What’s not to like about October? Candy corn, Halloween, crisp cool air, leaves turned and dropped to the ground. The crunching noise of dried dead leaves. Wind whistling through the bare leaves. Darkness comes early.
At this time of year, my thoughts always turn to the landscape of change and to that imaginer of the strange, who wrote eloquent prose to ignite the imagination. I am talking about Ray Bradbury and his great body of literary work. Several occasions he spoke of meeting carnival folk in Illinois and one such person, a magician, befriended him. At some point this conjurer pointed a finger at him and announced, "You will live forever." It has been some time since his passing, but legend Ray Bradbury (Uncle Ray to us hardcore fans) is still very much alive to us.
I crack open my beat up paperback copy of October Country. (One day I will own Dark Carnival but that is another post.) Those of us who are blessed by being born in October really believe the book is for us and about us. We are the October's children. Stories I am recalling as I write this are bringing tears to my eyes. They are tears, though tears of happiness, because these stories--though creepy, strange and horrifying--bring me joy. The language of his prose had the power to place me into the mind of his main characters. Running through his landscape of autumn. October with its vibrancy of color and desolation; intensity then death. October and Ray Bradbury, and you can’t have one without the other. Both are magic.
A bit of fun and levity with Ray Bradbury on Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life. Ray holds his own with Groucho, the master of the quick wit. Leticia, his partner, holds her own as well.
Pop culture is loving the 80s and so are we, since everyone is bingeing on Stranger Things. Thus I offer you The Ray Bradbury Theater. A great series perfect for October bingeing.
First, I have picked "The Coffin" with Denholm Elliott (who played Marcus from Raiders of the Lost Ark). He is no slouch in the horror realm either since he also made appearances in Vault of Horror and The House that Dripped Blood. Also in this episode is Dan O'Herlihy, known for his part in RoboCop...though I know him best as Halloween III: Season of the Witch's Conal Cochran. (People of this site and listeners to the Weekend Justice podcast know all too well my love of H:III) This episode is a tale of sibling rivals. It has Robots!
And then another is "Banshee" with Peter O'Toole and Charles Martin Smith. It's Peter O'Toole. So enough said. This story is based upon Ray's time in Ireland, along with his dealings with John Houston and a very large script.
Enjoy your colorful candy corn-coated October.