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

VicSage

Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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