R is for Ray Bradbury Theater”
Remembered by Kerry E.B. Black
“The Ray Bradbury Theater” presented sixty-five adaptations of Ray Bradbury’s stories from 1985 until 1992. The half-hour experience began with Mr. Bradbury glancing around his work area. “People ask, ‘Where do you get your ideas…’” With a brief introduction, he invited viewers to enjoy an experience “exactly one half imagination, exactly one half terror.”
Mark Massari created the show first for HBO and then for the USA Network. Thereafter, the Sci-fi Network ran reruns. As with any anthology show, some episodes packed more of a punch than others. One that remains in my imagination is “Banshee” starring Peter O’Toole. Other famous actors included a young Drew Barrymore intent on saving a life, Jean Stapleton, Jeff Goldblum, Donald Pleasence, William Shatner, Tyne Daly, Shelley Duvall, Elliott Gould, and Leslie Nielsen.
The show did not use a large budget, and part of its success was the approach-ability of Mr. Bradbury. Viewers felt as though they sat in his workshop and listened at his feet as he told a tale.