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Dial Double Zero

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27 March 2003, 01:59 PM
Dial Double Zero
I have searched in vain over the years to find a story that RB wrote called "Dial Double Zero". I remember watching a film about writing in an English class in Jr. High in which this story was dramatized. It centers around the continuing phone calls that the main character receives. At first, they are very rudimentary (the voice on the other end is mechanical and repeats only the "Hello" that the title character says). He continues to receive these phone calls at an increasing rate (and the voice continues to adapt to his speech patterns) and it seems to me the climax involved him climbing a telephone pole (why?) and either falling to his death or being electrocuted. The film was the old standard 16mm fare from the 60's and 70's. The story was so engrossing, but I've never been able to find it. Can anyone help? Thanks.
27 March 2003, 03:44 PM
Mr. Dark
I've just rummaged through my personal library and either I've overlooked it or I don't have it. I don't remember if it is called "Dial Zero," "Dial Double Zero," or has some other name and I'm remembering the name of the movie.

I also saw that old film and wish I could get a copy. It is one of the things that "softened me up" (war terminology) for my initial reading of F451.

If someone else can answer this, it would be a great service to mankind.

By the way, there is another great telephone story by Bradbury called, "Night Call, Collect" and is in both "I Sing the Body Electric" and "The Stories of Ray Bradbury."

[This message has been edited by Mr. Dark (edited 03-27-2003).]
27 March 2003, 07:36 PM
"An original Bradbury short story, 'Dial Double Zero,' was dramatized as part of the NBC-TV special, *The Story of a Writer*, based on RB's life and work. Telecast November 20, 1963 (West Coast)."

From William F. Nolan's *The Ray Bradbury Companion*, which I just received from ABE for a bargan price!

The only listing for the story is under the Television section, so perhaps this story was written directly for the screen, or previously unpublished? Just my speculation...
28 March 2003, 01:55 AM
Mr. Dark
I wish they would update and re-issue the Ray Bradbury Companion!!!!!!
28 March 2003, 03:45 PM
So do I. Time to bump up the "Dial Double Zero" thread. Don't guarantee in which forum it appeared, but it is on this board.
28 March 2003, 03:51 PM
Sam Weller
"Dial Double Zero" was only referenced during the 1963 documentary, "Story of a Writer." The story has yet to be published and still sits in Ray's filing cabinets! Hopefully it will see the light of day very soon.
28 March 2003, 10:05 PM
Hey my wild speculations and assumptions were pretty close.

Updating the companion would be a massive undertaking...what I'd really like to see is an online, hyperlinked, multimedia database.

Imagine clicking on a book cover...then clicking on a story title...pulling up a synopsis of that story...then clicking on a category tag like "martian stories" and getting a list of all such stories...or click on a character name and getting all appearances of that character...

And if such a thing were online or on CD, updates and revisions would be a snap.

[This message has been edited by WritingReptile (edited 03-28-2003).]
29 March 2003, 02:10 AM
Mr. Dark
The interactivity is fun, but when push comes to shove, give me a book! They don't wear out, you can take it out in the backyard, you never have to worry about formatting or compatibility issues, etc. Plus, there is just something about the feel of a book. They want to stick a cool interactive CD in the back cover of the book, I'm fine with that.
29 March 2003, 02:27 AM
Oh I'm all for books, Mr. Dark. I recently had a friend over and was telling him about a book. As I was talking I picked up the book . . . and noticed he was looking at me rather strangely.

I didn't realize it at first, but I had just stuck my face in the book and smelled it--pure reflex. I'm sure I'm not alone in this habit. There's nothing like the smell of a book, the older and mustier the better!

That being said, I believe a well done interactive database would be a terrific way to explore the world of Ray's writing.

I admit I prefer to do my research in the digital domain whenever possible (which reminds me, I have about 10 library books overdue. But if I had downloaded them...)

P.S. Are you SURE you've never seen a book wear out, Mr. Dark? Really? REALLY?
29 March 2003, 12:48 PM
Mr. Dark
Oops. I stand corrected. I HAVE seen books wear out. (In fact, some of mine are the recipients of lovingly applied tape or re-purchase.)

BUT. . . I have never seen one become non-readable due to computer outage, formatting incompatibilities, power outages, lack of access to a plug or phone line, etc.

I love the smell of books. It's funny that your friend noticed your intimate interaction with the book. It was almost sub-conscious with you.

I also take comfort in the "feel" of them, also. I will pull a book down from the shelf and read a few pages just to go into a different world for a moment. The heft of a book in my hand as I stand or in my lap as I sit is one of my favorite feelings.
30 March 2003, 10:15 PM
The smell, feel, and sight of great, old, hardcovered, cloth, or leather bound books are treats to the senses. When I assign "The Exiles" and we discuss it in class the next day, I always make sure to pass around a collection of the following authors: Poe, Stevenson, Doyle, Dickens, Wells, Verne, Homer, Bradbury, Shakespeare, Shelley, and others. Some are turn of the century (20th) and require careful handling. But that is the purpose of the activity!

Some of the books have embossed, gilded, or somehow engraved covers, unusual in this day and age. The all are yellowed by age, have a fancy inscription or identification from a long passed previous owner, or are brittle to some extent at the binding.

I have saved a few from becoming the blown dust on a lonely planet, while others came from the bottoms of bins because their titles no longer glistened gold and the authors themselves had faded to our current young readers. I just this week saved a magnificent collection of early west poems and cowboy songs (c. 1937) leather covered, introduced by Theodore Roosevelt in his own hand. It will be recognized by becoming one of the honorable texts to go from hand to hand around the room at the next presentation of the Ill.Man unit (from which "Exiles" is taken).

I really enjoyed the quality of the publication of RB's From the Dust Returned (pretty ironic title, in view of this post), since its cover is raised, shows an original artwork of a Charles Addams portrait, and the textured paper used is also 1st rate. If you have a copy of this (most frequent fliers here no doubt will!) - check it out again and see if you get that "feel" from it.

I once commented here, if a sightless individual would just listen to the story on audio tapes and hold the book throughout the telling, he or she would have no difficulty in seeing the whole story Mr. Bradbury intended to convey in the words and touch of that work!

So, book it is! Even Brutus asked for a book to read prior to the big battle with Antony. And that was long before books were even available! He was well ahead of his time....

[This message has been edited by fjpalumbo (edited 03-30-2003).]

31 March 2003, 11:09 AM
Old and Rare Books - a subject near and dear to my heart.

In an earlier career, I was a full-time rare book dealer. Currently, I still while away a few hours a week as a part-time book dealer. The reason I still work part-time with old and rare books (�Antiquarian� in the vernacular), is because I simply enjoy books and the interaction with them. I can relate to the visceral response others have mentioned in this thread. I too like to take a book down from my collection (which my wife is always after me to "prune"), read a few pages, and take some simple pleasure in the actual act of holding the book. Come to think of it - that�s what I�d like to do for a living!

[This message has been edited by Chrisman43 (edited 03-31-2003).]
17 February 2007, 08:48 PM
The FULL version of "The Story of a Writer," INCLUDING the dramatisation of "Dial Double Zero", is now available on DVD from this website: http://www.americanfilmfoundation.com/order/ray_bradbury.shtml
12 August 2008, 06:30 AM
This may have been posted before, but if it has I can't find it anywhere:

"Ray Bradbury: The Story of a Writer", featuring the short story "Dial Double Zero" is available to watch and download - free of charge - from Archive.org. The direct link is:


- Phil

Deputy Moderator | Visit my Bradbury website: www.bradburymedia.co.uk | Visit the Center for RB Studies: www.tinyurl.com/RBCenter
12 August 2008, 12:17 PM
Doug Spaulding
Well, free is better than fifteen pounds, seventy-seven, now isn't it (especially since it's now in the PD)!

The filmmaker, Terry Sanders was a second unit director on Charles Laughton's brilliant fillum Night of the Hunter (1955). The book by Davis Grubb is remarkably Bradburyesque. I told this to Ray recently, and he remarked that Davis was one of his early pupils. There you go!

Bradburyesque is a good word.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Doug Spaulding,

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