Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bradbury 31, Day 26: "Zero Hour"

As with yesterday's entry, we have a story in which adults are betrayed by their own brood. Ray Bradbury's "Zero Hour" was printed first in 1947 at the dawn of the Cold War and I can only imagine it must have been a reflection of the anxieties of the time. In this story, Martian invaders gather intelligence and aid in their invasion from Earth children; the children's scheming is believed to be mere playing by their unconcerned parents until the titular Zero Hour arrives.

It's been adapted to radio a few times - on Dimension X in 1950 as a double-feature with "There Will Come Soft Rains" (listen to it at here), on Escape in 1953 (listen to it at here) and on Suspense in 1955 (listen to it at here). They're all very good, but I feel the Dimension X version hits the climax with the most force.

In 1953, Al Feldstein and Jack Kamen adapted the tale for EC Comics and did a pretty great job. In 1992 it was adapted for television's Ray Bradbury Theater, but I can't really recommend this version. The acting is not only inferior compared to the radio versions, it's just not very good, full stop. The terrifying climax is particularly underwhelming, considering the potency of the radio adaptations.

More horror from Bradbury tomorrow!

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