Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bradbury 13: The Veldt

When I wrote [the Veldt], it would have taken $100,000 to build that room. Even then with the technology we had you could not have done a very good job. Today, we can actually build that room, and make the darn thing work. –Ray Bradbury

This is week three of my Bradbury 13 radio drama episode spotlight. The Veldt was the third in the series to air, although the recent re-release of the series on audio {with new artwork, which I have so thoughtfully 'borrowed' for your viewing pleasure} puts them in a different order {I'll be going with the original order because that's just how it should be}. The short story it was adapted from was first published in the September 23, 1950 issue of The Saturday Evening Post and was called The World the Children Made. It was then published in the collection of short stories called The Illustrated Man in 1951 and the title was changed to The Veldt.

The Veldt
The lions were coming now, fifteen feet away. Then ten. Then five. They were so real that you could feel the prickling fur on your hand and the yellow of them was in your eyes like the yellow of an exquisite French tapestry and the sound of the matted lion lungs exhaling on the silent noon-tide and the smell of meat from the panting, dripping mouths.

My Rating: :bug eyes: :bug eyes: :bug eyes:
George and Lydia Hadley have everything they could possibly want; two kids, money, a beautiful home with the latest in technology including the newest thing; a playroom which can transform to any setting, indoors or out. But things at the Hadley's aren't as happy as they appear. The children, Peter and Wendy, begin spending a lot of time in playroom always setting it to the Veldt lands of Africa. However, George and Lydia find the veldt-in-the-playroom unhospitible, and begin to restrict the playroom hours. As the story unfolds, you have to stop and think. Do we really do our kids favors when we give them everything they want? When I think about my childhood, I think my parents did me a huge favor by not being rich. I learned the value of a dollar, the value of work, the value of sacrifice. It doesn't bother me that my house isn't the biggest on the block or that our cars are 14 and 15 years old. The things that matter most, Mr. Bug and the Little Bugs, are healthy and happy and we're together. Because I grew up without a lot of disposable income, my parents gave me something more valuable than material possessions. They gave me time and the fondest memories I have of growing up are those times we spent together. In a time where 'having it all' is high on the list of what makes someone a success, I hope that I can remember to give my kids a little bit more of my time.

By way of explanation, I have gave a three out of five for this episode because it is kind of dark. But if you remember, they all start out high on the scale of 'awesome,' so when you look at it like that, a 13 out of 10 really isn't a bad review, right?

Air Date:
April 16, 1984

Paul Frees

Ivan Crosland
Janet Swenson
Mark Alston
Jennifer Coleman
Neil Barth

Roger Hoffman
Greg Hansen

Production Assistant:
Patrick Mead

Associate Producer:
Jeff Raider

Created, Produced, Directed:
Mike McDonough

Executive Producer:
Dean Van Uitert

Audio Clip of The Veldt
Buy The Veldt mp3
Buy Bradbury 13 Audio CDs


Michelle said...

Excellent point regarding giving kids everything they want, or as adults aspiring to "have it all" materially. (That probably contributed to our economic meltdown.)

I often think of Paris Hilton, the little girl who had it all--except perhaps the attention of her parents. Yeah, she's rich, but I would not trade my life for hers. It is so empty.

Shay said...

I think we have become very much an instant gratification society. Nobody waits for anything anymore. I think we miss a lot of anticipation that way.

Jill said...

The kids in it are so cruel, too. I suppose growing up as I did, this one was hard for me to understand. I didn't know why the kids were so mean, and the ending confused me. I get it now. You get what you pay for and such. But I concur with you. I'm glad we were never rich.