The radio series Bradbury 13 consists of thirteen radio adaptations of Ray Bradbury stories. The series was released in both 1983 and 1984. Bradbury himself provided an introduction to each episode.
Heading for a night out to a show with her friends Helen and Francine, Lavinia suggests they take a shortcut through the ravine though a neighbour suggests they don’t go out as a strangler has been stalking women in the area. On the track, they find their friend Elizabeth dead but decide to continue with their planned outing. As the show starts, Helen begins to scream that a man is behind them but it turns out to be someone they know in passing. The show finishes, and Lavinia walks both Francine and then Helen home. Heading back out past the ravine, Lavinia hears foot steps and whistling, before seeing Officer Kennedy who offers to help her home. Suggesting she will be fine, Lavinia continues on with her journey but soon becomes more panicked as she sees a figure and hears foot steps. Making it all the way home, she gets inside and vows never to go out at night again. Beginning to calm down and rationalise, a foot step is heard and a man approaches her.
Night Call, Collect
It is 2097 and eight year old Emile Barton is sitting alone on Mars, listening to the sound of the wind outside. His telephone rings, for the first time in decades. The caller is revealed to be his younger self. The caller recollects nuclear war breaking out on Earth and everyone except Barton being called home, and how he connected places all over Mars to the telephone network and made recordings of his own voice onto tape. Heading out for a walk, Barton hears phones ringing over the town. Picking up, the caller continues to describe the loneliness of his years on Mars as older Barton’s heart begins to suffer under the stress. Barton sets off trying to destroy the telephone poles, but soon gives up due to the number of them. At home, he receives another call from a captain of a ship which has just landed on Mars. Barton sets off to meet the crew so they can conduct repairs, before leaving for Earth. Driving all night to reach the destination, Barton finds that he has been tricked by his own recording and there is no ship.
George and Lydia Hadley live in an automated house with their children Peter and Wendy. The automation helps them with all their everyday tasks. The children become fascinated with the newly installed “nursery” – a virtual reality room able to take them anywhere they want. As time goes by, the children become more absorbed by the simulation as the parents spend less time with them – before finding George has set the simulation to the African Veldt permanently. Coming to a breaking point, George calls a psychologist friend David to help them with their problem. David finds blood dripping down the walls and suggests the children have grown to hate their own parents due to their reliance on machines. During the night and with the nursery shut down, George and Lydia hear a lions roar and head to find the kids – running into the nursery. Peter and Wendy shut the door on their parents, locking it, as the lions begin to circle around them. The following morning, David arrives and finds the children having a picnic in the nursery with the lions eating in the distance.
There Was an Old Woman
An old woman, Matilda, encounters four men in her house who have brought a wicker casket. The woman makes tea however and sits down to tell a story while the men wait silently. She recalls a conversation with her father about not having children, her taking in of Emily and her decision not to get married for fear of her husband dying. As it is getting late, she begins to fall asleep. Awaking some time later, the men eventually leave, with the older woman believing she has beat death, but finds them struggling with the casket. Emily arrives at the house and becomes hysterical at Matilda saying that she is dead. Realising that the men came for her, Matilda and Emily head out to the mortuary with Matilda intending to reclaim her body. Confronting the mortuary staff, they are confused as to the situation and struggle to remove her from the premises. Threatening to haunt the funeral home, they agree to hand over the body. Matilda steps back into her body and is returned to the land of the living.
In orbit, the Trident 7 spacecraft is his by meteor debris and breaks apart, ejecting its crew into space. Six of the crew members survive the explosion and maintain radio communication with each other as they drift away. Crew member Applegate who does not get along with the captain becomes disobdient realising that there is nothing anyone can do to him. Stimpson becomes panic stricken, before he drifts toward Applegate who kills him to shut him up. The rest of the crew wish to remember good times of their life as the captain and Applegate continue their petty feud which involves a shared love they had on Earth. Coming around, Applegate realises he has spent too much time being angry at everyone, before dying as he drifts off in a meteor shower toward Mars. The rest of the crew remember their younger years before signing off to be left with their own thoughts. The captain wonders how he will be remembered as he drifts towards Earth where he will burn up in the atmosphere. Back on Earth, a child shouts for his mother as he sees a “falling star” who encourages him to make a wish.
Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed
Arriving on Mars in the face of atomic war on Earth, the United States send a number of families to establish themselves. The Bittering family include father Harry who isn’t keen on settling on the planet, though decides to give it a go knowing they can go back at any time when the supply ships arrive. The people and other life soon begin to undergo transformations, and are unable to leave the planet when news comes through that the rocket launch site has been destroyed. Harry begins to panic at being stuck and decides to attempt to build his own rocket. Harry’s wife Cora convinces him to spend some time with his family where he finds his son Tim has decided to change his name. A number of the townspeople decide to head up to the hills where there are marble ruins, and Harry decides to join them – delaying his rocket build. The people spend their time away from the town, and decide not to go back. Some time in the future, a man from Earth arrives to track down the people sent to Mars, but find the town abandoned and overgrown. They find native people in the hills, however fail to recognise them as the original colonists.
The Screaming Woman
Returning from the store, child Margaret Larry hears the noise of a screaming woman while crossing a vacant lot. Struggling to get her parents to listen to her, she takes to digging herself in an attempt to find the answer. Dippy, a passing friend also hears the noise and decides to help out. Mr Kelly, a neighbour passes and tells them he can’t hear any noises and to clear off the land. Margaret believes that Mr. Kelly killed his wife and decides to call the police, and when they arrive to speak to Mrs. Kelly, she appears at the door. Deciding to change angle, Margaret knocks on doors around the neighbourhood to see if anyone is missing. Arriving at Mr. Nesbitt’s house, he makes excuses for his missing wife before Margaret mentions the screaming she heard. Nesbitt manages to convince Margaret to stay claiming his wife will be back shortly. As night arrives, Margaret is allowed to leave and crosses the vacant lot where she hears weak singing. Running home to convince her father, she repeats the song and her father realises it was a song that was once wrote for him that Margaret couldn’t possible know. A group of people gather to rescue Mrs. Nesbitt and her life is saved.
A Sound of Thunder
While preparing dinner, Herb answers the phone to friend Allin who is panicked as winds are building near his home, though Herb tries to settle him. On getting off the phone, Herb faces his wife’s upset who is fed up with the constant calls from Allin. He tries to explain to her that Allin suffered through winds in various parts of the world on his travels which has affected him mentally. On Allin calling again, Herb can hear a strong wind battering the house over the line. Allin describes the wind as some kind of personality which is actively chasing and playing with him. With little option to help, Herb suggests he call him back in an hour and hangs up. While entertaining that evening, Herb receives another call from Allin who is more upset as the wind has now blown in his front wall forcing a retreat to the kitchen. Herb discusses the issue with his guests, and plans to talk to a psychologist while also planning to head out to Allin’s house. When the guests leave, Herb attempts to call again but finds the line is dead. Grabbing his coat to head out to Allin’s house, he hears a laughter. Believing Allin has come over, he finds nothing.
The Fox and The Forest
Here There Be Tygers
The Happiness Machine
Leo Auffman attempts to make a machine that makes people happy. Upon completing the machine, Lena complains that he has spent too much time on the project rather than spending time with his family – before collapsing on the floor from exhaustion. That night eldest son Saul is heard crying, but refuses to say what happened. The following day, Lena begins packing to leave after blaming Leo for upsetting their son. Leo convinces her to try the machine and they both head out to try it. Lena enters and hears nice music, is sprayed with perfume, and is shown pictures of various places. However, she soon begins to cry at which point Leo stops the machine. She remarks that the reason for crying is that the machine makes a person so happy, that they realise that they have to go back to normal life on the outside. Leo fails to believe it, and enters for a go himself. The machine however soon sets on fire, leading to his family having to pull him out. Lena however prevents Saul from calling the fire brigade until it was completely engulfed – ensuring its destruction.