The SFFaudio Podcast #407 – The Ego Network by Paul K. Willis AUDIO DRAMA

February 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #407 – The Ego Network by Paul K. Willis was first broadcast on CBC Radio in the Spring of 1987 (airing on the weekend variety show, The Entertainers, hosted by Stan Carew).

“The chances are good that you’ve never heard of The Ego Television Network. caters to the world’s elite. There’s a reason for that, your’e not important enough.The Ego Television Network caters to the world’s political elite, the movers and shakers, the leaders of nations. This program offers a rare glimpse into that most private of networks, you are about to see television as you’ve never seen it before. You may never see its like again, but you will never forget The Ego Network.”

Featuring a TV morning show with Ferdinand Marcos and Jerry Falwell, a Billy Ocean ad for The Betty Ford Clinic, a game show with Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini, want ads from Idi Amin, Queen Elizabeth II, and Rudolf Hess. Mikhail Gorbachev’s game show (sponsored by the AK-47). And there’s Margaret Thatcher’s cooking show. PLUS: Muammar Gaddafi, Pik Botha, Nelson Mandela, Neil Kinnock, Jacques Chirac, and His Imperial Majesty [Jean-Bédel] Bokassa I, Emperor of Central Africa by the will of the Central African people, united within the national political party, the MESAN!

Cast:
Frank Daley
Catherine Gallant
Angela Guy
Ray Landry
Paul K. Willis

sound effects by Anton Szabo and Jean Sarrazin

Engineered by Doug Doctor

Produced by Tom Shipton

the EGO NETWORK by Paul K. Willis

Posted by Jesse Willis

“The Smithsonian Collection” of “Old Time Radio Science Fiction” featuring an essay by Ray Bradbury

January 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Smithsonian Collection - Old Time Radio Science Fiction

Published in 1995, a year prior to the birth of Archive.org (and all that has meant to access to classic radio drama), the “The Smithsonian Collection – Old Time Radio Science Fiction” is a collection of radio dramas likely never to see physical production again. This out of print collection from Radio Spirits, featured a detailed “60” page history booklet on the history of SF in radio, and uniquely, a Ray Bradbury essay as a foreword. Here it is:

RAY BRADBURY FOREWORD TO THE SMITHSONIAN COLLECTION

Here too are all the radio dramas included in the release:

The Mercury Theatre On the Air – The War Of the Worlds |MP3|

Suspense – Zero Hour |MP3|

Lights Out – The Meteor Man |MP3|

X Minus One – Mars Is Heaven |MP3|

The Mysterious Traveler – Operation Tomorrow |MP3|

Lights Out – Rocket From Manhattan |MP3|*

Escape – The Time Machine Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

Family Theater – Twenty thousand Leagues Under The Sea |MP3|

Suspense – Donovan’s Brain Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

Dimension X – The Martian Chronicles |MP3|

The Smithsonian Collection - Old Time Radio Science Fiction

*I have substituted the Arch Obler’s Play version of Rocket To Manhattan for the Lights Out version, but the original Arch Obler’s Plays version is HERE.

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBC Vanishing Point – The Playground adapted from the story by Ray Bradbury

December 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Where did helicopter parenting come from? Maybe from the same deep fearful psychological roots as Ray Bradbury’s 1952 short story THE PLAYGROUND.

CBC - The Vanishing PointThis Ray Bradbury Vanishing Point adaptation of The Playground is one of Ray Bradbury’s rarest radio dramas! Not available in any of the Archive.org listings, missing from all the other usual sites around the web, I finally tracked down one old archived link and here it is:

|MP3|

Dramatized by Martin Lager
Cast: Roger Dunn, Elva Mai Hoover, Tom Butler, Chance Drury, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Brian Stittle, Danny Higham

This episode was supposedly broadcast on CBC Radio on November 2, 1984 – but that may not be correct.

Funny thing, I would have suspected this episode didn’t actually exist except for the facts that I had heard it and actually have a copy. Yet, even more strangely it is possible it may never have been broadcast* despite the fact that the end of the preceding episode of Vanishing Point mentions “The Playground” by “Ray Bradbury” will be broadcast “next week”.

This is a really, really rare modern audio drama folks!

For those who’d like to add some details to the various archives around the web here’s the front, back, and inside covers for the 1994 Listening Library commercial release giving the episode’s credits. This last is the only place I’ve found The Playground‘s credits:

Listening Library - CBC Vanishing Point

Listening Library - CBC Vanishing Point

Listening Library - CBC Vanishing Point

Here’s the art from the first magazine publication in Esquire, October 1953:

The Playground by Ray Bradbury - illustration from Esquire, October 1953

And here’s The Ray Bradbury Theater TV adaptation, starring William Shatner:

Posted by Jesse Willis

*even the commercial released cassette version above doesn’t have any end of episode credits!

Marionettes, Inc. by Ray Bradbury

August 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Marionettes, Inc. by Ray Bradbury - illustration from Startling Stories, March 1949

Ray Bradbury’s Marionettes, Inc. was first published in Startling Stories, March 1949.

The Dimension X adaptation from August 30, 1951: |MP3|
The X Minus One adaptation from December 21, 1955: |MP3|

Alfred Hitchcock Presents, broadcast November 9, 1958, under the title Design For Loving:

The Leonard Nimoy narration from 1976:

The Ray Bradbury Theater adaptation from May 21, 1985:

An independent adaptation uploaded September 29, 2012:

Posted by Jesse Willis

audio dramas of John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There?

July 31, 2016 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell

An alien being is found frozen in the ice of Antarctica. When it is thawed, it awakens, to become a threat to the small base camp. In fact, it’s a threat to all life on earth, as it can change shape and absorb the life and bodies of every living thing it comes in contact with.

Though the original story of Who Goes There?, by John W. Campbell, has been adapted to film four times there have also been radio and audio drama adaptations.

The first was for a 1950s series entitled Exploring Tomorrow, hosted by Campbell himself, it was broadcast under the title “The Escape” – unfortunately it is a “lost” episode of that series. No recordings are known to exist.

Next, and arguably the best adaptation, is the 2002 version for the BBC Radio 4 series Chillers. Adapted by Mike Walker, it is faithful to the story except for making the Antarctic expedition British. |MP3|

A 2012 adaptation, for an aborted series called “Must Be Nice“, was adapted by Clay Dugger. It is rough, an amateur production, but not wholly unlistenable. |MP3|

The 2013 Suspense (revival) adaptation is by John C. Alsedek and Dana Perry-Hayes. It is very, very good, but bear in mind it may be too frightening to listen to at night:

Below, and at the top of the post, are the original illustrations accompanying the story’s first publication in Astounding Science Fiction, August 1938:

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell

Posted by Jesse Willis

Audio drama review: Robin Of Sherwood: The Knights Of The Apocalypse by Richard Carpenter

June 28, 2016 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Robin Of Sherwood: The Knights Of The ApocalypseRobin Of Sherwood: The Knights Of The Apocalypse
By Richard Carpenter; Performed by a full cast
2 Hours – CD or Digital Download [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Spiteful Puppet
Published: June 30, 2016

England in the reign of King John and a dark force is intent on conquest. Only the hooded man can stand against it… The church lies impotent at the mercy of the Pope and the interdict against the kingdom. With the people living in fear and a series of disappearances that threaten the very fabric of noble society, Robin ‘i’ the hood and his band of outlaws must race to rescue the past so that the future may be protected. A journey to Huntingdon and beyond Sherwood will see them battle their most dangerous enemy yet as Herne’s son faces The Knights of the Apocalypse…

If you close your eyes you’ll see it – it being a new two part episode of the classic ITV television series Robin Of Sherwood, minus the grainy 16mm film stock. From the opening Clannad theme – you’ll see it all – that brightly lit forest green, those grey stone castles and churches, the flashing swords, the flying arrows. You’ll of course hear them all too.

Early into The Knights Of The Apocalypse we learn that England is suffering under the “Interdict”, a punishment of all of England for King John’s offence of the Catholic Church. This really happened. The titular Knights of the Apocalypse, though fictional, are said to be a breakaway branch of the Knights Templar – and the ultimate historical destruction of the Templars is very effectively retroactively-foreshadowed in this production.

The two hours, in two parts, had me struggling with the heroes, thinking deep thoughts, rallying against the heavy hand of oppression, chuckling at the baddies, laughing with the heroes, worried at what might possibly happen next, then heart-warmed, and ultimately delighted at the lightfooted sweep all the little details added up to. This is an epic as big as The Swords Of Wayland and as revolutionary as Robin Hood And The Sorcerer.

Barnaby Eaton-Jones, the producer, seems to have made it his mission to make The Knights Of The Apocalypse as true to the original show as humanly possible. Soliciting initial funding using an indiegogo campaign, Eaton-Jones paired a script by the now deceased Richard Carpenter, Robin Of Sherwood‘s creator (he also wrote some of the show’s finest episodes), and tracked down every living member of the original cast to this production. The result is truly tremendous! It is amazing to hear the voices of that old cast once again – Mark Ryan (the brooding Saracen swordsman Nasir), Ray Winstone (forever the hot-headed Will Scarlet), Clive Mantle (smiling and gentle Little John), Jason Connery (that noble second incarnation of Robin, the hooded man), curly haired Judi Trott (voicing the summer maid of Sherwood, Marian), Phil Rose (the friendly friar, Tuck), and Peter Llewellyn Williams (Much, the simple miller’s son).

A lot of folks probably think of Alan Rickman as the most iconic Sheriff of Nottingham – he was terrific – but for me the worst (and by that I mean best) Sheriff of Nottingham will always be Nickolas Grace. Grace is back to his old tricks; playing that cowardly cartoon of law, that malefactor of injustice, all the while wonderfully dripping contempt and venom from every sour word. We get Grace in several scenes, including some with his equally contemptible brother, the Abbot Hugo, played wonderfully once again by Philip Jackson. A few of the voices are new, filling in for the deceased Robert Addie (Guy of Gisbourne) and Daniel Abineri (Herne, now played by his son). But we also get some audio drama stars like Colin Baker and Terry Molloy playing guest villains.

The Knights Of The Apocalypse is a magical experience. Its story will satisfy, so much so that it could slip-in right next to that final TV episode that aired June 28, 1986. No, this is not a reboot, not re-imagining, not a rerun – this is a reunification. You’ll be reunited in righteous camaraderie with the merry folk of Sherwood – doing the work that must be done, for the good of the people, and breaking the law as needs must.

In reading some of the other early reviews I think they’ve short-shrifted both the historicity and the timeliness (or maybe the timelessness) of what’s going on in The Knights Of The Apocalypse. This really isn’t just a story about how a cute cult TV show got a little fan service 30 years after the last episode aired. No, this is a story about power, politics, economics, about religion. This is a story about class and class struggle, human virtue and human vice. For who is King John, that off-screen terror, if not the hubristic government the governs for the rich and not for all? Who is the Sheriff of Nottingham if not a cynical functionary enforcing the unjust laws unequally, and for his own gain? And why is it, exactly, that an old folktale about a band of heroes who break the law for the good of the people so very, very resonant exactly 30 years (or approximately 550 years) after they were first told?

Here’s a recent piece of publicity:

Posted by Jesse Willis

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