Tuesday, August 30, 2011

#102 Voyage (BBC)

Stephen Baxter's Voyage is an alternate history telling of events in the United States space race. Surviving the 1963 assassination attempt a wheelchair bound John F. Kennedy along side President Richard Nixon congratulate Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew for their successful moon landing. Taking things a step further Kennedy not only offers word of congratulation but also a challenge to move forward with the idea of the U.S. taking strides to reach Mars in the future. Voyage is the story of NASA's struggle to send a manned mission to Mars. Dirk Maggs produced and directed this incredible production.

From the BBC:
A BBC dramatization of a science-fiction adventure set in a world that almost existed but never did - a world in which John F. Kennedy survived the Dallas assassination attempt and, from his wheelchair, exhorted NASA to continue the building of space ships, and to fly them onward to Mars.


#101 Towards Zero (BBC)

This BBC production of Agatha Christie's murder mystery Towards Zero starts out a bit slowly but builds into a fine story with a classic Christie twist at the end.

Lady Tresselian invites several guests to stay at her seaside house at Gull's Point. Against her better judgment she has allowed her late husband's ward, handsome and dashing tennis ace Neville Strange, and his wife Kay to come at the same time as Neville's ex-wife Audrey. Other guests include Mary, Lady Tresselian's companion; Ted, Kay's ever-present friend; Thomas, a family friend who has just returned from spending the war in Africa and Lady Tresselian's old friend Lord Justice Treves. When death visits Gull's Point the house party is thrown into turmoil. It is left to Scotland Yard's Detective Inspector Leach and Mr MacWhirter, an ex-detective who is also house guest, to solve the case.

Dramatized by Joy Wilkinson.
Directed by Mary Peate.

Featured in the cast:
Nevile............Hugh Bonneville
Lady Tresselian.......Marcia Warren
MacWhirter.........Tom Mannion
Audrey............Claire Rushbrook
Mary.............Julia Ford
Kay............Lizzy Watts
Latimer...........Joseph Kloska
Royde............Stephen Hogan
Treves...........David Hargreaves
Inspector Leach .......Philip Fox
Receptionist...........Annabelle Dowler
Sergeant...........Matt Addis
Umpire/Butler........Philip Fox
Receptionist...........Annabelle Dowler
Porter............Benjamin Askew


Sunday, August 28, 2011

#100 The Posion Belt - Professor Challenger (American Radio Theater)

American Radio Theater presents the second of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger stories with The Poison Belt. This production, especially the acting, is very reminiscent of a BBC production. It feels like a sequel to the BBC's production of Conan Doyle's The Lost World which of course was the first and most famous in this series of stories.

Also available from American Radio Theater When The World Screamed (a Professor Challenger story.)

From ART:
THE POISON BELT - written by Arthur Conan Doyle, adapted by Cole Hornaday. The world swims through a belt of poison ether. Can Professor Challenger and his companions survive? 61 minutes (2008)

Featured in the cast:
  • Ivan Cury as Ted Malone
  • Kim Turner as Mr. McCardle
  • Cole Hornaday as Professor Challenger
  • Gregg Porter as Professor Summerlee
  • Reynaud LeBoeuf as Lord John Roxton
  • Bryan Hendrickson as Austin, the Chauffeur
  • Melinda Mains as Mrs. Challenger
  • Joan Parker as Mrs. Burston
  • Pat McNally as Telegraph Boy
  • Live Sound Effects by Penny Swanberg

See also The Lost World by the BBC post #16:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

#99 Star Wars Rebel Mission To Ord Mantell

Most probably don't know that Brian Daley produced another Star Wars radio drama after the original trilogy. Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell doesn't feature any of the actors from the original trilogy but the voice acting is still quite good. The sound effects are awesome and it's a short but good story.


For more Star Wars see:

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 - Rebel Agent

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Soldier For The Empire

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight

Star Wars: Crimson Empire

Star Wars: Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell

#98 Star Wars Dark Empire

Dark Empire is the first of a three part story arc (Dark Empire II and Empire's End). This episode is well written and features a good cast of voice actors. The story and sound effects in this production take you to a galaxy far, far away. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the other 2 sequels. They're terrible.

Six years after the battle of Endor, the fight for freedom rages on. Han Solo and Princess Leia, now married, struggle to protect their twin children from danger. Darth Vader is dead, but a reborn Empire strikes back against the Rebel Alliance, and the Rebels discover that their greatest foe may be their closest friend: Luke Skywalker!


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 - Rebel Agent

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Soldier For The Empire

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight

Star Wars: Crimson Empire

Star Wars: Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell

#97 Star Wars Crimson Empire

Loaded with action this very well written Star Wars story will keep you tuned in. Good voice acting and sound effects make this adventure a fun one.

The explosive Star Wars saga continues! Crimson Empire introduces you to a new generation of space heroes and thrilling adventures!

As the story opens, the Empire's in turmoil; Luke Skywalker has destroyed the last of Emperor Palpatine's clones, and the Dark Lord Carnor Jax plans to seize the throne. But he has a formidable opponent to contend with: the brave Kir Kanos. The only survivor of the elite Crimson Guard, he alone stands between Jax and universal domination.

On the run and fighting for his life in a world of disloyalty and deceit, Kanos takes refuge on the planet Phaeda, joining forces with the fierce, beautiful New Republic leader Mirith Sinn and her underground warriors. Soon, the Empire holds Mirith's band under siege, and none other than Kanos comes to their rescue. Why is he fighting with them? Is he on their side?

Finally, the stage is set for the clash between the last of the Royal Guard: Kir Kanos vs. Carnor Jax. Only one can walk away. Who dies? What happens to the New Republic?

Listen and find out as the suspense and action of this galactic story reaches its compelling conclusion to the first part of the Crimson Empire series.
Cast and Crew

Written by: Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley

Produced by: Tom Voegeli

Directed by: Peter Moore

Main Cast:
    Patrick Coyle as Kir Kanos
    Robert Downing Davis as Carnor Jax
    Nichole Pelerine as Mirith Sinn
    Martin Ruben as Sish Sadeet
    David Anthony Brinkley as General Wessel
    Gary Groomes as Colonel Shev and Emperor Palpatine
    Jim Cada as Darth Vader
    Wayne A. Evenson as Tem Merkon
    Jeff Gadbois as the Taskmaster
    Peter Thoemke as Massimo

Additional Voices:

    Bill Slichter
    Michael Tezla
    J.C. Cutler
    Christopher Denton
    Matt Guidry
    Allen Hamilton
    Jeremy Jackson
    Johar Husain
    Tom Keith
    Michael Paul Levin
    Bill McCallum
    Peter Moore
    Cliff Rakerd


For more Star Wars see:

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 - Rebel Agent

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Soldier For The Empire

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight

Star Wars: Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

#96 Evil Under The Sun - Hercule Poirot (BBC)

Agatha Christie's classic tale of murder and intrigue comes to life in the BBC's production of Evil Under the Sun. Well produced and acted this whodunnit is sure to please any mystery lover.

From the BBC:
An exclusive hotel on a tiny picturesque island seems to be the ideal retreat for Hercule Poirot from the stresses of criminal detection. But with the appearance of the beautiful Arlena Stuart, the quiet and peaceful atmosphere becomes charged with an indefinable erotic tension. And, when she is found viciously strangled in a secluded cove, there are few, especially among the women, who seem to feel either surprise or regret. As Poirot follows a twisting path of bizarre and bewildering clues, his only certainties are that the solution lies within Arlena herself, and that there is evil under the sun. John Moffat is Hercule Poirot in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatization with an all-star cast which includes Iain Glen, Fiona Fullerton, Robin Ellis, Wendy Craig, George Baker and Joan Littlewood.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#95 Get Out Of Town - Louis L'Amour

Growing up to the point of being viewed as a man wasn't always an easy thing in the west. Neither was re-establishing yourself after having been convicted of a crime. In this story Tom Fairchild, a teenager yearning to be looked upon as a man, hires a just released from prison saddle bum named Riley. Everyone in the town except the boy's mother objects. Riley's served his time but the town's people seem to figure once a man's been in prison that makes him a criminal for life. Together Mrs. Fairchild, Tom and Riley face tough choices and challenging situations that will alter all their lives. Louis L'Amour brings you yet another wonder tale of the old west in Get Out Of Town. 

From Louis L'Amour:
Ever since his father died, fourteen-year-old Tom Fairchild has helped his mother keep the ranch going. Soon it would be time to gather the cattle to market, and Tom was sent to ride into town to hire a hand. When he chose a stranger named Riley, the townspeople, the former hands, and the local law didn't approve. Worse yet, the sheriff said Riley was a former convict. But Tom didn't care. It was the first real decision Tom ever made on his own. Now he must face a threat closer to home, a danger he never expected. Tom Fairchild isn't about to back down—but he's in more trouble than he can handle by himself.


Monday, August 15, 2011

#94 Craven Street (HTE)

You've likely heard the story of the experiment Ben Franklin conducted in June of 1752 in which he flew a kite with a key tied to it in an lightning storm to find out if the electricity would pass through metal. You may also know that Ben Franklin was an inventor. Among his many inventions are bi-focals, the odometer, the flexible urinary catheter, an iron furnace stove, the lightning rod, and paper money. You may know that as a 16 year old boy he wrote letters to The New-England Courant posing as a middle-aged widow named Silence Dogood. You may even know that Ben Franklin stopped The Stamp Act, that he wrote a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette (later renamed The Saturday Evening Post), and that he helped write the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. But before the Revolutionary War took place you may not have known that Franklin lived in London working as a diplomat mediating unrest between Britain and the American colonies. Yuri Rasovsky masterfully takes you back to that historic period in this wonderfully crafted full-cast audio drama. Craven Street is an intriguing and informative tale based on obscure but factually accurate historical documents, many of which were letters from Franklin to his wife. The cast features an outstanding group of actors including Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched), Martin Sheen (The West Wing, he's also the father of actors Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen), Efram Zimbalist Jr (77 Sunset Strip, The FBI, New World Zorro), George Gizzard, Sir Nigel Hawthorne, David Warner, Charles Shaughnessy, and extensive supporting cast.


#93 The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (BBC)

Some might call it strange, odd or weird. Others may describe it as just plain "far out." Either way it's a bit different. It's... The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, a funny science fiction fantasy filled with intelligent satire, sharp wit, and comedic dialogue. The series follows the adventures of hapless Englishman Arthur Dent and and his friend Ford Prefect an alien who writes for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy a pan-galactic encyclopedia and travel guide, Zaphod Beeblebox (Ford's semi-cousin and Galactic President), a depressed robot named Marvin and Trillian (the only other human to survive Earth's destruction). The Hitchhiker's Guide, different as it may be, is rich in comedic detail and thought-provoking situations.

From the BBC:
From the original Primary and Secondary Phases, through to the more recent Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential Phases, these are the adventures of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox and their assorted human, robotic and alien companions.

These full-cast BBC Radio 4 dramas star Simon Jones, Peter Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Mark Wing-Davey, Stephen Moore and Susan Sheridan, with a stellar guest cast including John le Mesurier, Joanna Lumley, Christian Slater, Jackie Mason, Sandra Dickinson, Rula Lenska, Griff Rhys Jones and Jonathan Pryce.

Also included is an exclusive bonus disc containing two programmes from the BBC Archive: Kaleidoscope from 1980 (going behind the scenes of the second series) and Six Characters in Search of an Answer: Arthur Dent from 2002.


Friday, August 12, 2011

#92 The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volumes 1-4 (Imagination Theater)

Jim French Productions brings you the immortal Sherlock Holmes. These are great productions well worth listening to. If you haven't heard this production of Holmes you need to. You'll be in for a wonderful treat. If you have heard this group's version of Holmes you know this is a top flight show.

From IMT:

The Greatest of Them All: Sherlock Holmes, the name conjures pictures of gas-lit streets and dark mysteries from a bygone age. Along with his trusted friend Dr. John H. Watson, Holmes is without doubt the most famous sleuth the world has ever known with countless literary works, stage plays, films, television and radio programs all centering around this icon and spanning over 117 years. And now, with full authorization from the estate of Dame Jean Conan Doyle, daughter of Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jim French Productions brings you 10 episodes from our long running dramatic radio series starring John Patrick Lowrie and John Gilbert as Holmes with Lawrence Albert as Dr. Watson.

The Tuttman Gallery (Double Length Episode)
The Estonian Countess
The Adventure of the Silver Siphon** (Double Length Episode) John Gilbert is Holmes
The Adventure of the Missing Link** John Gilbert is Holmes
The Mystery of the Patient Fisherman
The Diary of Anthony Moltaire
The Bee and The Spider
The Wizard of Baker Street
The Living Weapon
School For Scoundrels


#91 Dr. No - James Bond (BBC)

Bond, James Bond. Ian Fleming’s James Bond is licensed to kill (and thrill) in this BBC 4 production from 2008. Toby Stephens (Die Another Day) won't make anyone forget Sean Connery but he's passable as Bond in this fully dramatized adaption. If a comparison had to be made Stephens'  is probably most comparable to Timothy Dalton's version of Bond. Dr. No brings you action, adventure and a touch of romantic intrigue as James Bond is sent to the island of Jamaica to investigate the strange disappearance of British operative, John Strangways and his secretary Mary Trueblood. Overall this is a decent production but it could have been... better, much better.

Dr. No was Ian Fleming’s sixth James Bond book and first to be made as a film in the cinematic series.

Featuring Toby Stephens as James Bond, David Suchet (Hercule Poirot) as Dr. No, Janie Dee as Miss Moneypenny, Jordanna Tin as Miss Taro, John Standing as ‘M’, Samuel West as Pleydel-Smith,  Clarke Peters as Quarrel, Lisa Dillon as Honey Rider, Martin Jarvis as the Voice of Ian Fleming. Also in the cast Simon Williams, Peter Capaldi, Nicky Henson, Kobna Holdbrook Smith, Kosha Engler, Jon David Yu, Inika Leigh Wright and a special appearance by Ian Fleming’s niece Lucy Fleming as the Jamaican Institute Librarian. Original music was composed by Samuel Barbour and Mark Holden. Produced by Rosalind Ayres. Directed by Martin Jarvis. Written by Hugh Whitmore.

Dr. No apparently isn't available for purchase at this time as the BBC hasn't released this title yet. 

You Only Live Twice

You Only Live Twice

Thursday, August 11, 2011

#90 Perry Mason and the Case of the Howling Dog

Perry Mason is back and Colonial Radio Theatre has him. If you like mystery, suspense and a good detective story then think seriously about adding Perry Mason and the Case of the Howling Dog to your radio drama collection. In our opinion this the best one in the Perry Mason series so far.

In The Case of the Howling Dog, Arthur Cartwright, an anxious man, goes to Perry Mason to have his neighbor arrested for his vindictive and noisy dog. He is under the belief that his howling is an indication that somebody has been murdered in the neighborhood. He demands that his will be written bequeathing the estate to the lady living at the neighbor's house. However, the will is mysteriously altered by an unknown person and Cartwright goes missing, along with the lady.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

#89 The Adventures of Sexton Blake (BBC)

Sexton Blake! The name that spells hurtling adventure and doom for villainy. Britain's iconic and most prolifically chronicled sleuth explodes back into action in a brand new series of thrilling adventures; 40 years after his last public incarnation.

In a series of thrilling adventures packed with incident and hilarity, Sexton Blake (Simon Jones), and his plucky assistant Tinker (Wayne Forester), aided by Mrs Bardell (June Whitfield) battle diabolical masterminds, bewitching thieves and sinister fiends, out-thinking them in the head and out-punching them in the jaw!

This cinematic audio romp is a period-set reinvention of Blake's glory years - during the 1920s and 30s and includes a cameo appearance by BBC Radio's 1960s Sexton Blake - the late, legendary and coolly dashing William Franklyn.

SIMON JONES……Sexton Blake, Adventuring Detective
WAYNE FORESTER……Tinker, his Plucky Assistant
JUNE WHITFIELD……Mrs Bardell, their Doughty Housekeeper
GRAHAM HOADLY……Professor Kew, a Spindly Cackler
LORELEI KING……Miss Elizabeth Mary-Louise Tarabelle Beauchamp
SIMON TREVES……Inspector Coutts Of Scotland Yard
FELICITY DUNCAN……Miss Terry, Window-Leaping Adventuress
SUSAN SHERIDAN……Mrs Hudson, Housekeeper To A Neighbouring Detective
MALCOLM BROWN……Count Ivor Carlac, a Villainous Juggernaut
PHILIP GLASSBOROW……Cyril, A Grim Assassin
OSCAR SHARP……The Frantic Caller
WILLIAM FRANKLYN……The Mysterious Waiter


#88 Superman Lives (aka Doomsday and Beyond) (BBC)

Superman Lives or Superman Doomsday and Beyond as it was originally titled is an action packed story based on several comic books. It is the first BBC production to be recorded in Dolby Surround Sound. This highly popular production is sure to be a hit with Superman fans.
From the Superman Homepage:
Epic action, thrilling suspense, and a roller coaster ride of mounting excitement are all featured in this incredible audio experience, chronicling not only Superman's duel-to-the-death with the monster called Doomsday and how he ultimately returned, but also the story of his love affair with Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane and the true fate of his arch-enemy, Lex Luthor. The fastest-selling comic book story of all time comes to life like nothing you've ever heard before!

Stuart Milligan as Superman/Clark Kent & The Kryptonian
William Hootkins as Lex Luthor
Lorelei King as Lois Lane
Vincent Marzello as Jimmy Olsen
Garrick Hagon as Jonathan Kent
Kerry Shale as Superboy & The Cyborg
Eric Meyers as Guy Gardner
Denica Fairman as Maggie Sawyer
Liza Ross as Supergirl
Burt Kwouk as Doctor Teng
Leon Herbert as John Henry Irons

Based on the stories by Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson and Roger Stern
Edited by Mike Carlin
Published by DC Comics
Audio adaptation written and directed by Dirk Maggs
Running time 2 hours and 35 minutes.

#87 Batman - Knightfall (BBC)

Batman Knightfall offers the usual BBC high standard of good acting and sound production. In this department producer Dirk Maggs shines. However, if this is any indication, the Batman comic franchise has fallen on hard times in the writing department. Knightfall is a fine production but could have been great if only a better story had been chosen for dramatization. With such a rich heritage of great Batman comics it's hard to comprehend why this particular story was selected or even created. Unless you're a die hard Batman fan this one may not connect with you. For those who enjoy the relaunch era of DC Comics with its more grim and violent tales this Dark Knight adventure may be right down your dark and sinister alley. 

As a point of interest Bob Kane's creation of Batman was inspired by Zorro the masked hero of Spanish California. In the movie Batman (1989) starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger there is a scene that takes place in a movie theater. The movie showing on the screen is The Mark of Zorro (1920) starring Douglas Fairbanks. You will also find three Zorro audio dramas listed on this blog: The Mark of Zorro, Zorro and the Pirate Raiders, and Zorro Rides Again. 

From the BBC:

In this thrilling radio drama, Batman has been crippled by his fiercest foe ever: Bane, a villain of superhuman strength, cunning and evil. '...Dirk Maggs, who wrote and produced, threw everything into the pot and stirred vigorously. The result was richly textured, highly flavoursome, original and wonderfully energetic ...' "Daily Telegraph." Gotham City is reeling from the shocking news that Batman is confined to a wheelchair. Who will now protect the innocent from the dangerous inmates of Arkham Asylum, whom Bane has released? A new hero - Azrael - takes up the mantle of the Bat. But Azrael is a more brutal Batman than Bruce Wayne, and far more eager to punish the guilty than to protect the innocent. Will he destroy Gotham City in order to save it? This fantastic full-cast adventure stars Bob Sessions, Michael Gough, Peter Marinker and Kerry Shale, and it comes from the renowned producer Dirk Maggs.

#86 The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side - Miss Marple (BBC)

After the death of her husband, Dolly Bantry sold Gossington Hall to the former film star Marina Gregg and her husband. When the glamorous couple decide to throw a benefit party for the local hospital, the grounds are thronged with curious visitors, and for one of them, the day ends in tragedy. As Marina is serving cocktails in the house, she is cornered by the excitable Heather Babcock, who chatters away about their former meeting about eleven years ago before spilling her daiquiri all over herself and Marina.Ever the gracious hostess, Marina offers her own untouched drink to Mrs Babcock - only to look on, horrified, as the lady dies in front of her. It is up to Miss Marple to find out who was really meant to take the poison that killed poor Heather Babcock. Could it be that Marina Gregg was the intended victim? If so, Miss Marple's task will not be an easy one, for the lady had an unusually large number of enemies...Agatha Christie's perplexing mystery is dramatized with a full cast including Ian Lavender, Gayle Hunnicutt and James Laurenson, with June Whitfield as the sharp-witted spinster sleuth.


#85 Mystery of the Blue Train - Hercule Poirot (BBC)

One of the BBC's best Hercule Poirot mysteries. This time with Maurice Denham starring as the great Belgian detective. It is the only production in the series in which Denham voices the role of Poirot. His performance mimics that of Peter Ustinov who played the role of Poirot in a series of Poirot movies in 1970s and 80s. The Mystery of the Blue Train is a superb audio drama filled with twists, turns and suspense.

From the BBC:

A BBC full-cast radio drama starring Maurice Denham as the great Belgian detective. A millionaire strikes a deal on the seedier side of Paris and gives to his heartsick daughter, Ruth Kettering, the "Heart of Fire," one of the world's legendary jewels. Legend has it that the possession of the jewel leads to death - but despite her father's protests, young Ruth decides to take it with her on the Blue Train to the French Riviera, where she has planned a reunion with her former lover. A few days into the journey, Ruth is found dead and her priceless rubies stolen. The suspects line up: could the murderer be Derek, her weak and greedy husband; Ruth's former lover, the Comte de la Roche; or the beautiful but tempestuous dancer Mirelle? Only master sleuth Hercule Poirot can unravel the mystery and find the truth.


Monday, August 8, 2011

#84 Case Closed, No Prisoners - Louis L'Amour

Chick Bowdrie is a Texas Ranger. His job is to bring in those wanted by the state of Texas. It doesn't matter to him if he brings his prisoner back sitting on a saddle or laying across one. Either way he's going to get his man. Case Closed - No Prisoners is another of the great western stories from Louis L'Amour and one of the best in the Chick Bowdrie audio drama series.

From Louis L'Amour:

Ride with legendary Texas Ranger Chick Bowdrie as he helps out a small town with a big problem. Someone has brutally murdered the local banker and made off with forty thousand dollars -- and it appears to be the work of someone who knows his way around town.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

#83 The Alamo (CRT)

There's a proud list of names connected to the Texas revolution. There are those that everyone knows: Houston, Travis, Crockett, Bowie. And there are those that perhaps only Texans will recall: James W. Fannin Jr., Old Ben Milam, Juan Seguin, James Butler Bonham, Erastus "Deaf" Smith, and Mirabeau B. Lamar. They are the names of lore and of history. They are the blood that Texas is built on. Not all were at the Alamo but all were part of the fight for independence from Mexico and General Santa Anna.

In this production Colonial Radio Theater brings to life the most memorable event in Texas history... The Alamo. The story is told from the standpoint of young David Cummings an actual Alamo defender from Pennsylvania and begins when he answers the call for volunteers in the Texas Revolution. Cummings heads to Texas meeting a number of characters along the way. Colonial brings the events and choices these defenders faced front and center staying close to the historical account. There are, however, times when Colonial takes liberties for the sake of entertainment value. (Cummings is presented as being 16 but was actually 27 when he died at the Alamo.) Overall this is a very good production with solid dialogue and realistic sound effects. This is a show that will have you saying "Texas has yet to learn to submit to any oppression, come from what source it may" faster than you can say Sam Houston.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

#82 The 4:50 From Paddington - Miss Marple (BBC)

June Whitfield gives another stellar performance as the spinster sleuth from St. Mary Mead. This time Elspeth McGillicuddy has come from Scottland to visit her old friend Miss Marple. On the way, she sees a woman strangled in a passing train. However, only Miss Marple believes her story as there is no evidence of wrongdoing. So Miss Marple sets off to find where the body could be hidden and bring a killer to justice. If you like great mystery then 4:50 From Paddington's the ticket. If you like great mystery and a female lead then Miss Marple's your gal.

From the BBC:

When Elspeth McGillicuddy is the only witness to a brutal murder - for which not even a body is in evidence - it takes all of Miss Marple's remarkable ingenuity to discover the key to a secret which lies buried within a decaying country house. This BBC Radio full-cast dramatization stars June Whitfield as the deceptively mild Miss Marple.


#81 Anne Manx and the Trouble on Chromius - Radio Repertory

Here kitty, kitty! Claudia Christian (Babylon 5) is back as Anne Manx. The beautiful Claudia Christian give another great performance in this thrilling and action packed tale. So if you're looking for adventure on a galactic scale then Chromius is the place to be and Anne Manx is person to take you there.

From RR:
Claudia Christian is back as Anne Manx, the Galaxy's smartest, toughest, most durable private investigator! Chromius is a backwater world whose President Josephson has replaced democracy with tyranny. Patriots are planning a revolt to restore liberty, and Annie is caught in the crossfire and then thrown right into the midst of the struggle. Trying to help Archie (Andy Hallett) and Wendy (Paris Jefferson), a couple of citizens caught up in the fight for freedom, the story becomes a nightmare maze of danger, betrayal, and ulterior motives. It takes all the courage, fighting skill and detective genius Manx can muster just to stay alive as things heat up -- and to figure out the shocking truth.
Action, mystery, action, danger, action, humor, action, and suspense all pile in on each other as the story grows. (Did we mention it's got plenty of action?) Great writing, superb performances, and excellent sound design are all tied together with a complete original musical score.
The Trouble On Chromius keeps your mind on the very edge of its seat!

#80 Perry Mason and The Case of the Lucky Legs

It's mystery Colonial Radio Theatre style as they bring you Perry Mason and The Case of the Lucky Legs. Tall, heavy-set, dignified and handsome, Frank Patton was a promoter. He was also a crook. His racket of running contests for girls with beautiful legs was technically within the law, and gullible, small-town chambers of commerce were his victims. There were complaints, but no prosecutions. Frank was a very careful man. But when Perry Mason finally caught up with him, Frank Patton was a very dead man..

If you're looking for the Raymond Burr Perry Mason you remember from television this isn't it. This full-cast audio production is based on the book by Erle Stanley Gardener and Perry is a much tougher character. Though the books are different from the TV series the stories are well suited for radio drama. Production value is good. Acting is passable. Overall CRT's presentation of Perry Mason and the Case of the Lucky Legs is enjoyable. Jerry Robbins is Perry Mason, Diane Capen is Della Street and J.T. Turner is Det. Paul Drake.

The Case of the Lucky Legs is the story of a confidence man who promoted fake beauty pageants in small California towns. Marjorie Clune was one of his winning victims, "The Girl with the Lucky Legs". She was promised a Hollywood movie contract, but the scam artist fled with the money. Marjorie fled too, left her hometown in shame to try and “prove” herself in Hollywood. Perry Mason is hired to track her down, but when the deceitful pageant promoter turns up murdered, Marjorie becomes the prime suspect in this “edge of your seat” murder mystery.


#79 The Outcasts of Poker Flat - HTE

California (1850). Poker Flat is a rough and tumble town out of control and the citizens want it cleaned up. In doing so John Oakhurst (a professional gambler) is run out of town along with "The Duchess" (a saloon girl), "Mother Shipton" (a brothel owner), and Uncle Billy, (the town drunkard and suspected robber). Half  way to their destination the party meets up with pair of young lover's (Piney Woods, a fifteen year old girl and Tom Simson, a young man) who have run away to get married. What happens from there is a tragic tale of western proportions. Poker Flat is very different from a Louis L'Amour western as it leaves out the western romanticism and retains the gritty, realistic feel of the old west. Forest Tucker (F-Troop, Chisum) stars in this full-cast western. Produced and directed by Yuri Rasovsky.

From HTE:
Although both Harte's popularity and critical admiration for his work have declined since his death, "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" (1869) remains an important piece of American literature and one of the best tales of the rough-and-tumble days of the California Gold Rush In his use of the Western setting and local color, Harte proved to be a model for other authors, including Mark Twain, whose career he helped launch. Indeed, the familiarity of many of Harte's characterizations — the quick-witted gambler or the prostitute with a heart of gold — attest to the durability of his impact on popular culture.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

#78 The Adventures of Captain Hudson -ACE

If you like period piece dramas then this one's a good choice. Audio Cinema Entertainment puts together a fine production with The Adventures of Captain Hudson - The Lost Mines of Paradise. 

From ACE:
This is the story of reluctant hero, Captain Jim Hudson and the crew of his state of the art DC-3 cargo plane. The story primarily takes place in 1936 where we find that Captain Hudson, is just trying to make an honest buck in the dawn of the air cargo business. Central to the story is his home base at Mercury Airfield in the Coastal town of Crescent Cove, California. From there, Hudson and his pals embark on unexpected adventures as they journey into the forgotten desert regions of the Southwestern U.S. As one thing leads to another, things begin to go terribly wrong.


Radio Drama Contest - $5000 Prize - Script or Already Produced Play

New Radio Theater is holding a radio drama contest.The winner gets $5000. If you have a script you'd like to have produced or a 30 minute radio drama you've already produced then go to the New Radio Theater website and check out their contest rules and directions for submitting your work. Better hurry, the clock is ticking.


#77 Murder on the Links - Hercule Poirot (BBC)

John Moffatt is back as the great Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot in another first-rate BBC production. One of Agatha Christies best Poirot stories. Without a doubt this one's a great whodunnit.

When Poirot arrives in France, following an urgent appeal for help, he finds he is too late. His client, a South American millionaire, has been stabbed to death and his body flung into a freshly dug open grave on the golf course adjoining the property. Meanwhile the millionaire's wife is found bound and gagged in her room. Poirot launches an investigation and the baffling mystery begins to unfold.


#76 The Adventures of Red Cloud - Radio Repertory Company of America

Radio Repertory Company of America presents The Adventures of Red Cloud featuring the voice talents of Traci Lords (Blade), James C. Leary (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Brinke Stevens (Haunting Fear) along with a full-cast. Lords proves she's a talented actress and voice talent in this production. If you like sci-fi, pirates, power hungry politicians and more action than your brain can process then here's an adventure for you.

From Radio Repertory:

Wendy McCloud (Traci Elizabeth Lords) is ordered into Anger Management Therapy. But it's not much help when pirates murder her father, Planetary President of Chromius. Now that Anne Manx has left, Chromius still needs someone else just as smart, relentless, incorruptible...and sexy.
Telling Elaine (Brinke Stevens), Wendy abandons her career in the oldest profession for a new job: spy! Going underground as "Red Cloud," she infiltrates the inner circle around vicious Jake Bloom (James Leary), the greediest outlaw in the sector. "Red" risks her life to avenge her father and end a reign of terror engulfing the whole quadrant.
Red blasts headlong into a tight orbit of action, caught in a terrifying nebula of deception, sex, robbery, extortion, torture, mass murder, and even (dare we say it?) insurance fraud.
Radio Rep Company's latest production pulls no punches. Taut writing with tongue in cheek, splendid performances and superb production, all wrapped up in a magnificent original score.

Parade Magazine picks The Mark of Zorro as the #2 best audio.

Looking for a great radio drama to listen to? Want GREAT acting? Swashbuckling adventure? A great story? Look no further than The Mark of Zorro! Parade Magazine picks The Mark of Zorro as the second best audio over all for summer listening. That's an impressive rating considering the hundreds of audio books and audio dramas released in 2011.

The Mark of Zorro stars Val Kilmer, Ruth Livier, Elizabeth Pena, Armin Shimerman, Meshach Taylor and an amazing cast.


If you like Zorro or just like swashbuckling action there's two other Zorro radio dramas available. Zorro and the Pirate Raiders and Zorro Rides Again.These being produced by Colonial Radio Theatre.

#75 Anne Manx on Amazonia - Radio Repertory Company of America

Funny, action-packed radio drama. If you like your sci-fi to include political corruption, cloning, and romance then this ones right down your alley. Good acting is essential to good radio drama and this one's got it. Featuring Claudia Christian as Anne Manx, Patricia Tallman as Jean Richmond, Guest starring Barbara Harris as The Queen and Spunky Brandburn and a full-cast.

From Radio Repertory:

On Amazonia, succession to the throne is simple. The Queen (Barbara Harris) is simply cloned, thus avoiding all manner of complications. When the queen's first clone is found to be imperfect, it is discarded and they try again... but the first clone survives. When that clone goes to Earth to get the diamonds she needs to run the cloning machine back on Amazonia (which can repair her imperfections), she seeks out Anne Manx (Claudia Christian), the finest Private Eye in the galaxy, and enlists her help. Anne Manx faces more than a grumpy Queen and her addled clone, as the evil Richmond (Pat Tallman) returns to make her life much more dangerous. Manx must defend the Amazonian Queen's first clone, return some stolen diamonds, and face a very painful part of her past. Does Anne Manx have the courage to continue? Let this digital production take your mind to Amazonia to find out. Great writing, superb performances, and excellent sound design are all tied together with a complete original musical score.


#74 Treasure Island - BBC

It's pirates ahoy! Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale Treasure Island will delight adventure seekers in this rousing tale from the BBC.

No one can fail to be captivated by the swashbuckling piracy of "Treasure Island". Having outwitted a band of pirates to obtain a map disclosing the whereabouts of Captain Flint's treasure, Young Jim sets sail for Treasure Island. But the crew of the Hispaniola are not what they seem. Revealing themselves as another gang of cut throats, led by the villainous Long John Silver, they are hell-bent on seizing both the ship and the treasure. Will they succeed? The struggle of Young Jim and his friends as they do battle on the high seas is thrillingly played out in this BBC Radio full-cast dramatization which stars Jack Shepherd, Iain Cuthbertson, Buster Merryfield, Molly Weir, Robin Bailey and James McPherson as young Jim Hawkins. 


#73 Captain Blood - CRT

Like high seas swashbuckling adventure? Like clashing swords and booming cannons? A vast there because you're in luck mate. Colonial Radio Theatre brings Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood to sonic life in this full-cast presentation.

From CRT:

Dr. Peter Blood is arrested and sentenced to hang for treating a wounded rebel. Instead of death, he is sent to Barbados as a slave. When the Spanish attack the port city of Bridgetown, he and his fellow slaves capture the Spanish ship and set out to sea, where he becomes the notorious Pirate, Captain Blood. Battles on Sea and on Land, daring escapes, sword duels to the death, a touch of romance, and a magnificent score by Jeffrey Gage, “Captain Blood” is a swashbuckling adventure on a very grand scale!

#72 Logan's Run - CRT

Colonial Radio Theater brings you Logan's Run adapted from the Blue Water comics with elements from the Logan's Run books. It's face paced action that almost feels like a comic book. If you like futuristic sci-fi this may be worth a shot. Definitely better than the TV series.

From CRT:

It’s the 23rd Century — at age 21 your life is over. Logan-6 has been trained to kill. Born and bred from conception to be the best of the best. His time is short, but before his life ends he’s got one final mission — find and destroy Sanctuary, a fabled haven for those who chose to defy the system. When Logan meets and falls in love with Jessica, he begins to question the very system he has sworn to protect. Soon they are both running for their lives. When your last day comes, will you lie down and die — or run!