The Fog Horn - The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Retro Radio Memories: Ray Bradbury’s The Fog Horn

Morning, friends! I have on occasion when writing for the site, mentioned my love of Ray Bradbury. In particular his tales concerning the Autumn People and the spirit of the month of October. However I have always found in many of Bradbury’s works, a sense of melancholy. Now there are times when that is wrapped within something truly horrific, like in The Playground. Other stories though like 1951’s The Fog Horn present that melancholy as doomed and deeply moving. Between a prehistoric creature from the depths of the ocean and… well, the fog horn at a light house.

It was in 1951 that Bradbury’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms was first published in the Saturday Evening Post. Yes, the original title for the short story was indeed the basis for the 1953 film. In fact it appears that little bit of trivia depends on who you asked. I have seen some accounts stating that Ray Bradbury was visiting his friend, the legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen. On the set of a film that was intended to be entitled Monster from the Sea. Harryhausen supposedly asked his friend to look over the script, see if he could punch up the screenplay. Bradbury of course was surprised to find a scene in the screenplay that resembled events in The Fog Horn.
The Fog Horn - Ray Harryhausen

Another story behind how Ray Bradbury’s name became attached to the 1953 film, comes from the Author himself. In the book Ray Harryhausen – Master of the Majicks Vol. 2. Bradbury was quoted as saying about a meeting with Hal Chester, the co-founder of Mutual Films who were bankrolling the movie:
“Hal Chester called me in and asked me to read the preliminary script [at this point only a rough draft treatment]. I pointed out the resemblance between it and my short story The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, which had appeared in The Saturday Evening Post during 1951. Chester’s face paled and his jaw dropped when I told him his monster was my monster.”

Bradbury states that by the next day he had received a telegram, an offer to purchase the rights to the story. For a rather staggering two thousand dollars. A deal that Bradbury obviously accepted, with the film being able to add the Author’s name to the credits!

[Via] YouTube Movies

Ray Bradbury would alter the title of his popular short story to The Fog Horn in his 1953 short story collection, The Golden Apples of the Sun. I have to admit I certainly like the new title he gave the story even better than the original. Furthermore I can’t help but feel perhaps the name change, was a bit of good-natured nose tweaking.
The Fog Horn - Ray Bradbury

The short story concerns two men, stationed in a remote light house, named Johnny and McDunn. Johnny is a younger man and acts as the narrator for the events of the tale. When one evening as the mournful wailing sound of the fog horn summons something from the depths.
The Fog Horn - The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms - Light House

Are you ready to learn of The Fog Horn and the beast from the depths that answers it’s call?


If you are still in a mood for more Ray Bradbury after that. Might I humbly remind you that we’ve covered the likes of Usher II on the Saturday Frights Podcast?
saturday-frights-usher-2

Spaceship Earth

Witness The Firepower of Disney’s Spaceship Earth!

I believe that if you were to travel back in time to 1977. In an effort to interview the overjoyed and dazzled audiences that were leaving Star Wars. Then ask them to share what they felt was the most mind-blowing moment of the film. I am referring of course to moments that just made the audiences jaws drop.

In general I would be willing to wager that two moments from Star Wars would stand out. For the first time viewers I should add. The reveal of how large the Star Destroyer is as it chases down the Tantive IV.
star-destroyer-star-wars

Of course in the first film they went by Imperial Cruisers – it wasn’t until The Empire Strikes Back they earned the moniker of Star Destroyer. I would make the case that the second awe-inspiring moment was the introduction of the Death Star itself.
death-star-star-wars

Having said all of that and coming from someone who saw it in 1977. There was very little in Star Wars that didn’t make me want to constantly live in that universe. As a matter of fact I still love all things Star Wars and look forward to Rogue One as well.

Apparently that is a sentiment shared by the folks at Walt Disney World. As they’ve transformed Epcot’s Spaceship Earth into…the Death Star!
spaceship-earth-epcot-death-star-powering-up

An appropriate choice as the 18-story geodesic sphere naturally looks a little like that fearsome battle station. The design of course helped by the mind of Ray Bradbury, who also wrote the original storyline for the ride.
epcot-1982-06

Spaceship Earth

Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL Spaceship Earth -ahem – battle station!

[Via] Disney Parks

A very big thanks to Andrew Liszewski of io9 for the heads up on this transformation. I would very much like to be in attendance at Walt Disney World to see this demonstration myself. At the very least I can take comfort that Rogue One is only a mere week away from released to theaters!

Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree By Glen Brogan

Friends, you know what today is right? It is October 1st! That time of the year that we here at The Retroist do our best to embrace the Season. Like with The Halloween Tree illustration you see below by Glen Brogan, inspired by the 1972 Ray Bradbury story.
The Halloween Tree Pumpkin - The Disney Geek
The month of October has always meant a great deal to me – my absolute favorite time of the year. It signals the arrival of Bradbury’s Autumn People. Which is why on The Retroist our posts for this month turn to things eerie and spooky. Also sharing though our memories of the fun of the past that so often return during this Season.

TK421 Maul

Image courtesy of Glen Brogan and Strange Kids Club,

Image courtesy of Glen Brogan and Strange Kids Club,

Why start your first post of October with The Halloween Tree?


I chose that particular subject because the story itself sums up some of my feelings of the season the best.
“The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats.
Tom Skelton shivered. Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows’ Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells: gourds being cut, pies being baked.”

Why not take a moment to listen to Ray Bradbury himself discuss on how he came up with the idea for The Halloween Tree. The novel as well as the 1993 animated film by Mario Pilusio and featuring the voice of the late great Leonard Nimoy!

[Via] faroukabad

That wonderful illustration by Glen Brogan by the way was done for the Strange Kids Club. Sadly that was a couple of years back so I’m not sure if a print is still available for purchase.

Retro Radio Memories: Dark They Were, And Golden-Eyed (1983)

Due to a little technical issue…

…the normally scheduled Retro Radio Memories Podcast will be published tomorrow morning but thankfully that doesn’t mean we can’t share some glorious radio drama, right?

Ray Bradbury

In this case we have an episode of Bradbury 13 entitled Dark They Were, And Golden-Eyed which was originally broadcast back in 1983, with not just Ray Bradbury himself acting as the greeter for the show but the legendary Paul Frees (The Player, The Haunted Mansion) as narrator for the series’ 13 episodes. Appropriate number.

Paul Frees

Dark They Were, And Golden-Eyed originally saw pring in Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1949 under the title The Naming of the Names. Ten years later and the story would get a name change when it was included in A Medicine for Melancholy and again in the 1966 collection S Is For Space, which is where I first read the short story.

The synopsis revolves around the Bittering Family who have with many other Humans left behind the Earth to travel to Mars to help colonize the windswept red planet. The problem is that a little after setting up, Harry who is the head of the Family finds himself wishing they could uproot and return to Earth…that option is taken away however after they hear news of New York City being destroyed, a nuclear detonation taking with it the regular rocket shipments as well as the chance to leave. The settlers continue their task of terraforming the angry red planet…but then strange things begin to happen…the peaches and carrots they’ve planted have started mutating…their cow begins to grow a horn from it’s head..and to Harry’s horror he realizes that the Humans are starting to change as well.

So please join us for Retro Radio Memories and learn of the Bittering Family and how Dark They Were, And Golden-Eyed.

[Via] The Edge of Nightfall