The fine writer Robert Bloch, perhaps best known as the author of the novel PSYCHO, was one of Ray Bradbury's best friends. I have been reading THE CAREER THAT DRIPPED WITH HORROR, by former TV movie host John Stanley, which contains interviews with both Ray and Robert Bloch, among many others. During the course of his interview, Mr. Bloch gave his thoughts on the writing of Ray Bradbury: "Bradbury always consciously plays the role of a child in an adult world. The sense of wonder in a child. The innocence of a child. The insight of a child. This may seem a downgrading of his talent, but it is more an explanation of it. He gives to young people a voice. He is their spokesman. He looks at the Emperor and sees that he is naked. Behind the computer is some poor fellow who has to feed it data. Ray sees only the man, he doesn't see all the technological front."
Mr. Bloch's comments bring to mind a brief conversation I overheard between Ray Bradbury and a gentleman at a book signing at a convention in St. Louis in the late 1990's. The man had asked Ray to sign a copy of his wonderful book for children, SWITCH ON THE NIGHT, and added, "Mr. Bradbury, you should write more children's books." To which Ray looked up, smiled, and replied, "All of my books are children's books."
In thinking more about Robert Bloch's comments on Ray Bradbury's writing, and the long friendship between these two wonderful writers, I thought I would re-post a link to a photo of Mr. Bloch and Ray that I had posted on this Board about five years ago, for any newcomers who may not have seen it. It shows the two of them signing autographs at the 1977 World Fantasy Convention, held in Los Angeles:
Continuing with this thread about the friendship between Robert Bloch and Ray Bradbury, Ray Bradbury provided the Afterward for the wonderful 1994 Gauntlet Press edition of Robert Bloch's most famous novel, PSYCHO. In his Afterward, Ray described a rather wild 1946 Labor Day weekend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after he had accepted Mr. Bloch's invitation to come and visit him. (At the time, Mr. Bloch lived in Milwaukee.) In his Afterward, Ray wrote:
""...Labor Day weekend, 1946, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin...Robert Bloch proceeded to fill me with various beers, wines and gins until the room, the apartment, and then the building rotated, spun, and whirled into Outer Space. I woke in the morning with hatchets and hammers smashing my head and fled Milwaukee on the most convenient train, predicting nothing but havoc for my lunatic host."
In Robert Bloch's very funny and entertaining 1993 "unauthorized autobiography", ONCE AROUND THE BLOCH, he writes about attending the 1946 World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles, and meeting a number of writers for the very first time: "One of them was Illinois resident Wilson A. Tucker...best known to fandom as Bob Tucker....Another colleague was Leigh Brackett....A third was youthful and exuberant fan-turned-pro Ray Bradbury. I often wonder what became of him."
An interview of Ray Bradbury appeared in the January, 1975 issue of UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION. Ray was asked what was his first major success, and he replied, in part: "The kind of success that impresses me is collisions between people - meetings between people, heroes that you always wanted to meet. I'll tell you [a] moment in my life that meant, I guess, success. I was at a science fiction convention in Los Angeles in the summer of 1946, as I recall. I was 26 years old, and I'd been publishing in WEIRD TALES for about four or five years; almost every month I had stories there and had begun to establish a small reputation for myself. I was being paid around $30 a story, $40, sometimes maybe $45. And I was attending this convention and I was in the convention hall and I heard a voice at the door behind me, oh, about sixty or seventy feet away, and Robert Bloch had just come thru the door and he was looking around and I heard his voice say, 'Hey, where is this guy Ray Bradbury? I want to meet him!' Well, you know, that was a wonderful moment for me, and that is what I call success - when someone you have read for years and have never met comes into a meeting of strangers and asks for you, then you know you've turned a corner. Those are the moments I remember."