Friday night we put on a little "show" for the benefit of my dad, who won't be able to make it to our production of "Oklahoma!" I set up all my percussion equipment in his room, put on the video of "Oklahoma!" and I played all my parts, as much as possible, since the movie music has a number of differences. It occurred to me I can come up with at least six good Bradbury connections: Claremore is mentioned a number of times as the nearest town. It is also the nearest town to the birthplace of WILL ROGERS, the subject of Ray's first published piece, who was played in a one-man show by JAMES WHITMORE (whose name for some reason I always thought was Stuart Whitmore--any idea how I came up with that?) who in the movie plays Andrew, the judge who must try Curly for killing Jud Fry, played by ROD STEIGER, who of course played "The Illustrated Man." As far as I can figure, Shirley Jones and Eddie Albert are the only two people left alive from this movie. Shirley Jones starred in "The Partridge Family," which once featured JOHN ASTIN as a guest, who played Gomez in "The Addams Family," created by Charles Addams, Ray's friend who did the cover illustration of "From the Dust Returned." EDDIE ALBERT starred in "Roman Holiday" with GREGORY PECK, who played Captain Ahab in Ray's version of "Moby-Dick." If I get really bored sometime between songs I may come up with others. The "Dream Ballet" was the part my sisters and I always watched as kids. We loved it because it was sooo creepy! I must say, it really holds up well under repeated viewings, as does the whole movie. As for our version...heh-heh.
Trivia: In the stage play, Ali Hakim and Jud Fry both have songs not in the movie, briefly featured as instrumentals during their appearances onscreen. At the time this movie was made, two technologies were competing. Unsure which would win out, they filmed the whole thing TWICE, if you can imagine!
Is this going to be the basis of a thesis? I want to see the finished product.
Also, are you going to make the video available?
You mean the video of our production, right?
Gordon MacRae, Curly in the movie, was the father of MEREDITH MACRAE of "Petticoat Junction," closely related to "Green Acres," starring Eddie Albert, and "The Beverly Hillbillies," starring Buddy Ebsen. BUDDY EBSEN was originally cast as the Tin Man in the movie of one of Ray's favorite books, "The Wizard of Oz," but became deathly ill from the makeup and was replaced by Jack Haley. (Does anyone find it odd that everyone else from this movie is dead, and Buddy Ebsen is still with us?) THE WIZARD OF OZ has more than usually good "Oklahoma!" connections, as both MARGARET HAMILTON (the Wicked Witch) and RAY BOLGER (the Scarecrow) guested on "The Partridge Family." (Margaret Hamilton as manager Reuben Kincaid's mother and Ray Bolger as the first of Shirley Partridge's two fathers.) Shirley's other father was JACKIE COOGAN, Uncle Fester of "The Addams Family." (Her fathers had the same last name but different first names. I dare someone to make a chart of this.) By the time she switched fathers, she had also switched sons, from Chris #1, Jeremy Gelbwaks, to Chris #2, Brian Forster, a direct descendant of CHARLES DICKENS, a favorite author of Ray's who found many a mention in his works, including the story "Any Friend of Nicholas Nickelby's is a Friend of Mine," the movie of which starred FRED GWYNNE, TV's Herman Munster. (Here I could jump straight to BUTCH PATRICK and thereby drag in all my favorite JACK WEBB shows, so consider yourselves spared...for now.) JACKIE COOGAN once guested on ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, on which several of Ray's stories appeared, sometimes with different titles. One title, "Bang! You're Dead," was the same as a Bradbury story, but a different story. It starred young BILLY MUMY, who also starred in "It's a Good Life," very likely the most talked-about episode ever of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, which also debuted Ray's story "I Sing the Body Electric!" in which Ann (Agatha in the story) was played by VERONICA CARTWRIGHT, older sister of ANGELA CARTWRIGHT, who played Brigitta in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, which, like "Oklahoma!" was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Others? (Can't you just see Ray writing a story turning this whole string of connections into some sort of mutant virus?)
More like a nine year cycle.
Dandelion: Exactly. A video of your production. For those of us (myself among that number) who will need help, you'll provide a commentary track helping us keep the connections so we can understand where they all tie together, right?
It would be illegal to actually sell the video, but contact me and maybe we can arrange something. The way they all tie together is that Ray Bradbury is related to everything in the universe. I'm not even the only production member who has autographed copies of his works--"Aunt Eller" and the director do, too. After I posted, I remembered an even more direct link to Jack Webb than Butch Patrick; it's a "Partridge Family" link. Stay tuned for more.
I must be one of the "little brains" (see the Albert Brooks/Meryl Streep movie 'Defending your life'). There is no way my brain could hold all that information and keep all those connections coherent!
We are currently doing "Oliver!" and it occurred to me the Bradbury connection can be done in one degree, not six. Anyone care to try for a guess?
What the Dickens do you mean, Dandy?
Wow, Phil, I didn't even know that one. It was two others which I had in mind.
...and that story is a "Pip"!
What is the name of James Whitmore's father, is it Stuart? You see him in those plant growing commercials for Miracle Grow. Who can tell us for sure?
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