Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What Radio Dramas Did You Listen To In 2012?

With the passing of acclaimed audio dramatist Yuri Rasovaky the world of radio drama seemed to lack some of it's luster this year. Sadly without him there are no full-cast audio drama productions among the Grammy nominees for Best Spoken Word Album for the upcoming 2013 awards show. Still 2012 offered some wonderful new productions as well as time to catch up on shows from previous years that had been missed and time to listen to favorites again.

Here's a few of the shows we enjoyed listening to in 2012 (in no particular order):

1. Die Snow White! Die Damn You! - Hollywood Theater of the Ear


2. The Mark of Zorro - Hollywood Theater of the Ear


3. The complete Philip Marlowe series starring Toby Stephens - BBC Radio 4



4. The Three Musketeers - BBC Radio 4


5. Down Sonora Way - Louis L'Amour


6. Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot) - BBC Radio 4


7. The Cleansed - Fred Greenhalgh/FinalRune


8. Zorro and the Pirate Raiders/Zorro Rides Again - CRT


9. The Graduate - L.A. Theatre Works

10. Tom Corbett Space Cadet - CRT

Review coming soon.

These were just a few of the many radio dramas that we at Radio Drama (Audio Drama) Spotlight listened to and enjoyed in 2012. What radio dramas did you listen to and enjoy?

Friday, November 30, 2012

ZORRO Audio Drama Trailer

We found this video presenting an audio trailer video for Zorro and the Pirate Raiders. Three of our favorite recent audio dramas come from the Zorro series catalog of shows.

For more information on the outstanding Zorro radio dramas see the following posts.

Zorro and the Pirate Raiders

Zorro Rides Again
The Mark of Zorro (featuring Val Kilmer)

Monday, November 26, 2012

#144 Poodle Springs - Philip Marlowe (BBC)

Philip Marlowe's been married less than a month and already the honeymoon is over. He's tired of being a "kept man" and ready to get back to being a private eye. Now living in Poodle Springs with his wealthy new bride Marlowe sets off to find an office to work out of. Before he can set up shop a local gambling boss enlists his aid in tracking down a man who owes a $100,000 on illegal gambling marker. If the boss doesn't collect asap he's going to be food for the fish. Marlowe sets out to find the deadbeat gambler and finds more than he bargained for.

Poodles Springs is full of twists, turns and detective action. Toby Stephens plays the tough guy role to the hilt and the BBC puts forth another well made audio drama production in the Philip Marlowe series. Noir fans are sure to enjoy this final tale from the pen of Raymond Chandler (and Robert Parker who finished the story several years after Chandler's death.)

From the BBC:
Fresh from his honeymoon with heiress Linda Loring, Philip Marlowe has set up shop in the upmarket Californian town of Poodle Springs. But the life of a kept man soon loses its charm, and when he's asked to find a gambler on the run from his debts, Marlowe can't resist. Toby Stephens plays iconic detective Philip Marlowe.

The eighth and final Philip Marlowe novel, Raymond Chandler's Poodle Springs was unfinished at the time of the author's death in 1959. It remained so for another 30 years, until crime writer Robert B. Parker completed the novel to mark the centenary of Chandler's birth.
Philip Marlowe . . . . . Toby Stephens
Linda Marlowe . . . . . Lorelei King
Larry Victor . . . . . Stephen Campbell Moore
Muffy Valentine . . . . . Laurel Lefkow
Manny Lipshultz . . . . . Peter Polycarpou
Angel Victor . . . . . Sasha Pick
Bernie Ohls . . . . . Gerard McDermott
Film Director . . . . . James Lailey
Eddie Garcia . . . . . Alun Raglan
Clayton Blackstone . . . . . Sean Baker
Leonard . . . . . Carl Prekopp
Turn Key . . . . . Simon Bubb
Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko
Produced by Claire Grove


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

#143 No Man's Man (Louis L'Amour)

Lou Morgan is big enough and strong enough to tackle a grizzly. He's also what you'd call a bad man with a gun. His is for hire and a scholarly looking man named Bornaman is willing to pay him $5000 to use it. The job? Kill Henry Wetterling, the biggest rancher in the town of Battle Basin, to keep him from getting the land of a beautiful young woman named Nana Maduro. However, to get the job done Morgan must brace his past because Nana is a woman he loved passionately before she left him without a word and without hope of escape from a Mexican prison. Before long Morgan finds himself in a tangled web of deceit and the one who's being hunted. In order to live he's going to need his wits, his guns and the help of Nana Maduro.

Louis L'Amour brings the west alive like no other writer. No Man's Man is a rip roaring western that is never short of action and has the makings for a lot of fun listening.

From Louis L'Amour:
Passion drives fast gun Lou Morgan to the town of Battle Basin- passion and the promise of $5,000. For in this dusty town lives the wildly irresistible Nana Maduro, the woman Morgan loved enough to kill for, the woman who walked away from him without a word. Now, bitter but still caught in her spell, Morgan hires on with one of Nana's suitors to eliminate that man's rival. But when Morgan finds himself the target of two ugly killers, he can't help but wonder what Nana's admirers are really after, or if he'll live to find out.


Monday, November 19, 2012

The Great Detectives of OTR

Call it Hard-Boiled. Call it Classic. Call it Noir. Call it what you like. But when it comes to detective fiction it's hard to beat the lineup of great detectives shows that were produced during The Golden Age of Radio. Old time radio (OTR) presented listeners with an outstanding variety of wisecracking, pistol packing, knock your teeth out, tough as nails gumshoes and cops. The following is a list of great detective radio dramas that are still highly enjoyable and entertaining today.

1. Sam Spade

Dashiell Hamett's The Adventure's of Sam Spade made its debut on CBS radio in August of 1946 and ended in 1951 after airing 246 shows. Howard Duff (pictured above) voiced the role of hard hitting private eye Sam Spade and Lurene Tuttle was his lovably loyal secretary Effie Perrine. The brash and bold, witty and charming Spade took on all comers from tough guy thugs to sweet talking dames. No episode was ever short on gritty action, drama, or suspense. Sam Spade was an immediate hit with listeners and sponsors alike. In fact, it was so successful that it spawned a litany of private detectives shows in its wake. The Adventures of Sam Spade endures to this day as perhaps the greatest hard-boiled radio drama adventure ever created. So if you're in the mood for a classic detective caper we suggest you call on Sam Spade.

2. Philip Marlowe
Writer Raymond Chandler's classic tough guy detective hit the airwaves for CBS on September 26, 1948 with Gerald Mohr (pictured above) as the voice of the gritty no nonsense detective. Mohr's deep baritone voice perfectly fit the cynical detective's style and by 1949 The Adventures of Philip Marlowe would have the largest audience on radio. A trend that would continue for three more years. Using the Sam Spade formula for success: wisecracking tough guys and sultry dames coupled with lots of action, drama, suspense, wit and charm Philip Marlowe became one of the most well received shows on radio. Today it's still stands as one of the best detective series ever created.

3. Richard Diamond

Richard Diamond, Private Detective debuted on NBC in 1949 with Dick Powell as the slick talking, sophisticated tough guy gumshoe. Each show opened with Powell whistling the show's theme and generally closed with him singing a popular song to his girl Helen Asher (played by Virginia Gregg). Richard Diamond wasn't your standard P.I. show as it contained vastly more humor than either the Spade or Marlowe programs. However, fist fights and flying bullets were never in short supply. Diamond routinely sparred verbally with Lt. Walt Levinson (voiced by Ed Begley then later by Arthur Q. Bryan) and Sergeant Otis (Wilms Herbert) of the police force providing a more balanced atmosphere than many of the other detective series of its day. The stories were more than well written by Pink Panther (Inspector Clouseau) creator Blake Edwards. As radio detectives goes Richard Diamond is as good as they get. 

4. Yours Truly Johnny Dollar

For nearly thirteen years (1949-1962 minus a year long hiatus in 1955) "America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator, the man with the action packed expense account" Johnny Dollar entertained listeners with action packed investigations all over the world. During the shows run no less than eight actors played the role of Dollar. Dick Powell (Richard Diamond) played the title role in the original audition performance. Interestingly Gerald Mohr (Philip Marlowe) auditioned for the role of Dollar in 1955 losing out to the actor who would ultimately become the most popular actor to voice the role, Bob Bailey (pictured above). Originally the character of Dollar was played as the typical hard-boiled detective sort. However, when Bailey took over the role he toned down the character of Dollar making him into a tough, streetwise investigator who was smart and sometimes too emotionally involved. The new interpretation worked well as the show had its most successful run during the Bob Bailey years. Many of the episodes from this series have been preserved and can still be enjoyed by those who delight in noir genre radio drama. For detective lovers, this one comes highly recommended. - Yours Truly Johnny Dollar.

5. Dragnet

Dun, ta dun dunt... dun ta dunt, dunt, dun. "Ladies and gentlemen the story you're about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent." Whether a fan of radio drama or not most people instantly recognize the opening theme and the words that followed. Dragnet was the brainchild of actor Jack Webb. Inspired by the film He Walked By Night, which he had a part in, and the high profile Black Dahlia investigation Webb conceived the idea for Dragnet. Based on official L.A.P.D. case files the show chronicled step by step every aspect of police work. The dialogue was clipped and the stories fast moving and highly entertaining all in an effort to stay with "Just the facts." Sergeant Joe Friday's deadpan, fast talking persona appeal even today and "Dragnet, the documented drama of an actual crime"continues to be as entertaining as it ever was.

6. Tales of the Texas Rangers

Movie star Joel McCrea starred as Ranger Jayce Pearson in Tales of the Texas Rangers a procedural documentary similar to that of Dragnet. Based on actual files of the Texas Rangers the series was set in the modern era of Texas (1928-1948) rather than the old west. Fast paced with hard hitting, realistic gritty action the series was the modern era equivalent of it's radio western counterpart Gunsmoke. The action varied in location from urban to rural. A chase scene, for example, could as easily take place in a vehicle as it could on horseback. The popular series aired on NBC from July 8, 1950 to September 14, 1952. The content is just as enjoyable now as it was in 1950.

7. Rocky Jordan

Rocky Jordan (played by Jack Moyles) was a hard-boiled detective who left St. Louis, Missouri and relocated to Cairo, Egypt to escape his enemies. Rocky owns and operates the cafe Tambourine. Here in his gin-joint he encounters every variety of despot you can imagine from ex-Nazi's, murders, thieves, smugglers, expatriated American thugs on the run to down on their luck dames. At times Rocky Jordan feels like a poor man's hodgepodge of Casablanca meets The Maltese Falcon but it provides top notch action, romance and mystery for listeners. Sam Sabaaya, Captain of the Cairo police, is a friend of sorts to Jordan who's always willing to give him a fair shake. However, Sabaaya's second in command, Sergeant Greco, has no love for Jordan and anytime something happens Jordan is immediately his primary suspect. Running from 1945 to 1953 the series entertained for several years on the radio. Today many of the episodes still exist and are still most gratifying. 

8. Mr. and Mrs. North

Pam and Jerry North (originally voiced by Alice Frost and Joseph Curtin then by Barbara Britton and Richard Denning [pictured above]) aren't your normal detectives. In fact, they not really detectives at all. Jerry works as a book publisher and Pam's a housewife. But the two always seem to wind up getting involved in mysteries and the only way out is to solve them. Fortunately for them they have a friend in the police department, Lt. Bill Weigand in Homicide. Superbly written, Mr. and Mrs. North let listeners play along by allowing the audience to have the clues giving them the opportunity to solve the crime before Pam and Jerry. The series ran from 1942 - 1954 but could just as easily air today with certain success.

9. Box 13

 Alan Ladd starred as Dan Holiday the fiction writer with the ad in the paper stating "Adventure wanted. Will go anywhere, do anything. Reply to... Box 13." Though not a detective Dan Holiday often found himself involved in events that required him to decipher clues, gather information and get answers to solve a puzzle, usually life threatening. Action, adventure and intrigue are always found in Box 13. Though it only ran for one season the series is a can't miss when it comes to investigative entertainment.

10. Nick Carter, Master Detective

Nick Carter (Lon Clark [pictured above]) is a master detective and Patsy Bowen (Helen Choate, later Charolette Manson [pictured above]) is his assistant. Together with legman (investigator) "Scubby" Wilson (John Kane) no crime is too tough to tackle and before long they'll have the case solved. Based on the pulp magazine of the same name Nick Carter brought a bit more of a soft-boiled flare to the genre. Carter was a brains first, brawn second detective that worked in tandem with his friends to solve crimes. Though a little more lighthearted in it's presentation than other detective series Nick Carter, Master Detective is an enjoyable adventure worthy of being included among the great noir shows of the past. It more than stands the test of time. The series aired from 1943-1955.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

#142 Mutiny on the Bounty (BBC)

Mutiny on the Bounty! The BBC adaptation is based on the Nordhoff-Hall novel that loosely chronicles the actual historical events of Captain Bligh, Mr. Chistian and the HMS Bounty during the late 1780s. First aired on radio in 1996, Mutiny on the Bounty is BBC radio drama at its best. First class acting and classic storytelling highlight this fine production.

In 1787 the HMS Bounty set sail from England for Tahiti under the command of William Bligh to bring back breadfruit. Bligh is a brutal authoritarian. He metes out harsh punishment to officers and crew alike for the slightest infraction of any rule or regulation. Enmity between Fletcher Christian, the ship's lieutenant, and Bligh quickly grows when Christian openly contests Bligh's harsh treatment of the crew. Tensions escalate when Bligh's decision to sail the shorter western route around Cape Horn proves to be a failure and they must backtrack east costing them precious time. To make up for his error Bligh pushes the crew harder.

When the Bounty finally reaches her destination the crew indulges in the carefree life of paradise surrounded by the beautiful and amorous Tahitian women. While the crew become smitten with island life and island women Bligh becomes increasingly agitated as he's forced to wait until the breadfruit plants can be transplanted. The men aren't keen on the idea of leaving their new found tropical paradise and as departure day nears three men attempt to desert but are quickly caught. Shortly after leaving Tahiti Bligh's harsh discipline and limited water rations has the crew talking insurrection. And before long... It's mutiny Mr. Christian!

From the BBC:
High seas adventure from the trilogy of novels by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall. Adapted and produced by the legendary Burt Coules.

Oliver Reed (The Three Musketeers, Gladiator, Return to Lonesome Dove)
Linus Roache (Batman Begins, Riddick, Law & Order)
Lionel Jeffries (Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang, Camelot)
Roger Daltrey (The Who, Tommy, Highlander)
Directed by Adrian Bean


Friday, August 31, 2012

#141 Star Wars: Smuggler's Gambit

With any luck Star Wars radio drama fans may have something new to look forward to. After months of writing, casting and other preparations Kyle Newman's Star Wars: Smuggler's Gambit was performed live at the Star Wars Celebration VI convention in Orlando, Florida over the weekend of August 23-26, 2012. The story is based on concepts from original Star Wars radio drama writer Brian Daley's Han Solo Adventure books and set just after the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. According to Newman Smuggler's Gambit was designed to be a fun, fast-paced story in the spirit of the classic Star Wars radio dramas written by Daley. The story not only incorporates original characters such as Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, R2D2, and Boba Fett but also a few new characters as well.

Newman's desire to create a quality production spurred him on to seek out a highly talented cast of actors. And he found one when he cast the actors from The Clone Wars Animated Series. In the cast are...
David Collins as Han Solo
Ashley Eckstein as Ryder Thorne – a conflicted upstart hustling her way through the outer rim who suddenly finds herself in way over her head on a deal…
Sam Witwer  as Ro Kurota – a brash, young smuggler turned bounty hunter eager to make a name for himself.
Matt Lanter as Luke Skywalker
Dee Bradley Baker  as Black Sun crime lord “Prince Xixor” and “Sweeper” – an unsavory face from Solo’s past.
Clare Grant as Princess Leia
Matthew Wood as Bib Fortuna
Daniel Logan as Boba Fett
Tom Kane Imperial Lieutenant Kane, the “Narrator” and the program’s “Announcer”

Jimmy Mac (Forcecast) Producer and Sound Effects. Over 100 sound cues were played during the production.

No doubt Star Wars fans will be waiting with eager anticipation to find out if last weekends live performance of Star Wars: Smuggler's Run radio drama was recorded for future release.

Script Intro from Kyle Newman:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Several months have passed since the Rebellion’s surprise victory over the Empire at Yavin IV and the destruction of the DEATH STAR.  With the location of their secret base revealed, the Rebels are now on the run, dangerously adrift in space.

Realizing the Imperial armada is determined to quash the growing insurgency at all costs, PRINCESS LEIA, youthful leader of the Rebel Alliance, orders a covert galaxy wide search for a new hideaway to continue the Rebellion.

Spearheaded by former smugglers HAN SOLO and CHEWBACCA the Wookiee, a small reconnaissance team has been dispatched to ABROSSOS VI in hopes of securing new refuge.  But Han and Chewie, not exactly team players, are still unsure of their place in the Alliance…

For more Star Wars see also:

Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama (aka Star Wars: A New Hope)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Soldier For The Empire

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Rebel Agent

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight

Star Wars: Crimson Empire

Star Wars: Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell

Monday, August 20, 2012

#140 The Guns of Navarone (BBC)

World War II was not only a demonstration of the destructive force of human nature but also a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit and the will to survive. This global conflict, its many battles and multitude of personalities, has been the inspiration for a vast array of highly entertaining Hollywood movies: The Sands of Iwo Jima, The Longest Day, Patton, The Dirty Dozen, Tora-Tora-Tora, Where Eagle's Dare, The Great Escape, The Guns of Navarone, and many, many more.  However, in the nearly 70 years since the end of WWII it seems the audio drama community has failed to make use of the storehouse of potential stories from this era of history. What adventures could be had... What stories could be told... in this perfect medium for an action tale.

There is, however, one exception to the rule: the BBC's production of The Guns of Navarone. Based on the Alistar McLean novel this radio adaptation by the legendary Bert Coules tells the tale of a band of men who take on the impossible task of silencing The Guns of Navarone. Two huge German cannons protected by an impregnable fortress on the island of Kheros. Two huge cannons that destroy any allied ships that pass by in the Aegean Sea and that prevent 2000 British troops from being rescued from the island. The commando team's dangerous assignment begins almost immediately with trouble at sea as they attempt to land on Navarone. Their struggles continue upon reaching shore as they must overcome and outmaneuver the island's Nazi occupation force long enough to carry out their mission and survive. Gripping and intense this World War II tale is sure to please listeners who yearn for action and adventure.

Starring Toby Stevens, Michael Williams, David Rintoul.

From the BBC:
It is 1943. Two huge German guns in the grim, impregnable fortress on a huge beautiful island off the coast of Turkey are having a devastating impact on Allied shipping and preventing the evacuation of hard-pressed British troops from the nearby island of Kheros. The Germans are poised to overrun and unless the guns can be put out of action within a matter of days, a thousand men will die.
All previous attempts to attack the fortress of Navarone have failed. It is time for one last desperate throw of the dice. And so a select Subversive Operations commando unit, led by the famous pre-war mountaineer Captain Keith Mallory, launches a daring and very possibly suicidal raid.

This BBC Radio 2 dramatisation, starring Toby Stephens and Michael Williams, brings to exhilarating life one of the greatest adventure stories of World War II.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

#139 Anne of Green Gables (Focus on the Family)

Focus on the Family brings you Anne of Green Gables. Aging siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert have decided to adopt an orphaned boy to help them work on their Prince Edward Island farm. However, the boy they are expecting to meet at the train station turns out, to their astonishment, to be a young redheaded girl. The Cuthbert's can't imagine how a young girl could be of any use on the farm and so Marilla decides the Anne must return to the orphanage. However, after a few days, pity and curiosity for Anne get the better of her and she decides to let her stay. Before long the Cuthbert's adopt Anne and with feisty determination this lively and spirited young girl sets out to win over new friends and the world as she grows up. And so begins the heartwarming and hilarious adventures of Anne Shirley.

Anne of Green Gables is delightfully produced wholesome entertainment for the entire family. It features fine acting and an original musical score.

Mae Whitman (Independence Day, Hope Floats) as Anne
Christina Pickles (Legends of the Fall) as Marilla.

From Focus on the Family:
This captivating new radio drama production based on the beloved book by Lucy M. Montgomery allows listeners to personally experience the world and characters presented in Anne of Green Gables in a whole new way! Anne of Green Gables is the story of a little girl's feisty spirit and strong determination that win over the hearts of the people of Avonlea, the love and commitment of family, and a poor orphan growing up into a distinguished young woman.


Monday, July 23, 2012

#138 Sherlock Holmes Vs Dracula (BBC)

A ship has arrived on the shores of England with a missing crew and a dead captain who had lashed himself to the wheel. The captain's dead face is twisted in terror. No reason can be given as to why he died except that he is totally devoid of blood. Yet there are no signs of violence. There is no blood on the captain or the surrounding area. The only marks on the body are two small puncture wounds on the neck. Baffled by this strange event a local reporter enlists the aid of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to solve the mystery. Soon the great detective discerns that Count Dracula has made his way to England. So too has Professor Abraham Van Helsing who has followed the Count from his homeland in his ardently quest to destroy the vampire. But it's Holmes and Watson that are hot on the trail of the dark plague of the night. And before long their dogged pursuit forces a desperate Dracula to turn his attention to Holmes and Watson. It's up to Sherlock Holmes to stop Dracula. But will the fiendish Transylvanian terror prove to be too formidable for the great detective and his faithful friend and companion?  

John Moffatt who most will recognize as the voice of Hercule Poirot in the long running BBC's radio drama mystery series stars as Sherlock Holmes in this adaption. Moffatt does a excellent job a Holmes. This is a finely written story that proves to be most entertaining. Not too dark or sinister. Yet a nice touch of goose bump raising fright and mystery. So turn down the lights..... if you dare!

This production doesn't appear to be available for purchase from the BBC. It has been rebroadcast on a number of occasions in recent years.

First broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on December 19th, 1981.  

Rebroadcast Sunday November 7, 2007 BBC Radio 7;  Thursday November 4, 2010 BBC Radio 4; Sunday October 30, 2011 BBC Radio 4

From the BBC: 

The year is 1890. A ship is discovered adrift off the English coast, its crew missing, its murdered captain lashed to the wheel, and its only passenger is a sinister black dog. This impenetrable mystery is clearly a case for the inimitable Sherlock Holmes, but for the first time in his illustrious career the great detective is baffled. Clearly the crew have been murdered and dumped overboard, but what can account for the captain's expression of imponderable terror and his acute loss of blood, or the ship's strange cargo - fifty boxes of earth?
The game is afoot, and Sherlock Holmes, aided as ever by the faithful Dr. Watson, finds himself on the trail of no mortal enemy, but the arch-vampire himself - Count Dracula...

Sherlock Holmes...........John Moffatt

Doctor John Watson......Timothy West

Count Dracula..............David March

Professor Van Helsing.....Aubrey Woods

Thomas Parker..........Michael Maloney

Mr. Caffyn................Noel Howlett

Mary Watson........Theresa Streatfeild

Vampire.................Frances Jeater

Inspector Lestrade...Nicholas Courtney

Mrs. Barton.............Katherine Parr

Red Bridger................John Hollis

Adapted for radio and directed by Glyn Dearman. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Mark of Zorro Sequel

According to the Zorro Productions Inc website and the Zorro Swashbuckling News and Updates blog a sequel to The Mark of Zorro is forthcoming. Award winning Australian dramatist Barry Creyton (Australian Broadcasting Corporation and BBC) will man the helm for the follow up production replacing the late Yuri Rasovsky. Interestingly Creyton has a reputation for creating cinematic audio drama so the expectation will be for high octane sound effects and music. Val Kilmer and Ruth Livier will return to reprise their roles as Zorro and Lolita Pulido. No word on what other noted Hollywood names might be cast in the follow up to the Grammy and double Audie nominated drama.

The Mark of Zorro

#137 The ABC Murders (Hercule Poirot)

It's a murderous game of catch me if you can! A killer has challenged the genius of Poirot's "little grey cells" sending him a letter saying a person whose name begins with the letter "A" will be murdered on a certain date in a certain city and it's up to him to stop it from happening. If he refuses the case or can't solve the crime in time another murder will be soon to follow. This time a person will die whose name begins with the letter "B". For each failure to stop the killer he vows to strike again randomly selecting a victim who name begins with the next letter in the alphabet. To chastise Poirot and show him he's not so clever the killer sends him a taunting letter with a clue to the identity of the next victim. John Moffatt provides the voice of Hercule Poirot in another great murder mystery from the mind of Agatha Christie produced by the BBC.

From the BBC:
A BBC Radio full-cast dramatization starring John Moffatt as the great Belgian detective. Alice Ascher is murdered at Andover. Betty Barnard is strangled at Bexhill-on-Sea. Each time, an ABC railway guide is found by the dead bodies and, each time, Poirot is warned in advance by a letter from someone signed "ABC." But who is ABC? And can Poirot find out in time to prevent the death of C?


#136 Son of a Wanted Man (Louis L'Amour)

Louis L'Amour brings you almost 3 hours of western adventure in Son of a Wanted Man. Based loosely on the full length Louis L'Amour novel this story tells the tale of Miguel "Mike" Santos. Orphaned at a young age by outlaws who killed his father in a robbery he is taken to live with the gang and raised by their leader Ben Curry. He's grown up learning the ways of living on the wrong side of the law. He knows how to cheat at cards, rustle cattle, work over a brand, crack a safe, plan a hold up, rob a bank, a stage or a train, and make a get away without getting caught. He's good with a gun. Pistol or rifle, makes no difference. He can hunt and track. But Mike has also been educated on the ways of the outside world as well. Now as an adult his adoptive father is about to leave the outfit to him. Will this be the life he chooses to lead or will he choose another path? Will Mike have time to make a decision one way or another before the law pinpoints the hideout and all hell breaks loose? Will he be able to stave off an insurrection by some of Ben's own men?

Son of a Wanted Man is traditional high stakes fun from Louis L'Amour. This production offers a strong story and exceptional acting. Produced in the truest sense of a radio drama this presentation has, with the exception of the opening introduction, no narration. Son of a Wanted Man is a first rate drama any western fan is sure to enjoy.

From Louis L'Amour:

Son of A Wanted Man tells the story of Ben Curry and his adopted son Mike Santos. In a remote corner of California's High Sierra mountains lies the secret outlaw kingdom of Ben Curry. For fifteen years Curry has ruled supreme. But the king is getting old, and he wants to turn his legacy over to someone and get out -someone like Mike. Mike is a young man who can handle a knife, a gun, his fists, and who's been trained in every criminal skill. But so far he's never broken the law. Now, as treachery explodes among Ben's riders, Mike must choose.between his loyalty to Ben or his yearning for a different life.

Listen to the trailer:

Buy or learn more about Son of a Wanted Man:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

#135 The Time Machine (Seeing Ear Theatre)

The Sci-Fi Channel's Seeing Ear Theatre brings you The Time Machine based on the novel by H.G. Wells. The story of a scientist who invents a time machine and travels 90,000 years into the future. A wonderful story adaptation brought to life under the direction of Charles Potter and featuring a excellent cast of actors. The Time Machine offers exciting adventure for listeners of all ages.

The Sci-Fi Channel's Seeing Ear Theatre produced more than 50 full-cast audio dramas based on the stories of some of the best living Sci-fi and fantasy writers of the day along with some great classics tales. They put together a first rate production team including but not limited to audio dramatists Charles Potter, David Rapkin and Sue Zizza. They assembled some of the best Hollywood acting talent. Names such as Brian Dennehy, Alfre Woodard, Timothy Hutton, Tony Danza, Oliver Platt, Krya Sedgewick, Stanley Tucci, Bebe Neuwirth, Tim Curry, Merwin Goldsmith, Bronson Pinchot, Mark Hamill, Marina Sirtis, Walter Koenig, Rene Auberjonois, Lou Diamond Phillips, Michael O'Hare, Annabelle Sciorra, Lorna Raver, Simon Jones, and more. The result was some of the best sci-fi and fantasy audio drama ever made. Lovers the genre are sure to enjoy these star studded productions which were created between 1997 - 2001.

The Time Machine - Adapted, produced and directed by Charles Potter
Sound Effects by Arthur Miller
Edit by Molly Thompson
Mix by David Rapkin
Recorded at Back Pocket Studios, New York

The Cast
Joe Morton as the Time Traveler
Timothy Jerome as Herb Wells
Alissa Hunnicutt as Weena
Margaret Albright
Matthew Arkin
John Brady
Jeff David
Ramon de Ocampo
Peter Newman


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

#134 Leviathan 99 - Ray Bradbury (CART)

Ray Bradbury one of the most celebrated writers of the 20th-century has died. He leaves behind a legacy of creative storytelling that has taken millions of imaginations to the deepest reaches of adventure. From science fiction to fantasy to horror to mystery Ray Bradbury has inspired generations to dream. Leviathan 99 is just such a story: an imaginative adaptation of Moby Dick that takes listeners deep into outer space along with a strange cast of characters in order to search out the brightest comet in the universe... and destroy it. 

Ray Bradbury fans will certainly enjoy this production by California Artists Radio Theatre. CART brings together an all-star cast that features such names as Sean Astin (The Goonies, The Lord of the Rings), William Shatner (Star Trek, Boston Legal), Norman Lloyd (Alfred Hitchcock Presents), Walter Koenig (Star Trek) and more. Leviathan 99 was directed and produced by famed radio dramatist Peggy Webber and the legendary Norman Corwin. Live sound effects were provided by the great Tony Palermo. And there's even a special introduction by Ray Bradbury himself.

From CART:
A fantastical adaptation of Moby Dick, Ray Bradbury takes audiences past the moon and the stars in search of the greatest and brightest comet in the universe. Join a deranged captain, an eight-foot-tall telepathic spider, and our reluctant hero. You can call him Ishmael.


In memory of Ray Bradbury:  August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

#133 Twelve Angry Men - L.A. Theatre Works

A teenage son is accused of murdering his father by stabbing him to death. It's up to a jury of his peers, twelve men to weigh the evidence that's been presented and decide his fate. If the verdict is guilty the boy faces a mandatory death sentence.  As the deliberation process moves forward much is revealed about these twelve men. While one juror consistently sows seeds of reasonable doubt pushing toward a not-guilty verdict several others have personal reasons for discriminating against the accused. As the discussion and dialogue becomes more and more fervent between this sequestered group sparks fly igniting strong emotional reactions leaving the jury room filled with Twelve Angry Men.

Twelve Angry Men is an engrossing tale that entertains from the open scene right down to the closing credits. This Audie nominated production features a stellar performance by a fine cast of Hollywood actors including Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries, Monk, Last Man Standing, Chicago Hope, Grey's Anatomy ), Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Richard Kind (Spin City, Kim Possible, Toy Story 3), Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice, Hitch), Joe Spano (Hill Street Blues, NCIS) and more.  Twelve Angry Men is a great drama, wonderfully made and highly entertaining. Definitely two thumbs up for this L.A. Theatre Works productions.

From L.A. Theatre Works:
Over the course of a steamy and tense afternoon, twelve jurors deliberate the fate of a 19 year-old boy alleged to have murdered his own father. A seemingly open and shut case turns complicated, igniting passions and hidden prejudices.

Dan Castellaneta as Juror #5
Jeffrey Donovan as Juror #8
Hector Elizondo as Juror #10
Robert Foxworth as Juror #3
James Gleason as Juror #2
Kevin Kilner as Juror #6
Richard Kind as Juror #7
Alan Mandell as Juror #9
Rob Nagle as Juror #12
Armin Shimerman as Juror #4
Joe Spano as Juror #11
Steve Vinovich as Foreman and Juror #1
Directed by John de Lancie.
Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles in November, 2005.


#132 The Graduate - L.A. Theatre Works

"Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?"

Screen legend Kathleen Turner (Body Heat, Romancing the Stone, Roger Rabbit) and Matthew Rys (Brothers and Sisters) headline L.A. Theatre Works Audie Award nominated production of the coming of age classic The Graduate. Ms Turner with her gravelly, sexy voice breathes sultry, seductive life into the character of Mrs. Robinson while Rys brings youthful exuberance and energy.  Both play well off of each other and the whole cast gives a sterling performance which captivates from start to finish. This well written stage/audio adaptation of the original book and screenplay hits the mark. The Graduate is a delightfully entertaining and funny comedy-drama. Without a doubt it's an irresistible listening pleasure.

Benjamin Braddock has just returned home to Southern California after graduating from a college on the east coast. Having no aim or goal in life his well meaning parents desire set him on a course - go to graduate school or begin a career. So to celebrate his return home and kick off his next phase in life his parents throw a party. As the party winds down Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father's law partner, asks Benjamin to drive her home. Upon arriving at her residence she invites him in and attempts to seduce him. From here a series of unforgettable events unfold. Not long after Benjamin becomes involved in an affair with Mrs. Robinson he falls in love with her daughter Elaine.  From here the sparks really fly.

So here's to you Mrs. Robinson...

From L.A. Theatre Works:
An American classic adapted for the stage, starring Kathleen Turner as Mrs. Robinson and Matthew Rhys as Benjamin Braddock. A fresh-faced college grad returns home, diploma in hand, to seek an answer to that age old question: “Now what?” Lacking any clear career path, he falls prey to the original “cougar”, the predatory Mrs. Robinson, wife of his father's business partner. But it’s Mrs. Robinson’s daughter who captures his heart.

Includes and interview with the star of The Graduate, screen legend Kathleen Turner.

Kathleen Turner as Mrs. Robinson
Matthew Rhys  as Benjamin Braddock
Bruce Davison as Mr. Braddock
John Getz as Mr. Robinson
Jamison Jones as Hotel Clerk and others
Devon Sorvari as Elaine Robinson
Linda Purl as Mrs. Braddock


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

#131 Die Snow White! Die Damn You! (Yuri Rasovsky)

Famed audio dramatist Yuri Rasovsky's last production "Die Snow White! Die Damn You!" is pure genius. Rasovsky masterfully merges elements from more than one Brothers Grimm fairy tale with the original Snow White story forming an all new twisted yet funny, witty and highly entertaining fable. Listeners should be warned this tale certainly contains a more adult telling of the Snow White account. This retelling may have the Grimm brothers rolling over in their grave but "Die Snow White! Die Damn You!" will leave you rolling on the floor laughing and wishing there were more. Sadly this is the last masterpiece from perhaps the greatest audio dramatist of the modern era. Its distinguished cast features the talents of Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy), Kate Burton (Grey's Anatomy), Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory), Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: Deep Space 9), Robin Sachs (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5), Melinda Peterson, Ned Schmidtke, and Barry Creyton.

From Blackstone Audio:
With the premiere of two new film versions of the Snow White tale, Blackstone enters the fray with its own adult, edgy, and not altogether serious full-cast exposé of fairy-taledom. At last it can be told! Was Snow White really as pure as the driven snow? Did her allegedly wicked stepmother get a bum rap from the Grimm brothers? What went on behind the closed Dutch doors of the dwarves’ cottage? How many handsome princes does it take to screw in a light bulb? These and other burning questions may or may not be answered in this new pseudogothic audio play that Blackstone commissioned from award-winning author and audio dramatist Yuri Rasovsky. 

YURI RASOVSKY won wide critical acclaim during his forty-year career as an audio dramatist, writer, producer, and director. His numerous honors include two Peabody Awards, nine Audie® Awards, and a Grammy®. His last two productions for Blackstone, The Maltese Falcon and The Mark of Zorro, were both nominated for a Grammy. 


Audio clip of Die Snow White! Die Damn You courtesy of AudioFarm and Blackstone Audio.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

#130 The Witches of Lublin (Sue Zizza)

The Witches of Lublin is a historic tale of a musically gifted family of Jewish women in 1790's Poland. Presented with a request they dare not refuse Rivke and her daughters are invited to play for the local nobility. The result of sharing their wonderful gift in public could be quite profitable or it could lead to their ultimate demise. This true to life tale is well researched and written by Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz, and Yale Strom and features superb acting and excellent audio design -all of which are trademarks of a Sue Zizza production. Well worth listening to! Very nicely put together story and production.

From SueMedia:
An original audio drama set in 1797 written by Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz & Yale Strom, with music composed by Yale Strom and performed by Hot Pstromi.    

The Witches of Lublin is based on true and little known history of klezmer musicians in Eastern Europe.

Co-writer Yale Strom's research uncovered the facts that there were women klezmer musicians, and that when klezmers would play for gentile nobility, their reward could sometimes be beatings, death or even kidnappings. This history formed the springboard for this work of fiction by Strom, Schwartz and Kushner based on Jewish women's lives in 18th Century Europe, klezmer music and feminist history, with a healthy dose of magical realism thrown in.

The Witches of Lublin tells the story of Rivke and her daughters, women klezmer musicians in the town of Lublin, Poland in the year 1797. It is a celebration of music and family, of lost women’s history, with gorgeous performances by Tova Feldshuh as Rivke, Simon Jones as Count Sobieski, Barbara Rosenblat, and a host of acting and musical talent (including Neil Gaiman as the Count’s lovestruck son!).

The Witches of Lublin has received 3 Audie nominations, a Gracie Award for Best Director and a Wilbur Award from the RCC. It was also the winner of the New Radio Theater's Top 10 Radio Plays contest.

Monday, April 9, 2012

#129 The Cleansed - FinalRune Productions

FinalRune Productions brings us a new audio drama series. A post apocalyptic story of mankind's recovery from self inflicted destruction. Using live onsite recording techniques Fred Greenhalgh puts together an impressive introductory episode using a solid story concept and superb acting. The sound design is reminiscent of a Dirk Maggs production. Not only is The Cleansed creative and intriguing but it lays the groundwork for adventure, excitement and suspense. If the opening episode is any indication of what's to come this should prove to be a highly enjoyable audio drama series.

From FinalRune:
The Cleansed is a post-apocalyptic audio drama podcast of our times. 15 years have passed since a traumatic undoing of society called “The Breaking.” We follow two interlocking stories – one, of THE REFUGE, where Maria and Luke, sister and adopted brother, grow up in the shadow of subsistence farming and primitive renewable energy. Their life is interrupted when John Prophet, a ghost from their parents’ past, comes riding in one fine afternoon.

Prophet comes because far away, in THE REPUBLIC, a new force is rising – a force from across the ocean bearing military might and an iron fist. This new regime promises to subjugate what scraps of freedom are left in this fallen land. And in their wake, a more ominous shadow grows…



Friday, February 24, 2012

2012 Best Audio Drama Audie Award Nominations

The Audio Publisher's Association has selected their five finalists for the 2012 Audie Award for Best Audio Drama. Among the nominations are...

The Arthur Miller Collection by L.A. Theatre Works featuring Stacey Keach, Richard Dreyfuss, Ed O'Neill and Brian Cox.


I, Claudius, by AudioGo/BBC Audio featuring Derek Jacobi, Tim McInnerny, and Harriet Walter.


We're Alive narrated by a full-cast

The Graduate by L.A. Theatre Works starring Kathleen Turner, Matthew Rhys, Bruce Davidson, John Getz, Jamison Jones, Devon Sorvari, and Linda Purl.


And the drama that is our selection for best full-cast audio drama in 2012...

The Mark of Zorro featuring Val Kilmer, Ruth Livier, Meshach Taylor, Armin Shimerman, Elizabeth Pena and a full-cast.



Friday, February 17, 2012

#128 Inspector Morse: Last Seen Wearing (BBC)

He's brash, ill-mannered and temperamental. He's Inspector Morse and he's on the case. John Shrapnel gives a solid performance as Morse in the BBC production of Colin Dexter's Last Seen Wearing. An enjoyable presentation from the opening line to the closing credits. This finely crafted feature is sure to keep a listener's engrossed in the story while trying to beat the inspector to the solution to the mystery.

Fifteen year old Valerie Taylor disappeared on her way to school nearly three years ago never to be seen or heard from since. Until one day a letter from Valerie arrives stating only that she is alive and well. With the case gone cold and the original detective assigned to investigate dead; Inspector Morse is tabbed to solve this baffling mystery.

From the BBC
Morse was beset by a nagging feeling. Most of his fanciful notions about the Taylor girl had evaporated and he had begun to suspect that further investigation into Valerie's disappearance would involve little more than sober and tedious routine. The statements before Inspector Morse appeared to confirm the bald, simple truth. After leaving home to return to school, teenage Valerie Taylor had completely vanished, and the trail had gone cold. Until two years, three months and two days after Valerie's disappearance, somebody decides to supply some surprising new evidence for the case.

John Shrapnel as Morse
Robert Glenister as Lewis

Dramatized by Guy Meredith and directed By Ned Chaillet.

It appears that none of the BBC full-cast radio drama productions of Inspector Morse are available at this time for purchase.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

# 127 Where Buzzards Fly (Louis L'Amour)

Another great western story from the mind of Louis L'Amour. This time Texas Ranger Chick Bowdrie is on the trail of unknown killers who've wiped out a band of notorious Mexican outlaws. It's high stakes adventure in this thrilling tale of law and order.

From Louis L'Amour:
Texas Ranger Chick Bowdrie tracks the killers of an infamous Mexican outlaw, Zaparo and fourteen of his desperadoes. With only the slightest clues to the ruthless ambush, Bowdrie is led to the K-Bar Ranch, and the beautiful girlfriend of the last living member of Zaparo's gang--only to find his prime suspect is a man closer to the Texas Rangers than he ever dreamed.


#126 The Sittaford Mystery (BBC)

From the mind of Agatha Cristie, the queen of crime fiction, comes The Sittaford Mystery. Inspector Narracott investigates the death of Captain Trevelyan after he's found lying on the floor of his bungalo. To make matters worse there is no phone in Sittaford and a snow storm has made travel impossible. Time is of the essence if the killer is to be found before he or she strikes again. Not one of Christies best stories but it is well produced by the BBC.

From the BBC:
A blizzard has hit England. In the tiny village of Sittaford, on the fringes of Dartmoor, a party of six is gathered in Sittaford House, home of Captain Trevelyan. He has rented the house out for the winter and is staying in a nearby village. As evening draws in, a seance is proposed. But it reveals more than they had anticipated - TREVELYAN DEAD, spells out the board. Slowly the table begins to rock again, spelling out the word M-U-R-D-E-R. Is it true? And who would kill a man who doesn't have an enemy in the world? John Moffatt and Stephen Tompkinson star in a BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of a classic from the Queen of Crime.


#125 Three Act Tragedy - Hercule Poirot (BBC)

It's the incomparable Hercule Poirot in Three Act Tragedy another gem from the BBC featuring John Moffatt as the great Belgian detective. During a cocktail party being given by actor Sir Charles Cartwright an elderly clergyman drops dead after only having a sip of a dry martini. His death is believed to be from  natural causes and so Poirot dismisses the case. Unconvinced that the death was from natural causes Sir Cartwright along with his love interest the much younger Lady "Egg" Lytton Gore and his good friend Mr. Satterthwaite begin their own investigation. However, when it happens again at another party with the same guests in attendance it's feared a killer is indeed on the loose and Poirot joins the investigation. Listeners will find this Agatha Christie story a bit different than usual as Poirot is present only minimally in the first Act and he doesn't make a full investigative appearance until the second Act.

From the BBC:
Hercule Poirot, his amateur detective acquaintance Mr Satterthwaite, and the distinguished Harley Street nerve specialist Sir Bartholomew Strange are amongst the guests at a weekend party being given by the celebrated actor Sir Charles Cartwright at his clifftop house in Cornwall. On the first evening after their arrival there is a cocktail party - at which an elderly clergyman, who's only had a sip of dry martini, falls dead. Was it through natural causes - or murder?

# 124 The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (BBC)

The BBC brings you the Dorothy L. Sayers mystery The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. Amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey must solve the baffling case of General Fentiman's demise after he is found dead at the Bellona Club in London. Suspiciously his wealthy sister has also passed away on the very same day. Under the terms of her will, if she dies first, her fortune is to be generously divided among the General's heirs. BUT if he dies first, they are to get only a token inheritance with the rest the fortune going to another relative. It's up to Lord Peter to help resolve the legal battle between the heirs by discovering who died first.

From the BBC:
The elegant, intelligent amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey is one of detective literature's most popular creations. Ian Carmichael is the personification of Dorothy L. Sayers' charming investigator in this BBC Radio full-cast dramatization. The dignified calm of the Bellona Club is shattered when Lord Wimsey finds General Fentiman dead in his favorite chair. A straight forward death by natural causes? Perhaps, but why can no one remember seeing the general the day he died? And who is the mysterious Mr. Oliver? Lord Peter moves between London and Paris, salon and suburbs, to unfold the intriguing case.


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Audio Drama World Mourns The Loss of One of The Greatest


Renowned audio dramatist Yuri Rasovsky passed away on January 18, 2012. He was a leading writer, director, and producer of both audio books and full-cast audio dramas. Mr. Rasovsky's drama productions included such classic titles as The Maltese Falcon (featuring Michael Madsen and Sandra Oh), Saint Joan (with Amy Irving), Sherlock Holmes (with Martin Jarvis and Kris Tabori), The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari (with John de Lancie) and The Mark of Zorro (with Val Kilmer).

Over his forty years as a writer, director and producer Yuri created hundreds of shows, worked with some of the best talent and won numerous awards, among which are two Peabody Awards, nine Audie Awards, and a Grammy. Two of his current works, The Mark of Zorro and Hamlet, are Grammy Award finalists for 2012.

Mr. Rasovsky despite fighting cancer for the past year continued to work. Within the last month he finished recording his final production Die, Snow White! Die, Damn You!

He was perhaps the greatest audio dramatist of the modern era and will be missed greatly. The world of audio drama will never be the same without him.

Some of the great audio drama productions of Yuri Rasovsky.

The Maltese Falcon - Received a 2011 Grammy Nomination.


The Mark of Zorro - Received a 2012 Grammy Nomination. Also nominated for two Audie Awards.


The Black Mask Audio Magazine - Winner of the 2010 Audie Award for Best Anthology.


St. Joan - Winner of the 2010 Audie Award for Best Audio Drama.


Sherlock Holmes Theater - Winner of the 2009 Audie Award for Best Audio Drama.


Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls - Winner of of three 2008 Audie Awards for Best Audio Drama, Best Original Work and Achievement in Production.


Craven Street - Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.


 Die Snow White! Die Damn You! - The production of Yuri Rasovsky.