At 10:20 PM on June 16, 1985, an avuncular chap named Ray Bradbury, sitting at his typewriter in a room overflowing with clutter, introduced the first of HBO's dramatizations of his off-kilter short stories. Strange Tales: Ray Bradbury Theatre is a videotaped collection of three of those stories (though not the first three telecast, as has sometimes been listed). "The Town Where No One Got Off" stars Jeff Goldblum in the tale of a murder scheme gone awry. "The Screaming Woman," previously (and somewhat clumsily) produced as a made-for-TV movie, stars Drew Barrymore as a little girl whose penchant for lies backfires when she hears the sound of a woman's screams emanating from under her feet. And "The Banshee" features Peter O'Toole and Charles Martin Smith in the story of a roguish old film director whose amorous past comes back to literally haunt him (it is said that Bradbury wrote this story to settle an old score with filmmaker John Huston). Strange Tales is so good that one wishes the rest of Ray Bradbury Theater had come up to its standards.
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