adapted it on more than one occasion. The original short story appeared in Planet Stories in 1948. Bradbury then converted it into "The Third Expedition", a chapter of his novelised story cycle The Martian Chronicles. In the 1960s he wrote the first of several screenplays of the Chronicles, and in the 1970s the stage play version. And in the 1980s he wrote a teleplay for Ray Bradbury Theater.

The story is unusual, in that it combines the small-town USA sensibilities of some of his other work (Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes) with a Martian setting.

Listening to various radio adaptations, I have been intrigued that Ernest Kinoy's 1950s Dimension X/X Minus One script uses a rooster as the first signifier that the Earthmen might still be on Earth rather than on Mars. This element isn't present in Bradbury's short story, nor in The Martian Chronicles. However, in Bradbury's 1980s teleplay for Ray Bradbury Theater there's that rooster again. Has Bradbury borrowed from Kinoy? Or was Kinoy working from a different draft of Bradbury's story?


Anonymous said...

Bradbury acknowledged that the ending for the movie Fahrenheit 451 was better than the one in his novel. And apparently he used it for his theater adaptation of the work. So it wouldn't be unheard of.


Phil said...

Yes, in the film Clarisse re-appears at the end, and Bradbury used this idea in the play. (I have some info on this here: )

Another example of this might be the switch from a ferris wheel to a carousel as Bradbury moved from the short story "Black Ferris" to the novel Something Wicked This Way Comes - I think it was someone else's teleplay adaptation of "Black Ferris" which first used a carousel.