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Ray Bradbury Unbound

Ray Bradbury Unbound

Jonathan R. Eller
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Ray Bradbury Unbound
    Book Description:

    Fully established in the slick magazines, award-winning, and on the brink of placing Fahrenheit 451 in the American canon, Ray Bradbury entered the autumn of 1953 as a literary figure transcending fantasy and science fiction. In Ray Bradbury Unbound , Jonathan R. Eller continues the story begun in his acclaimed Becoming Ray Bradbury , following the beloved writer's evolution from a short story master to a multi-media creative force and outspoken visionary. Drawn into screenwriting by the chance to adapt Moby Dick for film, Bradbury soon established himself in Hollywood's vast and overlapping film and television empires. The work swallowed up creative energy once devoted to literary pursuits and often left Bradbury frustrated with studio executives. Yet his successes endowed him with the gravitas to emerge as a much sought after cultural commentator. His passionate advocacy in Life and other media outlets validated the U.S. space program's mission--a favor repaid when NASA's astronauts gathered to meet Bradbury during his 1967 visit to Houston. Over time, his public addresses and interviews allowed him to assume the role of a dreamer of futures voicing opinions on technology, the moon landing, and humanity's ultimate destiny. Eller draws on many years of interviews with Bradbury as well as an unprecedented access to personal papers and private collections to portray the origins and outcomes of Bradbury's countless creative endeavors. The result is the definitive story of how a great American author helped shape his times.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09663-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    In late October 1946, one of Ray Bradbury’s first story submissions for the popular CBS prime-time radio showSuspensearrived at the network’s New York office with this note, typed on a red-bordered sticker affixed to the address label: “In the Event of My Death—The Contents of This ENVELOPE Are To Be Destroyed Without Being Opened Or Read. Ray B.” Taken together, the package and its somber instruction represent a revealing transitional marker in Bradbury’s early career. Here, at age 26, was perhaps the last manifestation of his teenage fear that he would die before he could mature into...

  2. Part I. A Place in the Sun

    • 1 Loomings
      (pp. 7-11)

      On the surface, everything seemed fine.

      By the late summer of 1953, 33-year-old Ray Bradbury had become one of the most recognized names broadly associated with fantasy and science fiction. His initial pulp fiction successes had quickly opened out into an ever-widening range of major market magazines since the end of World War II, and his first three Doubleday titles—The Martian Chronicles,The Illustrated Man, andThe Golden Apples of the Sun—were already on their way to becoming perennial classics. His newest title, Ballantine’sFahrenheit 451, was nearing release amid a barrage of prepublication publicity. During the previous...

    • 2 Strangers in a Strange Land
      (pp. 12-16)

      Bradbury’s wife, two young daughters, and a governess were able to travel on a screenwriter’s budget, which was far more money than he had yet earned from story and book sales. On September 2, 1953, Bradbury signed a seventeen-week contract for $650 a week plus travel and living expenses and enough money up front to cover the logistics of an immediate departure for Europe. They were scheduled to meet Huston in Paris on September 26, but little else was certain. The original plan had been to write with Huston in Biarritz, but with fall rapidly approaching Huston decided to begin...

    • 3 Indecisions, Visions, and Revisions
      (pp. 17-21)

      Bradbury’s work was enjoyable at first. His initial focus on structure was reinforced by Peter Viertel’s advice to compose the first draft as if he were scripting a silent movie, then add in the dialogue.¹ Bradbury wrote 20 pages on the screenplay by mid-October and reached 55 before the month was out. None of these pages had passed before Huston’s critical eye, however, and to this point there was very little directorial pressure. Bradbury was fascinated by the stories that Huston and Viertel would tell over dinner out at Courtown House, and the natural surroundings soon added to the magic....

    • 4 Fatal Attraction
      (pp. 22-27)

      Bradbury soon proved he was up to the challenges of revision, even when they included further shifts of plot elements. As he began to revise, he extended the becalming of thePequod—an event that he had originally expanded from a minor Melvillean episode into the first ill omen for the crew; the calm now extended through the sighting of the Spirit Spout, the miragelike spouting of the whale that entices the crew to lower boats and try to row thePequodtoward both spout and wind. The next shift of plot sequence resulted from Huston’s desire to have a...

    • 5 A Whale of a Tale
      (pp. 28-32)

      Finally, sometime in early March, Bradbury made a fatal mistake at the dinner table. He had always been guarded at meals, conscious that he was in a strange world and mindful as well of one of his first dinners in Ireland with Huston; there, at Courtown back in October, Huston had suddenly slipped into a dark mood and quickly brought his wife Ricki to tears in front of everyone. No one really knew when he would turn on his large captive audience at meals, so Bradbury kept his normally outgoing table talk in check—until one night in March, when...

    • 6 ʺFloreat!ʺ
      (pp. 33-38)

      As Bradbury prepared to leave the British Isles and rejoin his family in Taormina, his mind turned to the long-deferred European vacation. The original plan had been to spend perhaps two months on the screenplay and tour Europe for eight or nine months.¹ In actuality, the time line was nearly reversed—Bradbury spent seven months to the day working onMoby Dick. As Easter 1954 approached, they would have to decide exactly where they could afford to go in terms of both money and time. With Maggie and the girls already in Sicily, it became clear that the final month...

    • 7 A Place in the Sun
      (pp. 39-44)

      Bradbury’s readjustment to America actually began just as his grand adventure with Bernard Berenson came to a close. On May 15, 1954, his final day in Venice, he wrote to his parents, slipping effortlessly back into the “gee whiz” mask he usually adopted in writing to them. But the letter was meant to be informative rather than deceptive; the life-changing nature of the European experience came through in a tone that simply reflected the most basic aspect of Bradbury’s genuine wonderment at the discoveries: “This trip has been an opening up of our lives for us; we have seen so...

  3. Part II. The End of the Beginning

    • 8 Post-Scripts
      (pp. 47-54)

      After settling back into the familiar routines of Clarkson Road in June 1954, Bradbury unexpectedly found himself unable to write for several weeks—the inevitable aftereffect of his intense but successful struggle to produce theMoby Dickscript under Huston’s brilliant but tormenting tutelage. He soon found his Muse again, but before he resumed any of his suspended works-in-progress, he was drawn back to the screenplay he had so recently left behind in London. The sensation was unsettling, much like an amputee feeling phantom pains and movement in a lost limb, for he had left the preproduction crew long before...

    • 9 Invitations to the Dance
      (pp. 55-60)

      The letters he wrote to Berenson during the last six months of 1954 emerged during the few retrospective moments he had away from pressing new creative activities. But these were neither new stories, nor the older stories gathered for his long-deferred Illinois novel; in fact, the stories that reached print during 1954 had all been written prior to his departure for Europe, and most of the weird tales in his forthcoming Ballantine story collection,The October Country, were refashioned from stories he had previously published in his 1947Dark Carnivalcollection. Clearly, much of his creative energy was now moving...

    • 10 Pictures within Pictures: The October Country
      (pp. 61-66)

      Ballantine Books released the hardbound edition ofThe October Countryright on schedule in October 1955, but the projected simultaneous release of the mass-market paperback issue was delayed until March 1956. In spite of this delay, the mass-market paperback would achieve legendary longevity, ensuring that Bradbury’s final refashioning of his earliest weird tale success would never go out of print. The initial release of the hardbound edition, however, printed in relatively small numbers for reviewers and traditional booksellers, included only a brief dust jacket note indicating that most of the contents were revised only a brief dust jacket note indicating...

    • 11 Laughton and Hitchcock
      (pp. 67-73)

      The dramatic qualities of Bradbury’s published work had attracted every major performance dream of his youth except the New York stage. But throughout the fall of 1955, he was further distracted from the Illinois novel by just such an opportunity. The failure of the NBC offer for aFahrenheit 451television production opened the door for Paul Gregory and his business partner, the legendary British stage and screen actor Charles Laughton. Gregory and Laughton envisioned a New York production, and in spite of the time commitment Bradbury agreed to adaptFahrenheithimself.

      Gregory’s promotional abilities and his power to persuade...

    • 12 ʺThe First to Catch a Circus in a Lie Is a Boyʺ
      (pp. 74-80)

      Bradbury’s breakthrough with the first season ofAlfred Hitchcock Presentscoincided with his final significant work as an anthologist of fantasy.The Circus of Dr. Lao and Other Improbable Storiesproved to be another mass-market paperback success for Bantam Books, but behind the scenes the evolution of this project had proven stressful for all concerned. Bradbury’s 1952 Bantam anthology,Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow, had successfully extended fantasy beyond genre boundaries by including work from mainstream writers, and Bantam’s Saul David immediately declared his intention to publish a companion anthology under Bradbury’s editorship in the near future.¹ During the...

    • 13 Various Wines
      (pp. 81-88)

      It was only natural, then, that Bradbury would direct his nonfiction prose into a more familiar channel of creativity—writing about writing. Even before theDr. Laoanthology was released, he wrote his first essay forWritermagazine. He had deferred an earlier request from the editors ofWriterin 1951, but his accumulating lecture notes had finally ripened enough to produce “The Joy of Writing” for the October 1956 issue. Earlier plantings demanded his attention first, however, and these matters absorbed much of his time during the early months of 1956.

      The most threatened harvest was the Illinois novel,...

    • 14 The End of the Beginning
      (pp. 89-96)

      The 1956 release ofMoby Dickcoincided with Bradbury’s growing awareness of recent advances in astronomy and planetary science. He eagerly awaited the boost that the upcoming International Geophysical Year would have on the space program, but his eagerness was counterweighted by anxieties that he loosely gathered under a vague articulation of “the uneasy time.” An unpublished note from the summer of 1956 captures the root question at the core of his unease far more candidly than anything he was yet prepared to publish:

      There is special significance in the fact that even as Mars will be closer to Earth...

  4. Part III. Dark Carnivals

    • 15 Strange Interlude: Dandelion Wine
      (pp. 99-105)

      Bradbury’s marked decline in short story production was offset (and masked) by new media adaptations. Antony Ellis wrote radio adaptations of “Zero Hour,” “Kaleidoscope,” and the ever-popular murder tale “The Whole Town’s Sleeping” for 1955–56 broadcasts of the long-running CBS radio showSuspense. In February 1956, the more literaryCBS Radio Workshopfollowed up its highly regarded radio adaptation of Aldous Huxley’sBrave New Worldwith two more Ellis adaptations of Bradbury fantasies, “Hail and Farewell” and “Season of Disbelief.”¹ TheCBS Radio Workshopbroadcasts opened with introductions read by Bradbury himself. Unfortunately, these years represented network radio’s last...

    • 16 Return to Hollywood
      (pp. 106-109)

      Given the way that stage and television work was beginning to consume Ray Bradbury’s time and creativity, it seemed odd—at least to Don Congdon and Walt Bradbury—that he remained hesitant to jump back into screenwriting. Part of his aversion centered on his reluctance to work for another dominating director like John Huston, but he was also wary of the midwife nature of the craft—adapting the work of another writer, a writer who would always have primacy over the adaptation as well as the original work. Screenwriters were, for the most part, anonymous in Hollywood, unless they had...

    • 17 ʺAnd the Rock Cried Outʺ
      (pp. 110-115)

      Hecht arranged for Sir Carol Reed to fly out to Los Angeles over the weekend of May 11–12, 1957, for three weeks of conferences centering on Bradbury’s story and another property, the Robert Krepps novelTell It on the Drums, which did not carry the foreboding sense of the near future that Bradbury’s story promised.¹ Reed worked primarily with Bradbury on a detailed outline to determine if “And the Rock Cried Out” could be extended effectively for feature film production. The experience was marvelous for Bradbury, who found in Reed a director who valued authors and privileged storytelling above...

    • 18 Berenson at Sunset
      (pp. 116-119)

      Through his weeks with Sir Carol Reed in London, Bradbury was able to achieve the next milestone in his screenwriting career—to adapt his own fiction for film under the encouraging guidance of a legendary director who proved to be both mentor and friend. But even greater satisfaction awaited, for now he could at last return to Florence for a final visit with a cherished friend and mentor—the eminent Renaissance art historian Bernard Berenson, who was now 92 years old. Bradbury knew that only the salary and expense-paid life of an overseas screenwriting job would permit the return visit...

    • 19 The Unforeseen
      (pp. 120-127)

      The last days of Bradbury’s European itinerary offer a subtle indicator of his accelerating drift away from his colleagues in the world of science fiction. In mid-August 1957, a letter from British science fiction magazine editor Ted Carnell had found its way to 144 Piccadilly. The letter contained a final and rather persuasive attempt to convince Bradbury to attend the 15th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) in London, scheduled for September 6–9 at the nearby King’s Court Hotel. In many ways, Carnell was the editorial dean of British science fiction, and even though most of Bradbury’s science fiction stories...

    • 20 Dreams Deferred
      (pp. 128-132)

      During the fall of 1957, Bradbury returned to Hollywood with one of the finest screenplays he would ever write. Sir Carol Reed fully intended thatThe Rock Cried Outwould be his next picture, but he had to rely on the willingness of Hecht-Hill-Lancaster and United Artists to work it into their production plans. Unfortunately, the prospect of expensive location shooting in Mexico made the project problematic for H-H-L. Lancaster nevertheless picked up the option onThe Rock Cried Outbefore the end of 1957; he shared Bradbury’s hatred of racial prejudice and social injustice, and some of the other...

    • 21 The Great Wide World
      (pp. 133-138)

      The national alarm over Sputnik, the shock of thePlayhouse 90plagiarism, and the tragedy of his father’s death all happened during the first three weeks of October 1957, just a matter of days after his late September return from Europe. There had been very little time to take in the reviews ofDandelion Wineor to consider what the book might mean for his career. Robert Bowen, writing in the September 7 issue of theSaturday Review, came through in a big way, praising the essential truth of Bradbury’s small-town world as the best since Mark Twain, a work...

    • 22 The Dreamers
      (pp. 139-143)

      Bradbury’s original 1957 contract with Hecht-Hill-Lancaster included an option for one or two more screenplays involving unspecified company properties. In mid-June 1958, with the production fate ofThe Rock Cried Outstill undecided, H-H-L exercised that option and put Bradbury back to work onThe Dreamers, a recent novel by Roger Manvell, a BBC film critic best known as director of the British Film Academy and chairman of the Radio and Television Writers’ Association in Britain.The Dreamerstook up, but in a very different way, some of the same controversial issues of racism in the postcolonial world that Bradbury...

    • 23 Dark Carnivals
      (pp. 144-150)

      Doubleday expected the unpublishedSummer Morning, Summer NightIllinois novel, now free of the nostalgic and sentimental elements that Bradbury had novelized and published asDandelion Wine, to be the next book—a Green Town sequel, set a year later in the summer of 1929. But Bradbury was instead beginning to transform his unsoldDark Carnivalscreenplay into the novel that had been peeking out of its various incarnations since 1945. Congdon was impressed with the evolving screenplay and at Bradbury’s urging he submitted it to Doubleday for review. Walt Bradbury felt confident with Bradbury’s command of the material and...

  5. Part IV. ʺCry the Cosmosʺ

    • 24 Medicines for Melancholy
      (pp. 153-158)

      During the spring of 1959, Bradbury’s ever-growing passion for the performing arts provided yet another diversion from story and novel writing—the one-act Irish plays that he had been working on intermittently for many months. These had evolved from his largely unpublished file of Irish stories and story ideas inspired by his seven months in Ireland during 1953–54, writing theMoby Dickscreenplay for John Huston. His daily encounters with the common speech of the Dublin shops and city entertainments still echoed in his mind. In late December 1958, he told Congdon how one Dublin voice in particular welled...

    • 25 Escape Velocity
      (pp. 159-166)

      In October 1958, exactly a year after the tiny Soviet satellite Sputnik attained orbital velocity, the United States seemed ready to leap ahead in the space race and break free of Earth’s gravitational attraction entirely. The attempt at escape velocity would mean nothing, however, if the vehicle failed to engage the gravitational field of the moon, or—worse still—if it simply fell back into an unintended (and ultimately unstable) Earth orbit.

      The wonder of orbital space flight had already moved humanity farther into the future than any development in recorded history, but for Bradbury and many others, it was...

    • 26 Martian Odyssey
      (pp. 167-174)

      When it came to marketing his own work, Bradbury was willing to take long shots that his Famous Artists agents were not always willing to initiate. In late 1959, Bradbury approached veteran independent producer Julian Blaustein, who was in the midst of developing a succession of MGM films, with an unexpected proposition—a major studio production ofThe Martian Chronicles, using the expensive three-camera Cinerama process to create panoramic vistas of the planet Mars.¹ The two men had known each other for years; Bradbury almost certainly met him in the spring or fall of 1952, when they were both working...

    • 27 ʺCry the Cosmosʺ
      (pp. 175-181)

      On May 15, 1961, television and film director Roger Kay asked Bradbury to write a new version of hisDark Carnivalscreenplay for review by United Artists. This request suddenly brought to the surface all of the pentup frustrations of his various Hollywood disappointments, right up to the recent impasse at MGM. Two days later he sent a short letter to Kay declining the proposal and briefly expressing his more far-reaching decision to cease writing screenplays. But Bradbury’s 2-page unsent draft of that letter, written within hours of his meeting with Kay, offered a far more emotional statement of his...

    • 28 In the Twilight Zone
      (pp. 182-190)

      The August 1961 resolution of theFahrenheit 451plagiarism case came just as Rod Serling and producer Buck Houghton were acquiring Bradbury’s “I Sing the Body Electric!” script for the third season ofThe Twilight Zone. In a very real sense Bradbury’s decade-long effort to establish his own television series had paved the way forThe Twilight Zone, but this was completely unknown to the viewing public. Bradbury’s enthusiastic engagement with a grateful Rod Serling during the show’s development could not fully counterbalance his private sense of frustration that the first science fiction and fantasy television series was developed by...

    • 29 Something Wicked This Way Comes
      (pp. 191-199)

      For a time, Bradbury followed the course of action he had set out so forcefully and privately in the spring of 1961—he went back to writing new fiction, short and long, avoiding interactions with others as much as possible. At first, the intensity of this resolve even led him to back away from an honor he had sought for years, and finally won. In early 1961, he was asked to participate in the Bread Loaf Writers School at Middlebury College and immediately proclaimed his excitement to Don Congdon: “I have accepted an invitation to spend two weeks at Bread...

    • 30 Out of the Deeps
      (pp. 200-207)

      For most of 1962, through the stress of his final break with Rod Serling and the delights of writing “Cry the Cosmos” forLifemagazine, Bradbury was deeply involved with refining the dark fears that fairly exploded out of his final drafts ofSomething Wicked This Way Comes. His renewed focus on prose narrative, uninterrupted by major outside commitments, brought other benefits as well—in 1962 he published eight new stories, more than he had published in a single year since 1957.

      But he also felt the deep tidal pull of his most significant media achievement—his 1953–54 screenplay...

    • 31 Machineries of Joy
      (pp. 208-216)

      During the 1963 Oscar ceremonies, the 1962 short subject Academy Award went toThe Hole, an independent production that focused on the fear, described from a working-class perspective, of an accidental nuclear war. Bradbury had sensed thatThe Holewould win out overIcarus, given the nuclear brinksmanship that had so recently played out over the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bradbury and Joe Mugnaini, whose artistic genius had been the true star of the film, gave the much-coveted admission passes to their teenage daughters, dropped them off at the event, and watched the Oscar ceremonies from a nearby bar. Nevertheless, the...

  6. Part V. If the Sun Dies

    • 32 A Backward Glance
      (pp. 219-224)

      Although Bradbury’s attempts to find financial backing for his newMartian Chroniclesscreenplay staggered on intermittently through 1966, any real chance of bringing theChroniclesto the screen as the defining film about space exploration ended on July 30, 1965, with the publication of what theLos Angeles Timesand many other newspapers headlined as the “most remarkable photograph of the age.” A sequence of unprecedented photographs from Mariner IV included a July 11 image that revealed firm evidence of a heavily cratered Martian surface completely devoid of canals or artificial features of any kind; this did not preclude hidden...

    • 33 Stops of Various Quills
      (pp. 225-231)

      AlthoughThe Martian Chroniclesscreenplays and refashioning of his classic works loomed large throughout the early 1960s, these projects by no means dominated his imagination. During those same years, he was extending his creativity into a wide range of new genres and cultural activities; many of these projects remained unpublished or unproduced, yet the publicity surrounding all of them greatly advanced his presence across the entire spectrum of American popular culture.

      A young man from the windswept solitude of the Edwards Plateau, not far from San Antonio, Texas, provided the spark that would illuminate a new creative horizon for Bradbury....

    • 34 The World of Ray Bradbury
      (pp. 232-236)

      As Bradbury moved deeper into small-venue, experimental stage adaptations of his stories, it became apparent that his approach to playwriting was far from the avant-garde, or even the mainstream Modernist stage. In 1962, he had summarized his views while judging an evening of UCLA student performances of one-act plays by Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, and Eugene Ionesco. Producer and actor John Houseman (who had spent a decade trying to land Bradbury for television and film) moderated the panel and was no doubt surprised by his friend’s commentary.

      Bradbury’s words were, to say the least, controversial—he began by declaring the...

    • 35 If the Sun Dies
      (pp. 237-241)

      Bradbury published only four rather sentimental and anecdotal stories in 1966, placing them in a range of specialized entertainment magazines that includedCavalier,McCall’s, andPlayboy. He could command (thanks to Don Congdon) excellent rates, but it was clear that he was continuing to move away from short fiction narratives; film negotiations remained a constant background pulse, and by now the play had indeed become the thing. Lines and stanzas for new poems came to him more and more frequently, swallowing up yet more precious moments of creativity. His speeches, even more than his stories, now became forges for tempering...

    • 36 Truffautʹs Phoenix
      (pp. 242-249)

      Bradbury’s most significant cinematic milestone of the 1960s—Universal Studio’s 1966 release of François Truffaut’sFahrenheit 451—originated six years earlier, when producer Raoul Lévy recommended the book to Truffaut over dinner in August 1960. The themes and the plot of the novel aligned with Truffaut’s passion for books and promised the kind of personal engagement he required in all his film projects. In February 1962, shortly after the acclaimed release ofJules and Jim, Truffaut wrote to Bradbury and suggested a meeting in New York. He was considering a joint French and American venture with Paul Newman in the...

    • 37 A Colder Eye
      (pp. 250-256)

      Esther Moberg Bradbury died in November 1966, at the age of 78. Tiny houses and apartments had been the extent of her world since the second decade of the twentieth century, and she did all she could to keep her family within it forever. Two of her four children had died in infancy: Skip’s twin Sam in 1918, during the great Influenza epidemic that had nearly carried off Esther as well; and baby Elizabeth, discovered cold in her crib one morning in February 1928. Bradbury would later observe to Don Congdon how “Mom would have been glad if Skip and...

    • 38 The Isolated Man
      (pp. 257-262)

      In spite of his scheduled coverage of the Apollo program forLifemagazine, the enduring prominence of bothThe Martian ChroniclesandThe Illustrated Man, and the growing respect accordedFahrenheit 451, there was new concern in certain circles about the lack of new Bradbury stories. “The Lost City of Mars,” published in the January 1967 issue ofPlayboy, proved to be his only new story for the entire year, and 1968 would mark the first time in his twenty-eight-year professional career that no new stories reached print at all. Some of the magazine and anthology editors were surprised to...

    • 39 A Touch of the Poet
      (pp. 263-268)

      By the mid- and late-1960s, Bradbury’s poetic voice, long associated with his metaphor-rich prose fiction, was unmistakably emerging in verse. This impulse had its origins long before Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard told him he was a prose poet in 1950. His 1930s high-school poetry class and poetry club experiences led to a number of unpublished poems in the early 1940s, but only a few of these showed potential beyond his early proclivity for examining the darker shades of life.¹ Gerald Heard, at the center of the Isherwood-Huxley group of Bradbury encouragers, was the first to direct Bradbury specifically toward...

    • 40 ʺChristus Apolloʺ
      (pp. 269-276)

      Bradbury’s renewed friendship with television and motion picture composer Jerry Goldsmith was one of the few positives to come out ofThe Illustrated Manfilm experience. They had first met when Goldsmith was scoring and producing broadcasts forCBS Radio Workshop, where two Bradbury stories were adapted for the initial 1956 season. Goldsmith’s score forThe Illustrated Maninspired Bradbury to approach the California Chamber Symphony, where he served as an advisory board member, to request that Goldsmith be commissioned to compose a cantata based on a long poem that Bradbury had been trying to sell, for at least three...

    • 41 ʺTake Me Homeʺ
      (pp. 277-284)

      Bradbury had witnessed the Apollo 11 moon landing through various media miracles and had spoken to a national American audience by satellite feed from London. But he returned to North America by water, just as an earlier age of pioneers had done, and then set out on his customary train journey across the North American continent. Rail travel was not just a way around his fear of air travel; it was also a way to shed skin, a psychological metaphor he had used in his Pasadena City College lecture: “The jet doesn’t give you time esthetically to prepare yourself for...