He’s been called Dr. Bones and Reptile Ray. Usually dressed in tattered “field-trip” clothes, Ray Bandar has been a fixture at the California Academy of Sciences and the beaches around the Bay Area for more than 50 years. “Ray Bandar: A Life with Skulls” captures Ray’s obsession for collecting skulls from local beaches, road kill, zoo animals and on field trips to Mexico, Australia and in the United States. This humorous movie investigates Bandar’s history as a skull collector, showing many of the thousands of skulls he has accumulated over the years, talking to Alkmene, his resilient wife, and touring the awe-inspiring Bone Palace.
Shown at numerous film festivals and on Season 3 and 4 of PBS’s Natural Heroes TV Series, Beth Cataldo’s 30-minute documentary with soundtrack by John Zorn celebrates this skull collector and his passion for living (and dead) things. Buy the John Zorn soundtrack. Or buy the deluxe disc for $15 with more than two hours of extra footage, including a tour of Ray’s house and his pursuit of a harbor porpoise skull.