Here’s something unusual: a 1955 appearance by science-fiction author Ray Bradbury on Groucho Marx’s famous TV game show “You Bet Your Life”.
Stocky and hearty, the 35-year-old author is at this time already a successful writer, but not yet a famous one. He cites his accomplishments to Groucho: stories in the New Yorker, the screenplay to the recent film version of Moby Dick, a novel called Fahrenheit 451. Groucho Marx fails to come up with a great moment of improvisational banter with Ray Bradbury, settling for a weak bit about “rider” vs “writer”. Clearly, the show couldn’t be brilliant every night.
Ray Bradbury loses, ironically, on a literary question. Asked about an Olivia De Havilland movie in which she is disappointed by a shady suitor, Bradbury fails to name The Heiress but, as soon as he hears the title, mutters “Henry James”, realizing that this is the movie based on the James novel Washington Square. Points to Ray for knowing the reference, though he comes up with it too late.