Net Spreads News of Bradbury House Teardown

John King Tarpinian’s photos and story about the demolition of Ray Bradbury’s house have reached  a wide audience and touched a lot of hearts in the past 24 hours.

Bloggers also are weighing in —

Brett at Screen Door Revolution has these trenchant comments in Dear Smart People: YOU ARE LOSING THE CULTURE WAR:

There’s little doubt in my mind that, say, James Franco’s house will someday be preserved as a culturally-significant landmark for future generations to behold, gilded and immortalized for all-time, and hailed as a triumph of freedom.

I apologize if perhaps this notion seems, at first, overly cynical, but it’s not hard to look around and read the tea leaves. The Gatsby house is allowed to crumble and Ray Bradbury’s house knocked down for the sum of $1.7 million, thus depriving future generations the ability to physically visit those places where the stuff of dreams was quite literally created. And what exactly of significance and value are we leaving in place of that loss? Another Walgreens? Another CVS or horrifying McDonald’s? And nowhere interesting to visit besides Disneyland?

Brian Sibley in The Magician’s House calls upon cherished memories and has more great photos of the house and various Bradbury artifacts.

Painted the yellow of Dandelion Wine, the house was an extension of the man: it was the place where he crafted novels, short stories, plays, essays and poetry and it was crammed full of Bradburyness: his own books, of course, but those, too, of the writers and artists he loved, and then, all those paintings and pictures: animation and comic-book art and the work of two of his favourite artists: the mysterious Gothic or futuristic visions of Joe Mugnaini (who illustrated so many of his books) and stunning landscapes by Eyvind Earle, also known as the man responsible for styling Disney’s most stylish animated feature, Sleeping Beauty. Not to mention all the toys, trinkets, trivia, nick-knacks ad geegaws…

Also noteworthy is Mark Evanier’s News From Me post A Sound of Thunder published last weekend immediately after the story broke:

I just read some online messages that when they quit the demolition work on Friday, the house was without a roof. And now it’s raining in Los Angeles…

Those of you who are familiar with Ray’s story “There Will Come Soft Rains” will appreciate the imagery.

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6 thoughts on “Net Spreads News of Bradbury House Teardown

  1. Errrr…ummm.. As far as I’m concerned, Ray Bradbury’s books & ideas (some øf which, I have to admit, I don’t think all that highly of) exist & survive quite well, thank you, and the rest of †his stuff strikes me as being just kerfluffel.

  2. Nicely done, Mr. Tarpinian!

    (Good reportage can come, of course, from even a sad story.)

  3. Sorry to hear about the house. I’m not the bggest Bradbury fan, but understand why this is upsetting. Hopefully, all known photos of the house and interior can be put together in a way that allows for a “virtual” tour.

  4. I have high hopes that the “virtual” Bradbury house can, in some ways, become real again. We have a deep archive on the history of the Bradbury home here at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies (Indiana University, Indianapolis campus), where we are also preserving the Bradbury papers, working library, and many of his awards and mementos from the house. We are currently raising funds to re-create the basement office here at the Bradbury Center, using the original furniture, bookcases, typewriters, and artifacts gifted to Indiana University in 2013.

    Jonathan R. Eller, Chancellor’s Professor
    Director, Center for Ray Bradbury Studies

  5. Here are some more links to reports and discussions based on Tarpinian’s photo article —

    Fixed Baroque — Tearing Down Ray Bradbury’s House

    “But I guess when you’ve got $1.7 million to blow on a hunk of land, you probably don’t think too highly of the millions of people you’re robbing for your own personal gain.

    And if you think “millions of people” is exaggerating, think again. Do you have any idea how many people visit the Ernest Hemingway house in the Florida Keys? Or Margaret Mitchell’s home in Atlanta? Or Frank Lloyd Wright’s house just outside Chicago? If the two hour wait I encountered at the latter is any indication, I’d say it’s quite a lot. And at $15 a head, I’d say it’s rather good for the local economy, too.”

    Odd Things I’ve Seen — It Was Just A House

    “Poe was a big inspiration for Bradbury, although Bradbury got to one-up his literary forebear as Poe wasn’t really famous during his lifetime. At least not Bradbury-famous. It took decades before one of Poe’s homes was enshrined as a testament to his influence on and value to our culture.

    “Forty years after Poe’s death, a man named William Fearing Gill saved the Bronx Poe Cottage from destruction. In Philadelphia, it took 84 years from Poe’s death for the last remaining house where he lived in that city to become a monument. And it took a whole century for his Baltimore home to become a tribute to him, again narrowly avoiding demolition.

    “Every other house Poe lived in is gone, including his Boston birth home—which fell to the bulldozers around the same time that Bradbury moved into his Cheviot Hills address—and his Greenwich Village home, which became a pile of rubble and impromptu souvenirs just this millennium.

    “So it took much luck and living in a score of different homes for us to have those monuments to Poe that have inspired many fans and pilgrims and children and writers and artists and tourists and passersby.”

    Neatorama — Ray Bradbury’s Home Demolished

    “The discussion under all these stories, and the post at Metafilter, divides fans into two camps: those who don’t want to see history being demolished, and those who say this is no big deal. Both have valid points.

    “Those who regret seeing the house torn down are sad that it wasn’t preserved for its historical value. It could have been made into a museum. It was a perfectly habitable house, built in 1937, with some interesting architectural details.

    “Others say the house was outdated and not particularly significant in its architecture. Bradbury’s legacy lives on in his writings. And no one wants to live in a house with only three bedrooms. If fans wanted to preserve it, they should have bought it. One commenter pointed out that if every home in Los Angeles where a celebrity once lived were preserved, there could be no new homes built.”

    Electric Lit — Science Fiction Legend Ray Bradbury’s House Torn Down

    “Money does always win out, but still sad to see the home of such an iconic author go.”

    Reddit — And just like that Ray Bradbury’s house is gone

    Metafilter — The remains of Bradbury’s home

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