Joe Mantegna (l) and Ray Bradbury (r). Photo courtesy South Pasadena Public Library

A free screening of Ray Bradbury’s “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit”, a 1998 film rated PG, will be presented in the Library Community Room on Thursday, June 23 at 7:00 p.m. The delightful comedy/fantasy/ drama, directed by Stuart Gordon, is set in East LA and features a stellar cast including Edward James Olmos (TV’s “Battlestar Galactica”, “Selena”); Esai Morales (“La Bamba”, TV’s “NYPD Blue“; and iconic television comedy pioneer Sid Caesar. Joe Mantegna, the star of the long-running, hit CBS TV show “Criminal Minds” also stars in the film that is itself as wonderful as a double-scooper on a hot summer day. The Film Night event is presented by the South Pasadena Public library, the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, and the South Pasadena Arts Council (SPARC).

Joe Mantegna will be on hand to introduce the film with a moving tribute to Ray Bradbury who played a major role in launching his professional acting career when he hired him for the theatrical version of “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” in Chicago in 1974. For the 1974 Chicago production of the play at the Organic Theatre in Chicago, Gordon, Mantegna, and Bradbury first worked together. Robert Kerr, from the Ray Bradbury Pandemonium Theatre Company, will offer his reminiscences of the two later theatrical runs of “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena, both with Ray Bradbury in attendance. Lissa Reynolds will share her reflections of the 5 years that the Pandemonium Theatre Company was the resident company at the Fremont Centre Theatre.

Most of director Stuart Gordon’s film work is in the horror genre, although he has also ventured into science fiction and film noir. He produced and directed the Sci-fi comedy “Space Truckers” starring Dennis Hopper in 1996. Gordon co-created “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” for Disney Studios and executive produced the sequel “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid”.

In 2014 Joe Mantegna received the Lifetime Achievement award from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for his dedication to the community and craft of acting. He currently stars as David Rossi on the CBS hit drama “Criminal Minds”, as well as hosting and producing duties on “Gun Stories” for the Outdoor Channel. For the last 24 years, Joe has been the voice of Fat Tony on the Fox series “The Simpsons”. Joe also lent his voice to Disney/Pixar’s 2011 smash hit “CARS2”. In April 2011 Joe received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next to his childhood idol Errol Flynn. In 2014 Joe Mantegna received the Lifetime Achievement award from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for his dedication to the community and craft of acting.

Ray Douglas Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on August 22, 1920. As an author, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, lecturer, poet and visionary, he will be forever known as one of America’s greatest creative geniuses. As an 11 year-old he started writing his stories on butcher paper and by 1934 the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles where he resided for the rest of his days. He attended Los Angeles High School and planned to become an actor until teachers encouraged him to continue working as a writer. His formal education ended with his high school graduation in 1938, but he continued educating himself in the library while spending long hours at the typewriter honing his skills.

Bradbury went on, of course, to a highly remarkable career and wrote more than 500 published works including short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, and verse. Best known are the perennial favorites, “Dandelion Wine”, “The Illustrated Man”, “The Halloween Tree”, and “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, and of course, “Fahrenheit 451.” Bradbury’s work won innumerable honors and awards, including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America and a special Lifetime Achievement Pulitzer Prize in 2007. Ray passed away in 2012, but his incredible body of work will forever exemplify one of the greatest contemporary American literary imaginations.

The Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and no tickets or reservations are necessary. Refreshments will be served. Special thanks to Friends of the Rialto Theatre, The Fremont Centre Theatre, David Marchant, John King Tarpinian, and the California Library Association.