What I Tell You Three Times

By John Hertz: Today being the fourth anniversary of Ray Bradbury’s death, I recall three of my contributions about him.

Lest We Forget
[File770.com 17 Jun 12]

Tributes to Ray Bradbury continue. The ones I’ve seen have been wonderful and the others must be too. He was.

He started humble, he rose like a rocket, and as his stars burst in shimmering brilliant colors and his clarions rang he stayed humble. When he was striving he was helped, he kept that in mind, and when his work ignited he helped others.

We remember him as a lyricist of the human spirit, of youth and age and memory, of the rightness of attention and the wrongness of inattention. His praise and protest each set off the other.

He reached people. How widely.

In ceramics, where a noble bowl is breathtaking, its holding wine or water is only an aid to beauty.

In pyrotechnics where we love to see a flag or a dragon what rouses us is that they are afire.

Bradbury was a fine writer.

A Star in ’02 – No Foolin’
[File770.com 17 Nov 14]

(reprinted from Vanamonde 465, 9 Apr 02): Ray Bradbury was awarded the 2,193rd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was placed outside Larry Edmunds’ bookshop, 6644 Hollywood Bl., where he’d been a customer fifty years. In 1934 he went roller-skating there.

At the ceremony Johnny Grant, President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, said Bradbury’s fables were like Aesop’s. Stan Freberg said Bradbury had been his best friend forty years, so when Freberg sneaked off later I told him I’d always liked the Chung King elevator commercials best

Rod Steiger said what made it last was Bradbury’s understanding of human beings, the magic of his imagination, his insistence that humanity would go forth. City Councilman Gil Garcetti said Bradbury inspired us not to take our liberties for granted. Mayor Hahn announced a campaign for all Los Angeles to read one book so we’d have some of the same things to talk about: the book is Fahrenheit 451 (1953). He’d celebrated his birthday by visiting Bradbury.

A day or two before the ceremony I heard of it and asked LASFS President Ed Green if we were sending anyone, so he appointed me. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It was April Fool’s Day.

A Very Merry Birthday
[File 770.com 25 Aug 09]

If you thought an 89th-birthday party for Ray Bradbury at a bookshop would be crowded, you’d be right. If you thought it would be an occasion to buy his books and get them signed, you’d be right. As June Moffatt said when I reported by phone, these were good things.

Bookfellows, 238 N. Brand Bl., Glendale, CA 91203 (also called “Mystery and Imagination”, the name of their Website), is a new- and used-book shop with a fine s-f stock. The party started at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 22nd, Bradbury’s actual birthday. The Cosmic Joker keeps making me type “Bardbury”. This too may be a good thing.

On a giant greeting-card shopowners Christine & Malcolm Bell had written “You’re a living book”, so below I wrote “because you’ve set us all afire”. A chocolate cake with orange icing was decorated with a Jack-o’-lantern wearing eyeglasses. We all sang “Happy Birthday”.

Outside, which was no less crowded, only different, George Clayton Johnson was talking about heroes. I said, “You yourself are one of the heroes.” He said, “You’re observant as ever.” I bowed. He did too.

Inside, Matthew Tepper and Charles Lee Jackson II told me they hadn’t known about the party, just came looking for books. Tepper said, “This is the second time I’ve gone to a bookshop and found Ray Bradbury there.” It was so crowded Tepper took out a handphone and called Christine Bell to ask whether she had a book he wanted.

Bo Derek brought Bradbury a birthday present, which shows how little I know about celebrities. It was a good party.

Photo by John King Tarpinian.

Photo by John King Tarpinian.

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One thought on “What I Tell You Three Times

  1. Bardbury fits! These are wonderful; I’m very thankful that you shared them.

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