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B Entries
  Barbara Bain
  Gene Barry
  Wesley E. Barry
  Martin Berkeley
  Paul Birch
  Whit Bissell
  Bill Bixby
  Jerome Bixby
  Chesley Bonestell
  David Bowie
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  Ray Bradbury
  Adrien Brody
  Mel Brooks
  Raymond Burr
  Tim Burton
  David Butler
(1920–2012). American writer.

Wrote: It Came from Outer Space (story; screenplay Harry Essex) (Jack ARNOLD 1953); unknown episode of Sneak Preview (1956); "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit" (1958) (based on his story), episode of Rendezvous; "Shopping for Death" (based on his story), "And So Died Riabouchinska" (based on his story), "Design for Loving" (1958), "Special Delivery" (1959), "The Faith of Aaron Menefee" (original story Stanley Ellin) (1962), episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents; King of Kings (narration only, uncredited) (Nicolas Ray 1961); "I Sing the Body Electric" (1962), episode of The Twilight Zone (1962); Icarus Montgolfier Wright (based on his story) (animated) (Osmond Evans 1962); "The Life and Work of Juan Diaz" (1964), episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; "The Groon" (animated) (1971), episode of Curiosity Shop; Infinite Horizons: Space beyond Apollo (with Malcolm Clarke) (and host) (tv documentary) (1979); Ray Bradbury's The Electric Grandmother (with Jeffrey Kindley) (tv movie) (Noel Black 1981); Spaceship Earth (short, part of EPCOT amusement park ride) (1982); Something Wicked This Way Comes (based on his novel) (Jack Clayton 1983); "The Elevator" (1986), episode of Twilight Zone; The Halloween Tree (animated) (and voice) (Mario Piluso 1993); The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (based on his story and play) (Stuart GORDON 1998).

Wrote episodes, based on his stories, for The Ray Bradbury Theatre (also host and executive producer): "Marionettes, Inc.," "The Playground," "The Crowd" (1985), "The Town Where No One Got Off," "The Screaming Woman," "Banshee" (1986), "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl," "Skeleton," "The Emissary," "Gotcha!," "The Man Upstairs," "The Small Assassin," "Punishment Without Crime," "On the Orient, North," "The Coffin," "Tyrannosaurus Rex," "There Was an Old Woman," "And So Died Riabouchinska" (1988), "The Dwarf," "A Miracle of Rare Device," "The Lake," "The Wind," "The Pedestrian," "A Sound of Thunder," "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone," "The Haunting of the New," "To the Chicago Abyss," "Hail and Farewell," "The Veldt," "Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!" (1989), "Mars Is Heaven," "The Murderer," "Touched with Fire," "The Black Ferris," "Usher II," "Touch of Petulance," "And the Moon Be Still as Bright," "The Toynbee Convector," "Exorcism," "The Day It Rained Forever," "The Long Years," "Here There Be Tygers" (1990), "The Earthmen," "The Jar," "Colonel Stonesteel and the Desperate Empties," "The Concrete Mixer," "The Utterly Perfect Murder," "Let's Play Poison," "The Martian," "The Lonely One," "The Happiness Machine," "Tomorrow's Child," "The Anthem Sprinters," "By the Numbers," "The Long Rain," "The Dead Man," "Sun and Shadow," "Silent Towns" (1992).

Wrote as by Douglas Spalding: The Picasso Summer (based on his story) (tv movie) (Robert Sallin and Serge Bourguignon, uncredited 1969).

Creative consultant: Mirrors (Black 1974).

"Concept": Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (animated) (Misami Hata and William T. Hurtz 1992).

Films based on his works: "Zero Hour" (1951), episode of Lights Out; "The Man" (1951), episode of Out There; "Summer Night" (1952), episode of Suspense; "The Rocket" (1952), episode of CBS Television Workshop (1952); "Homecoming" (1953), episode of Tales of Tomorrow; The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (Eugene LOURIE 1954); "The Relentless Weavers" (1954), episode of Fireside Theatre; "The Man" (1955), episode of On Camera; "Zero Hour" (1955), episode of Star Tonight; Windows (tv series) (1955); "The Great Wide World" (1956), episode of Studio 57; "A Sound of Different Drummers" (1957) (uncredited), episode of Playhouse 90; "The Jar" (1964), episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; Mañana Puede ser Verdad (tv series) (1964-1965); "The Fox and the Forest" (1965), episode of Out of the Unknown; El Marciano (short) (Francisco Montolío 1965); "El Doble," "La Sonrisa" (1966), episodes of Historias para no Dormir; Fahrenheit 451 (Francois Truffaut 1966); The Illustrated Man (Jack SMIGHT 1969); The Screaming Woman (tv movie) (Smight 1972); "La Crisalide," "L'Assassino," "I Sosia" (1979), episodes of Racconti di Fantascienza; The Martian Chronicles (tv miniseries) (Michael ANDERSON 1980); Castigo senza Delitto (tv movie) (Fabio Piccioni 1981); "All Summer in a Day" (1982), episode of NBC Peacock Theatre; "Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby Is a Friend of Mine" (and appeared in) (1982), episode of American Playhouse; "Robbers, Rooftops and Witches" (animated) (1982), episode of CBS Library; Savannen (tv movie) (Tord Pååg 1983); Quest (short) (Elaine Bass and Saul Bass 1983); Budet Laskovyy Dozhd (animated short) (Nazim Tulyakhodzayev 1984); Habia una Vez (Alba Mora 1985); Clarinda y el Tiempo en una Botella (short) (Emanuel Tacamba 1985); Elektronnaya Babushka (Algimantas Puipa 1985); "The Burning Man" (1985), episode of Twilight Zone; "The Jar" (1986), episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents; Veld (Tulyakhodzhaev 1987); Walking on Air (Ed Kaplan 1987); Trinadtsatyy Apostol (Suren Babayan 1988); It Came from Outer Space II (tv movie) (Roger Duchowny 1996); Vino iz Oduvanchikov (Igor Apasyan 1997); Con Palos y Piedras (short) (Leandro Bartoletti and Federico Sidañez 2000); El Umbral (short) (Erwin Jaquez 2003); El Que Espera (short) (Juan Luis Molina 2004); A Sound of Thunder (Peter HYAMS 2005); A Piece of Wood (short) (Tony Baez Milan 2005); The Small Assassin (short) (Chris Charles 2007); The Pedestrian (short) (Chard Hayward 2008); Chrysalis (Milan 2008); A Very Careful Man (short) (Charlie Simmons 2010); The Jar (short) (Brandon Young 2011).

Appeared in documentaries: "The Illustrated Bradbury" (1966), episode of Telescope; The American Comic Strip (John Musilli 1978); "Ray Bradbury: The Illustrated Man" (1980), episode of Omnibus; The Fantasy Film World of George Pal (Arnold Leibovit 1985); The Whimsical World of Oz (1985); Time Travel: Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy (Gayle Hollenbaugh and Suzanne McCafferty 1985); Aliens, Dragons, Monsters, and Me (Richard Jones 1986); Amazing Worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy (Ray Ferry 1991); Hooray for Horrorwood (Ferry 1991); In Search of Oz (Brian Skeet 1994); 100 Years of Horror: The Evil Unseeable (Ted Newsom 1996); 100 Years of Horror: Aliens (Newsom 1996); 100 Years of Horror: Dinosaurs (Newsom 1996); 100 Years of Horror: Ghosts (Newsom 1996); A Century of Science Fiction (Newsom 1996); In Search of Tarzan with Jonathan Ross (Luke Jeans 1998); The Harryhausen Chronicles (Richard Schickel 1998); Universal Horror (Kevin Brownlow 1998); The Fly Papers: The Buzz on Hollywood's Scariest Insect (2000); Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces (Brownlow 2000); Besuch bei Ray Bradbury (Eckhart Schmidt 2001); Walt: The Man Behind the Myth (Jean-Pierre Isbouts 2001); "Poe's Tales of Terror" (2001), episode of Great Books; The Music of Fahrenheit 451 (Laurent Bouzereau 2003); Fahrenheit 451, the Novel: A Discussion with Author Ray Bradbury (Bouzereau 2003); The Making of Fahrenheit 451 (Bouzereau 2003); Cosmic Thoughts (Mark Young 2003); Hollywood Legenden (Schmidt 2004); The Optimistic Futurist (Jeff Kurtti 2004); documentary included with Ray Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection (2005); I'm King Kong!: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper (Christopher Bird and Brownlow 2005); The Sci-Fi Boys (Paul Davids 2006); Famous Monster: Forrest J. Ackerman (Michael MacDonald 2007); A Conversation with Ray Bradbury (Lawrence Bridges 2008).

A correspondent was indignant to find that this encyclopedia included an entry on Bill BIXBY, but not Ray Bradbury. Well. As I have repeatedly noted, this version of the encyclopedia is a Work in Progress, expanded and revised only during those increasingly rare moments when other, more profitable projects do not command my attention. And some stories, like Bixby's, can be told more quickly and easier than others, like Bradbury's. Also, while a writer can enjoy drawing attention to some meritorious but overlooked figure, or gleefully eviscerating some undeserving icon, there is no pleasure to be found in telling, and thus every reason to avoid telling, stories that are merely sad. Like Bradbury's, which was a very sad story even before his recent death.

For after a brief and stumbling apprenticeship, there was a period of about fifteen years when Bradbury produced a rich stream of masterfully evocative stories that made him not only one of America's most famous science fiction writers, but one of America's most famous writers. Then, sometime in the 1960s, it all just stopped, and this-once productive writer went on to spend the next half century of his life wasting his time—writing poetry, making speeches to bask in the adulation of crowds, repackaging and republishing his greatest works, appearing in documentaries to praise favorite creators of the past like Lon CHANEY and Ray HARRYHAUSEN, and occasionally engaging in bursts of creative activity, producing unremarkable new stories in an effort to show that he was still relevant, although he was not. So, in contemplating his career upon his death in 2012, one must conded that if he had died fifty years earlier, in 1962, the posthumous praise for his remarkable achievements would have been pretty much the same, since all of his most memorable achievements had already been completed by then.

It's hard to say precisely why this happened. Perhaps Bradbury was only born with so many stories to tell, and by the 1960s he had told them all. More probably, like rock groups who suddenly realize that they can earn vast sums of money playing their greatest hits for the rest of their lives without ever recording new songs, Bradbury simply found that he no longer had any incentive to create, inasmuch as his existing body of works was sure to provide him with a healthy income for as long as he remained alive. True, some highly successful writers somehow contrive to carry on with the same frenzied energy that defined their early careers, but perhaps Bradbury's gently bucolic childhood, celebrated in some of his best stories, simply didn't provide him with that sort of drive.

In any event, since one of the ways Bradbury wasted his time was by writing for films, or allowing his works to be adapted as films, he obviously merits an extensive discussion in this encyclopedia, even if it seems improperly belated. His association with science fiction film actually began as a sideline in the 1950s, when he was still producing admirable stories, although the precise nature of his contributions to the early days of television may always remain obscure: references can be unclear as to whether he actually scripted some programs, or merely had his stories adapted by other hands; whether some programs were fantastic or realistic can be similarly hard to discern; and since some of these programs are undoubtedly lost, definitive answers may be impossible. (Be warned, then, that the accompanying credits sometimes represent only my best guesses about such matters.) But his capable work for Alfred Hitchcock Presents survives, most memorably on display in "Design for Loving," an adaptation of his clever story "Marionettes, Inc.," though viewers are unfortunately more familiar with his Twilight Zone episode, "I Sing the Body Electric," surely one of the dullest stories that Rod SERLING was ever obliged to introduce. And from these early adventures in television, one can detect the persistent problem that Bradbury and others encounter whenever they adapt his works to the screen: he is a writer of ideas and moods, conveyed in brilliantly evocative prose, but not a storyteller in the traditional sense. True, if the idea is striking enough, the results can be compelling drama—as shown by "The Jar," another writer's adaptation of a Bradbury story which was surely one of the best episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; but if the idea isn't quite as strong, filmed versions of Bradbury stories, lacking the support of his descriptive prose, regularly fall flat.

Bradbury's early contributions to films are better documented, if less felicitous. For Jack ARNOLD's classic film It Came from Outer Space, he wrote multiple stories (collected in a 2003 volume of that name), but though he can be credited with its central idea of a friendly alien invader, the film remains mostly the work of screenwriter Harry Essex. And while purportedly an adaptation of Bradbury's haunting story "The Foghorn," The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, an early template for the rampaging-giant-monster movie soon perfected by Inishiro HONDA, is essentially unrelated to what the author wrote. It is telling that, when he signed up to write his first screenplay, he avoided science fiction and instead adapted Herman Melville's Moby Dick (1956), which was a competent effort but hardly the sort of project that required the talents of someone like Bradbury; clearly, and ominously, he preferred the prestige of an association with a classic American novel more than the creative challenge of writing something more imaginative. This might also explain why he bizarrely agreed to write the narration for the biblical epic King of Kings, though he ultimately chose to remain uncredited. However, another project linked to a famous creator—his screenplay The Picasso Summer, involving a man's quest to meet the elusive artist—evidently displeased Bradbury (and everyone else), so he concealed his work with a pseudonym and embarked upon a long period of relative inactivity (both in films and in writing).

But he returned to screenwriting with renewed energy in the 1980s, producing an effective vignette for the revived Twilight Zone, a television film version of "I Sing the Body Electric," and most memorably, the screenplay for a 1983 film based on his novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, undoubtedly his best work in this arena, a story that combined Bradbury's special ability to adopt a child's perspective with a nicely contained and spooky narrative. Then, Bradbury launched an unprecedented project: for the first time, a major author would write all episodes of a series devoting to adapting his most noteworthy stories. Surely, one might think, this would be widely recognized as a landmark achievement in the history of the genre; yet the resulting series, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, was and has remained unheralded and rarely viewed, for the simple reason that its episodes, like other adaptations of Bradbury stories, were consistently lifeless. Then, after this Indian summer of his film career, the aging Bradbury essentially retired, producing only a screenplay for an animated version of his children's book The Halloween Tree and yet another adaptation of "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit," an empty and condescending tale that he inexplicably finds fascinating, having offered versions of it as a television episode, story, play, and film.

And so, Bradbury left the work of adapting his stories to others, though this had already been going on since the 1950s, with generally unsatisfactory results. One prominent lowlight was the film Fahrenheit 451, which might have worked if director François Truffaut had been more familiar with English and had not bizarrely cast Julie Christie as both the protagonist's unsympathetic wife and his free-spirited lover; another was Jack SMIGHT's ill-conceived The Illustrated Man, which embedded at best tolerable versions of three Bradbury stories within an irksome frame story. Yet Michael ANDERSON's television miniseries The Martian Chronicles was a better film than most would have you believe, condemned mostly because its episodes did not cohere as a unified narrative—precisely like the book it was based on. The lesson to be learned from these mixed efforts is that if you want your Bradbury adaptations to work, generally keep them as short as possible, allowing for productive use of his concepts and dialogue without being hampered by the absence of a strong story line; one notices, then, that most recent adaptations of Bradbury stories have been shorts. A prominent failure to follow this advice, Peter HYAMS' disastrous A Sound of Thunder, has apparently soured executives on the idea of further Bradbury films, although his death may bring some long-moribund projects to life—all of them, undoubtedly, involving stories that are more than fifty years old. No one can deny that Bradbury thoroughly deserved all of the tributes he received upon his death, from scores of major figures including President Obama, for few writers have produced so many classic works. Only someone focusing exclusively on science fiction film is unfortunately obliged to focus on aspects of his long career which were less than classic.

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