Featuring 65 Episodes! Entranced by magicians, comic strips, and science-fiction magazines, Ray Bradbury began "educating" himself at the Los Angeles Library three to five times a week. By twenty-seven years of age he "gra... more »duated," having written over several million words. In his early twenties, he supported himself by selling newspapers on street corners and writing for radio programs such as Suspense, Escape, CBS Radio Playhouse, and X Minus One. Bradbury has now written over one thousand short stories--400 of which have been published in such magazines as The New Yorker, The New Republican, The Saturday Evening Post, Amazing Stories, Colliers, Dime Detective and McCall's. He has also written for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and for Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone. And now, showcased in this 5 DVD set are some of Ray Bradbury's finest works.« less
The Complete Ray Bradbury Theater! Short Stories from the M
a reader | 01/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Finally, The Ray Bradbury Theater is back on DVD!!! This forgotten classic is a must for all anthology lovers (Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Amazing Stories).
The Show began on HBO and showcased some high profile names from the 1980s. It was moved to the USA Network and apparently thrived enough to have been on until the early 1990s. Personally, I think the show would have been better off if it would have stayed on HBO because the early episodes are a few minutes longer and being on a paid movie channel they attracted bigger names. Plus, the original opening to the show with Ray walking around his office was a lot more atmospheric and creepy than the later episodes on the USA Network.
Like all anthology shows there are some bad episodes. However, what I like about this show is that ALL of the 65 episodes were written by one of the greatest American writers of the 20th Century! True there are some sleepers and stinkers in the bunch, but in general this is a very entertaining show. Even the episodes that do fail, I think suffer more from ineffective special effects and/or lackluster acting and dialogue than from Mr. Bradbury's actual "ideas."
This box set is very affordable. Unfortunately, the re-mastering is mediocre in picture and sound quality and because there are like 13 episodes per disc, the episodes look pixilated during fast motion scenes which can be annoying! To top things off, the episodes aren't even in the order of which they aired and there is even misspelling of a title on the DVD menu! However, I'm just happy to have this show on DVD. I got it for a great price and provided like a month full of cheap entertainment. For my 2 cents worth, I would say "The Playground," "The Murderer," and "Tomorrow's Child" are the high-water mark episodes of this show. Down below I rate each episode.
My rating system goes like this:
Excellent ... is a classic episode
Acceptable ... is an enjoyable, but perhaps slightly flawed episode
Poor ... is a boring and/or weak episode
"Marionettes Inc." Acceptable "The Playground" Excellent (The ONE everyone remembers!!!) "The Crowd" Excellent "The Town were No One Got Off" Excellent "The Screaming woman" Excellent "Banshee" Excellent "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl" Excellent "Skelton" Poor "The Emissary" Acceptable ( It bugs me they have a girl playing a boy character!) "Gotcha!" Excellent (Starts off slow, but then becomes intensely scary!) "The Man Upstairs" Acceptable "Small Assassin" Poor "Punishment without Crime" Excellent "On the Orient, North" Poor (Zzzzzzz...) "The Coffin" Acceptable "Tyrannosaurus Rex" Poor "There was an Old Woman" Acceptable "And so Died Riabouchinska" Acceptable "The Dwarf" Acceptable "A Miracle of Rare Devices" Poor "The Lake" Excellent "The Wind" Acceptable "The Pedestrian" Poor "A Sound of Thunder" Excellent "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone" Excellent "The Haunting of the New" Poor "To the Chicago Abyss" Poor "Hail and Farewell" Excellent "The Veldt" Poor "Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!" Poor "Mars is Heaven" Excellent "The Murderer" Excellent (Both hilarious and thought provoking, my favorite episode) "Touched with Fire" Acceptable "The Black Ferris" Excellent (It's like a mini movie) "Usher II" Acceptable "Touch of Petulance" Acceptable "And the Moon be still as Bright" Acceptable "The Toynbee Convector" Excellent "Exorcism" Poor (Seems like a pilot for a bad TV show) "The Day it Rained Forever" Poor "The Long Years" Acceptable "Here there be Tygers" Acceptable "The Earthmen" Poor "Zero Hour" Excellent "Colonel Stonesteel and the "Desperate Empties" Poor "The Concrete Mixer" Acceptable "The Utterly Perfect Murder" Acceptable "Let's Play Poison" Poor "The Martian" Poor "The Lonely One" Excellent "The Happiness Machine" Acceptable "Tomorrow's Child" Excellent (A bizarre episode, Rod Serling would have been proud!) "The Handler" Acceptable "Great Wide World Over There" Acceptable "Fee Fie Foe Fum" Poor "The Anthem Sprinters" Poor "By the Numbers" Acceptable (A surprise ending, indeed) "The Long Rain" Excellent "The Dead Man" Excellent "Sun and Shadow" Acceptable "Silent Towns" Excellent (Very Funny) "Downwind from Gettysburg" Excellent "Some live like Lazarus" Acceptable "The Tombstone" Poor "
Brian Reaves | Anniston, AL USA | 03/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been waiting for a long time to see this series come to DVD. I remember watching it when I was a teen and loving it. Now, almost 20 years later, the show lives again on DVD! Some of Bradbury's best short stories are shown here, including "The Wind", "The Veldt", "The Town Where No One Ever Got Off", and "A Sound of Thunder" (being made into a feature film for this Summer). There are over 65 episodes here, which gives you an idea of the hits and misses you'll find. Not every episode is a gem (what series could ever say that anyway?), but most are great. Guest stars galore like Jeff Goldblum, Drew Barrymore, Peter O'Toole, William Shatner (in a REALLY creepy story called "The Playground"), and lots of others (remember, this was the 80's, and those were big names then). The special effects aren't necessarily anything to brag about, but the stories can keep you on the edge of your chair.
Unfortunately, the image transfer is horrible at times. The images blur when the camera moves, or pixellate at odd times. Some of the images look washed out. But keep in mind that this was probably made off of older masters, so you can't expect perfection. I'm just glad to see it finally made it to DVD so we can see it again in its entirety!. The shows range anywhere from 22 to 30 minutes.
If you're a fan of the Twilight Zone (of which Ray wrote a couple of episodes), then this is another great series to add to the collection (and at a good price for all the episodes). There are no extras at all in here, but I can live with that. Thanks for bringing it back for us!"
An excellent collected-works set
Michael Osborn | Seattle, WA USA | 01/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have always liked Ray Bradbury's mind. As a kid I read his stories in comic books and as a teen I read nearly all of his books. When the Ray Bradbury Theater was on the USA Channel in the 1990's I tried to never miss it. I don't understand why, but I guess I was one of the few people on the planet who had no difficulty in setting my VCR to record whatever I wanted to watch if I wasn't home to watch it. As a result I just happen to have a few miscellaneous episodes of the Ray Bradbury Theater around that I recorded fifteen years ago. The visual quality of the video tapes were nearly as good as the actual broadcasts. I was excited to learn that the entire run of 65 episodes of the Ray Bradbury Theater were released on DVD last year but after reading some of the disparaging revues railing its inferior quality, I refrained from buying it. Recently I bought a used copy on Amazon and I have been kicking myself ever since because the quality is better than my video tapes and I have been really loving watching the many episodes I have never seen. True they do not look as pretty as transfers of high-budget Hollywood fare of today but the originals were never filmed on 35mm and will always look like a TV show. If you like Ray Bradbury or if you enjoyed the show, you'll be glad you bought this set."
While Bradbury is great, this DVD transfer is a ripoff
A. Koehler | SF Bay area, CA | 12/24/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Huge ripoff, very shoddy image quality. I felt so burned. Video quality genuinely worse than a used eight-hour slow-speed EP VHS tape. The fault is NOT the source material. I have old VHS SP recordings of Bradbury Theatre off cable, and in direct comparison they're far better than the DVD, which tells you just how bad this whole set is.
A DVD normally carries 2 hours of material at decent video quality. Platinum Entertainment, however, chose extremely high video compression and crammed 13 half-hour episodes per disc, providing 6 hours at absolutely terrible video quality. When a vendor crams things on disc like this, they are choosing to be cutrate, saving them cost of extra discs and of course make a higher profit at the expense of your visual enjoyment. The rotten video here does not appear accidental but a deliberate quality choice. Shame on these people for taking advantage of Ray's name to sell garbage.
Just a few of many examples: In 'The Pedestrian' and many other episodes, many shots pixellate (break up into jagged blocks) into unwatchable versions. Lousy video in dark night-time scenes in 'Banshee', again bad video compression. In 'A Sound of Thunder', the spinning timesphere completely breaks up into huge blocky video chunks due to incompetent video processing. This did not have to happen. Professional video encoding DOES allow vendors to choose temporary better compression in scenes with fast moving objects for far better video quality, but Platinum did not. The discs look a lot like an amateur effort using consumer video encoding software instead of professional tools. Every video in the set is brutally flawed enough to make you cringe.
In retrospect, I should have gotten a clue from the package statement of "over 28 hours" on 5 discs to mean the material would look awful. I hope that someday Bradbury/Atlantis pulls the rights and someone else issues a better version. Until then, avoid this set and Platinum. I am pretty sure you will be sorry otherwise."
TV's last great anthology series
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 08/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first half dozen episodes of THE RAY BRADBURY THEATER were made in Canada for the HBO network. After that, the program moved to USA (another cable outfit) for an additional four seasons. Most impressive are the number of actors who participated in this sci fi/fantasy series, from the most famous (Shatner, Goldblum, O'Toole and Nielson) to stars of yesteryear (Linden, Stapleton, Pollard and Culp).
Scripts were reworked by the author himself, chosen from his archive of over 400 short stories. Twenty years earlier, Bradbury had written for ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, so he was already familiar with the challenges of the half-hour format. All 65 episodes of THE RAY BRADBURY THEATER are here for your discovery or re-enjoyment. They just don't make 'em like this anymore!
ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS - Season Three is hosted by the Master of Suspense himself. If you like Bradbury, you're gonna LOVE Hitchcock!
. The following program list includes episode numbers, titles, season, original airdates and their most prominent actors.
DISC 1: (_#3) The Crowd (S.1, 7/2/85) - David Hughes/Nick Mancuso/R.H. Thomson (_#1) Marionettes, Inc. (S.1, 5/21/85) - James Coco/Leslie Nielson (_#6) Banshee (S.1, 2/22/86) - Peter O'Toole/Michael Copeman/Jennifer Dale (_#2) The Playground (S.1, 6/4/85) - William Shatner/Steven Andrade (_#5) The Screaming Woman (S.1, 2/22/86) - Drew Barrymore/Mary Ann Coles (_#4) The Town Where No One Got Off - (S.1, 2/22/86) - Jeff Goldblum (#15) The Coffin (S.2, 5/7/88) - Dan O'Herlihy/Denholm Elliot/Clive Swift (#10) Gotcha! (S.2, 2/20/88) - Saul Rubinek/Michael Healy/James Kidnie (_#9) The Emissary (S.2, 2/13/88) - Helen Shaver/Eric Hebert (#11) The Man Upstairs (S.2, 3/5/88) - Féodor Atkine/Kate Hardie (#12) The Small Assassin (S.2, 4/9/88) - Cyril Cusack/Leigh Lawson (#14) On the Orient, North (S.2, 4/29/88) - Tim Holm/Ian Bannen (_#7) The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl (S.2, 1/23/88) - Robert Vaughn
DISC 2: (#16) Tyrannosaurus Rex (S.2, 5/14/88) - Cris Campion/Daniel Ceccaldi (#17) There Was an Old Woman (S.2, 5/21/88) - Roy Kinnear/Mary Morris (_#8) Skeleton (S.2, 2/6/88) - Eugene Levy/Diane D'Aquila/Peter Blais (#13) Punishment Without Crime (S.2, 4/16/88) - Donald Pleasence (#18) And So Died Riabouchinska (S.2, 5/28/88) - Alan Bates (#19) The Dwarf (S. 3, 7/7/89) - David Cameron/Megan Follows (#20) A Miracle of Rare Device (S.3, 7/14/98) - Pat Harrington Jr. (#21) The Lake (S.3, 7/21/89) - Jim Moriarty/Sylvia Rands/Tina Regtien (#26) The Haunting of the New (S.3, 9/15/89) - Suzannah York/Richard Comar (#27) To the Chicago Abyss (S.3, 9/22/89) - Harold Gould/Arne MacPherson (#29) The Veldt (S.3, 11/10/89) - Linda Kelsey/Malcolm Stewart/Damien Atkins (#30) Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar! (S.3, 11/17/89) - Marc Reid (#23) The Pedestrian (S.3, 8/4/89) - David Ogden Stiers/Grant Tilly
DISC 3: (#22) The Wind (S.3, 7/28/89) - Michael Sarrazin/Ann Pacey/Ray Henwood (#24) A Sound of Thunder (S.3, 8/11/89) - John Bach/Kiel Martin/Michael McLeod (#25) The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone (S.3, 8/18/89) - John Saxon/Alan Scarfe (#28) Hail and Farewell (S.3, 9/30/89) - Frank C. Turner/Christine MacInnis (#33) Touched With Fire (S.4, 8/3/90) - Eileen Brennan/Barry Morse/Joseph Shaw (#42) Here There Be Tygers (S.4, 11/30/90) - Timothy Bottoms/Peter J. Elliott (#36) Touch of Petulance (S.4, 10/12/90) - Eddie Albert/Jesse Collins (#34) The Black Ferris (S.4, 8/10/90) - Zachary Bennett/Nathaniel Moreau (#41) The Long Years (S.4, 11/16/90) - Robert Culp/George Touliatos/Jason Wolff (#39) Exorcism (S.4, 11/2/90) - Sally Kellerman/Jordan Singer/Bartley Bard (#31) Mars Is Heaven (S.4, 7/20/90) - Hal Linden/Paul Gross/Helen Moulder (#32) The Murderer (S.4, 7/27/90) - Bruce Weitz/Cedric Smith/Donna Akersten (#35) Usher II (S.4, 8/17/90) - Patrick Macnee/Desmond Kelly/Ian Mune/Alice Fraser
DISC 4: (#38) The Toynbee Convector (S.4, 10/26/90) - James Whitmore/Michael Hurst (#40) The Day It Rained Forever (S.4, 11/9/90) - Vincent Gardenia/Sheila Moore (#37) And the Moon Be Still As Bright (S.4, 10/19/90) - David Carradine (#43) The Earthmen (S.5, 1/3/92) - David Birney/Patricia Phillips/Ian Robison (#44) Zero Hour (S.5, 1/10/92) - Sally Kirkland/Kurtis Brown/Katharine Isabelle (#46) Colonel Stonesteel and the Desperate Empties (S.5, 1/24/92) - Harold Gould (#47) The Concrete Mixer (S.5, 1/31/92) - Harold Jerome/Ben Cross/John Gilbert (#45) The Jar (S.5, 1/17/92) - Paul Le Mat/Jennifer Dale/John Dee (#48) The Utterly Perfect Murder (S.5, 2/7/92) - Richard Kiley/Robert Clothier (#50) The Martian (S.5, 2/21/92) - John Vernon/Sheila Moore/Paul Clemens (#49) Let's Play Poison (S.5, 2/14/92) - Richard Benjamin/Shane Meier (#57) The Dead Man (S.6, 9/26/92) - Louise Fletcher/Peter McCauley/FRank Whitten (#52) The Happiness Machine (S.6, 7/17/92) - Elliott Gould/Mimi Kuzyk/Paul McIver
DISC 5: (#51) The Lonely One (S.6, 7/10/92) - Joanna Cassidy/Chic Littlewood (#56) The Long Rain (S.6, 9/19/92) - Marc Singer/Michael Hurst/Brian Sergent (#54) The Anthem Sprinters (S.6, 8/21/92) - Len Cariou/Karl Bradley/Maurice Keene (#63) Fee Fie Foe Fum (S.6, 10/28/92) - Jean Stapleton/Lucy Lawless/Robert Morelli (#60) Downwind From Gettsburg (S.6, 10/17/92) - Howard Hesseman/Robert Joy (#55) By the Numbers (S.6, 9/11/92) - Ray Sharkey/Geordie Johnson (#65) The Tombstone (S.6, 10/30/92) - Shelly Duvall/Desmond Kelly/Ron White (#53) Tomorrow's Child (S.6, 8/14/92) - Carol Kane/Michael Sarrazin/John Kerr (#59) Silent Towns (S.6, 10/10/92) - John Glover/Monica Parker (#61) Some Live Like Lazarus (S.6, 10/24/92) - Catherine Wolf/Leon Woods (#58) Sun and Shadow (S.6, 10/3/92) - Stuart Margolin/Gregory Sierra/John Bach (#64) Great Wide World Over There (S.6, 10/29/92) - Tyne Daly/Helen Moulder (#62) The Handler (S.6, 10/27/92) - Michael J.Pollard/Lee Grant/Henry Beckman"