Here's basic information on a video about Ray I really should order, probably available at amazon.com, or, if you know of a better source, please share.
Ray Bradbury: An American Icon
List Price $24.95
Studio Monterey Video
Orig Year 1997
Street Date Nov 11, 1998
Rating Not Rated
Running Time 47 Minutes
Movie Details: Color
An intimate profile of popular science fiction novelist and playwright Ray Bradbury, this entertaining and educational biography utilizes footage of the author at home and on the lecture circuit, interviews with his contemporaries, and clips from his television series, "The Ray Bradbury Theatre." Narrated by Rod Steiger.
Rod Steiger was an interesting choice as narrator since he starred in "The Illustrated Man," a film of which Bradbury said, "I detested it." I've not seen this video, but I hope it includes some of my favorite "Ray moments." A friend of mine saw him on Groucho Marx's program "You Bet Your Life." I was *so* jealous of her for getting to see that! Perhaps my alltime favorite was when he was a presenter for some Science Fiction awards, televised, I believe, in 1978. Ray had evidently had a few drinks to relax beforehand and hadn't been informed his copresenter was to be a giant robot a la "Lost in Space." When he started speaking and out rolled this robot, Ray just lost it. He would say a few words, very solemnly, then turn around to look at the robot and crack up every time! Another show, probably on video, don't know the title, but I think it was one of Walter Cronkite's documentaries. Anyhow, it had him and Ray carrying on a conversation on these Dick Tracy talking wristwatches. Really cute. Of course one of the best moments was never captured on film. Ray was visiting his hometown when he saw the most beautiful bunch of dandelions and began picking them. A woman came out of her house and said, "You must be Ray Bradbury."
Perhaps this missive should be titled "Fan girl"
I too, am happy to say I have a few "Ray Moments" in my life. Please allow me to share.
As a young person, I found myself struggling with that institution of conformity-the military in Biloxi Miss. What did I find at the base library (of all places) but a large book containing addresses of celebrities-Mr Bradbury's was in there as well. I wrote him to tell him how his books reminded me of who I was and helped me through the backbiting and brainwashing one must deal with...Miraculously, he wrote me back! The letter contained a wine label from "Dandelion Vineyards" and other tidbits and encouragement that has, for years helped me through ugly times. The colors and literary fusions and he paints in his stories offer a unique perspective to life that keeps you smiling crookedly. There is a sence of intimacy in his stories, that you feel you have found a freind with your shared philosophies, and you never feel really alone.
Second moment: Years later, post-military, I was gifted with tickets to a lecture in Denver...1997 (?) After the lecture was the inevitable book singing, to which I brought box of Ticonderoga pencils. The nazi-esque usher (I'm sure under tremendous pressure of time) looked at my piece-to-be-signed like it was a live grenade. I insisted, and when Mr Bradbury took it, he stopped looking bored, and struck up a conversation with me about a promotion deal the Ticonderoga Pencil Company had made with him. WITH ME! Wish I could offer details on the story, my brain was swimming with adrenaline by simply talking one-on-one with Ray Bradbury, one of my few personal gods that I remember very little of what he actually said!
You understand, I'm sure. I suppose that's how most folk feel meeting Michael Jordan or our almost-elected president or such...
More recently, I just heard an NPR interview with him (KCRW) on the subject of city-wide book "clubs" Apparently, the Mayor of Las Angeles has named Farenheit 451 as the first book, and Ray was asked his opinion on the matter. Thank you, Mr Bradbury, for keeping the faith and love of learning and books and invention alive! America seems to need it now, more than ever.
Yours as always,
One of the symptoms of an approaching breakdown is the belief that ones work is terribly important. -B Russell
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