Ray Bradbury, was born 97 years ago, but the impact of his visionary work lives on. His life and work were filled with determination and an unstoppable imagination. As a child he was intrigued by magic and architecture, but it was his voracious love of reading and writing coupled with a curious mind that led him to creating some of the most memorable books and stories of the 20th century: The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, just to name just a few.
Ray Bradbury and his wife Marguerite (Maggie) loved cats. During the latter part of the 1950s while the author was cranking out stories like The October Country and Dandelion Wine, 22 kitties called the Bradbury residence their home.
Bradbury Lands on Mars
In 2012, NASA bestowed the ultimate sci-fi honor on the author when it dedicated its Mars rover Curiosity landing site “Bradbury Landing.” Michael Meyer, a NASA program scientist for Curiosity, said of the homage, “Many of us and millions of other readers were inspired in our lives by stories Ray Bradbury wrote to dream of the possibility of life on Mars."
Walt Disney: Futuristic Friendship
Ray Bradbury and Walt Disney met in the 1960s and both shared a fascination with looking towards the future and imagining how the world would progress. When the idea of Epcot began, Disney hired Bradbury to write the storyline and collaborate on designing the attraction that today is known as “Spaceship Earth.” In a 1982 interview Bradbury said of Epcot, “Everyone in the world will come to these gates. Why? Because they want to look at the world of the future. They want to see how to make better human beings."
Fahrenheit 451 Predicts Modern Day Ear Pods
Published in 1953 at the height of the McCarthy era, Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 takes readers into a world where humans are constantly monitored by "futuristic" technology and there is censorship and intolerance of dissenting thoughts. Perhaps Apple techies had Bradbury's tech vision in mind when they presented their popular EarPods. Yes, among the flatscreen televisions and video surveillance cameras Bradbury wrote about, he described another gadget that sounds an awful lot like today's ubiquitous little headphones: “Without turning on the light he imagined how this room would look. His wife stretched on the bed, uncovered and cold, like a body displayed on the lid of the tomb, her eyes fixed in the ceiling by invisible threads of steel, immovable. And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind.”
Celebrity Connections & A Weird Taste of the Grape
There are stories of Bradbury’s encounters with famous people from a young age, including writing for comedian George Burns and catching the attention of a talented young Mademoiselle magazine editor, Truman Capote. Bradbury also had a colorful encounter with Alfred Hitchcock when the director invited him to dine at his house. When dinner was served, all the food was colored purple. Bradbury later said Hitchcock never explained why.
From the Bio Archives: This article was originally published on August 22, 2014.