What a superb publication! It arrived "2 days" after I placed my order - very carefully packaged and protected. Art work is great, signed and numbered 407 (I was concerned they had run out after reading comments above).
If some #'ed copies are still available and you did not receive one, maybe a message to Gauntlet would be appropriate. Their site is still stating limited copies available!
I will turn every page carefully as I read this historic collection.
In his newsletter of today's date, publisher Barry Hoffman of Gauntlet Press described how he got permission from Ray Bradbury to publish a limited edition reprint of Ray's first book, DARK CARNIVAL. Here is what Mr. Hoffman had to say on the subject. (And for those not familiar with it, the Gauntlet Press edition of DARK CARNIVAL is a very beautiful book.):
"Ray Bradbury’s 100th birthday is coming up on August 22. In honor of this occasion, I thought I’d share how Gauntlet gained the rights to publish the limited edition of DARK CARNIVAL.
Bradbury was at first reluctant to have the 1947 Arkham House edition expanded and reprinted as a signed limited edition. He had rewritten what he thought were the best stories in the collection for his first mass market collection, THE OCTOBER COUNTRY. So, initially he declined.
Usually when Bradbury says "no" you drop the subject. In certain regards he was very set in his ways (he refused to allow publication of his short stories online, for instance, but that’s a tale for another time). However, after he rejected the idea of a limited of DARK CARNIVAL, a number of his friends spoke to him. They pointed to a particular story in the original and asked if he liked it. He said "yes." Someone else pointed out another tale and he agreed he enjoyed that one, too. I got my foot in the door when I suggested we publish the book in 2000 (if he agreed). He said he preferred 2001.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was his bibliographer Donn Albright’s suggestion to use an oil painting of Ray’s. With that cover idea in mind Ray finally agreed to a 2001 publication of it, with Donn as the editor. Ray’s had one request: that there be no lettering on the front cover to obscure his painting. We readily agreed.
We added four stories that Ray wanted in the original book that had not been included because there was not enough space. And, the fifth story that was eliminated, "Time Intervening," ended up being published as a chapbook, which we gave away for free to anyone who purchased the book from Gauntlet. Ray vowed that once our version was released the book would go back into the "vault," never to be published again.
We’ve published numerous Ray Bradbury titles. DARK CARNIVAL is one I’m really proud of. And, it showed that persistence pays off even when dealing with Ray Bradbury, who rarely changed his mind."
It appears that Gauntlet Press still has a few copies of the book available. (Not cheap, however!) Here is a link to its website:
Publisher Barry Hoffman of Gauntlet Press continued, in his newsletter of today, to discuss his relationship with Ray Bradbury in bringing a number of his books, including previously unpublished works, to readers. Here is what Mr. Hoffman had to say today:
"To commemorate Ray Bradbury’s 100th birthday on August 22nd here’s another observation gleaned from 20+ years working with him.
Some authors complete a short story or novel quickly. Others can take years (even decades) to finish a tale. Bradbury did a little of both. He told my son, when he brought tipsheets to his home to be signed, that he often dreamt of the plot of a short story and, after he awoke, would begin and finish the story in one day. Others took far more time.
Ray was thinking about censorship long before he wrote Fahrenheit-451. He wrote well over a dozen short stories on the subject, fragments of stories never published until Gauntlet’s Match to Flame and novellas on the theme. He published a novella, “The Fireman,” in 1951 and finally felt ready to set his thoughts to a novel, which turned out to be F-451.
His final published novel, Somewhere a Band is Playing, took him fifty years to complete. While it saw a mass market publication our signed limited edition contains fragments he wrote and tossed away (to be saved by his bibliographer Donn Albright). He would turn to other projects but always came back to tinker with this novel.
Lastly, there is Masks, which Bradbury never completed to his satisfaction. He did write a beginning, middle and end, at different times in his career, but never put them altogether. Donn Albright (again!) had the various fragments and put them together into a coherent “novel.” As always he waited for and received Ray’s approval for us to publish the book (as it never saw mass market publication). Included in our edition are fragments that wouldn’t become part of the manuscript that Ray approved for publication as Masks (he did agree to the publication of the fragments in the same book). I don’t know how long he wrote portions of this novel, but he returned to it for well over a decade, unable to completely abandon the story.
To celebrate his 100th birthday I could tell you what a gentleman Ray Bradbury was or discuss the acclaimed writer he was. However, since I’ve done that numerous times I hope these stories I’ve told in the past two newsletters shed some insight into both the man and the author. Happy Birthday, Ray. You’ll never be forgotten."
In his newsletter today, publisher Barry Hoffman of Gauntlet Press provided a narrative by his son David, who as a struggling actor in Los Angeles also used to act as his West Coast Operations Manager. Today, David Hoffman is famously known as "Doug" in the "Limu the Emu and Doug" commercials for Liberty Mutual Insurance. David talked about his relationship with Ray Bradbury, and I found his column to be very enjoyable. Here it is. (And for anyone who has never purchased any books from Gauntlet Press, they are beautifully done!):
"In 2002, I was struggling to make ends meet as an actor in Los Angeles. I had three part time jobs but was still falling short on rent and food. That’s when my father hired me as West Coast Operations Manager for Gauntlet Publications. I would get paid $250 a month for this prestigious post.
My job description included things like scanning book pages, burning CDs, collecting money from indy bookstores, manning a booth at conventions and cold calling bookstores to get them to buy Gauntlet books. My main job though, was to visit Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury (who both lived in LA) and gently pressure them to sign a large number of tip sheets that they were too tired or disinterested in to sign on their own. My dad described my duties as “Keep them talking and turn the pages.”
I would call Ray on a Monday morning and shout into the phone:
David: Hi Mr. Bradbury it’s David Hoffman!! How are you?!!
Ray: Hello? Who’s this?
David: IT’S DAVID HOFFMAN! I’M CALLING TO SEE IF YOU HAVE TIME THIS WEEK TO SIGN SOME TIPSHEETS?!!
Ray: Thursday at 4:15.
Now Ray lived about six miles from my disgusting apartment in the heart of Hollywood. To get to his house at 4:15, I’d have to leave around 2 (LA traffic). Every time I’d arrive with a full bladder and road rage trauma. I wouldn’t think of asking to use Ray Bradbury’s bathroom so I’d urinate in a bush in his pristine neighborhood.
Ray asked me to come in through the back door to a little room that he spent most of his time in. It was small and packed with all sorts of fan gifts and memorabilia. A random Oscar statue was sitting on a table next to some cat food. It was for “Best Cinematography” for Joan of Arc in 1948. Ray told me a neighbor gave it to him.
I first went over to Ray’s house in 2002 and his wife Maggie was still alive at the time. She was a chain smoker, which was tough to inhale but she was vivacious and kept the conversation lively and smart. The three of us would have a great time kicking around ideas. Once, we were talking about Indian casinos and I mentioned how it would be great if the U.S. government lost all of its land at an Indian casino. He loved the idea and wrote the short story 'Hail to the Chief,' inspired by it.
When Maggie passed away, the dynamic changed and Ray and I had to find our own rhythm. Ray would always ask me 'How’s your acting career going?' And I would always wish I had something good to tell him. I rarely did. He would always respond 'You’re young! You’ve got plenty of time!' He was right but I didn’t think so at the time.
Ray told me all kinds of stories about trying to get a monorail built in LA, creating Epcot center, getting a personal tour of Disney Studios led by Walt Disney, dealing with Mel Gibson who had optioned Fahrenheit 451 and countless other exciting tales. He told me of trips to other countries where he was honored and he proudly wore his French Legion of Honor medal around his neck on every visit.
We had a lot of visits, signed a lot of tip sheets and Ray told me many things. But he said that the most important to remember is how powerful love is. He felt it when he got his French medal and when he was honored at events or when fans reached out. He said it’s the whole point of life. He felt the love and he loved it.
All the best,
Former West Coast Operations Manager, Gauntlet Press"
Thanks for that, it was fascinating.
For anyone who might be interested, the link below will take you to the Ray Bradbury book section of the Gauntlet Press website. While several books are sold out, others are still available and, in some instances, signed by Ray:
In today's Gauntlet Press newsletter, publisher Barry Hoffman expressed his gratitude and thanks to Ray Bradbury bibliographer Donn Albright (as all Bradbury readers and fans should). Here is what Mr. Hoffman had to say:
"At this time of the year it’s appropriate to give thanks to Donn Albright, Ray Bradbury’s bibliographer and the editor of most of our Bradbury titles.
All writers should have someone like Donn to enhance their legacy. A perfect example of someone who didn’t have someone to save alternate versions, paragraphs deleted and other material is Richard Matheson. Matheson wrote his first drafts by hand. After he typed them up he tossed the handwritten first draft in the trash. I often kidded him how much money he could have made auctioning off the handwritten version of I AM LEGEND. When I had worked with him to earn his trust (in the nineties) I convinced him to save his handwritten versions and we used a number of these in our signed limited editions.
Bradbury didn’t have to worry about items he might have tossed away. Donn Albright would visit him several times a year and collect what Ray had discarded. The most significant of these may have been what Ray discarded for his unfinished novel MASKS. That novel was never published as a finished product. However, Ray wrote a beginning, middle and an ending and Donn kept it all. Later, with Ray’s permission, he assembled the pieces and we published a signed limited edition of the novel.
Donn has done the same with PHOENIX 451 with at least one script (of the 5 we are publishing) that has never seen the light of day. There are also numerous letters that Donn retrieved that provides insight into Ray’s thinking and his writing process. A number of these will appear in PHOENIX 451. Donn also convinced Ray to allow the publication of DARK CARNIVAL. Ray had been more than a little reluctant to see his first collection in print again. Donn finally suggested that we use one of Ray’s oil paintings for the cover (one without lettering). Ray was excited, gave his blessing, and the rest is history.
It has been a privilege to work with Donn all of these years. I don’t know of anyone else who has helped more to enhance Ray’s legacy. Thanks, Donn. You’re a gem."
In today's Gauntlet Press newsletter, publisher Barry Hoffman discusses Ray's work as an architect/city planner:
"Ray Bradbury was a true Renaissance Man. As an acclaimed author he wrote novels, short stories, screenplays, theater plays, a musical (the script to appear in our forthcoming PHOENIX 451) and poetry. He was an exceptional painter, with many of his works the cover art for our Bradbury signed limiteds. What many don’t know was that Bradbury was also an architect (in an article recently published he refers to himself as an 'accidental architect').
Bradbury wanted people to come together to debate, discuss and just chat. He never embraced the internet and didn’t have an email account. He also refused to allow his fiction to appear online while he was alive. If you wanted to speak to Ray you called him or wrote him a letter (my 6th grade class wrote to him before I ever published his work and he graciously sent back a signed poster). Like Richard Matheson, the extent of his technology was a fax machine.
Bradbury designed the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles which opened in 2001. He told my son about his vision when David went over to Ray’s house to help him sign tipsheets for one of our limited editions. When I visited David he took me to Hollywood & Highland and I saw it for myself. Smack dab in the middle of the sprawling mall was a large outdoor area filled with tables and chairs so shoppers could engage one another in conversation and soak up the sun.
Bradbury was also a visionary. In the early sixties Bradbury led a campaign to build a monorail system in Los Angeles (that didn’t fly too well with the politicians of the day). He also influenced designs for the 1964 Worlds Fair and EPCOT.
Ironically, Ray lived in a modest home that was torn down several years after his death. He didn’t apply his grand ideas to where he lived.
So, don’t just think of Bradbury as an acclaimed author, but a man of many talents."
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