Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book to Radio: The Martian Chronicles

Book to Radio: The Martian Chronicles
By Ray Bradbury
Dimension X radio broadcast
Radio play by Ernest Kinoy
Broadcast Date: August 18, 1950

This episode of Dimension X opens with Rocket Summer as a child watches in fascination as the first rocket takes off for Mars.

Ylla begins to have her dreams of men from the third planet coming to visit her. She begins to sing a song that she doesn’t know without knowing how or why. Ylla’s husband becomes increasingly disturbed with her prescience regarding the coming of the earthmen. He takes a weapon and waits for the earthmen. He deals with them. . .

The story then jumps to the fourth Martian expedition where astronaut Spender finds that Martians have all been dead about a week – dead of chicken pox. Spender eloquently quotes poem So, we’ll Go No More A-Roving as he predicts that men will defile Mars as they have defiled Earth with liquor and boorish behavior.

The men of Earth came to Mars for work, for adventure, for a fresh start – and they came in masses. We then revisit There Will Come Soft Rains. It is nearly identical to the earlier broadcast in the opening, but we get to meet the family. In this version, with atomic war inevitable, they decide to jump into their rocket and head for Mars. The house continues its duties in isolation. But instead of the family being dead in the war, they have evacuated to Mars.

The story then jumps to the Off Season as Sam Parker operates the only hot dog stand on Mars. Parker is looking forward to the new settlers filling their pockets when they observe the earth melt in a ball of atomic fire.

The people of Mars rush the Luggage Store and then head home, deserting the red planet. Shortly after they leave, our family who has evacuated their automated home arrive. They travel down the canal and arrive in a deserted Martian town. They proclaim themselves Martians.

In just 24 minutes, writer Ernest Kinoy introduced the masses to Ray Bradbury’s seminal work. It hardly scratches the surface and omits its most famous chapter – the doomed third voyage to Mars. Nonetheless, Kinoy uses his paltry 24 minutes to do a decent job in telling Bradbury’s story of the rise and fall of man’s civilization on Mars.

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