WISH RAY BRADBURY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY
AT THE SOUTH PASADENA LIBRARY ON AUGUST 19
Not very many people anywhere knew the exact temperature at which paper burns prior to 1953. Now, countless millions the world over have the specific thermometer reading burned into their memories, due to Ray Bradbury's now-classic FAHRENHEIT 451, published that year. Considered by many to be one of the most important and influential books of the latter half of the 20th Century, it's also one of the most acclaimed and bestselling science fiction books ever. FAHRENHEIT rose to the heights from a humble beginning. It was originally developed by the young author as a novella while he fed dimes into a coin-operated typewriter in the basement of the UCLA Library. Surrounding students and librarians had no way of knowing the literary magic being conjured up in their midst. Readers the world over can be thankful Ray Bradbury had a steady supply of the tiny silver coins as he ingeniously poured his inspiration into the manuscript. The rest is literary history.
Bradbury went on, of course, to a highly remarkable career and has written more than 600 published works including short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, and verse. Among the best known are DANDELION WINE, THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, THE HALLOWEEN TREE, and SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES.
Ray Douglas Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on August 22, 1920. Today, as an author, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, lecturer, poet and visionary, he is known as one of America's greatest creative geniuses. As an 11 year-old he started writing his stories on butcher paper and by 1934 the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles where he’s resided ever since. He attended Los Angeles High School and planned to become an actor until teachers encouraged him to continue working as a writer. His formal education ended with his high school graduation in 1938, but he continued educating himself in the library while spending long hours at the typewriter honing his skills.
Bradbury's work has won innumerable honors and awards, including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America and a special Lifetime Achievement Pulitzer Prize in 2007. At an age when most men are long retired Bradbury remains a dynamic storyteller and writer. His incredible body of work exemplifies one of the greatest contemporary imaginations.
The South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, with funding support from the Helix Foundation, will honor Ray Bradbury with a 90th Birthday Celebration on Thursday, August 19 at 8:00 p.m. in the Library Community Room. The free, not-to-be-missed event will feature a showing of Walt Disney Pictures’ adaptation of SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, a PG-13-rated 1983 film starring Jason Robards and Diane Ladd. According to Mary Menzel, Director of the California Center for the Book notes SOMETHING WICKED is a wonderful film to show in honor of Ray Bradbury’s birthday, because it is one of the truest and most successful literary adaptations in movie history.” As Roger Ebert noted when the film came out, “it captures the novel’s mood, tone, and style in a really exceptional way.”
Mayor Richard D. Schneider will present a Proclamation to Ray declaring August 22 as “Ray Bradbury Day in South Pasadena.” Lissa Reynolds from the Fremont Centre Theatre and Director of the South Pasaadena Arts Council who has worked with Ray for years will be introducing him and leading the audience in sing you-know-what. A custom birthday cake designed by Fantasy Frostings of South Pasadena will also be presented. The Library Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street Fremont Avenue and free parking will be available across the street in the South Pasadena Unified School District parking lot. To augment the 150 seat capacity in the Community Room, a giant screen to show the proceedings and the film will also be set up in the Library Park. No tickets or reservations are necessary and doors will open at 7:30 p.m. Special thanks to Best Custom Frame, Daily Photo, Fantasy Frostings, Rotary Club of South Pasadena, SOSOUND Entertainment, The South Pasadena Review, South Pasadena Unified School District, and Thomas Lake Construction, Inc.