Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Odd Things One Learns in a Library

A while back at the library I was at work looking at our copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, one of my favourite novels. In the new afterword to the 1999 Avon Books hardcover edition of the book, Bradbury tells an interesting story. There he discusses his encounters with circuses and carnivals, both on film and in real life. Bradbury then mentions that he and his wife were invited by Gene Kelly to a showing of Invitation to the Dance. The carnvial sequence in the movie) struck a particular chord with Bradbury. He told his wife walking home from the film, "I'd give my right arm to write a screenplay for Gene Kelly." His wife told him she was certain that in his files he had something dealing with carnivals or circuses.

The two of them looked through his files and found an unfinished story entitled "The Black Ferris" that had been meant for The Dark Carnival (Bradbury's first anthology and his first book). Bradbury wrote an 80 page screenplay and sent it to Gene Kelly. Gene Kelly loved the screenplay and wanted to both produce and direct it. Unfortunately, he had difficulty getting backing for the project. Gene Kelly sent the script back to Bradbury. Bradbury then re-wrote the screenplay as a novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, which was published in 1962. Gene Kelly was then responsible for what many consider Ray Bradbury's greatest work!

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