Center for Ray Bradbury Studies

General Tour

Standing in the doorway of the Center, facing west. You walk into the room.

You are now facing the research section of the Center. This area houses our research archives, reference library and artifact gallery. Mounted on the west wall, facing you, are the first magazine printings of Ray Bradbury's stories and the lobby posters of the movies which were made from them. Most of the items were Bradbury's personal copies.

The ten, tall file cabinets against the north wall on your right were housed in the garage of his LA house. The contents are as he left them. In front of these are shorter filing cabinets that were in his Palm Springs weekend house.

To the south, or to your left, are bookshelves containing research copies of Bradbury's books in various editions and printings.

You take a few steps south.

The foreign editions you see in the shelves to your right, or to the west, include texts in Arabic, Russian, Tamil, Armenian, Chinese, Japanese, and Danish among others. To date we have five bookcases of foreign editions, and we receive new copies whenever new editions are released world-wide.

Along the wall to your left, or the east wall, are file cabinets containing research materials which include photo copies of Bradbury correspondence, typescripts and photo copies of various institutional and private collections. Directly to your left is a copy of the Challenger Memorial Poster signed by family members of the Challenger crew. Ray Bradbury was the keynote speaker at the Challenger Center for Space Science Education National Benefit on April 29, 1993.

Walking south, or straight, you will see our Genre Reference Library to your right. This library includes genre anthologies, sci-fi, fantasy, horror and detective books as well as iconographic (picture books) about genres.

We also have a section that contains approximately 1850 science fiction, fantasy, and other genre magazines including very rare pulp magazines issued from 1914 through the 1990s. These include over 1600 pulp magazines owned by Ray Bradbury, many of which contain stories written by him.

When you reach the far southeast corner of the room, you will begin to notice posters and artifacts from Disney. Ray Bradbury had over a 40 year association with Walt Disney and Walt Disney Enterprises. He was a creative consultant for Epcot/Disney World in 1982 and worked with Tim Delaney, head of the Disney Imagineers as well as Marty Sklar who designed and set up the Disney theme parks around the world, and Disney Executive, John Hench who designed attractions for Disneyland. You see John Hench on the left and Marty Sklar on the right in a picture with Ray Bradbury. Bradbury's concept of Spaceship Earth at Epcot included his narration for visitors. Dame Judi Dench voices the narration now, using a script evolved from Bradbury's original.

Turning right and moving along the south wall you see file cabinets containing over 10,000 original pieces of correspondence, and other papers, manuscripts, documents and publications that were in Bradbury's LA and Palm Springs homes, but never made it into his filing cabinets during this lifetime.

As you reach the far southwest corner and turn right, moving north, you will see a large table where researchers have papers and artifacts spread out. As you reach the filing cabinets from the beginning of the tour, you can look straight ahead at the north wall to see posters, artifacts, and objects associated with the Martian Chronicles and the American space program.

On the western side of the north wall is the 1979 NBC Martian Chronicle poster, and next to it are two composite landscapes of Mars taken by the Spirit rover (2006). To the right of these NASA images is an autographed print by American surrealist Robert Watson in blue; you can see the dust jacket for the 1958, 5th Edition of "The Martian Chronicles" just below it screened in red. Ray Bradbury loved the painting but said that for the book jacket, "it must be in red, Mars is the red planet." To the right of it, you see another Bradbury favorite of Watson's titled, "The Road to Jericho." Even though it is not about Mars, the Bradburys loved the picture.

On the end of the north wall, we have four objects that have come from, or have been in outer space. One of these is a "Mars" flag that went to the International Space Station aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2006. We also have a packet of seeds which were part of the SEEDS Project prepared by scientists from the Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Research Service. This packet orbited the Earth on the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) Satellite which was retrieved after six years by NASA. The packet of seeds was launched on the Space Shuttle Challenger on April 6, 1984 and returned to earth on Space Shuttle Columbia in January 1990. Both shuttles were lost with astronauts on board during latermissions, very sobering reminder.

To the right of the Mars flag is a picture of Ray Bradbury, Nichelle Nichols from Star Trek and Buzz Aldrin, second man to walk on the moon. The flag was presented to Ray Bradbury by Bruce Murray, planetary-scientist. Bradbury also received the 3-D plaque of the Valles Marineris, the "Grand Canyon" of Mars; it is almost four times larger than Earth's Grand Canyon (1860 miles long and 5 miles deep). One of the deepest parts of the canyon has been unofficially dubbed "The Bradbury Abyss."

You move east back towards the entrance to the center, and soon make a left, heading north towards the Bradbury museum. There are bookshelves to your right along the east wall. These bookshelves, both tall and short, contain Bradbury's author's copies of his own books, which he kept on shelves in the garage of his Los Angeles home.

Along this same east wall to your right you also see lateral file cabinets that contain Bradbury items; and above them starting on the far-right, or southern end of the wall, is an early Lunar orbital shot of "Copernicus Crater," one of the most prominent landmarks on the moon; the photograph was taken in 1965. To the left of that is NASA's Thermal Imaging Project for Mars. This image of the polar region of Mars was specifically targeted by Ray Bradbury during one of his visits to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Next to the left is JPL's thanks to Mr. Bradbury for inspiring and publicizing the 2006 landings of the "Spirit" and "Opportunity" rovers, which landed on opposite sides of Mars. This image which was taken by "Spirit" and was enlarged and given to Bradbury by Lead Geologist, Jim Rice in 2007; the photograph was signed by the whole JPL team. There is a group of rocks in the picture named by Jim Rice, "Martian Chronicles." Further to the left is a memento of the Viking landings In 1976; Vikings I and 2 were the first successful landers to touch down on Mars. These pictures show the landing sites and one of the first photos of the Martian surface. This composite memento was presented to Bradbury by NASA's Langley Research Center in appreciation for Ray Bradbury's participation on the NASA Panel, "Why Man Explores," which became a book. Explorer Jacques Cousteau and author James A. Michener were also on the Panel.

To the right above the filing cabinets you will see artwork by Doug Wildey, which was created for the 1972 Los Angeles graphic adaptation of a Martian Chronicles story-chapter titled "Mars is Heaven." The painting you see is an unused panel that falls between the two pages of the published adaptation.

As you look straight ahead you will see a door to the director's office. To the left of this door, on a western dividing wall, you will see a portrait of Bradbury with his French Order of Arts and Letters medal. In the glass case to the left of the director's office you see on the top shelf Bradbury with President and Mrs. George Bush accepting the National Medal of Arts award in November 2004.

On the next shelf down, in the middle of the case, is his Academy Award Nomination for Best Short Subject film titled, "Icarus Montgolfier Wright" from 1962 about the night before the first astronaut goes to the moon, and the dream he has about the "shoulders" he is standing on, (point to the "still" shots above Jon's office door), Icarus from mythology, who flew too close to the sun; the Montgolfier brothers who invented the hot air balloon in France in the 1780s and the Wright brothers' first powered and controlled flight in Kitty Hawk, NC in 1903.

Ray Bradbury earned two Emmy Awards, one for the screenplay of the "Halloween Tree" in 1993 on the second shelf on the right; and directly beneath that on the third shelf is one for the Documentary Presentation – "Infinite Horizons: Space after Apollo" in 1979.

On the second shelf on the left is his Pulitzer Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2007.

On the third shelf in the middle is the Peabody Award for Project Peacock/The Electric Grandmother awarded to him in 1982, and to the left of that is his Grammy Award Nomination for the Listening Library Recording for Bradbury's "F-451" Album in 1976.

These are just a few of the many awards he received over the years!

As you turn left to enter the recreation of Bradbury's office, (you are now on the other side of the wall where the filing cabinets were lined up) you will see photos of Ray Bradbury to the left, the largest of which was taken with good friend, Ray Harryhausen, inventer of stop-action filming. Another photo was taken with his wife, Maggie on a trip to Paris; and one with Maggie and John Huston taken in 1953 in Ireland when Bradbury was writing the script for "Moby Dick" with Gregory Peck. There is also a photo with Indianapolis son, Kurt Vonnegut; and ones with Bradbury and Vincent Gardenia and Edward James Olmos, and Joe Montegna a great friend who starred with Esai Morales and Olmos in the film adapted from Ray Bradbury's story, "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit."

Ray Bradbury Office

You now step forward to enter Bradbury's office.

We are now walking into a re-creation of Ray Bradbury's basement office which is within inches of the size of the office in his LA home.

All of the books on the shelves (which surround the southern, western, northern, and parts of the eastern wall) were his working library and the source of much of his education. He never went to college, as there just wasn't enough money. He was primarily self-taught. And, he was a voracious reader.

The blue desk at the northern end of the room (to your right) is the desk he used in later years. In the glass case on the top you can see one of the two IBM Wheelwriters he used, the other one is in the Library in his hometown of Waukegan, IL. On top of the desk is a picture of the desk in his basement office.

Along the top of and in front of the bookcases on the western wall is a model of the Nautilus from the motion picture "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" which was made and given to Bradbury by the Disney Imagineers. Also here is "Gerty," the dinosaur inspired by the "Gerty the Dinosaur" cartoons from the 1920's. We also have a "Moundshroud" mask from his story "The Halloween Tree" and we have a picture of Bradbury painting the Halloween Tree. Along the western wall, in front of you, is the wooden desk he used during the 1940's and 50's where he typed many of the stories that later appeared in "The Martian Chronicles" and "The Illustrated Man." On the desk is the paint box that he used to paint the "Halloween Tree" in 1960 (a copy of which is atop the letter boxes to your left).

We also have autographed pictures of George and Gracie Burns and Jean Harlow on top of the shelves in front of the paint set. Bradbury used to roller-skate to the movie studios and ask for film star autographs. He had over one thousand autographs from the most famous people in Hollywood. Many were kept by the Bradbury daughters.

To the left of the desk, on the shelf along the northern end of the western wall is a Mars globe that was created from pictures sent by the Mariner IX mission in November of 1971. Mariner IX was the first orbital mission to Mars. The Phoenix Lander near the North Pole has a digital copy of "The Martian Chronicles." Curiosity Lander landed in the Gale Crater in the summer of 2012 on what would have been Bradbury's 92nd birthday (he passed away on June 5, 2012). The NASA Curiosity Team named the place where they landed the "Ray Bradbury Landing Zone."

Next to the globe on the left is a photo taken of the Apollo 11 Astronauts: Neal Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin second man to walk on the moon and Michael Collins who was in the orbiter. The photo is autographed by Michael Collins. Ray Bradbury knew most of the astronauts. He was a favorite because many of them said they were inspired to go to space because of his stories. Col David Scott the Commander of Apollo 15 named "Dandelion" Crater in honor of Mr. Bradbury.

To the left of this picture you see the jar with the original contents that was used in the Alfred Hitchcock Hour's 1964 adaptation of Ray Bradbury's story, "The Jar." And next to the jar is a photo with Ray Bradbury, Pat Buttram who was in the show, and episode producer Norman Lloyd, who produced and directed a number of Bradbury adaptations for Hitchcock.

Also on this shelf, to the left, are other space awards. Two Space Shuttle commemorative models celebrate Bradbury's participation in programs supporting the American shuttle program during the 1980s and 1990s. The Moon casting is the 2010 Space Pioneer Award presented by the National Space Society; the tall rocket is the Thomas Ball Memorial Award from the Space Writers of America for his LIFE Magazine articles about the Apollo Program. There is a Russian award from the Russian Academy of Science. You can also see pictures of Ray Bradbury with famous people such as George Burns and Gracie Allen. When Bradbury was a high school student in 1934 and 1935, he persuaded Mr. Burns to let him and his friends Eddie Barrera and Don Harkins sit in and be their audience for their weekly radio show, which was broadcast as the Burns and Allen White Owl Cigar program on radio and subsequently on television for decades. The scripts would be tossed out after the shows and Ray Bradbury would take them home to study. He even wrote a couple of endings and gave them to Mr. Burns to use in the show, and George Burns actually used one of them. Ray Bradbury used to go to the studios and wait for the celebrities to come out and he would ask for autographs. He had a collection of over 1,000 autographs from some of the most famous people in Hollywood.

Finally, the table in the middle of the room, south of the desk, has a blue top. It was a working table Bradbury used to keep anything and everything on. His daughters said that they hadn't seen the top of the table since the mid 1960's.

This concludes the Bradbury Center Tour.