Ray Bradbury was an American writer best known for his short stories and the novel "Farenheit 451". Isaac Asimov considered him to be the world's best writer of short stories.
Bradbury was a reader and writer throughout his youth, spending much time in the Carnegie Library in Waukegan. He used this library as a setting for much of his novel 'Something Wicked This Way Comes', which was turned into a film and subsequently broadcast on radio, with Orson Welles adding a narration to the film soundtrack.
He had a remarkable gift for storytelling, and his short stories adapt extremely well for radio. He died in 2012.
NOTES ON SOME OF BRADBURY'S RADIO BROADCASTS
THE FLYING MACHINE....1954
Broadcast as 'Golden Apples of the Sun, no. 1. 3 Aug 1954, Home Service., Tues 11.45am. 15 min reading. Read by Guy Kingsley Poynter. Adapted by Gordon Gow.
5 Mar 59. 30m.
From the story by Ray Bradbury; dramatised by Jack Pullman.
THE FOX AND THE FOREST....1959
28 Jul 59, 30m. Thirty Minute Theatre, Light Programme, BBC. Adapted by Jack Pullman, produced by David H. Godfrey. A married couple living in the year 2931 are on the run and travel back in time to 1957. (see also 1973 below)
Carlos....Raf de la Torre
THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS....1962
12 Sep 1962; Third programme. 9.20pm; 25 min. Adapted and produced by Nesta Pain.
The woman....Joan Miller
Commentator.... David King-Wood
Singers: Ann Dowdall & John Carol Case. A fully automated house in the future is still working after the holocaust. The house goes about its daily duties as if humans were still around.
BBC R3 3 May 68.
Based on a story by Ray Bradbury; dramatised and produced in stereo by H.B.Fortuin.
Space age version of Moby Dick in which a comet replaces the whale. The captain of the Cetus 7 is determined to catch the great white comet which took his sight many years ago....Electronic music and sounds by Tristram Cary. Technical direction by Harry Catlin.
The warning man....Walter Fotzgerald
Fr. Ellery Colworth....Denis McCarthy
CREW OF CETUS 7
Radio man....Anthony Jackson
Radar Man....Leroy Lingwood
Metal Worker....Haydn Jones
Captain of the ship....Christopher Lee
Lightfall's Captain....Frank Henderson
Rachel's Captain....Denys Hawthorne
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES...c1970?
USA? 2parts 1 x 30min & 1 x 60min,
produced for radio by Creative Media consultants.
Soundtrack of the motion picture with narration by Orson Welles,
written by Ray Bradbury.
A sinister carnival with a power over time and age visits a small town in Illinois.
ND comment .... melodramatic production of an interesting story. Not bad, but fizzles out a little at the end.
UPDATE - a second dramatization of this story, by Diana Griffiths, was broadcast in October 2011 as the Saturday Play.
THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS....1971
8 Oct 71; Radio 4. 11.20am; 20 min. BBC Education: listening and writing. Adapted by Newta Pain; producer Dickon Reed.
THE WONDERFUL ICE CREAM SUIT....1971.
29.12.1971: with William Fox/Edward Kelsey/Michael Kilgarriff/Lewis Stringer.
AUGUST 2026: THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS....1977
11 May 77,R4.
A version of Ray Bradbury's "Narrator, Vocoder and Synthesizer", adapted by Malcolm Clark.
THE FOX AND THE FOREST....1973
28 Apr 1973 11.30pm; BBC World Service., MW and SW. A short story reading in 30 minutes. No other information.
HERE THERE BE TYGERS....1975
Reading; 2 Oct 75. BBC World Service, MW and SW. Sat 5.10pm. 30min. The adventures of a group of space travellers tempted never to return from the planet they set out to despoil.
Broadcast in the series 'Just Before Midnight'. 24.11.1979, Radio 4; Norman Rodway/John Humphry/Eva Stuart.
By Ray Bradbury;dramatised for radio by Gregory Evans.
BBC blurb, 1982:
“...Sometime in the future, the fireman’s role has changed from stopping fires to starting them: the material being all books or printed matter of any kind. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which books burn. But Montag the fireman is beginning to have doubts about his role… "
Montag - Michael Pennington
Millie - Pamela Salem
Beatty - Peter Miles
Narrator - Jonathan Newth
Clarisse - Patience Tomlinson
Medic/Announcer - Spencer Banks
Stoneman - Michael Simkins
Woman - Susan Dowdall
Faber - Peter Tuddenham
Granger - Hugh Dickson
Simmons - Alan Dudley
Director - Brian Miller
Bradbury observed many years later:
“ In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451 I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap-opera cries, sleep-walking, helped up and down kerbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. (taken from the Wikipedia page on Ray Bradbury, May 08)
In 1984, Michael McDonough of Brigham Young University produced "Bradbury 13," a series of thirteen audio adaptations of famous Ray Bradbury stories, in conjunction with National Public Radio. The full-cast dramatizations featured adaptations of "The Man," "The Ravine," "Night Call, Collect," "The Veldt," "Kaleidoscope," "There Was an Old Woman," "Here There Be Tygers," "Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed," "The Wind," "The Fox and the Forest," "The Happiness Machine," "The Screaming Woman" and "The Sound of Thunder". Famed voiceover actor Paul Frees provided narration, while Bradbury himself was responsible for the opening voiceover; Greg Hansen and Roger Hoffman scored the episodes.
The series won a Peabody award as well as two Gold Cindy awards. The series has not yet been released on CD but is heavily traded by fans of "old time radio". (source- Wikipedia page on Ray Bradbury)
Details of these plays are online at http://home.wlv.ac.uk/~in5379/audio/bradbury13/bradbury13.htm
5 x 15min,
Read by Joss Ackland.
1/5: Midnight Express (29/12/86)
2/5: The Crowd (30/12/86) by Ray Bradbury 3/5: A Little Place off Edgeware Road (31/12/86)
4/5: Laura (1/1/87)
5/5: The Tower (2/1/87)
BBC World Service, 6 x 15min.
Read by Ed Bishop & Robert Powell
1/6: Harrison Bergeron (8/5/88) by Kurt Vonnegut
2/6: Nine Billion Names of God (15/5/88) by Arthur C Clarke
3/6: The Other End of the Line (22/5/88) by Walter Trevis
4/6: The Wheel (29/5/88) by John Wyndham
5/6: A Piece of Wood (5/5/88) by Ray Bradbury (Read by Ed Bishop. Producer Richard Dunn.)
28 Aug 91, 30m, radio 4. From the story written by Bradbury in 1949. The setting - a group of astronauts facing the last moments of their lives after having been thrown from their space shuttle into the darkness of space. Bradbury himself adapted the play for radio. The characters are slowly drifting apart, but are able to communicate - for a while. Gradually they disappear out of range. Each character's silence marks his death in a nightmarish way which could not be matched on stage or in a book. The voices fade away into space where they are truly alone. (paraphrased from http://samuel-beckett.net/ch1.html)
R4, 3 Dec 91. 15m; reading by Peter Whitman.
THE GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN....1991
BBC R5, 4 x 30min.
From the stories by Ray Bradbury, dramatised by Lawrence Gilbert; producer Peter Hutchings. Cast: Paul Maxwell, Don Fellows, Ed Bishop, Paul Downing.
1/4: The Golden Apples of the Sun/Hall and Farewell (28/1/91)
2/4: The Flying Machine/The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl (30/1/91)
3/4: A Sound of Thunder/The Murderer (4/2/91) Cast: Judy Bennett, Don Fellows, Ed Bishop, Paul Maxwell, Simon Treves.
4/4: The Foghorn/The Apple Witch (7/2/91)
FEAR ON FOUR: The Next in Line....1992
2/8; 31 Dec 92, R4, dram. Brian Sibley. With
Peter Marinker, Carole Boyd, Tracy Faulkner, Sandra Dickinson, Ann Windsor, Jonathan Taffler, Siriol Jenkins, David Holt.
Dir - Martin Jenkins
THE SHORELINE AT SUNSET....1994
Reading; 19 Apr 94. R4. 15min. Reader Ed Bishop; produced by Rosemary Watts at Pebble Mill.
TALES OF THE BIZARRE....1995
All R4, 30m, dram. Catherine Czerkawska (2,5,6,7,11,12) and Brian Sibley(1,3,4,8,9,10).
1: Night Call, Collect
7 Dec 95. Adapted by Brian Sibley. 30min. A telephone engineer marooned on Mars. A remarkable tale about what one man might achieve (and become) if left completely alone for fifty years with enough wires, cables and electronic equipment to keep him busy.
Kerry Shale as Barton. Producer Hamish Wilson.
2: Have I Got A Chocolate Bar For You
14 Dec 95. By Ray Bradbury, dramatised by Catherine Czerkawska.
A priest hears the confession of a young man addicted to chocolate. He goes back, time after time.....
3: The Jar
21 Dec 95
4: The Fruit At The Bottom of the Bowl
28 Dec 95
5: I Sing The Body Electric! 4 Jan 96. Dramatized by Catherine Czerkawska. Producer Hamish Wilson. With David Jarvis, Angus McInnes, Buffy Davis, Colin S. Moncrieff, Bob Docherty, Joanna Tope. What could help a grief-stricken family? An electric gadget- that's what!
11 Jan 96
MORE BRADBURY TALES OF THE BIZARRE....1997
Another series of six:
07: The Man Upstairs
20 Nov 97. A boy becomes fascinated with how bodies work, after watching his grandmother gut chickens. Then a lodger moves in. His body doesn't seem normal....
08: Jack in the Box
27 Nov 97
09: The Scythe
4 Dec 97. Dramatised by Brian Sibley. An unsettling story about the Grim Reaper and his effect on our lives. Ray Bradbury says it took just two hours to write.
10: The Wind
11 Dec 97
11: And So Died Riabouchinska
18 Dec 97
12: The Day it Rained Forever
25 Dec 97
PILLAR OF FIRE....2000-2001
One of a series of 40 plays of various lengths on science-fiction themes, adapted and produced by Yuri Rasovsky, USA. Hollywood Theater of the Ear, National Public Radio, Audible.com. 2000-2001.
R4,60m. New production, 5 Jul 03. Dramatized by David Calcutt; Bradbury's story of a world ruled by a massive multimedia corporation. Fireman are employed not to fight fires but to burn books. More details in the notes for the 1984 version.
5x 15min BBC R4. Read by David Horovitch. Last one 20 Aug 04.
Dramatised by Mike Walker.
Two parents buy a nursery which simulates different environments for their children to play in. It comes alive - a startling premonition, from pre-computer days, of multimedia technology. The parents become concerned when the children keep returning to an African veldt scene and start feeding the lions, even though there are supposed to be no lions in the program.
...."They stood on the thatched floor of the nursery. It was forty feet across by forty feet long and thirty feet high; it had cost half again as much as the rest of the house.....
.....The nursery was silent. It was empty as a jungle glade at hot high noon. The walls were blank and two dimensional. Now, as George and Lydia Hadley stood in the center of the room, the walls began to purr and recede into crystalline distance, it seemed, and presently an African veldt appeared, in three dimensions, on all sides, in color reproduced to the final pebble and bit of straw. The ceiling above them became a deep sky with a hot yellow sun.....
TV Announcer ...... David Rapkin, Peter ...... Michael Wachter, Wendy ...... Reyna Shaskan, Lydia ...... Jennifer Van Dyck, George ...... David Slavin, Ms. Kim ...... Nancy Wu, The Room ...... John Henry Cox, David MacLean ...... Richmond Hoxie; directed by Judith Kampfner.
BBC blurb: "Afternoon Play The Veldt....aAdapted from the stage play by Mike Walker; based on Ray Bradbury's classic story. A playroom with special powers draws two children into secret deadly adventures."
Whilst you are on this page, let me commend the following writer to you: Sandi Johnson. Her short stories show an astonishing variety, and they remind me very much of Ray Bradbury's work. Try, as Kindle editions, 'Bad Apples' and her collection of longer short stories, 'Shadow Dancing'.