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A Sound of Different Drummers
In the 1950s, FAHRENHEIT 451 was plagiarised on TV. Bradbury sued, and eventually won his case.

Stephen Bowie has blogged a great account of the offending play and its author:


- Phil

Deputy Moderator | Visit my Bradbury website: www.bradburymedia.co.uk | Listen to my Bradbury 100 podcast: https://tinyurl.com/bradbury100pod
Posts: 5029 | Location: UK | Registered: 07 April 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow, that was fascinating. I'd heard of the incident but never in such detail. For one, I didn't realize how Ray became familiar with the program, as it was live TV and so no way to see it again if you missed it. I thought people had told him afterwards about it, he didn't believe them at first, then came to the shocking realization. I didn't realize he actually saw the end of the show!

One of the most fascinating aspects is how tolerant and forgiving Ray seemed of Robert Alan Aurthur, who staged a full-length ripoff of one of Ray's greatest and most famous works, rather than someone who did a few half-hour segments of stories with some passing similiarities for whom Ray absolutely had it in for doubtless personal reasons. By the way, I don't remember whether it's one of those we discussed, but The Twilight Zone episode "The Obsolete Man" has some resemblance to Fahrenheit 451, but also resembles 1984 in its depiction of a future totalitarian society.

I am very glad this was not Robert Arthur, another California-based writer who originated the beloved Three Investigators series and wrote other juvenile works I really enjoyed in my youth. He also died youngish--passed away from poor health just as he was beginning to enjoy literary success. http://www.threeinvestigatorsb...om/RobertArthur.html

Interesting what Ray said about suing and that it never happened again. True, no one was ever ill-advised enough to rip off a well-known full-length work of his again, but his short stories get stolen all the time. I wrote him when his story "The Utterly Perfect Murder" was adapted, uncredited, for 21 Jump Street. Ray at that time always answered my correspondence, but his response to that one was to ignore it entirely. The entire episode can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFEqHWV9eew Only the part involving the character named Douglas is taken from Ray's story, which also features a main character named Douglas, but that's not the only resemblance.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: dandelion,
Posts: 7306 | Location: Dayton, Washington, USA | Registered: 03 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Fascinating! Thank you for posting the link. Never knew of this episode in Ray's life.

Was Robert Kirsch, mentioned as the book agent who called Ray while the broadcast was on-air, the same Robert Kirsch who was the long-time book review editor and book critic for the Los Angeles Times? That Robert Kirsch, father of lawyer/author Jonathan Kirsch and grandfather of writer Adam Kirsch, was also a novelist and occasionally taught writing classes at UCLA.

Robert Kirsch's son Paul was a classmate of mine at Culver City Junior High and briefly at Culver High. In those days I lived a mere bicycle ride from Ray's West Los Angeles house (the one before his current home) and didn't even know it!

Some of those live TV dramas of the 1950's, though they were shot and shown in black-and-white, were among the best things ever to be seen on TV. Especially for a kid like me who had been raised on radio serials during the late '40's in Chicago. Memorable and fascinating. Thanks for the reminder.

Walt Gottesman

"Stay on the Path."
Travis in: A Sound of Thunder
Posts: 21 | Location: A town still green in Illinois | Registered: 06 September 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The link below will take you to a short video of Ray Bradbury discussing the settlement of his plagiarism lawsuit against CBS for the network's 1957 broadcast of A SOUND OF DIFFERENT DRUMMERS, which Ray's suit alleged was an unauthorized version of FAHRENHEIT 451:


For more information about that television show, click on the link in philnic's first post above in this thread.
Posts: 2521 | Registered: 26 January 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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