Commentary: Bill Hollweg, March 5, 1967 – April 1st, 2017

April 3, 2017 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Bill Hollweg

Jack Ward of the Sonic Society podcast has just informed me of some terrible news (read Jack’s tribute here). Humanity’s friend, Bill Hollweg, of Miles, Texas and BrokenSea Audio Productions, is dead.

I do not know the details of his death, I heard he’d taken his own life, but I do know that whatever he died of it must really have been that his heart was far too big.

To say that Bill was a generous man is to be uncharitable with words. Bill was a champion of that which is best in life, with a voice like a gravel pit and a pen like a sage.

I had far too few meetings with him, and he was a better friend to me than I deserved. I suspect I am not alone in this.

I first found Bill’s work on the web, about a decade ago, and as happens, we soon became, as he put it “amigos.”

His enthusiasm was contagious.

I last heard from in December in a brief comment consisting mostly of an oath to Crom that I “rock” – but the truth is it was Bill who rocked, and I swear it by Crom.

Bill well knew that there was no use in calling on the gods, for they care little for men. They merely laugh and send down dooms, if they even hear. But though Crom is grim and loveless, he gave one boon to Bill, at birth Crom breathed power to strive and create into Bill’s soul.

I, as just one of his chroniclers, do not have the complete picture, but I do know that to live life as Bill did is a goal worthy of any man.

As lovers of the works of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs how could Bill and I not have become the fastest of friends?

But Bill could surprise me. In one of our last exchanges he told me that he was thinking he needed to “re-read Moby Dick for the zillionth time!” I had, at the time read it only twice.

But truly this is not a tragedy. In fact, it all makes a grim kind of sense. Bill had been a sailor, and like Steve Costigan a fighter. A true veteran, and then a steely warrior, laughing in the face of rent-seeking vampires of cultural suppression. And now, like John Carter, though his body is here, his spirit has left the Earth for more adventurous climes. Call him Ishmael.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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

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