...sounds like a very dismal town where the population is probably very cranky and mean.

But "The Town Where No One Got Off" that I'm referring to is the fourth episode of the first season of The Ray Bradbury Theater anthology that first aired back in 1985 on HBO. I didn't have cable growing up, so I only got around to watching this series when I first got the DVD set around five years ago. I watched most of the episodes right away, then intended to rip everything to my HTPC, but am only getting around to it tonight as I'm getting in the mood to revisit the show.

Each episode begins with Ray Bradbury walking into his house of evil, er, office, and providing the same introduction about how he gets his inspiration:

People ask, "Where do you get your ideas?" Well, right here. All this is my Martian landscape. Somewhere in this room is an African veldt. Just beyond perhaps is a small Illinois town where I grew up. I'm surrounded on every side by my magician's toyshop. I'll never starve here. I just look around, find what I need, and begin. I'm Ray Bradbury, and this is... The Ray Bradbury Theater." Well then, right now, what shall it be? Out of all this, what do I choose to make a story? I never know where the next one will take me. And the trip? Exactly one-half imagination, exactly one-half terror.


At this point I don't remember a lot about the episodes, except that many of them could have easily been mixed in with the 1980s reboot of The Twilight Zone (I rewatched the "A Little Peace and Quiet" episode last night where the mother uses an enchanted necklace to stop time and a Russian nuclear missile in mid-flight — an image that haunted me when I first saw it as a kid).

I do remember a bit about "The Playground," the episode that starred William Shat-diddly-daddler-atner. The video quality isn't really much better than what you see in the YouTube video I've linked to. The story itself I think was a bit sad, but also a bit boring, to be honest. You'd think I'd remember at least one example that I liked a bit more, but you'll have to trust me that they exist.

From what I remember, the video quality is a bit uneven, going from good VHS quality to poor VHS quality. There's 5 discs, each with fourteen episodes ranging from 23 to 28 minutes, so I have to imagine there's a good bit of compression, too. I haven't seen a remastered set or anything considered to be higher quality since, but the set I have is very watchable from a video quality standpoint, plus it was fairly inexpensive.


Due to looking pretty dated and the overall lower video quality, this series might be hard for some people to get into that didn't grow up around the time it first aired, but it might still be worth checking out for a Bradbury fan of any age who's itching to see more of his stories brought to life, even if on the little screen.