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  • gilwilson 3:00 PM on December 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: audio drama, , , , , bbc 4, , , , , , , j.r.r. tolkien, , the hobbit   

    “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien (a radio performance from AudioGo) 

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    “The Hobbit”
    by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Full Cast Performance
    Published by AudioGO Ltd
    Running Time: 4hrs

    Okay, first off the first thing that will come to many of my loyal readers’ attention is the length of this audiobook, 4 hours. 4 hours for “The Hobbit”? that’s insane. I know, I know, but this isn’t simply “The Hobbit” audiobook. This is a performance originally aired on BBC 4 radio. The audiobook runs 11 hours or so and this one I am reviewing has been abridged to fit on a radio series format and is now being released as an audio performance by AudioGo. The movie that is about to be released is just under 3 hours, so you know some abridging is being done there as well.

    This performance originally aired in 1968 and features some special effects that are very typical of BBC effects, the voices of the goblins and trolls are very similar to the voices of the Daleks from the Doctor Who TV series, and add a bit of charm to the production. The rest of the performance is very nice to hear. I will have to admit I would have preferred cutting out the music in and music out between each half hour, but that was the original intent in this weekly broadcast so to remain historically accurate it is kept in this audiobook.

    I have read “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Ring” series numerous times in my life and love the adventures and found this audiobook/performance a great addition to my readings. In fact with the movie released I found this to be the perfect refresher before going to see the movie.

    So, if you keep in mind that this is an abridged radio series performance of “The Hobbit,” you’ll be set for an adventure with Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves to battle the Dragon, Smaug, and simply enjoy the performance. The fun part of this performance is that for the radio production the producers/writers added in what could be taken for an extra character of “The Tale Bearer” or simply put, the narrator. The fun part is that as he is telling the story Bilbo is constantly interjecting with embellishments to the story.

    The story is still the same; Bilbo Baggins a Hobbit from the Shire is unwittingly recruited as a “burglar”, a title which Bilbo is not comfortable with at first. Bilbo is needed to assist the Dwarves on a journey to reclaim their ancestral lands and treasures under a mountain. Other than the long journey, the hazardous part is that the treasure is guarded by a dragon named Smaug and many other races from Middle Earth also wish to possess that treasure. The journey, the battles and the variety of mythical creatures all combine to make this a classic fantasy, and this performance is a great addition to the story.

    So if you are looking for a refresher in the fantasy created by J.R.R. Tolkien, a brief introduction to the story, or just a fun time, give this audiobook version of the radio performance of “The Hobbit” from AudioGo a listen.

     
  • gilwilson 10:39 PM on December 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , audio drama, , , , , , , , , ,   

    “The Black Sultan” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    theblacksultanaudiobook

    “The Black Sultan”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    multi-cast performance
    produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx. 2 hours

    I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I mean a lot. I’ve come to the point where I can pretty much determine whether a book is worth listening to within a few minutes of listening. This is based only on the quality of the recording and presentation of the cast of readers or single reader, when it comes to determining whether a book is any good based on the words put together by the author, sometimes that takes me longer. I have gone through up to eight hours of an audiobook before realizing it wasn’t worth my while, and yeah that gets me angry. So I’ve come to know some of my favorites in regards to readers. I really like to hear a book by Scott Brick, Ray Porter, Johanna Parker and Susan Ericksen, so when they are reading I know I’m going to at least get a good performance.

    Another favorite I have are the multicast recordings produced by Galaxy Audio. In fact when I get frustrated with not finding a good book after a few tries, I immediately reach for an audiobook from Galaxy Audio. Even if it is one I’ve heard before, I know it will be a complete entertainment production. Galaxy Audio is the audiobook side of Galaxy Press and the two have been releasing all of the Pulp-Fiction writings of L. Ron Hubbard from the middle of the 20th Century.

    These stories all feature over the top characters placed in adventures that will keep the reader or listener on the edge of their seat. Hubbard wrote short stories during this time and covered all the genres represented by the Pulp Magazines of the time. Westerns, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Adventures and more were all written about by the master story-teller. Every one of the stories has great characters and to make things more interesting each story has several twists and turns that will constantly keep the reader guessing what could possibly happen next.

    Galaxy Audio produces these stories in a format very similar to the old radio shows of the same time period as the pulps. The voice actors are all superb and are able to bring the over the top characters to life in each and every audio release. Combined with the subtle yet superb sound effects and original music, these audio books will sweep the listener away on a two-hour adventure that will have them begging for more.

    Those are all the reasons I turn to these stories when I can’t find a good book to fill my time. I can get swept away and I know every time the writing and production will be top-notch and won’t let me down.

    This time around I listened to the audio release, “The Black Sultan.” This release features two stories, the first being the Novella of “The Black Sultan” and the short story “Escape for Three.” Both of these stories feature adventures with the French Foreign Legion and heroism. The adventure is brought to life through the unlimited voice talent and made even more realistic through the excellent sound effects. I was so swept away by these productions that I found myself trying to dump the sand from the Moroccan desert out of my shoes.

    “The Black Sultan” was originally published in the November, 1935 issue of “Thrilling Adventures” and tells the story of American, Eddie Moran, who is about to be captured in Morocco by the French Foreign Legion. When bullets start flying at two gentlemen walking right towards him thinking fast Eddie saves the two men and learns that one is the US vice-consul, but the other is the recently deposed Berber leader, El Zidan. When a friendship forms between them, Eddie escapes the French with Zidan’s help. Eddie is then sent to try to find more info and try to defeat the Black Sultan, the cruel usurper of El Zidan’s throne. Eddie is captured by the Black Sultan and must find a way out, he’s also bent on saving a beautiful American woman kidnapped to join a harem as one of the Sultan’s many brides. The possible escape could lead to several outcomes, capture by the French, death from the Black Sultan or maybe a few other surprises. The actual outcome is even more fantastical and only makes for a great surprise ending of a great adventure.

    The second story is “Escape for Three,” which was originally published in the June 1936 issue of “Thrilling Adventures” magazine. With Berber tribesmen on a rampaging killing spree, a hard-boiled trio of French Legionnaires raid the Berber camp and rescue a captive. This story was a bit of a humorous adventure which had some elements which could be compared to the Clint Eastwood classic, “The Good the Bad and the Ugly.” You’ll have to pick this one up for yourself to see what I mean.

    If you are not yet listening to these great stories produced by Galaxy Audio, do yourself a favor and grab one and allow yourself some great adventures.

     
  • gilwilson 1:20 AM on November 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: audio drama, , , , , , galaxyaudio, , , , ,   

    “Killer’s Law” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “Killer’s Law”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multicast performance
    Produced by Galaxy audio
    Approx 2 hours

    It’s funny when you think about it, many people complain about today’s youth in reference to their short attention span. This complaint has been blamed on the MTv generation creating short films and high-speed messages from the 80s. The funny part however can really be traced back to the middle of the century. During this time period there were short cartoons and serials before movies and the movies were at the longest 90 minutes. In the literary world there were the pulps. Pulp fiction magazines that were full of short stories that ran the gamut of available genres.

    Many of these pulp magazines featured great authors telling great stories in the short story or novella format. Some of the stories may be lost forever, but thanks to Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press, the pulp fiction era stories from L. Ron Hubbard are being re-released. The non-audiobook versions have the look and feel of the old pulp magazines. They have made the covers sturdier so that they will last longer but once you crack one of these open the feel of the paper on which the books are printed is the thick and pulpy texture that gave the magazine’s the pulp fiction nickname.

    The audiobooks are a completely different approach to these fun stories. The audiobook productions are full cast performances complete with sound effects and original transitional music that make for a full surround feel of these stories, placing you as the listener right in the middle of the story. They also have the sound of classic radio plays from the same era of the pulp fiction releases.

    The voice actors are all phenomenal in that these stories feature over the top characters and each actor brings the characters to life with great voicework. The sound effects keep the story rolling without overpowering the scene set by the story.

    This release from GalaxyAudio features 4 short stories that come from the Mystery genre and each one features a detective story with the inevitable twists and turns that L. Ron Hubbard did best.

    The first story is the title story “Killer’s Law,” it was originally published in the September, 1947 issue of “New Detective” magazine. When Sheriff Kyle of Deadeye, Nevada comes to Washington D.C. at the request of a senator to bring evidence against a wealthy copper king he finds himself in the middle of a scandal when he’s knocked unconscious and awakens next to the dead body of the senator he was to meet. The sheriff must then solve this mystery to clear his name.

    The next story is “They Killed Him Dead,” which was originally published in the May, 1936 issue of “Detective Fiction Weekly.” Detective “Careful” Cassidy literally walks into what seems to be a murder just as it happens. After all, he hears the gun shot and as he turns the corner sees a man holding a gun and another man dead with a gunshot to the head. Seems pretty much like an open and shut case. Normally Detective Cassidy would look at all aspects of the case but seeing as this seems pretty normal, arrests the man with the gun and sends the body to the morgue. Once in the morgue the coroner takes a look and the case doesn’t seem to be so open and shut, with the dead man having possibly died from a stabbing, or a broken neck, or from choking. “Careful” Cassidy arrests four suspects before unraveling the truth to this mystery.

    The third story is “The Mad Dog Murder” and was originally published in the June, 1936 issue of “Detective Fiction Weekly.” This one is a bit of a cute murder mystery in which the main suspect is at first a rabid Pekingese. A man dies of rabies and yet the dog doesn’t seem to have the disease after a few days in the pound. Yet a doctor with a penchant for animal testing seems to be under suspicion.

    The final story in this collection is “The Blow Torch Murder” and was originally published in the March, 1936 issue of “Detective Fiction Weekly.” In the days before great television CSI problem solvers a detective must uncover the murderer from the usual suspects who are conveniently in jail for various minor crimes at the time of death. A cleverly devised murder, that appears to have been committed with a blow torch, is solved by a homicide detective with only a wristwatch as a clue.

    In today’s age all of these mysteries could be solved in a single episode of a CSI program, however being the mid-20th century the detectives have only their wits to solve what today’s crimes are solved by extreme graphics, closeups and CGI.

     

     
  • gilwilson 10:24 PM on September 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , audio comics company, audio drama, , , , , , josh kinney, titanium rain   

    “Titanium Rain: volume 1” by Josh Finney 

    “Titanium Rain Volume 1”
    by Josh Finney
    Multi-cast Audio Drama
    produced by AudioComics
    Running time 1:27:44

    If you’ve been a constant reader of my posts you probably already know that I’m a big fan of comic books and graphic novels. So, every chance I get to listen to an audio version of a comic I take it. So far I have not been let down, this is the second comic book based story for audio I have heard from Audio Comics Company and this group knows how to do it right.

    When you think about comics you think of the intense graphics helping to tell the story, which always intrigues me about how that gets translated into audio form. There are a couple of audiobook companies that do it right and based on the awesome work I’ve heard, the Audio Comics company will be one on my list for any future releases.

    Audio Comics paints the background, which would normally be done with graphics, with a complete 360 degrees of sound. The explosions the weapons fire and the special effects fill the air just as the graphics would fill the background. These aren’t cheesy effects either. I was listening in my car at one point in the story when the jets were flying and I had to ease off my gas pedal because I felt like I was in the jet as the battle progressed. During the explosions, through my Bose Wave Radio (via aux input), would cause the walls in the room to rumble. This one was a fantastic aural experience.

    Being a voiceover artist myself, I get real critical when it comes to voicing for audiobooks, but the Audio Comics company doesn’t have to worry about be picking on their actors, they were all excellent and every voice artist was able to bring out the complete characters through their work on this project.

    So, all in all, this story is a definite must experience audio book. What about the story itself? Well it is very intriguing and a nice little near-future sci-fi war story.

    I had first heard about this graphic novel back in 2010 when the Chinese government would not allow the book to be sold due to its “politically sensitive content.” When a comic book, or rather a graphic novel, is banned for any reason, I have to at least check it out.

    The year is 2031 and a civil war in China has become a global conflict. China’s supreme military leader is assassinated and the general that takes over decides it is time for China to return to its roots and announces himself as Emperor. The U.S. becomes involved when the Chinese attack Japan. That is the political situation and creates enough of a reason for a good war story, but in this book, that is merely the tip of the iceberg.

    This story is really about the 704th Phoenix Tactical Fighter Squadron. This squadron is sent to the frontlines because of their special abilities. Actually the abilities are what makes the story a great sci-fi.

    The 704th are all a bunch of washouts. They couldn’t make it into a real Air Force squadron, but thanks to a scientific experiment they get a last chance. Each member is “voluntarily” turned into a type of cyborg in what is dubbed as the “Prometheus Project”. Using nano-technology the members are able to control their planes as thought they are merely an appendage of the humans involved.

    The audio drama is told as a series of flashbacks jumping from the ongoing battle to the past where the pilots all become one with their aircraft. Audio Comics did an excellent job of separating the flashbacks with simple audio cues. They didn’t have to give the dates or times of each segment rather the audio moved the story along with great audio segues between sections.

    Jump on board now, this is to be released as a trilogy and this is only the first. Great story, awesome sound and perfect acting will get you wanting more.

     
    • The AudioComics Company 8:05 PM on September 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Many thanks for the wonderful review! The question remains, where can you find “Titanium Rain?” CD’s are available through Amazon, CDBaby, and ZBS.org, and you can purchase the Mp3 download through iTunes (only $5.00), Amazon Mp3, CDBaby, AudioComicsCompany.com, ZBS.org, and US.7Digital.com.

      Like

  • gilwilson 10:55 PM on September 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: audio drama, , , , , , , dennis etchison, dreadtime stories, fangoria, , m.j. elliott, malcom mcdowell, max allan collins, , scary, steve nubie   

    Fangoria: Dreadtime Stories Volume 1 (narrated by Malcom McDowell) 

    “Fangoria – Dreadtime Stories Volume 1”
    Narrated by Malcolm McDowell
    Multicast performances
    Produced by AudioGo
    4 Hours 12 Minutes

    I have always been a fan of Audio Drama, especially radio shows from back in the day and when I received this production from AudioGo, I kept wondering, how did I miss this. This series aired on satellite radio and streaming from the website, so I can see how it has passed me by. But now AudioGo presents these stories in audiobook form so finally I can enjoy them. Being a career terrestrial radio broadcaster, I have not jumped on the satellite radio bandwagon, and probably never will. I have only recently turned to podcasts (even publishing my own weekly podcast) but streaming audio I can’t see myself getting into. So once again AudioGo has brought some really great audio drama to me, and I may investigate at least the streaming audio, maybe.

    Either way I now have listened to volume 1 and thoroughly enjoyed it. This collection brings back the classic radio horror feel, much like the shows “Lights Out,” “Suspense,” or “Inner Sanctum.” Malcom McDowell’s narration between segments of each story is superb. He has that charm that invites you in but at the same time his voice has that air of eeriness and suspicion that let’s you know you are in for a ride with the story. The actors in all the stories were all excellent in their roles, making this entire collection a great horror escape.

    “Dreadtime Stories – Volume 1” consists of six unique horror stories. Each story has great twists and turns throughout the drama that as a listener you’ll never know how the story is going to end, and they probably won’t end the way you think, or hope, for that matter.

    The first story, “The Late Shift” written by Dennis Etchison was a great way to kick off this collection, especially for me. I work until midnight and the commute home from work is when I get some of my best audiobook listening. This story tells the tale of what if all those zombies working the late shift were really zombies. If you have ever been in a convenience store, gas station or fast food place in the overnight, you’ve probably run into at least one of these mindless beings that seem to not quite function at a higher brain power, and just barely get your order or transaction right. In “The Late Shift,” those brain-dead graveyard shift workers are really brain-dead and when one unlucky guy discovers the secret, he may be the next to pull an over night shift.

    “Reincarnal” by Max Allen Collins, at first sounded like it may be a sexy horror story, but turns out not to be. A young artist is hypnotized at a party, as part of the party’s entertainment, when she awakens she sees the rest of the party-goers looking at her with concern and a touch of horror. It seems that while under hypnosis she relived a past life in which she was a teenager who was the victim of a mass-murderer on prom night in the eighties. The coincidences begin when another series of murders are occurring that bear a strong resemblance to the same string of murders in which she was a part of in her “past-life.” Now though she is seeing the murders through the eyes of the female victims, and the only person that believes her is a blogger/journalist that helps her track down the killer.

    “A Fungus Among Us” by Steve Nubie, is a story that would fit perfectly with those mad scientist 1950s “B” movies. This one hit a bit of synchronicity with me, which tells me I’m listening to the right story at that moment in my life. The Synchronicity this time concerns the Ophiocordyceps fungus. This is known as the “Zombie Ant” fungus. This fungus infects an ant and causes him to stray from the normal behaviours of an ant and when fully mature the fungus explodes a node through the head of the ant and spreads the spores to infect more ants. In this story this is happening to humans. The humans are setting fires, robbing banks and then when caught their skulls explode and a node extends out of their heads. Is this man-made or is the fungal world seeking its revenge?

    “Wolf” by Max Allan Collins, is an almost typical were-wolf story. A resort lodge has had a murder occur on its grounds and the victim was mangled as if by an animal. The man under suspicion by the local authorities is a wealthy lodger who checked in on the night of the murder. The man’s name is Mr. Wolf, but remember this is a “Dreadtime Story” so it might not quite be what you expect.

    “Living Space” by M. J. Elliott is a story that brings to mind the “Saw” series of movies but a little (not by much) more tame. A young couple have found an apartment in New York that is priced too low to be true, and remember if it is too good to be true, it is. In this case once the trap has sprung there is only one way out can this young couple learn the way that no other tenant could figure out?

    The final story in this volume is yet another classic monster brought to modern life, well at least to the 1930s Chicago gangster time. “A Good Head on His Shoulders” is written by Max Allan Collins and brings back one of the top 3 classic movie monsters, this time around a rash of murders is taking place that has the police baffled. Prominent doctors are being slain by a maniac dubbed “The Mangler.” When a local mob boss learns the real namesake of his loyal Doctor Stein he finds out too late that he should have destroyed the brain of his dead rival.

    Each of these stories were a perfect companion for those midnight drives home causing me to move a little faster when arriving home and going inside. So do yourself a favor and check out this chilling collection of stories from Fangoria.

     
  • gilwilson 10:08 PM on July 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , audio drama, broken glass, David Dukes, , Jane Brucker, , , John Vickery, , , , Linda Purl, , , paralysis, ,   

    “Broken Glass” by Arthur Miller from “The Arthur Miller Collection” published by L.A. Theatre Works 

    “Broken Glass”
    by Arthur Miller
    from “The Arthur Miller Collection”
    published by L.A. Theatre Works
    Performed by: Jane Brucker, David Dukes, Lawrence Pressman, Linda Purl, John Vickery and JoBeth Williams.
    Approx 2 hours

    This play marks a bittersweet moment for me, in that it is the last performance in “The Arthur Miller Collection” from L.A. Theatre works. Bitter, because it is the last one and sweet, because after listening to these ten plays I can pretty much consider myself a scholar of Arthur Miller.

    While getting my degree in Theatre, I had the opportunity to study Arthur Miller, but L.A. Theatre Works’ performances are all top-notch. These performances are produced for audio in such a way that puts the listener in the middle of the audience, aurally. While I know well that theatre is a visual art as well, the words make the difference and when they are performed so well the visuals are just icing on the cake. L.A. Theatre Works productions are all icing and cake with great acting, subtle, yet effective, sound effects and great music that fit the settings of the plays.

    “Broken Glass” is set in 1938, and this psychological mystery begins when Sylvia Gellburg suddenly loses her ability to walk. Her husband is worried about the woman he adores and seeks help from the neighborhood doctor. After consulting with another doctor, Dr. Hyman cannot find any physical reason for her paralysis. The only clue lies in Sylvia’s obsession with news accounts from Germany where old men are being forced to clean the sidewalks with toothbrushes. Though she is safe in Brooklyn, Sylvia is terrified by Nazi violence, or is it something closer to home? It is up to Dr. Hyman to find the solution.

    Mr. Gellburg, in a way, also becomes the patient of Dr. Hyman as Mrs. Gellburg’s diagnosis is revealed to be hysterical paralysis. Mr. Gellberg is appalled at the idea that it is all in her head.

    Dr. Hyman learns that Mr. Gellburg goes out of his way at times to deny he is a Jew and other times to use being a Jew in his favor. This has created a fear in Mrs. Gellburg that is comes out even more as she reads newspaper stories or hears radio reports about the torture of the Jews. What it all comes down to is that the choices made whether you accept what is given or you make a stand for what you believe is the turning point in life and what you do determines who you are.

    A nice play and a very nice performance, that is well worth the time, money and effort to put into your listening list.

     
  • gilwilson 9:44 PM on July 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , audio drama, , , , Brian Cox, , , Jenny O’Hara, Kirsten Potter, , , , Saidah Arrika Ekulona,   

    “The Ride Down Mt. Morgan” by Arthur Miller 

    “The Ride Down Mt. Morgan”
    by Arthur Miller
    from “The Arthur Miller Collection”
    published by L.A. Theatre Works
    Performed by: Brian Cox, Jenny O’Hara, Amy Pietz, Kirsten Potter, Gregory Itzin and Saidah Arrika Ekulona
    Approx 2 hours

    Once again it’s time to listen to another play from “The Arthur Miller” collection from L.A. Theatre Works. I’ve been listening to this collection interspersed with all my other audiobook listening so I can stretch it out. There are ten plays in this collection and this is next to the last, I’m gonna miss having these two hours between books.

    What I like most about these audio recordings is that with the superb production quality, I feel as though I’m right in the middle of the performance, and with the great casting, the actors really bring these plays to life.

    Most of Arthur Miller’s plays are tragedies, but this one is kinda hard to categorize. The tragedy of this play takes place at the beginning and how the main character tries to weasel out of this tragedy almost turns this play into a comedy.

    Lyman Felt is an insurance agent/mogul. He’s made enough money to own two homes one in New York City and one in Elmira, New York. His money has also made it possible for him to support two families. Those two families are his own, you see, Lyman is a bigamist. He has two loving wives one child with each of those wives.

    The tragedy that begins this play is that Lyman, while driving down the icy road down Mt. Morgan goes off the road and ends up in the hospital. As he awakens in the hospital he is stuck in bed as the nurse tells him his wife is waiting to see him. As Lyman comes to full consciousness, he begins to realize it’s his wife of more than thirty years, Theo, is the first to visit. The problem is Mt. Morgan is near his Elmira home where his wife of only nine years, Leah, lives. Sure enough both wives end up meeting and the issue of Lyman’s bigamy is confronted head on.

    When confronted, Lyman states that the two options in life are to be true to others, which includes a hypocritical world, or to himself, and that he has chosen the himself. He justifies his actions by explaining he has given them good lives, has supported them financially and emotionally, and has been a good father. This is all presented in a series of flashbacks that are so well presented in this performance that I always knew a flashback was happening. Lyman goes on to say that the two women have been happier with this arrangement than they would have been if they had been the only wife. As reasons for this he cites domestic boredom, routine, and the angst of being trapped in the same relationship forever. The play uses flashbacks to take us to previous situations both families have lived.

    So this brings up the question; Which wife will take him back? Through the flashbacks and some rather humorous discussions between wives, attorneys, nurses and Lyman this performance will make you chuckle, and, at times, cringe at Lyman’s justifications.

     
  • gilwilson 10:14 PM on June 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 60s pop culture, April Singley, , audio drama, , , , Brent Askari, Carrington Macduffie, Christopher Price, , , Dennis St. Pierre, , Elizabeth Knowelden, Gary Guzzo, Harlan Baker, honey west, Kristina Balbo, Lance Roger Axt, Michael Howard, , Phil Wells, Tom Pakuski,   

    “Honey West: Murder on Mars” Adapted for audio by Elaine Lee from the Moonstone Comics mini-series by Elaine Lee and Ronn Sutton 

    “Honey West: Murder on Mars”
    Adapted for audio by Elaine Lee from the Moonstone Comics mini-series by Elaine Lee and Ronn Sutton
    Featuring the vocal talents of: Carrington Macduffie, William Dufris, Tom Pakuski, Gary Guzzo, Kristina Balbo, Dennis St. Pierre, Brent Askari, Harlan Baker, Lance Roger Axt, April Singley, Michael Howard, Elizabeth Knowelden, Phil Wells and Christopher Price
    Published by The AudioComics Company
    Total Length: 1:18:56

    Everyday I’m amazed at how synchronicity is at work choosing the audiobooks I’ll be listening to. This time around it was another odd series of events that led me to hearing this really fun audiobook. I was checking out the extra channels my cable provider had added that I never bother with, I rarely watch television and when I do it’s very limited, basically if it’s not sci-fi or horror I’m not interested, I’ll stick to my books. This time though, I found a station called MeTV, they broadcast old programs from the 60s and 70s and I was watching “The Twilight Zone” and the next show up was “Honey West.” I was curious and it turned out to be a fun mystery program featuring one of the first female private detectives in books and television. I was mildly entertained for the half hour.

    Jump ahead a couple of weeks and I’m visiting my local comic books store and see that Moonstone comics are publishing Honey West comics. I’m a huge fan of comics and after being entertained by the TV show I had to check out a couple of issues. These all add up to some really nice comics. Not long after reading the comics, I get the chance to hear and review this audiobook which is based on a storyline in the comics, and with the title “Murder on Mars,” I’m totally intrigued and jumped into it. Besides, synchronicity is pointing me this way.

    The AudioComics Company have released this full-cast audio drama based on the comics and based on this short story, I hope they do more. The case was excellent, giving the story that complete Honey West of the 60s feel. The characters are all perfectly performed and it almost sounds as if you are listening to an old radio show. Great acting, realistic sound effects and the music! The music segues really added an extra oomph! to this performance. They were old jazzy lounge music bits that fit in with the portrayed time and setting of this performance. All of this together makes for a very entertaining production that you should really get for your collection now.

    The story is perfect for the time period as well, as it takes place on the set of a science-fiction “B” movie set where everyone is a suspect, and the only way Honey can solve this crime is by putting herself undercover and in the middle of the performance.

    Honey West is called in by a mysterious source to solve the murder of a famous actress on the set of a sci-fi film called “Amazons on Mars.” The actress died of what appears to be an allergic reaction to insect bites, but the mystery person hiring Honey thinks otherwise and once she arrives on set, so does Honey. An aging teen idol, an understudy who wants to be the star a jealous agent and a down on his luck director all fit perfectly into the suspects list, it’s up to Honey to found out the true killer.

    In what would be the perfect “B” movie itself, with robots, aliens and murder on a Hollywood set, “Honey West; Murder on Mars” is a fun audio drama.

     

     
  • gilwilson 10:33 PM on June 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amy Irving, , , audio drama, , , , Harris Yulin, , , , , , Timothy West   

    “The Price” by Arthur Miller from “The Arthur Miller Collection” published by L.A. Theatre Works 

    “The Price”
    by Arthur Miller
    from “The Arthur Miller Collection”
    published by L.A. Theatre Works
    starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Amy Irving, Timothy West and Harris Yulin.
    Approx 2 hours

    Once again I’m continuing my trek through this collection of 10 plays by Arthur Miller published by L.A. Theatre Works, “The Arthur Miller Collection.” This one is number eight in the collection, the plays could be heard in any order, I’m just going through them as they are presented in the collection, with the exception of “Death of a Salesman” which I had to hear first.

    This performance features a cast of Richard Dreyfuss, Amy Irving, Timothy West and Harris Yulin. Richard Dreyfuss has always been one of my favorite actors and he does a superb job in the role of Victor Franz, A police sergeant, eligible for retirement and approaching his fiftieth birthday. His ability to sound completely like a New York cop was superb in this performance. All the actors were excellent in this performance, I just think Dreyfuss stood out, most likely because he is the main character, but definitely a stand out performance.

    The character of Victor Franz opens the play with his wife, Esther, as they both prepare to sell off Victor’s father’s house full of furniture. The house is about to be demolished and the lifetime of collected furniture must go. Victor has called in a furniture dealer, Gregory Solomon, to make an offer on all the furniture. As they are waiting on Solomon, Victor begins reminiscing about his life in that home taking care of his father. The father was unable to take care of himself after Victor’s mother died, so Victor quit school, in which he was studying to most likely become a doctor. Victor joined the force to support his father, and his brother, Walter continued in school to become a very successful doctor.

    Victor has some anger built up toward his brother because he would only send five dollars a month to support. During the process of coming up with a price for all the furniture, Walter shows up at the house and all the past comes up and angers flare. The true source or resentment comes out and the brothers go back and forth talking about the price each had to pay when their father broke down.

    The play builds and builds until the emotional end to which not all is solved, but barriers have been brought down. This play is one of your typical Arthur Miller plays depicting the struggles of every man. Miller was a great writer of our everyday life and dreams, of the most American kinds of struggles, disappointments and confusions and was able to portray those in the simplest of settings for his plays.

     
  • gilwilson 10:32 PM on June 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: a prairie home companion, , , audio drama, , , , , garrison keillor, guy noir, , , , sue scott, tim russell   

    “Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny” By Garrison Keillor 

    “Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny”
    By Garrison Keillor
    Performed by Garrison Keillor, Tim Russell and Sue Scott
    Published by HighBridge Audio
    4 hours

    Every book you read or hear has to be fun in some way. Sometimes it’s just that you enjoy getting lost in a mystery or escaping realism with some adventurous fantasy. Whatever the reason each book will take you somewhere and it should be fun. This time around I listened to a book that was pretty much nothing but fun. “Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny” is pure fun and a romp through a mystery and adventure with some great humor and classic literature references, and even a few pop culture jabs thrown in to keep the story fresh.

    If you’re not familiar with the character of Guy Noir then on Saturdays from 5pm – 7pm central time you need to tune in to your local public radio station and find Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” This fun piece of what is left of radio variety shows in America launched the character of Guy Noir, Private eye. It’s always fun to hear when Guy Noir segments come on the show and find out what kind of crime needs solved by the private dick with a penchant for literature.

    The Guy Noir character and stories parody the conventions of the pulp fiction novel and the film noir genre. He works on the twelfth floor of the Acme Building in a city that “knows how to keep its secrets”, St. Paul, Minnesota and first appeared in prairie home companion broadcasts around 1995. This time around Guy gets his own story and in this 4 hour fully dramatized audiobook you get a humorous adventure that will keep you laughing and if you are overheard listening to this audiobook, the literary references and the plays on words will make you sound more intelligent.

    This story opens up with Guy staring down the barrel of a gun held by a wheezing geezer gangster that goes by the name of Joey Roast Beef. Joey is demanding to know what sort of money-making scheme Guy is involved in with stripper-turned-women’s-studies-professor Naomi Fallopian. It also seems that everyone knows about Guys weight loss pills. Naomi has hired Guy as security for the Elongate product of weight loss pills (which actually turn out to be tapeworms). While Naomi promises Guy to be the love of his life (and he falls for this oldest female scam) she’s off gallivanting around the world spending her millions from selling tapeworms to the rich.

    In the meantime Guy, who has taken one of these wonder-pills, is losing weight and all of a sudden the women in his life are finding him attractive. Saving himself for Naomi and saving the tapeworm queens and eggs from the despicable Larry B. Larry, Guy looks death in the eye, falls in love and finally faces off with the capo del capo del grande primo capo, Johnny Banana.

    Will Guy lose his worm fortunes and women? Give this hilarious adventure a listen and find out. The performance is the perfect over the top performance you would expect from Garrison Keillor. If you’re not familiar the three actors in combination with hilarious sound effects and incidental music will keep you listening just to hear what happens next and anticipating the next laugh. Fun stuff here.

     
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