I have an usual question regarding Ray's dating life when he was young.
Exhibit A: From the Playboy article linked in the "About Ray Bradbury" section of this site:
"Maggie is the only woman he has ever dated, and in 1947 he married her..."
Exhibit B: My friend gave me a copy of The Ray Bradbury Chronicles, Volume 3. They are comic book adaptations of a few of Bradbury's short stories (all are excellent, by the way). Before each story is a brief blurb from Ray, usually detailing the history behind how the story came to be. From the preface to "Gotcha!":
"GOTCHA! is a true story. It happened to me many years ago when I knew a very beautiful young woman whose love I was assured of. Then, one night, she asked me if I would like to play 'GOTCHA'. What's that? I asked. And she told and showed me. The final result was the end of a romance and the start and finish of the story illustrated here.
There doesn't seem to be much room for misinterpretation here - he says this story happened to him, and it ended a romance. So, any thoughts on this mild inconsistency?
I think this, and many other questions, will be anwered when Sam Weller's biography of Bradbury comes out in 2005.
Check out the "Laurel and Hardy Love Affair." It may be just a nice story, but every time I read it I wonder if it isn't a bit autobiographical. Yes, Mr. Dark, hopefully Sam's biography will fill us in on some aspects of Ray's life that we, so far, have not been privy to.
I can DEFINITELY answer that yes, Ray dated before Maggie! He married at age 27, and his best friend Forrest J. Ackerman, who has known him since Ray was about 14 and Forry was about 17, recalls lending Ray money for dates in their teen years and in fact told a very amusing story regarding this. A jealous ex-girlfriend is also said to have tried to destroy Ray's chance of being published in "Best American Short Stories," which occurred two years before he married Maggie. (Um, as to whether he dated after Maggie...I prefer not to even "go there." But I believe Sam will spare no punches in any regard.)
WOW! I didn't know RB and Ackerman went that far back.
Mr. Ackerman was known as having the most extensive collection of Science Fiction and to be the genre's top historian. Ohhh, to be able to browse in his library. I'd eat, sleep, and drink those treasures, go missing for days and finally surface, roaming the streets, emaciated, haggard, and mumbling incoherently with a faraway look in my eyes.
Except for the emaciated bit, I'm like that on a daily basis!
In the video Ray Bradbury-An American Icon-Forest Ackerman tells about their being in an early writing group together and there are a couple of photos of them both way back then. Both were pretty good looking young men at that.
The sad part of the 4E Ackerman story is that he had to sell off most of his fabulous collection of sci-fi (his term) memorabilia, even though Ray had tried to get someone to establish a sci-fi museum to house it all, and had to move out of the former Ackermansion into a much smaller home. He told me that some of his visitors had stolen items from the collection. I had the priviledge of meeting him there a couple of years ago and saw the remaining portions of his once emense collection, including Futura from Metropolis and other items of sci-fi relevence. He has in his living room the coffin that is used as a table upon which his cat was in repose, and 4E always says "there is always room for one more". A very gracious man approaching 90 years young.
[This message has been edited by patrask (edited 11-22-2004).]
Yeah, I visited "Ackermansion II" and saw the "coffin table"--in fact, put some things on it before realizing what it was! He told me he had 50,000 visitors. He didn't happen to mention, they aren't all honest!
AHHH! It breaks my heart to hear of these things happening.
Earlier this year the great SF/Fantasy author Andre Norton had to have all of her stuff auctioned off just to be able afford to go into a care-home. She's probably written at least 50 novels, sold millions, yet can't afford a care-home. At about the same time on ebay there was an auction to raise money for famous editor and author Charles L.Grant. His resources had been drained by medical expenses due to cancer treatments. Stephen King, Clive Barker and some other famous people donated items to be auctioned to help their friend. How do these things happen? What kind of retirement plan is this that these writer's have?
Grassstains, you bring out a good point. Not all writers have enjoyed the success of Ray Bradbury and we perhaps think of him being well off. But we don't know. The thing that Ray has going for him is his intense popularity and ongoing production of material. The release of new books and other materials undoubtedly provides steady income and I would think that Ray would have made some provisions for his later years.
But we, as devoted fans, can only hope that Ray has made provisions. But Ray has never been a big spender in that he lives in the same home (in 1996, when I last visited, it looked essentially the same as it did in 1967 when first sat in his living room) and has only had one car at a time (I believe) and the one way back in 1967 was a Volvo station wagon that Maggie drove. When I was talking to Ray about this, he couldn't remember what car they had back then, but mentioned that they had bought a Jaguar and that he still had that in the garage. He mentioned that someone had offered him quite a few bucks for it.
Well, anyway, let us all hope that Ray will be taken care of over the upcoming years.
It's kinda scarey when people who we consider "successful" can't afford health--I'm glad Bradbury seems to be doing well in his young years now, but do you think maybe this should be the sort of thing to spring board into a conversation about people being able to afford health care? If our middle class and upper middle class writers can't afford it, what about so many others in this nation? I surprised (If I'm wrong tell me) that Bradbury nor others havent' written a story or two about it. Ugh.
I didn't know that about Andre Norton! THAT is SAD!
For some reason her family wanted to keep a lid on it. You'd think they would have been able to raise a lot more money if they had done something similar to what Mr. Grant's people had arranged. She has always been a very private person.
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