Thursday, October 20, 2011

Legendary Radio Dramatist Norman Corwin Has Died

Legendary radio dramatist Norman Corwin died Oct. 18 at his home in Los Angeles, California at the age of 101.  Mr. Corwin who wrote, directed and produced scores of award-winning radio dramas for CBS throughout the 1930s and 1940s was known as the “poet laureate of radio.”

Corwin's honors included two Peabody Awards and an induction into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993. His work has received praise from such artists as Hollywood director Robert Altman and science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who once called him “the greatest director, the greatest writer and the greatest producer in the history of radio.” He wrote more than a dozen books and plays and received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay  “Lust for Life” (1956), which starred Kirk Douglas as the tortured artist Vincent Van Gogh.

In recent years Norman Corwin worked with California Artists Radio Theatre along side fellow radio dramatist and radio legend Peggy Webber. He was also part of Hollywood Theater of the Ear's board of directors along with noted award winning radio dramatist Yuri Rasovsky.

Norman Corwin was not only a legend in the field of radio drama he was an icon. His presence, spirit and vision will be missed.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sherlock Holmes

Who is the world's greatest consulting detective? It's elementary my dear Watson..... Sherlock Holmes. Basil Rathbone was not the first to portray Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective but his performance on screen and radio established him as the quintessential Holmes. Undoubtedly he set the standard for all other actors who would follow. Unfortunately most of The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes radio drama series which starred Rathbone and Nigel Bruce no longer exist. Though a few can still be purchased online, in book stores or downloaded through various OTR websites. This great radio drama series not only captured the imagination but the heart as well.

In the modern era Holmes continues to live on in the world of audio drama. In the past couple of decades or so there have been a number of outstanding Sherlock Holmes productions. If you're a Holmes aficionado then here are some great shows worth looking into.

The BBC produced the entire Conan Doyle Holmes canon featuring Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson. As Holmes and Watson, Merrison and Williams are dynamic. Each episode is absolutely stellar. For authenticity and quality it's impossible to top this wonderful series.

The Sherlock Holmes Theatre produced by Hollywood Theatre of the Ear (Yuri Rasovsky) features Martin Jarvis as Holmes and Kristoffer Tabori as Watson. In this edition William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes play is brought to life along with the Conan Doyle story The Speckled Band. As a side point Star Trek and A-Team fans will recognize Dwight Schultz as Dr. Roylott in The Speckled Band. Conan Doyle would have loved this production and so will Holmes fans.

Jim French Productions (Imagination Theater) has produced a half hour Holmes series for several years. Originally this series starred John Gilbert as Holmes and later John Patrick Lowrie. Larry Albert plays Dr. John H. Watson. This show faithfully portrays the great detective along with his friend and helper with pinpoint accuracy and the finest quality. 

If you have a challenging case and need the assistance of the great detective you can call on him at his lodgings located at 221B Baker Street London, England. Perhaps you can persuade him to take on your endeavor. Or if you have no mystery for Holmes to solve but still wish to be kept abreast of his cases you could pick up a copy of The Strand. Dr. Watson is sure to detail every adventure for readers of this periodical. Or you could listen to one of his exceptionally dramatized audio adventures by any of these wonderful production groups.

The game is afoot!

Imagination Theater Sample Shows

Imagination Theater offers radio drama fans the opportunity to hear two of their productions free every week. You can access their "Listen Now" feature by simply going to the Jim French Productions website.

Among the shows you'll hear on the listen now feature are Sherlock Holmes, Harry Nile, Raffles the Gentleman Thief, Hilary Cane Mysteries, Kincaid the Strange Seeker and more. The Sherlock Holmes series is one of the best ever made. From time to time you will also hear an episode of CRT's western series Powder River.

You're sure to enjoy the works of Imagination Theater so don't miss out. Check out their "Listen Now" feature on the website. Also check their radio station listing and schedule to find how to tune into each weeks broadcast episodes as well.