Tuesday, 21 July 2015

ROCKET SUMMER

Thirty-nine years ago today, this cartoon appeared in the Los Angeles Times...


This edition of the daily Below Olympus pocket cartoon by Frank Interlandi (1924-2010) celebrated the fact that the previous day, 20 July 1976, had seen Viking 1 make history with NASA's first ever landing on Mars.

The presence on the otherwise deserted Martian landscape of a mailbox bearing the name RAY BRADBURY also celebrated the fact that the beloved science fantasy writer had established his idiosyncratic presence on Mars twenty-six years earlier with the publication of his acclaimed story collection, The Martian Chronicles.

Ray bought the original cartoon and told me once that it had given him considerable pleasure to know that he was so associated with space travel and, in particular, with the Red Planet that readers of the LA Times would instantly understand the significance of Interlandi's drawing: NASA had finally made it to Mars – but Bradbury was already there!

When much of Ray's estate went up for auction last year, I was able to purchase the original and give a new home to a unique piece of space exploration history and memorable Bradburyana...


7 comments:

Phil said...

Great to see that you are the new keeper of this artwork!

Brian Sibley said...

Thanks, Phil. It's always seemed to me the single finest tribute that a cartoonist could ever pay to the talent that wss Bradbury –– not only that, but I reminds me of the mailbox that used to stand outside 10265 Cheviot Drive...

Boll Weavil said...

I'd be happy to think that, as considered in the chapter of TMC, we get to live again somewhere else in the universe after earthly death. Perhaps its a genuine mailbox ! Wherever he lives now (and to his followers he's never really left)I'm sure he will be happy that this piece of history is talked about and valued by you - surely one of his most loyal and knowledgeable admirers.

Brian Sibley said...

I hope so, Boll... :)

Michael G. said...

Brian - what a nice tribute to Ray! Did he leave his papers and MS to a college, Library or other institution?

Brian Sibley said...

Yes, Michael, they are at The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

Anonymous said...

The Russians landed two craft on Mars in late 1971. The first one crashed, and the second one died after less than a minute on the surface - but they did at least arrive on the planet before the Americans' Vikings.