I interviewed Ray Bradbury at his knick knack-filled home in 2010, where he spoke about his writing, among other random things, like dating Bo Derek.
At the time, I was co-producing a tech segment for Southern California Public Radio. And I'd recently seen a beautiful adaptation of Bradbury's musical Wisdom 2116. It was about an older couple, married forty years, who gift each other an android of their flawless younger selves. But finally, they get sick of the perfection and decide to grow old together as humans, flaws and all.
It was a classic Bradbury tale, made contemporary by the music and set. You can see a clip of the play here.
Bradbury had one of those big personalities where it's hard to tell fact from fiction, and I found it didn't matter much where the line blurred, because his stories had the feeling of legend anyway. He said he wrote Fahrenheit 451 in nine days in the basement of UCLA.
At 32, he had no money for an office. But he was wondering around UCLA when he heard typing in the library basement. It was ten cents a half hour to use the UCLA typewriter. So he got a bag of dimes, moved into the basement, and emerged with Fahrenheit 451 nine days later.
Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal, who featured a clip from our Bradbury interview, counted up the dimes and figured just how many it took to write Fahrenheit 451. Ryssdal says "nine dollars and eighty cents worth of dimes is what that book cost."
Though Bradbury was 89 when we met him, he still had a lot of energy as he spoke about his life many years before. He said the 80's sex symbol Bo Derek was one of his "great loves." He claimed she was his girlfriend thirty years ago in the South of France.
"You can't top that can you?"
No, I sure can't.
Watch the video below, or listen to the radio piece here here (Bradbury interview starts at 4:20).