Bradbury Trivia: Ray and Rod

Ray Bradbury, born on August 22, 1920, is known for his breakthrough novels such as Fahrenheit 451.  As Jonathan R. Eller writes in Ray Bradbury Unbound, the author also made an impact in television and film.

Bradbury only wrote one episode of The Twilight Zone. He had a fraught his relationship, and then no relationship, with the show and its creator, Rod Serling. But their attempts to collaborate endured long enough to inspire the informative trivia questions below. Want to cheat? You can find all the answers and a lot more detail in Ray Bradbury Unbound. (Scrolling to the bottom of the post will work, too.)

1. Veronica Cartwright portrayed the troubled daughter in the Bradbury-penned “I Sing the Body Electric!” She earned more massive nerd cred playing an alien abductee on The X-Files and performing which Seventies film role?

a. Lambert, the navigator of the spaceship Nostromo in Alien
b. Alex, the assistant to scientist Kirk Douglas in Saturn 3
c. Kate McCrae, the ESP-endowed scientist of The Black Hole
d. Jessica 6, a “runner” in the dystopian cult classic Logan’s Run

2. A factor in Bradbury’s falling out with Rod Serling involved “Walking Distance,” a Twilight Zone episode written by the latter that Bradbury felt borrowed from his own work. In “Walking Distance,” Gig Young encountered which TZ-esque scenario?

a. Being menaced by a gremlin on the wing of his airplane
b. Trying to find the monster among his neighbors on Maple Street
c. Meeting himself as a young boy in the hometown of his youth
d. Realizing that none of his friends or family recognize him

3. Another “Walking Distance” question: the episode’s use of a carousel as a plot device angered Bradbury because a merry-go-round was central to which of his then-unpublished but nearly finished books?

a. The Machineries of Joy
b. Dark Carnival
c. Something Wicked This Way Comes
d. The Illustrated Man

4. Bradbury submitted a 1961 script to Serling about two lost desert wanderers who encounter an ever-changing mirage, but Serling had trouble getting the story into shape due to which perceived problem selling the story to his TV network?

a. Bradbury’s stage directions called for expensive-to-make alien landscapes
b. Bradbury’s beautiful prose did not translate well to spoken dialogue
c. Bradbury’s story was a too-bold criticism of the anti-Communist hysteria
d. Bradbury’s twist ending only made sense if you understood Norse myths

5. In 1962, Bantam Books asked Bradbury if they could use an endorsement from Serling to promote a Bradbury story collection. Bradbury vetoed the request with which statement?

a. That Serling would soon be forgotten in the sci fi field
b. That people who watched television did not read books
c. That Serling had no gravitas among the real sci fi-reading public
d. That he would be promoting Serling instead of vice-versa




Answers: (1) A; (2) C; (3) C; (4) B; (5) A