Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bradbury 31, Day 27: "The Crowd"

"The Crowd" is one of the short stories Ray Bradbury wrote during his early "weird tales" phase, debuting in 1943. It's the story of how the same people always seem to appear in photographs of accidents and one man's growing belief that this is a supernatural phenomenon.

Throughout this month when comparing adaptations from radio to those of the TV show The Ray Bradbury Theater I've come down hard on the side of radio, finding the TV version inferior. Here's where I reverse that trend! In 1950 Ray Bradbury was hot thanks to the mainstream success of The Martian Chronicles. He had sold original stories such as The Screaming Woman and Riabouchinska to Suspense; now Suspense bought up one of his early tales. The problem was that while Suspense sometimes flirted with the supernatural, they seldom delved into full-on horror; seemingly-supernatural events on that program were frequently debunked by the half-hour's end. Thus, their version of "The Crowd" takes a story of the supernatural and makes it just another crime story. It's okay, but if you like the short story I doubt you'll flip for it; I certainly don't. Make up your own mind: here's a link to the episode at

But then in 1985 The Ray Bradbury Theater performed a faithful adaptation, which was always that program's particular strength. It sometimes muffed the endings to Bradbury's tales, but this episode featured good performances and didn't shy from the weirdness of Bradbury's tale; it's one of the good ones.

Another Halloween-ready Bradbury tale tomorrow!

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