Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Secret Origin of Something Wicked This Way Comes!

And no, I'm not talking about the short story "The Dark Carnival." This is from Guideposts magazine, June 1991.
See you later, Kiddies, for some more Halloween hauntings!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Something Wicked Is a Great Achievement

Welcome back, my little fiends …

We continue our Halloween peek at Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, which not only is deliciously fun and powerfully emotional, it also looks great sitting on a bookshelf right next to Agatha Christie’s book By the Pricking of My Thumbs.

This image is the “original” cover art for the hardback.

One great facet of this great book is Bradbury’s depiction of the relationship between Will Halloway and his father Charles Halloway, library janitor and knight in arthritic armor. Will and his dad love each other, but don’t express it much. Will’s failing is the typical youth’s self-centered outlook that “nobody ‘old’ can understand the turmoils of my life.” Dad’s failing is that his melancholy temperament inhibits his remembering the joy of living, and sharing that wonder with his son.

The conflict they (and Jim Nightshade) must face will force them to pull together, reexamine themselves and each other, and ultimately break down the wall of reserve between father and son.

A personal note … like Will and Charles Halloway’s relationship, my growing-up wasn’t filled with warm, happy times with my father – huh, my dad’s name is Charles, too! That is, I was loved as a child, but my dad’s main expression of love was going to work every day, and taking a second job in the evenings to pay the bills. Of course, he threw balls and Frisbees with me, and I sat on his lap eating popcorn Sunday nights and watching Bonanza.

But although I was (and still is) the emotional show-off type, Dad was more reserved. It wasn’t until about college time for me that he began to show on the outside the love he had always held on the inside.

The first time I read Something Wicked was in the Spring of my Senior year in high school. Soon afterwards, I asked Dad into my bedroom to listen to Harry Chapin’s song “Cats in the Cradle.” As I turned the record off at the end of the song, I sensed that Dad was wondering why I wanted him to hear it. But I gave him a hug and said, “I just wanted to thank you for NOT being a dad like that!”
More meanderings tomorrow, my little graveyard rats, along with Bradbury’s OWN recounting of the inspiration of Something Wicked This Way Comes !

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Another Brad-Burial

If you love Halloween...

If you had a best friend as a kid but you grew apart...

If your relationship with your father was ever "love from a distance"...

If you grew up feeling that Halloween is the BEST holiday of the year ...

And if you believe in right and wrong, and that you should do your best to do right...

Then this is a book for you!

As the cover says, a long awaited major novel by Ray Bradbury. This is the cover of the paperback first printing. Pretty allegorical, huh? I'm assuming that the mirror-maze panel on the left symbolizes the evil "drinking damnation unto himself," or however the quotation runs. The panel on the right symbolizes the gamble that interaction with Cooger & Dark's carnival proves to be. The tall reflection in the middle may symbolize Jim Nightshade's desire to be "grown-up," too soon. Note the carnival's flyer blowing across the gambler's face.

The smartest thing this kid could possibly do would be to turn and run away, eh? But, I believe you can glimpse that this fellow has blond hair--his hair seems a light color. This means that he's Will Halloway, and in turn, this means that his friend Jim Nightshade has probably just run into that treacherous maze ahead of Will.

What other choice does Will have? He has to try to help his friend!
(more tomorrow, kiddies!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More Creepy Goodies Abound

Well, only one today, kiddies.

Some of you may not have heard of how horror comics from EC "borrowed" some of Ray Bradbury's stories without permission and printed them in their comic books.
That's just what happened! And, when Bradbury found out about it, did he scream and yell and threaten to sue? No, that's not what a gentleman would do.
What he did was, have a meeting with some editors at EC about their "accidental" omission of his story credit and payment. EC wised up real quick and actually worked out a deal for more stories, actually mentioning Bradbury's name as a blurb on several covers!
Now, that's a win-win situation, kiddies!
In 1965, the nice fantasy fiends at Ballantine Books collected Bradbury's EC tales and reprinted them in paperback (black & white, natch!) as "The Autumn People." Stories are:
There Was an Old Woman -- The Screaming Woman -- touch and Go -- The Small Assassin -- The Handler -- The Lake -- The Coffin -- Let's Play Poison.
PLUS ... A foreword by the brave Mr. B himself.
With art by "Ghastly" Engels, Davis, Crandall, et alia, this book was quite a find for youngsters such as ourselves in the way-back times.
Stay tuned for more Brad-Burials tomorrow!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Count Floyd Is a Genius

Ooh, very scary kiddies!
Our first image of Halloween madness is the world's first "instant paperback," produced in 1969 on the death of Boris Karloff (aka William Henry Pratt), the California truck driver and acting stand-in whose "interesting" face was noticed by Jack Pierce, the prima donna of Universal's makeup department, as an interesting face upon which to build the ghastliest monster yet attempted for the silver screen...
Frankenstein's Monster! Karloff died on February 2, 1969, and this book, an anthology of Famous Monsters of Filmland articles, reminiscences, and interviews, came out within a month.
Even more so than the monster craze started by FM and stoked by all the other film magazines; by Eerie, Creepy, and their ilk; more so than the tattered EC comics handed down from uncle or big brother; -- this book legitimized monsters to our parents.
"Junior, why don't you stop reading those monster rags, they'll rot your mind!"
"But mom, this is a serious book about the makings of a complicated movie, with make-up tips and everything! Look! IT'S A BOOK!"
"Well, then, if it's printed in a book ..."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

15 Years Later in STAR TREK

Compare this slick concoction with the Lincoln Enterprises photocopied/mimeo'd cataolg in a previous post. Evidently Paramount learned which side to butter the fannish bread.
This newsletter/update was sent out to fan clubs nationwide. Ever since the early 1970s, when the fan nerds began graduating from college and *gasp* earning a living, their newfound status as money-spenders gave weight to the growing chorus: We want STAR TREK! We want STAR TREK! We want STAR TREK!

Forgetting (if you don't mind) the Animated Series, the on-again, off-again status of the property frustrated fans to no end. So, when the contracts and stars were FINALLY all lined up in the right row, Paramount began stoking the greedy little hearts of fans worldwide with offerings such as this one.

And like a good husband discovering that his beatiful bride snores or laughs funny or .... , we sat there in the audience and took what came, because it was ....STAR TREK.
All original content
© by Mark Alfred