The Late Movies: Ray Bradbury, Interviewed

Chris Higgins

Today we learned that we had lost Ray Bradbury. Tonight, let's listen to the author speak about his life and career. If you watch nothing else in this list, scroll down and pick one of the short clips from 1968 -- they're all terrific.

On Books, Literacy, and Fahrenheit 451

Bradbury interviewed in a short film for the National Endowment for the Arts. This is all about the library.

Sample quote: "We should learn from history about the destruction of books. When I was 15 years old, Hitler burned books in the streets of Berlin." Also: "That's the great thing about our country: we are a democracy of readers. And we should keep it that way."

On Writing, Rejection, Death, and Persistence

"Slowly, one by one, you sell short stories, and even one sale in a year is enough to keep your spirits up." Check out the short around 1:40, when you get to see what's inside Bradbury's kitchen: Coors!

"Day at Night" Interview

James Day interviews Bradbury at length on public television circa 1975. Just wonderful. Sample quote: "You must never think at the typewriter; you must feel. Your intellect is buried in that feeling anyway."

Bradbury's Office, 1968

He has thirty years of Prince Valiant comic strips (!) in his office. You may also want some context on this interview -- it was part of a longer CBC program, though I have not found the entire program online.

The Illustrated Man Movie Adaptation, 1968

"We need artists, we need people like myself, who take hold of a piece of reality and say, 'This is what it is.' We've saved up a tension for tears. So I, as a writer, come along and try to help you to cry at the right time."

Life, Love, Work, and Books, 1968

"The man who cannot laugh freely is a sick man."

Waukegan Public Library Interview

Filmed towards the end of Bradbury's life, this interview shows the author discussing childhood in his hometown of Waukegan, Illinois. Discussed: the movies, the carnival, becoming a writer, the local library, malls, and literacy. This looks like it's extra material from the same shoot as the first video above.

Sample quote: "I ran down the hill, toward the lake, toward the carnival. What was I doing? I didn't realize: I was running away from death, wasn't I? I was running towards life."