It’s not every day you see Mr. Playboy, the real-life Buzz Lightyear, and the greatest living science fiction author together in the same room.
It’s Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles, because one day just wouldn’t be enough to celebrate such a prolific author. A resolution by the city council made it official, thanks to the efforts of novelist and screenwriter Steven Paul Leiva, who organized the week’s festivities.
I was fortunate enough to attend a special screening of the 1966 film by Francois Truffaut of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, which also featured a conversation with Ray and Hugh Hefner, moderated by Geoff Boucher of the L.A. Times Hero Complex blog.
A year ago, when Bradbury was about to turn 89, Leiva wrote a column called “Searching For Ray Bradbury” that became the spark that lit the fire for celebrating Bradbury’s 90th in a fashion befitting the author’s stature.
Chatting onstage before the film, Hef recounted when Playboy magazine was just starting out how he contacted Bradbury about publishing Fahrenheit 451 in serial form. The novel ran in the magazine’s 3rd, 4th and 5th issues.
Check out the interview clips for Bradbury and Hefner’s comments about the genesis of Fahrenheit 451 and its publication in Playboy, plus Bradbury’s thoughts on how much he still loves writing every day (a new collection of stories, called “Juggernaut,” is set for publication by Christmas).
In closing, I’ll echo a carnival sideshow act called Mr. Electrico, who told Ray when he was just a boy, “Live Forever!”
“Libraries are more important than colleges or universities, because libraries are free. The important thing is knowledge should be free.” — Ray Bradbury