Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

In tribute here is the poignant conclusion to Ray Bradbury’s 1965 “Machine-Tooled Happyland“:

No beatniks here. No Cool people with Cool faces pretending not to care, thus swindling themselves out of life or any chance for life.

Disneyland causes you to care all over again. You feel it is that first day in the spring of that special year when you discovered you were really alive. You return to those morns in childhood when you woke and lay in bed and thought, eyes shut, “Yes, sir, the guys will be here any sec. A pebble will tap the window, a dirt clod will horse-thump the roof, a yell will shake the treehouse slats.”

And then you woke fully and the rock did bang the roof and the yell shook the sky and your tennis shoes picked you up and ran you out of the house into living.

Disneyland is all that. I’m heading there now. Race you?

Nearly half a century later Bradbury remembered his joyous Holiday piece with matched enthusiasm. The following recently appeared on the Ray Bradbury forum:

I discovered this a few weeks ago…and read it to Mr B as part of my regular readings to him. He was so excited to hear it, and laughed at several parts of the essay, nodding his head and saying, “yes – I remember!”

“THE MACHINE-TOOLED HAPPYLAND” by Ray Bradbury – October 1965

The wondrous devices of Disneyland take on startling importance in the mind of a science fiction seer

Two thousand years back, people entering Grecian temples dropped coins into machinery that then clanked forth holy water.

It is a long way from that first slot machine to the “miracles of rare device” created by Walt Disney for his kingdom, Disneyland. When Walt Whitman wrote, “I sing the Body Electric,” helittle knew he was guessing the motto of our robot-dominated society. I believe Disney’s influence will be felt centuries from today. I say that Disney and Disneyland can be prime movers of our age.

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