Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer


This 1/2 hour film is from 1963 and was originally aired on television.  It is a biographical sketch of the author, Ray Bradbury and I was shown this back in 7th grade at Travis Middle School in Temple, Texas.  I still remember it vividly.  The 16mm film click-clacking and the projection light flickering as the teacher (perhaps somewhat unwittingly) completely captured my attention and imagination.  At that point, I had never heard of Bradbury and was not much in the way of a reader of science-fiction.

Within this film, Bradbury creates a brand-new short-story called "Dial Double-Zero" and it is dramatized as Bradbury reads it.  The story completely creeped me out and I became fascinated by the imagination of Ray Bradbury.  The next Saturday, I took my first trip to the Temple Public Library and wound my way to the card catalog to look up "Ray Bradbury."  I tracked down the rather small "Science-Fiction" section of the library (a small room set apart from the "real" books) and found "The Martian Chronicles" and checked it out.

This began a life-long devotion to reading and enjoying science-fiction.  This little film that easily bored most everyone else in my class but reached inside my head and heart and took hold of me.

For decades, I have tried to track down the story "Dial Double-Zero" and been frustrated.  No matter where I went, I could find no record of the story ever existing.  I even came to sometimes doubt my own memory about every seeing the film or hearing the story.  I've often looked on the Internet for clues over the last 15-20 years and always come up short...until today.

I decided to give it another try as more and more information wings its way onto the web...and voila.  I have found it!  I did not have a false memory after all.  Not only was the film and the story real, there was a reason all these years that I could never find the story referenced anywhere: "Dial Double-Zero" remains an unpublished story by Ray Bradbury.

So, if you want to read the story (and I highly recommend it), then you have to watch this video.  I am embedding it here where you can just stream it, but you can also visit this website to freely download a digital copy (legally) for your own use or to burn your own personal DVD of this historical piece of television and literary history.

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