Born in Waukegan, Illinois, in 1920, Ray Bradbury's formal education ended with his graduation from a Los Angeles high school in 1938. For several years after graduating from high school he earned money by selling newspapers on street corners in Los Angeles. Bradbury began writing at a young age, and in 1941 he sold his first science fiction short story. Bradbury became well known writing short stories that were published in science fiction magazines, and he won several awards for his science fiction short story writing. True fame for Bradbury, however, came with the publication in 1950 of The Martian Chronicles. His most widely read book is Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953. Bradbury had published hundreds of books and stories and has written for television, radio, theater, and film. He has won numerous awards for his fiction, and a crater on the moon was named after Dandelion Wine.
In "A Brief Afterword," Bradbury explains why Something Wicked This Way Comes is dedicated to Gene Kelly and describes how the book was written. Bradbury met Gene Kelly in 1950 and they became friends shortly thereafter. In 1955 Kelly invited Bradbury and his wife, Maggie, to a private screening of his "collection of musical dance numbers with no connecting plotline," Invitation to the Dance, at MGM studios. Bradbury and his wife walked home and along the way he told his wife that he desperately wanted to work with Kelly. She suggested that he go through his stories until he found something that would work, turn it into a screenplay, and send it to Gene Kelly. So Bradbury looked through many of his short stories and found The Black Ferris, a ten page story about two young boys and a carnival. For a little over a month he worked on the story and then gave Gene Kelly the eighty page outline of a script that he had created. Mr. Kelly called Bradbury the next day to tell him that he wanted to direct the movie and asked for permission to find financing in Paris and London. Although Bradbury gave his assent, Gene Kelly returned without a financer because no one wanted to make the movie. Bradbury took the partial screenplay, at the time titled Dark Carnival, and over the next five years turned it into the novel Something Wicked This Way Comes that was published in 1962. As Bradbury writes at the end of his afterword, the book is dedicated to Gene Kelly because if he had not invited Bradbury to that screening of his movie, then Something Wicked This May Comes may never have been written. When the book was published, Bradbury gave the first copy to Gene Kelly.