Bradbury’s short story “The Rocket Man” from The Illustrated Man inspired the hit song of the same name. Lyricist Bernie Taupin said he was so enthralled by the way the story portrayed the work of the astronauts as an everyday job that he “took the idea and ran with it”. His songwriting partner, Elton John apparently loved the lyrics and the tune came quickly.
Bradbury had a life-long love for Halloween. Even after his kids grew older and no longer thought it was cool to go trick-or-treating, Bradbury still dressed up for the holiday and enjoyed trick-or-treating all the same. He even owned a number of Halloween ties.
In 1932, Bradbury received a toy dial typewriter for Christmas. Five years later, he bought his first real typewriter for $10. Despite his forecasts of some of the great technological developments of the 20th and 21st centuries, the typewriter remained one of the few innovations Bradbury was really comfortable with.
Bradbury’s writing life was sparked by an encounter with a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of Electrico’s performance, he reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched him with his energy-charged sword, and commanded, “Live Forever!” Bradbury later said, “I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.”
In February 1924, Bradbury saw his first film at age three, when his mother took him to see Lon Chaney in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Two years later, he was back to see the actor’s next release, The Phantom of the Opera, twice: once with his mother and again with his brother, Skip. These pictures began his lifelong love affair with cinema. He often watched the same movie multiple times. His favorite Hollywood films came from almost every genre—King Kong, Citizen Kane, Singin’ in the Rain, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. What’s more, many of his books were turned into movies.
Bradbury’s family ignited his love for reading at an early age. When he was four, his parents taught him how to read newspaper comics. A year later, on Christmas day, his aunt gave him his first book of fairytales. The writer-to-be didn’t go to college, but when he graduated from high school he went to the local library for ten years, two or three days a week. Bradbury said he had graduated from the library. Bradbury first met Marguerite “Maggie” McClure, the woman who was to become his wife, in downtown L.A.’s Fowler Brothers bookstore, where she worked as a clerk.