"By the breaking of our hearts, someone loved now departs."
Ray Bradbury passed away on June 5th, at the age of 91. He was an honorary member of the Magic Castle for his contributions to the art, which are without equal. He was not a magician in the sense we are, but we will never surpass the wonder he conjured for his millions of adoring fans now and the millions more to come.
Neil Gaiman has written an obituary (which you can read here) it takes an imagination like Neil’s to adequately express the genius that was Ray Bradbury. Given that task I can only stumble back to the cave of shadows with the reality I saw through Bradbury’s words, and hope the others can read. However, there is one story I can tell that forever links our art with his:
In 1932, a twelve year old Ray Bradbury wandered the midway of a traveling carnival. The ubiquitous melange of variety performers who appeared before him would eventually populate many of the his stories, but one in particular would be the catalyst of it all, and he was magician. The magician called himself “Mr. Electrico.” Not to be confused with Marvin Roy (Mr. Electric), we know almost nothing about this performer. He appears to have been a carnival magician who presented magic tricks using static charge, glowing arcs and other wonders relatively new to a public still in the dark about the science behind electricity. The young Ray Bradbury found a “good seat” in the front row—one where he would be close at hand should the magician need the assistance of a spectator. And sure enough, to his unimaginable joy Ray was chosen to participate in the show. Mr. Electrico approached as sparks jumped from his finger tips and grabbed the boy’s hand, delivering a mild shock. Then the magician looked into Bradbury’s eyes and exclaimed, “Live forever!” And he did.