Friends, I have a great deal of love for the writings of the late and great Ray Bradbury, a large part of that is thanks to the 1983 Walt Disney Studios adaptation for Something Wicked This Way Comes. Although to be perfectly honest I first encountered his work thanks to my Junior High English class, where we read a handful of short stories like A Sound of Thunder, The Long Rain as well as Marionettes, Inc. Around that time I would also get an opportunity to watch more of Ray Bradbury’s stories courtesy of The Ray Bradbury Theater – which while it began on HBO and would be shown for two seasons, I would watch it regularly on the USA Network. There are some pretty incredible television adaptations in my opinion from that still entertaining anthology series – off the top of my head I would point out The Jar, The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl, Banshee and of course Usher II. Bradbury originally had the latter publish within the pages of Thrilling Wonder Stories in April of 1950 – although at that point in time the story was known as Carnival of Madness. Usher II is itself a satisfying tale of revenge although the message running through it is the danger of a society intent on censoring the people – the banning and destruction of books, films, music and art – nothing that the “Moral Climate Monitors” would deem fanciful or horrific is permitted to survive. I was so blown away by the Usher II episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater I convinced the Projectionist to tackle it for the Saturday Frights podcast!
For this Retro Records offering we are going to be enjoying the 1975 LP entitled Ray Bradbury Read by Leonard Nimoy – The Martian Chronicles: There Will Come Soft Rains – Usher II. Obviously we will be listening to the Usher II portion of the record – can you think of a better narrator than the iconic Leonard Nimoy? This was the first of two LP’s that Leonard Nimoy would read based on Ray Bradbury’s work – just a mere year later he would record two of the stories from The Illustrated Man. In case you are wondering he narrated The Veldt and Marionettes Inc. – the former being both a creepy episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater and a segment from the 1969 adaptation of The Illustrated Man.
Okay, I think it is time for you to turn down the lights if you are able and prepare to make a trip to visit Usher II – there you will make the acquaintance of William Stendahl and Pikes. I have a feeling you will quite enjoy your visit with these two gentlemen – especially the way that Leonard Nimoy reads Ray Bradbury’s story.