Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Star Bright (XMIN)

An astoundingly "bright" child rocks her "tweener" father's world by proving she can time-travel.

This is a great little story in the nature of John Wyndham's Chocky. It appeared in Galaxy magazine, July 1952.

X Minus One #46
Star Bright
10 Apr 1956
William Quinn, Billy Harris, Kate Wilkinson, Lawson Zerbe, Mark Clifton (author), Ralph Bell, Sarah Fussell

Sam, This is You (XMIN)

A telephone lineman with a complicated girlfriend gets a call ... from himself ... from the future! 

This one is really funny. The idea itself isn't all that inspired, but it's clever and the script is gold. Between the fantastic voice talents and great one-liners, this is one will have you chuckling. The story appeared in Galaxy, May 1955.

X Minus One #73
Sam, This is You
31 Oct 1956
Murray Leinster (author), Larry Haines, Pat Hosley, Ernest Kinoy (adaptor), Daniel Sutter (director), Fred Collins (announcer), William Welch (producer)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Gun for Dinosaur (XMIN)

A big-game hunter takes an unlikely pair on a time safari to bag some prehistoric trophies. One hunter is a blustering brute, the other a thoughtful lightweight. The guide discovers that bravery can come in all shapes and sizes.

This story is an obvious and uninspired rip-off of Ray Bradbury's A Sound of Thunder (Collier's, June 1952). A Gun for Dinosaur was first published in the March 1956 issue of Galaxy magazine. It is rife with plot holes and time paradoxes. I can only recommend it to fans of dinosaurs and time-travel stories.

X Minus One #41
A Gun for Dinosaur
7 Mar 1956
Alistair Duncan, Wendell Holmes, John Gibson, Donald Buka, Warren Parker, Alan Hewitt, L. Sprague de Camp (author), Fred Collins (announcer), Ernest Kinoy (adaptor), Daniel Sutter (director), William Welch (producer)

C-Chute (XMIN)

Earth is involved in an interstellar war with the Chlorons, a slang term for chlorine-breathing aliens. When the Chloros capture a homeward bound earth ship, the passengers are locked in an after-cabin and scheme about ways to get out or get even. Their plan focuses on an unlikely hero.

Favorite line: "And there was myself, John Stewart. I was the only one who had ever had contact with the Chloro-people. I had a pair of arti-plasm hands to prove it!" (So dramatic!)

This one has a kind of 12 Angry Men or  Great Escape charm to it. That is to say, it features a bunch of sweaty guys trapped in a room with tempers running hot.

X Minus One #37
8 Feb 1956
Bob Hastings, Dan Ocko, Isaac Asimov (author), John Gibson, Lyle Sudrow, Mercer McLeod, Stan Early, George Lefferts (adaptor), William Welch (producer), Daniel Sutter (director), Bill McCord (announcer)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Some Shipments of Mute Fate (ESCP + SUSP)

This post is for old time radio nerds. I took a classic script, A Shipment of Mute Fate, that was produced multiple times with different casts to give you an idea just how different the same story can be when different talents and time limits get involved.

If you just want to do a fast ompare, listen to two key segments of each episode. The first is at the beginning of each show (starting at about 1:00) where the narrator character (Chris Warner) walks up the gangplank and meets Mother Willis, then walks in to Captain Wood's office to discuss shipping the deadly Bushmaster. The second is the fight at the end (between 17 and 24 minutes into the show).

Listen for the following:
  • The three main characters - their tone and apparent age.
  • The sound fx - in the first segment it will be ambient harbor sounds, in the second it will be the cat and the snake's strikes.
  • The narrator during the fight - the relative tenseness and rapidity of his delivery.
Some of the narrators are a bit too nonchalant for me (cough ... John Lund ... cough), as if they are working at being a 'cool' or trendy voice rather than thinking about how the character would be feeling at that moment in the story. And the sound effects. I'm not sure any of the cats sound realistic to me, but some are definitely better than others. As the years go on, it seems the effects proliferate. The harbor noises in the later episodes are certainly more notable than those in the earliest. 

Note that time difference on the second segment! It usually comes around 23:00 but the Jack Webb episode is missing a bit of audio in the middle and Suspense scripts were condensed. The program times are listed in chronological order below (years in parenthesis) to illustrate how scripts were shortened to increase commercial time. This, of course, affects the story quite a bit, since the 1960 production is two-thirds as long as the 1948 program.

24:31 (1947)
29:14 (1948)
29:31 (1949)
29:30 (1950)
23:47 (1957)
20:42 (1960)

Escape #10
A Shipment of Mute Fate
15 Oct 1947
AUDIO PROBLEM AT 13:12 - Unfortunately right at a key moment in the story. William N. Robson (producer, director), Martin Storm (author), Les Crutchfield (script), Jack Webb (Chris Warner), Raymond Lawrence (Captain Wood), D.J. Thompson (Mother Willis), Cy Feuer (music conceiver, conductor) - verified

Escape #34
A Shipment of Mute Fate
28 Mar 1948
Norman Macdonnell (director), Martin Storm (author), Les Crutchfield (script), Harry Bartell (Chris Warner), Berry Kroeger (Captain Wood), Peggy Weber (Mother Willis), Don Diamond, Sarah Selby, Frank Gerstle, David Light (effects), Wilbur Hatch (music) - verified

Escape #60
A Shipment of Mute Fate
13 Mar 1949
Norman Macdonnell (director), Martin Storm (author), Les Crutchfield (script), John Lund (Chris Warner), Berry Kroeger (Captain Wood), Lois Corbett (Mother Willis), David Ellis, Don Diamond, Vivi Janis, Earl Kean & Gus Beys (effects), Lief Stevens (conductor) - verified

Escape #118
A Shipment of Mute Fate
7 Jul 1950
William N. Robson (producer, director), Martin Storm (author), Les Crutchfield (script), David Ellis (Chris Warner), William Conrad (Captain Wood), Sarah Selby (Mother Willis), David Light (Clara the cat), Verna Felton, Ted de Corsia, Harry Bartell, Paul Frees, Ivan Ditmars (music) - verified

Suspense #680
A Shipment of Mute Fate
6 Jan 1957
Jack Kelly (Chris Warner) - verified (all other credits clipped)

Suspense #847
A Shipment of Mute Fate
3 Apr 1960
Martin Storm (author), Les Crutchfield (script), Bernard Grant (Chris Warner), Inga Swenson (Mother Willis), Ralph Bell, Bob Dryden, Frank Thomas Jr., Frank Milano - verified

Lachesis Muta, immortalized on a stamp

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lochinvar (GUNS)

Frank Craig has come back to town for his girl, Artis Nash. Problem is, she is set to marry Ben Martin in two days. When it comes to lovers' triangles, Matt finds it hard to figure out where to point his gun.

Gunsmoke #26
17 Oct 1952
Barney Phillips, Clancey Cassell (announcer), Georgia Ellis, Herb Ellis, Howard McNear, Les Crutchfield (writer), Parley Baer, Tom Tully, Vivi Janis, William Conrad

Dodge City 1874

The Lynching (GUNS)

Billy Saxton was lynched by the vengeful brother of the man Billy supposedly shot. Marshall Dillon needs evidence to convict the head of the lynching party and prevent vigilante justice from getting a foothold in Dodge.

Gunsmoke #17
The Lynching
16 Aug 1952
Georgia Ellis, Howard McNear, Joan Danton, John Dehner, John Meston (writer), Lee Millar Jr., Parley Baer, Paul Dubov, Ralph Moody, Tom Tully, William Conrad

Pile of Bison Skulls Outside Dodge City, 1870s

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Thing on the Fourble Board (QPLS)

Two men working an isolated derrick encounter something from the depths of the earth.

This show is considered by most to be the best in the series and by many to be among the best (and weirdest) of all old time radio. I don't know if I can agree with that sentiment entirely, but it is a very interesting and strange show, and should be part of any old time radio enthusiast's experience.

Quiet Please #60
The Thing on the Fourble Board
9 Aug 1948
Wyllis Cooper (writer/director), Ernest Chapell (announcer), Dan Sutter (Billy Grimwald), Pat O'Malley (Ted), Cecil Roy (the thing), Albert Burman (music), Albert Averill? (sound)

Oil Derrick built in 1948 near Luduc, Alberta, Canada

Evening Primrose (ESCP)

A poet renounces the world and hits upon a brilliant plan for writing without interruptions or the need to go out into the world to pick up necessities. He will take up residence in a department store, writing at night and hiding during the day. The flaw in his plan is certainly something he could not have predicted!

Oh man, I love this show for so many reasons. It's creepy. It's hilarious. (There are a half-dozen "throwaway" lines that make me chuckle every time.) The voice talents are fantastic. And, frankly, I think we have all had this notion of what it would be like to be inside a big store after closing.

Escape #13
Evening Primrose
5 Nov 1947
Pat Lowery, Elliott Lewis, Paul Frees, John Collier (author), William N. Robson (producer, director), John Dunkel (adaptor)

Elliott Lewis

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Headless Dead (DRKF)

An organist visits a chapel in the Tower of London where his skepticism is challenged by the ghosts who rest uneasy beneath the floor.

Dark Fantasy is, generally speaking, an awful series. At one time I listened to the entire catalog hoping for more gems like this one, but there were few to be found. The Headless Dead is a straight-up ghost story of a fairly high caliber and it seems well-suited to radio because of the organ playing and the weird Latin chanting.

Dark Fantasy #10
The Headless Dead
23 Jan 1942
Ben Morris, Eleanor Naylor Corin, Fred Wayne, Garland Moss, Murillo Scofield, Scott Bishop (writer), Tom Paxton (announcer)

Nothing Behind the Door (QPLS)

A trio of bank robbers look to hide their ill-gotten gains in a shed atop Mount Wilson, on the grounds of an astronomical observatory. To their horror, they discover why the shed is protected by a barbed wire fence forbidding the public to pass it "under severe penalty."

This is the first show in the thoughtful horror series, Quiet Please. The audio has an awful rhythmic static in it, but once you learn to tune it out the show is well worth your time.

By the way, there is an observatory atop Mount Wilson even today. You can see it using Google Maps. I'm not sure which shed has "nothing behind the door" though. :)

Quiet Please #1
Nothing Behind the Door
8 Jun 1947
Wyllis Cooper (writer/director), Ernest Chappell (announcer), Martin Lawrence, Pat O'Malley, Jean Peratzo? (music)

Wyllis Cooper

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Thing from the Sea (DRKF)

A boat is stranded in the ocean and a woman aboard is having strange dreams, dreams that seem to connect her to a woman from a species of merfolk that have been dead for centuries. Things only get weirder from there. Suddenly the boat begins to move on its own accord and there is a strange apparition at the helm.

This show has the best worst-dialogue-ever. Very campy. In fact, this may be the show that causes you to start ignoring my blog completely. Ha ha. There are shades of Call of Cthulhu and The Moon Pool in this one, I think. Something about lost civilizations always hooks me in, no matter how corny.

Dark Fantasy #3
The Thing From the Sea
28 Nov 1941
Scott Bishop (creator, author), Tom Paxton (announcer)

Meteor Man a.k.a. The Hungry Ones (LOUT)

A couple having a romantic evening under some "shooting stars" find a fragment of a meteorite that puts a damper on their evening!

If you love cheesy horror, this one is for you. But it's more than just cheesy fun. I listened to it at night the first time and I can tell you it creeped me the hell out.

And guess what? I have the perfect picture (and story) to go with this show. From my upstairs shower I can see out over a bit of canyon. Everyday as I would take a shower I would see this rock in the canyon "staring" at me with its creepy face. At first I laughed about it, but then it started to annoy me. I marked its position in my mind carefully before going out into the canyon. I figured it would look quite different from the ground level and the "face" would not be obvious. Boy was I wrong! I saw it as soon as I got within 100 paces. And here it is... (below)

Lights Out #12
Meteor Man a.k.a. The Hungry Ones
22 Dec 1942
Arch Oboler (host), Frank Martin (announcer)

"Come closer ... closer ... "

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Knock (DIMX)

The last man on Earth sat in a room; there was a knock on the door.

Aliens invade and put the last living man and woman in a zoo. They fail, however, to realize that humans are not immortal.

A clever show. A little too clever. The voice talents are great and there is some good humor in the script, but there are also some places where credibility is stretched too thin. The thinnest point, in my opinion, is something you also see in other science fiction stories of the period, which is the idea that one man and one woman could repopulate the species, Adam and Eve style. (See The Stars are the Styx  and Honeymoon in Hell from X Minus One).

Despite these flaws, the show is still very entertaining. I love the literal-minded "George" and how the protagonist outsmarts the aliens.

Dimension X #5
6 May 1950
Norman Rose (host), Bob Warren (anouncer), Edward King (director), Albert Buhrman (music), Bill Chambers (engineer), Arnold Moss, Luis Van Rooten, Joan Alexander, Frederic Brown (author), Ernest Kinoy (adaptor), Van Woodward (producer)

Luis Van Rooten

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Case of the Beautiful Archer (NANW)

The beautiful daughter of a well-known sculptor has apparently murdered her would-be fiancee.

Like most of the Nero Wolfe radio plays, this one hangs on the great characters and voice talents. The plot barely holds together but is more interesting than most in the series. Also, Archie pulls a jerk move and Nero takes a ride in a car (again).

The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe #6
The Case of the Beautiful Archer
24 Nov 1950
Sydney Greenstreet, Lawrence Dobkin, GeGe Pearson, Theodore Von Eltz, Don Stanley (announcer), William Johnstone, Peter Leeds, Jay Novello, Rex Stout (creator)

Larry Dobkin

The Midnight Ride (NANW)

The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe
16 Mar 1951
The Midnight Ride
Don Stanley (announcer), Edwin Fadiman (executive producer?), Grace Lenard, Harry Bartell, Howard McNear, J. Donald Wilson (producer, director), Jay Novello, Jeanne Bates, John Edison (writer), Peter Leeds, Rex Stout (author, Chairman Of The Writer's War Board), Sydney Greenstreet, William Johnstone

Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe's dentist are kidnapped and nearly killed on the trail of the elusive "Gloria." A home disc recording provides the vital clue. Once again, Nero takes a ride in a car. This is supposedly a rare event but it's one of those exceptions that seems more frequent than it is because of its notability.

Howard McNear (better known to classic TV watchers as Mayberry's barber, Floyd) plays the dentist.

Howard McNear

Monday, January 13, 2014

Donovan's Brain (SUSP)

An obsessive scientist discards ethics to keep a man's brain alive in a jar ... and he is determined to communicate with it. The result is creepy and disastrous. "Sure, sure sure. Sure, sure, sure."

Suspense #92
Donovan's Brain, Part 1
18 May 1944
Sponsored by: Roma Wines.
Orson Welles, William Spier (producer, director), Curt Siodmak (author), Hans Conried, Jerry Hausner, John McIntire, Jeanette Nolan, Joseph Kearns ("The Man In Black"), Robert L. Richards (adaptor), Frank Martin (commercial spokesman), Lucien Moraweck (composer), Lud Gluskin (conductor)

Suspense #93
Donovan's Brain, Part 2
25 May 1944
Sponsored by: Roma Wines. This was the first "Suspense" two part story and the last appearance of Orson Welles on the program. Orson Welles, William Spier (producer, director), Curt Siodmak (author), Hans Conried, Jerry Hausner, John McIntire, Jeanette Nolan, Joseph Kearns ("The Man In Black"), Robert L. Richards (adaptor), Frank Martin (commercial spoeksman), Lucien Moraweck (composer), Lud Gluskin (conductor)

The Dunwich Horror (SUSP)

In the isolated village of Dunwich, Wilbur Whateley is born: the hideous son of an unstable albino mother and an unknown father. Wilbur matures at an abnormal rate and is tutored in witchcraft by his sorcerer grandfather, who vows that Wilbur will one day be heard calling out his father's name.

This is one of the only (maybe the only) real adaptation of Lovecraft's fiction in vintage radio. (Black Mass featured some readings of Lovecraft in the 60's and there have been some more modern radio dramas devoted to his work.) I think this one is pretty well done, given the 30-minute time constraint, but if you haven't read the story before listening you will likely find it confusing. Wikipedia provides a passable plot summary.

Suspense #165
The Dunwich Horror
1 November 1945
William Spier (adaptor, producer, editor, director), Ronald Colman, H. P. Lovecraft (author), William Johnstone, Elliott Lewis, Joseph Kearns (announcer), Lucien Moraweck (composer), Lud Gluskin (conductor)

H. P. Lovecraft

Sunday, January 12, 2014

They Told Me You Were Dead (HGWT)

Paladin's love during the war, whom he believed dead, wires him to ask for help recovering her son from the Indians.

Great script for a 60 minute show. In 30 minutes, the resolution is severely rushed.

Have Gun, Will Travel #71
They Told Me You Were Dead
27 Mar 1960
John Dehner, Ben Wright, Virginia Gregg, Lou Krugman, James Nusser, Lillian Buyeff, Bartlett Robinson, Ralph Moody, Sam Rolfe (creator), Herb Meadow (creator), Hugh Douglas (announcer), Frank Paris (producer, director), Tom Hanley (writer, sound effects), Bill James (sound effects)

Virginia Gregg

Winchester Quarantine (HGWT)

Have Gun, Will Travel #14
22 Feb 1959
Winchester Quarantine
Sponsored by: Fitch Shampoo, Lysol, Rambler. John Dehner, Ben Wright, Lawrence Dobkin, Harry Bartell, Lillian Buyeff, Joseph Kearns, Barney Phillips, Edgar Barrier, Hugh Douglas (announcer), Norman Macdonnell (producer, director), Herb Meadow (creator, writer), Ann Doud (adaptor), Sam Rolfe (creator), Bill James (sound effects), Tom Hanley (sound effects)

Joe Whitehorse, a mission Indian, is trying to make a go at ranching but has diseased cattle. To add to his troubles, racist local ranchers want him out.

Don't miss the very clever Lysol commercial, titled "I Was A Teenage Germ."

The script was used on the Have Gun, Will Travel television show on October 5, 1957.

John Dehner

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Shipment of Mute Fate (ESCP)

A suspenseful story about a deadly snake loose on a passenger liner.

Forget snakes on a plane! This is the real deal.

Escape #34
A Shipment of Mute Fate
28 Mar 1948
Norman Macdonnell (director), Les Crutchfield (script), Martin Storm (writer), Harry Bartell (Chris Warner), Berry Kroeger (Captain Wood), Peggy Weber (Mother Willis), Don Diamond, Sarah Selby, Frank Gerstle, David Light (FX), Wilbur Hatch (music)

Harry Bartell

Papa Benjamin (ESCP)

A New Orleans band leader walks into a police station and confesses to murdering Papa Benjamin, a local voodoo priest. But why?

This is a great episode with some wild music. Fair warning, there is a fair amount of racism highlighted in the episode. When "Eddie" confesses, the cops ask him if he killed a white man. Eddie explains "No, a Negro." The officers seem ready to dismiss the murder with a "Well now, here in New Orleans..."

* The announcer for the version that aired Jan 21 attributes the music to Feuer and the announcer for the Jan 24 airing credits Dunstedter. I suspect Feuer is correct. He was a regular writer/conductor of music and Dunstedter was a regular organist on Escape.

Escape #24
Papa Benjamin
21 Jan 1948
William N. Robson (producer), Norman Macdonnell (director), Cornell Woolrich (writer, billed as William Irish), John Dunkel (script), Frank Lovejoy (Eddie Block), Luis Van Rooten (Papa Benjamin), Harry Bartell (police commissioner), Joan Banks (Judy), Cey Feuer (music), Eddie Dunstedter (music). Verified.

Frank Lovejoy

Friday, January 10, 2014

To the Future (DIMX)

Refugees from a war-ravaged future escape via time-machine to 20th century Mexico. A clever employee of the future totalitarian state follows and tries to recapture them.

I love this story. The fear in it is palpable and while the horrors of the future are only hinted at, they seem very real because of the characters' fear.

Dimension X #8
To the Future
27 May 1950
Don Abbott (engineer), Van Woodward (producer), Ray Bradbury (author), John Larkin, Jan Miner, Ernest Kinoy (adaptor), Albert Buhrman (music), Edward King (director), Norman Rose (host), Bob Warren (announcer), Guy Repp, Peter Capell, Staats Cotsworth

Ray Bradbury

Report On The Barnhouse Effect (DIMX)

A professor discovers how to unlock the powers of the mind and struggles to use his "psychodynamism" to force peace on the superpowers.

People often forget that Kurt Vonnegut Jr. began his career writing science fiction. Vonnegut himself hated being pigeonholed as an SF author and spent much of his middle career trying to shed that appelation. This is far from the best story in the Dimension X lineup, but it has it's moments and it does make you wonder, what if ... What if telepathy were real and what if Vonnegut had embraced SF?

Dimension X #3
Report On The Barnhouse Effect
22 April 1950
William Quinn, Edwin Jerome, Karl Weber, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (author), Norman Rose (host), Clarice A. Ross (adaptor), Van Woodward (producer), Edward King (director), Bob Warren (announcer), Santos Ortega, Bob Hastings, Bryna Raeburn, Bill Chambers (engineer), Albert Buhrman (music)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Killer Cards (NANW)

Nero is called in to monitor a poker game that will decide which one of the current co-owners of a club will become its sole owner. When he refuses, he is instead called upon to solve the resulting murder.

New Adventures of Nero Wolfe #13
The Killer Cards
12 Jan 1951
Sydney Greenstreet, Rex Stout (creator), Gerald Mohr, William Johnstone, Don Stanley (announcer), Edwin Fadiman (producer), Betty Lou Gerson, Jay Novello, Howard McNear, Barney Phillips

Bendix 526C 1946

The Tell-Tale Ribbon (NANW)

An odd note and five hundred dollars leads to a case of poisoning in a very strange household. 

New Adventures of Nero Wolfe #23
The Tell-Tale Ribbon
30 Mar 1951
Sydney Greenstreet, Harry Bartell, Rex Stout (creator), John Edison (writer), J. Donald Wilson (producer, director), Theodore Von Eltz, Don Stanley (announcer), Victor Rodman, William Johnstone, Jeanne Bates, Irene Winston, Jerry Hausner

Fada 1000 Bullet 1940's

The Phantom Fingers (NANW)

Nero and Archie are trapped in a remote house by inclement weather with several individuals, one of whom has to be a killer. However, the prints taken from the murder weapon don't match any of theirs. 

New Adventures of Nero Wolfe #15
The Phantom Fingers
26 Jan 1951
Rex Stout (creator), Sydney Greenstreet, Howard McNear, Tim Graham, Eddie Fields, Don Stanley (announcer), Gerald Mohr, Edwin Fadiman (producer), J. Donald Wilson (producer, director), GeGe Pearson.

Fada 1000 Bullet 1940's

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Voyages of Sinbad (ESCP)

Sinbad escapes from "The Cave Of The Dead," only to become a prisoner of "The Old Man Of The Sea."

This is a pretty good adaptation of two stories from the Sinbad the Sailor cycle in One Thousand and One Nights. 

Escape #186
The Voyages of Sinbad
7 June 1953
Roy Rowan (announcer), Ted de Corsia, Parley Baer, Amanda Blake, Georgia Ellis, Ben Wright, Joseph Kearns, Whitfield Connor, Larry Thor, Herb Butterfield, Antony Ellis (adaptor, director), Kurt Martell, Leith Stevens (conductor)

Illustration by J. D. Batten from 
Fairy Tales from the Arabian Nights, J. M. Dent & Co. (1893)

The Brute (ESCP)

A new ship in a family's merchant fleet earns a reputation for killing its crew, one man ... or woman ... at a time.

This is an excellent sea tale by Joseph Conrad. (Yes, the same guy that wrote Heart of Darkness.) It first appeared in The Daily Chronicle, December 1906.

Escape #36
The Brute
11 Apr 1948
Joseph Conrad (author), Dan O'Herlihy, Wilms Herbert, Parley Baer, Les Crutchfield (adaptor), Norman Macdonnell (director)

Joseph Conrad

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Shakespeare Folio (AMNW)

Linus the chauffer buys a book to sit on, since the springs in the seat of his ancient cab have given out. Suddenly he and his passenger, Archie, find themselves the target of a hit-and-run. Upon escaping and arriving at Nero Wolfe's place, they discover the book has a fake cover and hides a Shakespeare First Folio.

Corny and thick-headed in places, but full of action and a fun listen.

Amazing Nero Wolfe #? (concluding episode to series)
The Shakespeare Folio
15 Dec 1946
Sponsored by Jergen's Lotion, Francis X. Bushman, Elliott Lewis, Rex Stout (creator)

A for-real Shakespeare First Folio. 
You'll have to imagine the Spinoza cover.

Hare and Hounds (BX13)

Dan must think on his feet as a frame-up forces him to be the hare to a bunch of hounds.

Box Thirteen #28
Hare and Hounds
27 Feb 1949
Alan Ladd, Sylvia Picker, Rudy Schrager (composer, conductor), Vern Carstensen (production supervisor)

Fada 652 "Temple" 1940's

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Count of Monte Cristo (LXRT)

A man wrongfully imprisoned for conspiracy as a Bonapartist escapes and seeks revenge on the trio of men who put him away.

This is one of my all-time favorite stories, but it doesn't really work as a 60 minute radio program. (The book is over a thousand pages!)

Lux Radio Theatre #205
The Count Of Monte Cristo
6 Feb 1939
Sponsored by: Lux. Alton Cook, the New York World Telegram radio critic, is the intermission guest. He presents an award to the show from the poll of radio editors as "Best Dramatic Program." Robert Montgomery, Josephine Hutchinson, Lewis Stone, Paul Lukas, Cecil B. DeMille, Lloyd Nolan, Alexandre Dumas (author), Alton Cook (intermission guest), Barry Drew, Melville Ruick (announcer), Sidney Blackmer, Victor Rodman, Walter Byron, Charles Fletcher (stage adaptor), Frank Nelson (triples, program opening announcer), Wright Kramer, Joe Franz (doubles), Perry Ivins (doubles), John Fee, Rolfe Sedan (doubles), Lou Merrill (triples), Raoul DeLeon , Stanley Schewd, Paul Bryer, Gaughan Burke, Ross Forrester, Maryon Aye, Caroline Frasher (commercial spokesman), Jane Morgan (commercial spokesman), Marilyn Stuart (commercial spokesman), Lorraine Edwards (commercial spokesman), Frank Woodruff (director), George Wells (adaptor), Charlie Forsyth (sound effects)

Robert Montgomery

Casablanca (LXRT)

Rickie and Victor love the same woman, and she loves them both in return. Which one has the right to take her out of the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca?

Ala Ladd's attempt at Bogart leaves much to be desired, but a great story is a great story. This one feels particularly well-suited for radio.

The Lux Radio Theater #423
24 Jan 1944
Sponsored by: Lux. Alan Ladd, Cecil B. DeMille, Charlie Lung, Edgar Barrier, Ernest Whitman, Jay Novello, Norman Field, Rene Gacaire, Ed Emerson, Charles Seel, Leo Cleary, Doris Singleton (commercial spokesman: as "Libby"), Richard Howell (commercial spokesman), Paula Winslowe (commercial spokesman), Dorothy Lovett (commercial spokesman), Julius J. Epstein (screenwriter), Philip G. Epstein (screenwriter), Howard Koch (screenwriter), Murray Burnett (author), Joan Alison (author), Fred MacKaye (director), Sanford Barnett (adaptor), Charlie Forsyth (sound effects), John Milton Kennedy (announcer), Louis Silvers (music director), Hedy Lamarr, John Loder.

Hedy Lamarr

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Veldt (DIMX)

An amazing story about a family living in an automated home. The children, Peter and Wendy (an homage to Peter Pan), become fascinated with the nursery. The room is able to connect with the children telepathically to reproduce any place they imagine. The parents soon become concerned with the amount of time the children are spending in the nursery and decide, perhaps too late, to get control.

The Veldt was originally published in The Saturday Evening Post (Sep. 1950) as The World the Children Made. It was later republished in the anthology The Illustrated Man in 1951.

Dimension X #43
The Veldt
9 Aug 1951
Albert Buhrman (music), William Quinn, David Anderson, Ernest Kinoy (adaptor), Fred Weihe (director, transcriber), Joan Lazer, Lesley Woods, Norman Rose (host), Ray Bradbury (author), William Welch (producer), Fred Collins (announcer).

Dwellers in Silence (DIMX)

Martian colonists decide to send an exploratory mission back to war-torn Earth, 20 years after the atomic wars. To their amazement, the crew discover that a scientist and his family have survived on the radioactive planet. Even more amazing, the scientist's family seems not to have aged at all.

Sci-fi writes often require that you swallow some really oversized suspension-of-disbelief pills. When it is suggested in this episode that radiation could halt aging, I love how one scientist responds with a totally casual, "It's possible, of course."

This story was first published as The Long Years in Maclean's, September 15, 1948, and later appeared in The Martian Chronicles.

Dimension X #40
Dwellers in Silence
19 July 1951
Albert Buhrman (music), Fred Collins (announcer), Fred Weihe (director, transcriber), George Lefferts (adaptor), Gertrude Warner, Norman Rose (host), Peter Capell, Ray Bradbury (author), William Griffis, William Welch (producer), Fred Collins (announcer), John McGovern

Friday, January 3, 2014

Don't Kick My Horse (FTLR)

A socially-awkward cavalryman is worried that his horse, his best friend, is going to be put down due to her advanced age.

Fort Laramie #19
Don't Kick My Horse
3 June 1956
Raymond Burr, Les Crutchfield (writer), Virginia Gregg, Barney Phillips, Lawrence Dobkin, Tim Graham, Jack Kruschen

Fort Laramie by Alfred Jacob Miller

The War Correspondent (FTLR)

A New York newspaper reporter visits Fort Laramie to experience the west first hand and to write about the action. He learns that writing interesting and truthful stories is harder than it would seem, and there may be neither thanks nor money in it.

Fort Laramie #16
The War Correspondent
13 May 1956
Raymond Burr, Kathleen Hite (writer), Sam Edwards, Parley Baer, Lawrence Dobkin, Lou Krugman, Norman Macdonnell (producer, director), Amerigo Moreno (musical supervisor), Bill James (sound patterns), Ray Kemper (sound patterns), Harry Bartell, Jack Moyles

Fort Laramie (1851) by Alfred Jacob Miller

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ancient Sorceries (ESCP)

On an impulse, a man gets off a train to spend the night in a remote Welsh village, despite warnings from the conductor that doing so will put his soul in jeopardy.

Ancient Sorceries was penned by Algernon Blackwood around 1927. Crutchfield, an excellent scriptwriter, did us all a favor by making the story into a passable and interesting drama. The original story is part of a series featuring Dr. John Silence, a kind of psychic investigator/therapist.

Escape #28
Ancient Sorceries
15 Feb 1948
Algernon Blackwood (author), Anne Morrison, Cy Feuer (composer, conductor), Kaye Brinker, Les Crutchfield (adaptor), Paul Frees, William Conrad, William N. Robson (director)

Illustration by Sydney Walter Stanley, appearing in The Willows and Other Queer Tales (1932).

The Most Dangerous Game (ESCP)

A big game hunter falls overboard while at sea and ends up on a private island owned by another enthusiast of the hunt. Only this maniacal recluse hunts people!

A fantastic show from a great series. The ending is a little abrupt, but everything else is masterful.

Also published as The Hounds of Zaroff, The Most Dangerous Game first appeared in Collier's Weekly on January 19, 1924.

Escape #8
The Most Dangerous Game
01 Oct 1947
Hans Conried, Irving Ravetch (adaptor), Paul Frees, Richard Connell (writer), William N. Robson (producer), Richard Sanville (director), Cy Feuer (music conceiver, conductor)

A map of the island from a Spanish poster for the 1932 film.