Future Sci-Fi great Ray Bradbury looks fresh-faced (he was but 15 years old) and diva’s diva Dietrich, as ever, is just looking fierce when the pair were photographed together outside the gates of Paramount Pictures in 1935.
I tried to figure out how these two would have known each other. All I could find was an interview Bradbury did with Playboy in 1995 which might explain the circumstances of how they met:
Playboy: What brought you to Hollywood in the first place?
Bradbury: The Depression brought me here from Waukegan, Illinois. The majority of people in the country were unemployed. My dad had been jobless in Waukegan for at least two years when in 1934 he announced to my mom, my brother and me that it was time to head West. I had just turned 14 when we got to California with only 40 dollars, which paid for our rent and bought our food until he finally found a job making wire at a cable company for $14 a week. That meant I could stay in Los Angeles, which was great. I was thrilled.
Playboy: With what aspect of it?
Bradbury: I was madly in love with Hollywood. We lived about four blocks from the Uptown Theater, which was the flagship theater for MGM and Fox. I learned how to sneak in. There were previews almost every week. I’d roller-skate over there—I skated all over town, hell-bent on getting autographs from glamorous stars. It was glorious. I saw big MGM stars such as Norma Shearer, Laurel and Hardy, Ronald Coleman. Or I’d spend all day in front of Paramount or Columbia, then zoom over to the Brown Derby to watch the stars coming or going. I’d see Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich, Fred Allen, Burns and Allen—whoever was on the Coast. Mae West made her appearance—bodyguard in tow—every Friday night.
There’s also this snip from a 1991 LIFE interview:
I still have my autographs and a few roller skate ball bearings left over from those days so long ago. Almost all of the people I met then are gone, but miraculously Marlene and George have survived. The light that comes out of these pictures is a constant rerun of my life as a somewhat silly but always loving boy, terribly reluctant to enter manhood.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
A Writer’s Life: Ray Bradbury on writing and the importance of the subconscious