Friends, I have on occasion when writing for the site made a point of mentioning my love of the work of the legendary Ray Bradbury. However I have always found in many of Bradbury’s stories there is a deep sense of melancholy, now there are times when that is slightly obscured by something truly horrific, like in The Playground. Other stories though like with 1951’s “The Fog Horn” approach the sorrow with an sense of doom which results in a story that is all the more moving.
It was in 1951 that Bradbury’s “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” was first published in The Saturday Evening Post. Yes, the original title for the short story was indeed the same as the one used in the 1953 film. In fact there is some interesting trivia concerning that classic science fiction/horror movie and how Bradbury’s name became attached to it. As told by the author himself In the book entitled Master of the Majicks Vol. 2., Bradbury was quoted about a meeting he had with Hal Chester, the co-founder of Mutual Films who happened to be bankrolling the movie:
“Hal Chester called me in and asked me to read the preliminary script [at this point only a rough draft treatment]. I pointed out the resemblance between it and my short story The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, which had appeared in The Saturday Evening Post during 1951. Chester’s face paled and his jaw dropped when I told him his monster was my monster.”
Bradbury added that by the next day he had received a telegram, an offer to purchase the rights to the story for a rather staggering amount of two thousand dollars. A deal that Bradbury obviously accepted, with the film being able to now add the author’s name to the credits and use the title from the original short story!
Bradbury would alter the title of his popular short story to “The Fog Horn” in his 1953 short story collection, The Golden Apples of the Sun. I have to admit that I personally feel the new title was better than the original, in addition I can’t help but feel perhaps the name change was in the spirit of a nose tweaking.
“The Fog Horn” concerns two men stationed in a remote light house,named Johnny and McDunn. Johnny is a younger man and acts as the narrator for the events of the tale, describing the events of one evening when the mournful wailing sound of the fog horn summons something from the depths.
So dim the lights if you are able and prepare to learn about the mystery and tragedy of “The Fog Horn” – courtesy of Michael Hanson’s Mindwebs!
And if you are still jonesing for some more Ray Bradbury goodness, might I suggest you give a listen to the 14th episode of the Saturday Frights podcast? The subject is The Ray Bradbury Theater adaptation of “Usher II”.