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  • gilwilson 10:16 PM on November 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , radio show   

    “Batman: The Lazarus Syndrome” BBC Radio Drama Written by Simon Bullivant and Dirk Maggs 

    “Batman: The Lazarus Syndrome”
    BBC Radio Drama Written by Simon Bullivant and Dirk Maggs
    Multi-cast performance
    Produced by AudioGo
    45 minutes

    One of the many things I love about comic books is that they are a quick read.  I love carrying them with me and when I have a few minutes relax and read an exciting story.  This audiobook gave me the feel of a real comic book, not only was it a full story in 45 minutes but the voice acting music and sound effects brought a comic book story to audio life.  Every aspect of this audio drama gives the full color graphics of a comic into sound.

    The story was a 1989 BBC Radio 4 broadcast, produced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the popular comic book character Batman.  If you are wondering where in the Batman continuity the story falls, it contains references to such Batman stories as Batman: The Killing Joke, Batman: A Death in the Family, Batman: Year Three, and Batman: Son of the Demon.  AudioGo has released the performance as this audiobook.

    On the anniversary of his parents murder Batman is attacked by an old enemy. Then there is an explosion and it seems Batman is no more. With the disappearance of the Batman Commissioner Gordon begins searching for any lead, even going as far as arranging a meeting with The Joker and Catwoman. The commissioner then gets an audiotape which seems to be from Batman, telling the commissioner of Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, and that receipt of the tape verifies the death of Batman.  But when Gordon goes to Wayne Manor finding Bruce Wayne liquidating assets, Gordon realizes something is wrong.  Barbara Gordon the commissioner’s daughter and former Batgirl (before The Joker shot her and put her permanently in a wheelchair) begins her computer expertise to hack into the Bat-computer and find out where the real Batman is.

    While in Wayne Manor Bruce Wayne informs Alfred and Nightwing (Dick Grayson, formerly Robin) that he is hanging up the cape and cowl forever.  He begins selling off all of Wayne Enterprises and plans to relocate the Bat-computer.

    At the same time in some unknown location the true Batman awakens in the same room as Talia (the daughter of Ras’ al Ghul) and realizes he needs to regain his strength and awareness before this impostor uses Wayne Enterprises to bring ruin to the world.

    In an exciting audio-comic book, you will feel every punch and smell the dankness of the bat-cave thanks to the expert production fro BBC Radio and AudioGo.

  • gilwilson 9:21 PM on September 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: golde age of radio, , , , otr, , radio archives, radio show, radioarchives.com, , the unexpected,   

    “The Unexpected: Volume 1” released by Radioarchives.com 

    “The Unexpected: Volume 1”
    released by Radioarchives.com
    Multi-cast Old time Radio Shows
    Approx 5 hours

    Being a 25+ year veteran of Radio Broadcasting I may be a little biased here, but I love old time radio, or as is commonly referred to as “otr.”  OTR has that classic theatre of the mind feel that is nearly forgotten.  Today’s radio is ruled by top 40 pop songs or talk radio and these lack the creativity that the early years of radio represented.  The stories were told on the air and the audience created the images in their mind.  Today I try to keep this up with every commercial I write or produce, when you feed off the audience’s imagination, you have an unlimited supply of material.

    Radio great, Stan Freeburg, once drained Lake Michigan and filled with hot cocoa, whip cream and had U.S. Air Force jets top it all off with a giant cherry.  He then said, I’d like to see you do that on television.  Sure now with CGI we could do it, but it would take hours and I could do that in a radio studio in just a few minutes, so still a win for radio.   The old time radio shows used to be the main source of entertainment and had to keep the audience coming back each week.  This was usually done through simple great entertainment, and sometimes cliffhangers that the listener had to come back next week to find out what happens next.

    Radioarchives.com has recently released a this series of “The Unexpected” radio programs
    that were originally aired in 1947.  Each time the audience would keep coming back with some great stories that would not end with the expected.  With this release you don’t have to wait a week for the next mystery.  Volume one contains 20 of the 15 minute episodes that have been restored from the original transcriptions from what were probably acetate pressings.  Radioarchives.com have restored these recordings to perfection, the sound quality is superb and equal to any modern audio production.

    Every episode begins with: “Who knows what drama may happen tomorrow…or an hour from now…or in just a moment? Who knows what destiny has in store for the lady down the street, the fellow at the next desk, or you yourself? Who knows?”  Each story is then presented  with superb acting from actors of radio/screen and stage of the time.  Some of the actors that rang familiar with me were; Barry Sullivan, Lyle Talbot, Marsha Hunt, & Jackie Cooper.  The story genres range from Mystery & Suspense, to Drama, and there’s even a bit of comedy thrown in.  And just when you get to the end of the story, a voice comes in and says, “You think the story is over, don’t you? But wait! Fate takes a hand. Wait…for the Unexpected!”  then the story continues with an ending that is unexpected.  Great title and great gimmick to be different in the golden age of radio.  For today’s listener this is a treat of nostalgia and original storytelling at it’s best.

    Some examples of  the stories include; a man convinced that an old prospecter has struck silver in a ghost town, a woman who embezzles money from her company to buy a fur coat, a boxer who throws a fight to make some quick cash, a woman whose horoscope warns her she will kill a man and many more, but they never end as you’d expect.

    At this point I feel I need to point out or re-emphasize that these are restored directly from the original transcriptions.  The shows were originally meant to be sent out to radio stations and the radio stations would insert commercials in the allowed sections.  This is a good and bad feature.   Good in that you don’t get the commercials, unless you are a fan of the old time commercials.   The bad is that you get a minute or two of dramatic organ music in the place where the commercials would have gone.  At first I loved the old dramatic organ that helped push the story, but after a while I found myself fast forwarding through the  commercial insert areas, glad to have had that luxury.

    This collection is perfect for any fan of mystery, thrillers, suspense and old time radio.  If you are just plain curious, check them out they are a lot of fun, especially because the end of each story is Unexpected.

    Just to help out here are the titles and the lead actors of each episode  in Volume 1:

    #100 Mercy Killing
    starring Barry Sullivan

    #101 Birthday Present
    starring Marsha Hunt

    #102 Solid Citizen
    starring Tom Neal

    #103 Finale
    starring Lurene Tuttle

    #104 Cargo Unknown
    starring Lyle Talbot

    #105 Find the Man
    starring Binnie Barnes

    #106 Revenge
    starring Barry Sullivan

    #107 The Cripple
    starring Marjorie Riordan

    #108 Fool’s Silver
    starring Barry Sullivan

    #109 Horoscope
    starring Marjorie Riordan

    #110 Eavesdropper
    starring Barry Sullivan

    #111 Legacy
    starring Lurene Tuttle

    #112 Museum
    starring Jackie Cooper

    #113 Understudy
    starring Lurene Tuttle

    #114 King Champion
    starring Jack Holt

    #115 The Mink Coat
    starring Lurene Tuttle

    #116 Easy Money
    starring Steve Cochran

    #117 Free Passage
    starring Lurene Tuttle

    #118 Re-Match
    starring Jackie Cooper

    #119 Sweet Sixteen
    starring Lurene Tuttle

  • gilwilson 10:19 PM on November 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , radio show, , , the falcon killer   

    “The Falcon Killer” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “The Falcon Killer”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multicast performance
    produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx 2 hours.

    I’m really loving the vast array of genre’s from L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp fiction days.  More to the point I’m loving the production work of the Galaxy Audio releases of these stories from the various genres.  During the mid-20th century Hubbard wrote numerous stories for the numerous pulp fiction magazines that were published during the time.  What got me hooked were the science-fiction and fantasy stories, which are my favorite genres of any literature.  After listening to all the Stories from the Golden Age in the sci-fi/fantasy genres I was highly impressed by the production of each audiobook.

    Galaxy Audio, part of Galaxy Press, is releasing all the old Hubbard stories to create these 2 hour audio pulps, that bring to mind the old radio dramas from around that same time.  Each one of these audiobooks is a flash back to when stories were fun.  Galaxy Audio has a great team of voice actors for the books and the sound effects and music are superb.  Just picking out any book will get you hooked.

    This time around I listened to one of Hubbard’s Tales from the Orient, “The Falcon Killer,” which was originally published in April, 1939.  This story takes place in War-torn China in the early part of the 20th century.  This is the story of an ace free-lance fighter pilot, nicknamed “The Falcon Killer (Tzun Kai),” who is actually Bill Gaylord, raised in Peking by his American parents. Gaylord lost both of them as a child during the violent Boxer uprising and then saw his foster family slaughtered in wartime. With a past that’s hardened his soul and given him nerves of steel, Gaylord has used his resolve to down more Japanese aircraft than can be counted. Gaylord has a tattoo of a half dragon which has some meaning that only the Chinese know.  This tattoo provides the great twist at the end of the story that makes this a true Hubbard pulp-fiction.

    Events pit Gaylord against a Japanese spy who has caused untold trouble for the Chinese. Gaylord must somehow find and defeat him or risk losing an ancient Chinese kingdom to the land of the rising sun.

    Just before the local ruler can sell out his people Gaylord is discovered to be within the town and is called join the ruler for dinner.  Gaylord discovers his dinner has been poisoned, but will it be too late before the Japanese move in and take over, creating one more province under the rising sun banner?

    This story has some great aerial battles, escapes and intrigue that will keep you wondering whether the Falcon Killer will live to see another day.

  • gilwilson 1:35 AM on May 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , fantastic four, , , radio show, ,   

    Spiderman: The Amazing Spiderman (BBC Radio Collection) Story Adaptation by Dirk Maggs 

    Spiderman: The Amazing Spiderman (BBC Radio Collection)
    Story Adaptation by Dirk Maggs
    Multi-cast performance
    Produced by BBC Audiobooks Ltd (2002)
    Approx 2 hours

    I have always been a Spider-Man fan, I’m pretty sure I came out of the womb reading the comics, so when I found this gem I had to give it a listen.  In 1995, BBC Radio commissioned a Spider-Man audio book which aired on BBC Radio 1 over 50 episodes on week days between January 15, 1996 and March 24, 1996. The performance was co-produced by Brian May who also contributed to the musical arrangement and wrote and performed the theme tune.  Yes, the same Brian May that plays lead guitar for Queen.  BBC Audiobooks has taken this production and no made it available as a CD audiobook, I haven’t looked yet for any download versions.

    The run of the production includes a number of familiar characters from the Spider-Man comic books as well as key figures from the Marvel “Heroes” universe such as Fantastic Four, Namor the Submariner, and Doctor Doom.  This is a re-telling of the origin of Spider-Man, not exactly as Stan Lee originally wrote it, but pretty darn close.  In this version rather than Peter Parker going to a demonstration of Atomic energy (pretty dated sounding, right), he is conducting an experiment at the high school using low level radiation, but a spider gets in the mix and bites our hero.  Very similar to the origin the story continues with Peter Parker calling Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, of the Fantastic 4 to ask for help, after all he thinks he’s turning into a spider.

    After finding out the Fantastic 4 are out of office he decides he needs to make some money and goes on the TV circuit performing feats of spider-like ability.  After a criminal kills his Uncle Ben, Peter then takes up the crime-fighting mantle.  The play then brings on such villains as; the Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, the Sandman, Prince Namor (hero/villain) and Dr. Doom.

    My only complaint is that not once in the performance does Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s line that is his raison d’etre come out.  You know the one, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”  Stan Lee has been known to say that when he first came up with the phrase for Spidey, it sounded cheesy, but, it is a great life-lesson.  But the Brits decided to leave it out of the production.  I won’t fault them too much because this was fun to hear.

    The role of Spider-Man was performed by William Dufries. Also included in the cast list was EastEnders star Anita Dobson.  The entire cast and the production meld to make a great comic book to audio book adaptation.

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