Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Best Swashbuckling Audio Dramas

1. The Mark of Zorro - By far the best swashbuckling audio drama ever made and arguably the best audio drama since the original Star War radio dramas. Based on Zorro creator Johnston McCulley's first ever Zorro story (originally titled The Curse of Capistrano) this one stars Hollywood actors Val Kilmer as Diego de la Vega/Zorro, Ruth Livier as Lolita Pulido, Armin Shimerman as the Tavern Landlord, Meshach Taylor as Sergeant Gonzalez, and Elizabeth Pena as Catalina Pulido. A great story highlighted by great acting and sound design makes this one an instant classic. Produced by Hollywood Theater of the Ear. The Mark of Zorro has been selected by AudioFile Magazine, Parade Magazine, and Sound Commentary as one of the best audio books of 2011 (technically The Mark of Zorro is an audio drama). It is also a 2012 Grammy Award nominee and a 2012 Audie Award nominee. Rumor has it there's a sequel underway though we are still attempting to confirm this.

2. The Three Musketeers - The BBC's superbly made rendition of Alexander Dumas tale of Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan vividly brings swashbuckling adventure to life. A great tale featuring great acting and sound design. The Three Musketeers is highly entertaining!

3. Zorro and the Pirate Raiders - Based on D.J. Arneson's adaptation of Johnston McCulley's second Zorro story The Further Adventures of Zorro. This tale is reminiscent of the old Saturday matinee cliffhanger serial adventures. A nail biter from start to finish Zorro and the Pirate Raiders is high octane swashbuckling fun. This production features a fine story, good acting, and great sound design. Kevin Cirone, Shonna McEachern, J.T. Turner, Hugh Metzler, Sam Donato, Joseph Zamperelli Jr, and Dan Powell star in this Colonial Radio Theater production.

4. Zorro Rides Again - The third of Johnston McCulley's Zorro stories. Based on the D.J. Arneson adaptation. Once again swashbuckling action comes to life as Zorro rides to save the day. An imposter is defaming the legendary masked hero by means of cruel misdeeds forcing Zorro to take swift action in order to preserve his name and his life. A thrill-a-minute fast paced fun story. Produced by Colonial Radio Theater this presentation features the same fine cast of actors as Zorro and the Pirate Raiders.

5. The Count of Monte Cristo - The BBC's fantastic production of Alexander Dumas gripping tale of revenge. Well written and wonderfully acted this 7 hour long drama will be certain to delight swashbuckling fans. 

6. The Scarlet Pimpernel - Though not a product of the modern era of audio drama the 1952 production of The Scarlet Pimpernel starring Marius Goring as Sir Percy Blakely (aka The Scarlet Pimernel) is a great swashbuckling audio adventure. This series featuring 52 half hour shows is undoubtedly the best production of Baroness Emmuska Orczy's fictional book about one man's fight to help those being oppressed by the French revolutionary government of 1792.

Featured above: Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon from the 1934 motion picture version of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

7. Black Bartlemy's Treasure - Jeffrey Farnol's swashbuckling novel of pirates, vengeance, love and death is expertly brought to sonic life in the outstanding BBC production. Set in England and on a desert island Martin Conisby seeks vengeance on Sir Richard Brandon.

8. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of pirates is well produced by the BBC. Captain Flint's treasure map has fallen into the hands of young Jim Hawkins. With the map comes adventure and danger. But the ship's crew is made up almost entirely of pirates who are lead by the one legged Long John Silver.

9. Captain Blood - Rafael Sabatini's great swashbuckling adventure is dramatized by Colonial Radio Theater. A rousing tale of pirates, love and high seas adventure awaits in this production.

10. The Man in the Iron Mask - Though not from the modern era, George Edwards 1948 Australian made production of Alexander Dumas classic novel is highly entertaining and well worth hearing. The series consists of Fifty-two 13 minute episodes.

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