Written on May 6th, 2013
It was 1973 when I first heard Ray Bradbury speak. I was an impressionable young teenager living in Santa Barbara, California when he came to lecture at our public library. The next day I returned to the library, looked him up in Who’s Who and got the address to his office. I wrote him a letter, and embellished it with a drawing of a triceratops rendered in ball point pen. To my delight, the author replied that he loved my drawing and pinned my letter to his bulletin board. By virtue of persistent correspondence (I must have been more determined in those days), he agreed to meet me at a restaurant in the Miracle Mile district of Wilshire Blvd. We discussed his short story “Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!” (which I had just read) and ordered Portobello Mushroom sandwiches to compliment the conversation.
Years later, fresh out of art school, I got a summer job working at W.E.D. Enterprises (now Disney Imagineering) as an apprentice sculptor to the talented and gracious Blaine Gibson. At lunch on my first day I was standing alone in the line at the commissary when I saw Ray Bradbury ahead of me. He was consulting on a future-themed attraction for Disney World, Florida. I approached him and asked if he remembered me.
“Of course,” he exclaimed. “You’re the kid who sent me the drawing of the triceratops. I still have that on my office wall.”
During that summer we had lunch together every few weeks. Sometimes we were joined by Gordon Cooper, one of the se... [Read More]