His fame was first established with short stories and novels. Then came movies, television, even stints creating the scenario for the U.S. Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair and the concept around which the Spaceship Earth was constructed for Disney World's Epcot Center.
Of all his many projects, which one gives him (or gave him) the greatest joy. His answer--"Live theater"--is swift and unequivocal. "It's a magic act," Bradbury explains. "You are there, every performance. The director is off in the wings, praying. It's you out there with the actors--your words, your ideas, your sleight-of-hand, connecting with the audience. Even if sometimes you fail, it's still wonderful. But when you bring off the trick, it's the greatest feeling in the world."
Drama, musical theater and poetry have been a part of Bradbury's life since he appeared in a Christmas operetta at age 12. He then moved into radio, reading comic strips to kiddies on Saturday nights. He began writing for the stage in high school, and went to work with Laraine Day's little theater group in the Mormon Church when he was 20. Living in Los Angeles, Bradbury naturally attracted the attention of filmmakers. After working on story ideas and treatments for such movies as The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms and It Came from Outer Space, he was finally tapped by master director John Huston to come to Ireland and write the screenplay for Huston's film of Moby Dick. The whale put Bradbury on the map in Hollywood, and he went on to give us such other delights as Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Illustrated Man. (Farenheit 451 became a film directed by Truffaut).
Back in 1964, Bradbury founded The Pandemonium Theatre. The troupe has produced many of his plays, including Falling Upward, a comedy about the author's often-traumatic time in Ireland with Huston. "Every so often," he reminisces, "I would say to my wife, Maggie, 'we seem to have too much money.' So she would open the window and I would throw some money out and produce a play." Among other works, The Pandemonium produced Bradbury's The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, which was later adapted as a musical with Jose Feliciano and, this year, became a Disney movie.