Interviewing Ray

When you are a writer,
you can live forever

In 1932, Bradbury was captivated by the performance of Mr. Electrico, a carnival magician. At the end of the act, Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury and commanded, “Live Forever!” Bradbury later said, ”I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.”  View the videos below to see the author who lives forever through his words and the people he continues to inspire.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

March 2, 1978

“If infinity goes on forever, then we should want to go along with it.”       

Bradbury and Carson engage in an animated discussion about the possibility of life on other planets, the exciting prospect of colonizing Mars, science-fiction’s role in capturing the imagination and inspiring innovation, and their shared interest in the work of Carl Sagan and the successful work of NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Bradbury was also on the show to promote a stage adaptation of The Martian Chronicles that  premiered at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theater in 1977 and was slated to tour at 90 theater’s throughout the United States.

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Day at Night interview

Janaury 21, 1974

“I’ve had a sign over my typewriter for 25 years now which reads “Don’t think.” You must never think at the typewriter, you must feel.” 

In this wide-ranging interview for CUNY TV, James Day and Bradbury discuss Bradbury’s aspirations as a child, his love of libraries, his advice for writers, and what Day called “the nether world of imagination buried deep in all of us” that sparks creativity and invention.

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"Ray Bradbury on Madmen" interview

February 24, 1972 (aired May 26, 2015)

“I am a dedicated madman, and that becomes its own training. If you can’t resist, if the typewriter is like candy to you, you train yourself for a lifetime. Every single day of your life, some wild new thing to be done.”    

This interview, conducted by Lisa Potts and Chadd Coates when they were college students, was lost for 30 years before being rediscovered and aired in 2015. Recorded on the freeways of Los Angeles as Potts drove Bradbury from his home to Chapman College, Bradbury offers candid explanations about his creative process and his embrace of his life as a “madman” who cannot resist writing on his typewriter.

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Reading "If Only We Had Taller Been" at Caltech

November 12, 1971

“I think it’s part of the nature of man to start with romance and build to a reality. There’s hardly a scientist or an astronaut I’ve met who wasn’t beholden to some romantic before him who led him to doing something in life.”

In anticipation of Mariner 9 reaching Mars and becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, Caltech assembled a panel with Ray Bradbury, Carl Sagan, and Arthur Clarke moderated by New  York Times Science Editor Walter Sullivan. During the panel, Bradbury recited his poem dedicated to NASA “If Only We Had Taller Been.”

This panel discussion was later compiled into the book Mars and the Mind of Man, available for purchase on Amazon.

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Ray Bradbury, Illustrated documentary

January 9, 1969

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) produced this documentary on Ray Bradbury for their Telescope series. While the first half of the video focuses on the movie adaptation of The Illustrated Man, the second half offers a broader picture of Bradbury’s  life and his  belief that writing dystopian fantasy and science fiction is a way of encouraging people to make the world a better place. Bradbury also offers a glimpse into the basement office overflowing with books, memorabilia, and artifacts that spark his imagination and offer him the vehicles to reveal the ideas buried deep inside himself.

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Ray Bradbury’s speech at the 1986 World Science Fiction Convention

August, 1968

“Americans are a triple wilderness people: a wilderness of water, grass, and stars. We crossed a wilderness of water to reach this place. We lingered for a little while on a wilderness of grass and we now move toward a wilderness of stars to live forever.” 

In August, 1986 Ray Bradbury regaled the audience at the 44th Worldcon ConFederation in Atlanta, Georgia with stories of his career–stories of how he learned to ignore “fools,” be true to himself, and pursue the loves of his life. From his early passion for dinosaurs and Buck Rogers to the enduring influence of other writers on his style and imagination, Bradbury takes his audience on a non-stop tour of his career and the landscape of his mind.

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Story of a Writer documentary

1963

This documentary follows Bradbury as he practices his craft and goes about his daily life: writing at a typewriter, revising his work, performing magic for his daughters at bedtime, speaking to students, and riding his bicycle around Los Angeles. A dramatization of an early version of his short story “Dial Double Zero” is interspersed throughout the film.

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