Library Honors Ray Bradbury

Free Screening of “It Came From Outer Space” on October 18 at 7 p.m. and Development of Special Collection for its Bradbury Conference Room

PHOTO: PrSouth Pasadena Public Library | | Ray Bradbury
PHOTO: South Pasadena Public Library | | It Came From Outer Space

Written by Steve Fjeldsted

The 50s Sci Fi classic “It Came From Outer Space” will be screened on Thursday, October 18 at 7 p.m. in the South Pasadena Library Community Room. The remarkable, highly influential film, Ray Bradbury’s first, was released in the brand new 3-D technology to theaters in 1953. It stars Richard Carlson and Barbara Rush and was filmed in several Mojave Desert towns. The Library will be screening the flat, non 3-D version,’ but it will be projected onto a giant film festival type screen and professional sound equipment will be used. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the event which will also showcase a mini-exhibit of Bradbury-related artwork., courtesy of Ray’s friends and associates Robert Kerr, Dave Marchant, and John King Tarpinian who will also offer brief, insightful introductory remarks before the film that was released in 1953 when the iconic author had just burst into public adulation with his “The Martian Chronicles” and “Fahrenheit 451.”

The Library Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street. No tickets or reservations are necessary and refreshments will be served. An opportunity drawing for door prizes including Bradbury paperbacks and Mars and Milky Way candy bars will be conducted. The event is presented by the South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library with special thanks to 210eastsound, Videotheque, and Movie Licensing USA. For more information, please call 626 403-7350 or check

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Ray Bradbury passed away in 2012 in Los Angeles at age 91 leaving the products of his magical writing career that spanned more than 70 years and encompassed over 50 books and 600 short stories. It also included an incredible wealth of essays, poems, plays, articles, and screenplays. Ray was awarded the 2004 National Medal of Arts Lifetime Achievement Award, an Emmy, an Oscar, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was especially near and dear to South Pasadena where he and his plays were featured regularly at the Fremont Centre Theatre. Ray appeared twice for the South Pasadena Public Library, including for his 90th Birthday Celebration. Both Library events drew hundreds and many fans left with an autographed book purchased at the events.

Ray Bradbury was born and raised in in Waukegan, Illinois. In 1934 his family settled in Southern California. Upon graduation from Los Angeles High School in 1938, Ray’s formal education ended, but he continued his studies at the public library. He supported himself by selling newspapers and later by writing for pulp magazines. In 1952 Bradbury wrote his incomparable, “Fahrenheit 451” that soon became a blockbuster. It still retains a hallowed spot on the American consciousness and sells more than 50,000 copies per year.

“It Came from Outer Space” marked Bradbury’s initial foray into writing for movies. Ray wrote a story treatment entitled “The Meteor” and submitted it to Universal which hired him to expand it and he delivered a finished screenplay. According to Bradbury in his anthology “They Came from Outer Space,” he wrote it for the “grand sum of $3000.”

Amateur astronomer John Putnam and his fiancee Ellen Fields witness a blazing object streak across the sky that crashes in the desert. After investigating, John sees a spacecraft at the base of a formed crater that is buried before others arrive at the scene. No one will believe Putnam’s account, dismissing him as a nutcase. Suddenly, people in the community begin to disappear – only to turn up later as zombie-like creatures. As the townspeople begin to panic, Putnam makes contact with the ET visitors.

The success of “It Came from Outer Space,” Universal’s first 3-D film, led Bradbury to pen other screenplays, including “ Moby Dick” –co-written with John Huston and an Oscar®-winner in 1956, as well as film versions of his own works. The South Pasadena Library has screened many of these and has been continuously developing its Bradbury collection since his passing. It now consists of more than 100 checkout books and DVDs and the special ‘reference only’ collection for the Ray Bradbury Conference Room has received about 200 very special donations that are starting to appear in its locked cases.

Dave Marchant of Alhambra, a friend and associate of Bradbury’s, once a resident in South Pasadena, met the author at a library more than 20 years ago. Marchant was already an avid Sci Fi fan who knew and admired Forrest Ackerman and George Clayton Johnson. Dave had attended Cal State LA and was writing stories that eventually were inspired by Bradbury’s encouragement. Marchant at times “chauffeured” Bradbury to his appearances at bookstores and libraries, becoming a serious Bradbury collector in the process. Today, Dave Marchant is a frequent user of the South Pasadena Library and has donated more than 100 rare books, DVDs, audios, press kits, posters, and more to the library in honor his friend and mentor.

Free parking is available at the Mission-Meridian Parking Garage, located at 805 Meridian Avenue after noonadjacent to the Metro Gold Line Station, only one block from the Library .

Upon request made no later than four (4) business days before the event, the City will provide a reasonable accommodation for a qualified person with a disability to have equal access to the event. Please contact ADA Coordinator and Human Resources Manager, Mariam Lee Ko, at (626) 403-7312 or fill out the City’s request form available at and email the form to Human Resources

PHOTO: South Pasadena Public Library | | It Came From Outer Space