Yes, I saw the monkey in the fireman's suit! I liked your synopsis...right on target. Miller was gracious, respectful, and in awe, like the rest of us.
I caught the second showing at 9:00pm west coast time. Ray was sharp and Dennis was very gracious to him. He stated that he was born the year Fahrenheit 451 was published, 1953. I thought Ray looked great and much better than last weekend at the book signing. As Mr. Electro told him, may he truly live forever, I know his stories will.
Great to read the comments about RB and the DM show! We don't get the station, but your many positive reports have made this a fine early morning! Now Sam's book, Pajamas in the mail to me, Thunder closing in, progress on THE REAL 4-5-1 (anyone??), and Mr. Bradbury in good spirits and better health. All reasons to celebrate!
And then, his birthday next month: How about each of us sending some special little gift or card to him as a way of thanking him for all he represents and inspires!
Ray's telling of the Mr Electrico story has become more and more embellished over time, to the point where I don't think we can take much of it too literally. (Not to say that it isn't a great story, well told!) Somebody somewhere did an examination of evolving versions of the story told over a 40-50 year period; can't remember for sure, but was probably Steven Aggelis in his thesis.
[This message has been edited by philnic (edited 07-16-2004).]
- Phil<br /> http://home.wlv.ac.uk/~in5379
I didn't realize an actual "study" had been done of the story, but here is the version of it told on this site, http://www.raybradbury.com/inhiswords02.html mentioning the death of his uncle (whose name, strange to say, was the same as that of Ray's brother who died, and his biographer: Samuel) and giving a date. This could be easily verified by looking up records of his uncle's death.
The "Reader's Digest" for June 1983 published a version of the story titled "It Changed My Life," containing absolutely no mention of his uncle dying. The article cited above was the first I knew of the two incidents being connected.
I also caught Ray's appearance on the Dennis Miller show last night. Knowing Miller's reputation for being caustic and abrasive, I had feared the worst, but like so many others who have already commented, I was delighted by the respect Miller showed Ray. It is obvious he admires Ray tremendously, and truly appreciates Ray's place among the great American writers.
Nothing to add (And, yet, here I am, trying to add something!) Miller was suitably reverent and Ray looked and sounded great, considering his health and all he's been through. I'm with Philnic on the Electrico story: A great story by a great storyteller not to be taken entirely at face value.
A great segment! I hope we'll see more of Ray on television in the future.
Patrick: What about an O'Reilly Factor segment?
Rather than another short segment, I wish that Ray's wit and wisdom could be featured on 60 Minutes or on Sunday Morning, both highly regarded TV by most.
For those of you interested in the Mr. Electrico story:
It was Ray's uncle Lester who was killed in the bank robbery, as he told me in the interview/afterword to Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction. No uncle is mentioned by name in the site Dandelion mentions above.
How was this uncle related? The picture of Ray's father's family shows three boys, Leonard (Ray's father,) Samuel, and Bion. I knew Bion was not the one killed as I met a neighbor in Waukegan who remembered knowing Bion, so I always assumed it was Samuel. Neva, the sister, would have been 22 when Ray was 12, but she was never married, so we can rule out Lester being her husband.
This leaves two possibilities: Lester was a brother of Ray's mother, Esther, and her brother, Einar, or Ray's mother had a sister who was married to Lester.
Uncle Lester, was Mr B's mother's brother, "Moberg" family from Sweden.
And Aunt Neva was married, but just for a short time.
Oprah, next time she is in Los Angeles, should interview Ray for some upcoming show of her's featuring 'great living American writers'. Her enjoyable interaction with people with whom we may well enjoy from the start, would truly elevate the interest in her book club.
Oprah! Where are You???
As Patrick indicates (hello Patrick, how's the limo business!), Lester was indeed a Moberg, a brother to Ray's mother who incidentally had several other siblings (three brothers and two sisters I think; Ray told me their names quickly just awhile ago on the phone). In any case, none of them was named Samuel. Samuel died in WWI in France in 1917, a Captain in the Army, so he could not have been the uncle mentioned in the Mr.Electrico story. In Ray's own family, Samuel was also the name of the twin bother who died. Ray was born to replace him (see M.Mengeling's book on all this). So Sam is an important name in Ray's family (his grandfather too, whom Ray loved, was named Samuel). But not in this case, the case of Mr. Electrico. I think it's interesting though that Mr. Electrico told Ray that he was the reincarnation of a best friend who died in WWI. That''s the 'strange' part of the story to me anyway.
[This message has been edited by wtouponc (edited 07-16-2004).]
So Samuel was quite an ill-fated name in that family. I wonder if Mr. Electrico identified the soldier he felt Ray reincarnated. It would be TOO weird if it turned out to be his own uncle Samuel! Did Ray give Mr. E. his last name, as the surname would be the same?
Also, was Ray purposely born to replace Samuel? The family wasn't just planning to have more kids and Ray happened to be who they had next? It seems unfair for one child to be viewed as a replacement for another.
According to Prof. Mengeling, Ray was conceived a year after the twin Samuel died (age two) and Ray "could never escape the bizarre sensation that somehow he was expected to replace Samuel as a twin to Leonard." (p. 20, Red Planet, Flaming Phoenix). Mengeling's study provides information - based on interviews - about Ray's relationship to his brother "Skip," and why this relationship influenced him to feel that he was a 'replacement."
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