What I’m Reading and Listening to

“We love only heroes. Glorious
death in battle. Scaling walls, burning bridges behind us, destroying
all ways back. All retreat. As if
some things were fixed. As if the moon
would come to us each night (&
we could watch
from the battlements). As if
there were anything certain
or lovely
in our lives.”

— excerpt from “THE DEATH OF NICK CHARLES” by Amiri Baraka (available in the great anthology BLACK VOICES)

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I have been listening all day to an old time radio program called CRIME CLASSICS. From the 1950s it is absolutely riveting half hour based shows, that dramatize infamous places in history. It dramatizes our crimes. From Lizzie Borden to Billy the Kid to others who I have never heard of. It tells of places deep and dark and devious, that can only accurately be called the human heart. It is brilliantly directed/produced by Elliot Lewis, written by Morton Fine and David Freemen, and captivatingly introduced by Lou Merrill portraying Thomas Hyland and performed by some of the best radio actors of the day, from Paul Frees to William Conrad to Bill Johnstone.

I don’t know how to sell someone on audio dramas, anymore than I know how to sell someone on reading. To me it’s analogous to having to sell someone on breathing or sex. It is something people should be, of their own volition, racing toward… racing to do, racing to consume.

Audio dramas, the best of them, are such a pure medium. Such an interactive one, while still being a completely solid vision/narrative.

And Old Time Radio is a very reflective medium, it can teach, by that distance of time, of old oaths that we have turned our back on, and old follies that we have embraced.

I highly recommend this show. And you can find it here. I recommend getting it quickly as the shows have a tendency to disappear as greedy corporations and venal lawyers and their lobbying… erodes the concept of Public Domain… erodes the concept of The Public. It is a great show. Enjoy.

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“His name is…

Will it ever come to me? There is a grand lapse of memory that may be the only thing to save us from ultimate horror. Perhaps they know the truth who preach the passing of one life into another, vowing that between a certain death and a certain birth there is an interval in which an old name is forgotten before a new one is learned. And to remember the name of a former life is to begin the backward slide into that great blackness in which all names have their source, becoming incarnate in a succession of bodies like numberless verses of an infinite scripture.

To find that you have had so many names is to lose the claim to any one of them. To gain the memory of so many lives is to lose them all.”
—From Thomas Ligotti’s GRIMSCRIBE short story collection

I find Ligotti an acquired taste. I’ve read several of the stories in GRIMSCRIBE in his more comprehensive collection, THE SHADOW AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD, and I wasn’t particularly taken by them there. I thought the GRIMSCRIBE selections were the weakest part of THE SHADOW AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD (an uneven, but worth having anthology, because the stories that do work, four come to mind, are worth the price of admission). But I found the above excerpt from Ligotti’s introduction to GRIMSCRIBE quite compelling.

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“Formal business has certainly decayed in the city centre, with empty shops, boarded-up office blocks. Maybe a Black guy will buy a shop and start selling pap, the local food, but there’s been no boom of Black businesses- prices are still high, and because of the Group Areas Act it’s mainly Asians who own the shops and warehouses. There are plenty of traders and hawkers in the streets now, ladies doing other ladies’ hair for money and services like that. There are big working-class taxi ranks because the public transport is so bad. But the general economic trend is very clear: the rich have got richer and the poor poorer. Under the ANC, South Africa has now surpassed Brazil as the most unequal country in the world. According to Statistics South Africa, the average African household has got 19 percent poorer in the past five years, and the average White household 15 percent richer.”
—Trevor Ngwane discussing the current conditions of South Africa, from Tom Mertes’ A MOVEMENT OF MOVEMENTS.

SHERLOCK HOLMES Imagination Theater Conan Doyle!

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I’ve been recently on a Sherlock Holmes kick.

I’m not what you can call a Holmes fan, it tends to be too dry and a little too… stiff upper lip for me. Conan Doyles’ legendary detective is, for me, a concept that is more appreciated for its historical signifigance than its quality.

That said I’ve recently been introduced to the Imagination Theater new Sherlock Holmes episodes. Written primarily by Jim French, they are very well rounded depictions of both Holmes and Watson, and brilliantly performed.

Go sample, and then purchase some episodes here:

Imagination Theater

I would recommend starting with the following:

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES – CD Set 1: Volumes 1-4

It has the following fantastic episodes:

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES – Set 1: Volumes 1-4

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.
THIS COLLECTION OF SHERLOCK HOLMES ADVENTURES CONTAINS:

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

TUtTMAN GALLERY, THE LIVING WEAPON, and THE ADVENTURE OF THE SILVER SIPHON are particularly brilliant. It’s well worth the money, and tell them HT sent ya!

2008 Welles Award Audio Drama Winner CHATTERBOX AUDIO

greedFollowing on the heels of my 2008 Podcast Winners, I’ve decided to do the best Audio Dramas of 2008 a little differently. I have five companies that stood out to me, as the best producers of Audio Dramas in 2008, and instead of doing them in one post, I’ll break them up into five separate posts.

This being my first one.

So my first, much delayed, 2008 HEROIC TIMES Audio Drama winner is…. drumroll please… CHATTERBOX AUDIO for their 2008 Halloween Show.

Applause! Applause! Kudos to the current inner sanctum of Robert Arnold, Kyle Hatley, Dave Mickle and all of their cast and crew!

http://www.chatterboxtheater.org

I became aware of CHATTERBOX AUDIO early this year, pretty much on the strength of one production, their phenomenal SURFACING.

Kyle Hatley’s SURFACING Part I is one of the strongest hours of audio drama I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot. It is staggering, wrenching, and stunning work! I highly recommend going to their site and listening to it, you will not be disappointed. It does tend to want to go overboard and be too much, too loud, too annoying, too abrasive, too everything…. but it manages to straddle that difficult line. Just barely though, because a lot of the characters push hard that annoying talkshow/overblown persona. Particularly the characters of Charlie, Barclay Roberts and Carolyn (played by Patrick Dulaney, Anthony Merchant and Ashlee Lepine) are just so… abrasive, and annoying at points it nearly takes me out of the program.

I mean I get the point that the show is about people at their worst, but when all the characters are utter aholes, it makes it difficult to care or invest about any of them. Don’t get me wrong, all of the actors give phenomenal performances, it’s just if you have a story where you dislike the characters, when you put them in jeopardy the audience really doesn’t care about their jeopardy. Particularly evident with the character of Barclay Roberts.

The character is just utterly arrogant, pompous, and unlikeable. The actor who plays Barclay, Anthony Merchant has a FANTASTIC voice and gives a great performance. Perhaps too good, because the character is written as this complete jerk. So much of an arrogant jerk, that I actively dislike the character. Jess Akin as Harold and Julane Havens as Amelia are the only characters that I find are in any way likable.

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But these hiccups are minimal, and the show doesn’t get bogged down on the hyperbole of the characters, and keeps briskly moving toward its conclusion. The measure of a great program is after you get done listening, you listen to it again immediately. I did that with this program. An early contender for best Audio Drama of 2009. That said I have to say Part II, unfortunately doesn’t live up to Part I. It falls on the wrong side of that line between passionate presentation and annoying sensationalism, and largely because of an extended scene with the aforementioned character of Barclay. The story gets bogged down in extremism, and overblown scenes, when less in this case would have definitely been more. The whole scene I’m talking about would have been much better, if dialed back a few notches, and if the ahole meter for everyone, particularly Barclay, was dialed back a notch.

Possible spoilers.

It’s an extreme scene that I won’t elaborate on except to say, if I’m in that position you are going to try a little harder to move that rock, before you jump to another, extreme and sadistic solution. You’re going to try a LOT fing harder! Seriously you ever heard of a lever? or mother’s lifting cars off their kids? I mean, goshdarn it you’re going to spend a good amount of time trying before you cavalierly and seemingly arrogantly jump to the most insane solution possible. The character of Barclay, comes off as a sadistic bastard in that scene, and is a character that you hope for a truck to fall on, or for lightning to hit and kill. Again, I think the actor performs the part great, fantastic voice, I just think it is a too abrasively written part.

Anyhow suffice to say didn’t like the 2nd SURFACING episode at all.

But that episode acknowledged, the first episode still stands as a phenomenal hour of audio drama, and is worth your time.

As far as their other productions another fantastic one is their 2007 production of THE YELLOW WALLPAPER. It’s brilliantly performed by the lead actress, Jane Kilgore. Endlessly listen-able. Also THE CHILDREN episode from their 2008 Halloween show is very good. Infact when you take in the fact that the show was done LIVE, all of the six performances are frigging impressive.

So while the BBC gets all the press for Audio Dramas, CHATTERBOX AUDIO, a Memphis, Tennessee based outfit, is definitely a company to watch. Swing over say hi, and tell them HT sent ya! 🙂 .

TOP TEN PODCASTS OF 2008!!… finally! :)

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A picture of how the Academy Award losers really feel! 🙂

Following up on my previous post, and after yet another disappointing Academy Award season, I’m going to give you an award that IS worth your time.

THE HEROIC TIMES 1st Annual Welles Awards!

Nifty title huh. I wanted to create an award show for this new generation of audio shows, podcasts and streaming radio. And while I toyed with a few people to name it after who had extraordinary voices, the great Paul Robeson, Paul Frees… I settled on naming it Welles after Orson Welles. Listening to Welles’ SHADOW episodes pretty much single-handedly got me hooked on audio dramas and Old Time Radio, and thereby New Time Audio Dramas and Podcasts.

So without further ado, let’s give out…. THE WELLES AWARDS!

1st Category is Top Ten Podcasts of 2008, I won’t bore you with the hundreds of nominees I went through to compile this list (and this section is strictly for podcasts that are hosted, and or referential/review based in nature, be that movies, music, books, whatever. If you have a podcast, but it’s basically just an audio drama, it will be in the audio drama category. There’s some bleed over but that’s basically the division). So let’s get to the ones who made the Podcast list, these are in no particular order, but suffice to say if you see them below the shows were the best most entertaining podcasts I came across in 2008 (notice that “I” if you don’t see your podcast, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you, maybe I just didn’t come across you in 2008— how’s that for being a politician 🙂 ). The best of the best ( And keep an eye out for next installment Top Ten Audio Dramas of 2008, and yes, you’ll find THE RED PANDA there):

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1. COMICBOOK GEEK SPEAK- This US, Pennsylvania based show with nearly 600 episodes is one of the oldest, one of the longest lasting, and one of the most popular podcast shows and for good reason. For current fans of comics, lapsed fans, and curious newcomers this show is like hanging out with good acquaintances and is just a great way to stay in the loop on a hobby that needs all the inroads it can get. And again this show admirably illustrates the ability of the passionate amateur to be more in touch with the medium then the so-called professionals. In an age when the major comic companies are losing readers in droves due to bad will and poor public relations skills (particularly at a time when they should be taking advantage of the current Hollywood spotlight), this podcast has probably done more to introduce new and lapsed readers back to comics than all the corporate ‘suits’ and gimmicks and stunts combined.

2. FREQUENCY OF FEAR- I’m cheating a little with this one as I became aware of this Arizona, US based variety horror/anthology/comic/music show in 2009. But I’ve listened to its 2008 episodes and they are great. It is really tailored to fans of old time radio and those old horror records, but if that’s you, you’ll love this show.- http://frequencyoffear.com

3. GEEK SYNDICATE- I became aware of these guys at the end of 2007, and have been a fan ever since. A two-man British podcast covering all things pop-culture, David and the Nuge providing one of the most enjoyable and informative shows of 2008. Their Buzz Aldrin episode being the funniest podcast of 08. http://www.geeksyndicate.co.uk/

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4. MONDO MOVIE- With 86 episodes and counting this 2 man British podcast covering all things of genre, cult, horror cinema is eagerly awaited every week or so. Shows are top notch entertaining, and informative too. – http://www.mondomovie.com/

5. HORROR ETC- http://www.horroretc.com/index.html- The Canadians toss their hat in the ring, with this always entertaining two man podcast, covering horror films from classics to current hits.

6. COMIC BOOK OUTSIDERS- A brother podcast to GEEK SYNDICATE, this 2-man Brit show (do you see a trend here) is right up there with GS, but concentrates on under the radar, and Independent comics. Definitely Recommended- http://comicbookoutsiders.libsyn.com/

7. B-MOVIE CAST- True to its title, this podcast covers classic B-movies, with a leaning toward horror, scifi, cult flicks. Well produced, it includes news, DVD releases, and the main course which is usually a pretty thorough interview of one or two B movies. Recommended! – http://bmoviecast.com/

8. ISR- Indie Spinner Rack had a strong 08 with great Ted McKeever, Jeff Smith, Jeff Lemire interviews and great Indie Comic Reviews. (And peek back in 2007 for their Steve Bissette and Alan Moore Interviews. Two of the best interviews you’ll come across.)

9. THE LOST PICTURE SHOW- This Two-Man Brit Podcast (Nooooooo! Not another one! 🙂 ) each episode explores a, if not lost, definitely under the radar film. But unlike other podcasts the films selected belong to no specific genre. They go from comedy to classics to cult. -http://thelostpictureshow.com/

And last but definitely not least

10. This slot is a tie between CRANKCAST and COMIC BOOK SAVANT , both shows that are very off the cuff, and can range far afield of comics but in very engaging and in very different ways. SAVANT particularly, as a one man show I find it to be… in places almost a meditation on life, and the living of it. I think all of us hope, that we can meet our… time in Gethsemane with grace. And here is one man who consistently amazes me with his ability to do that. You can find these podcasts at http://crankcast.net/ and http://www.comicbooksavant.com/cbs/index.cfm respectively.

Well that’s it folks, the HEROIC TIMES WELLES AWARD Podcast winners for 2008!! Jolly Good Show (that’s my brit speak. Yeah I’ll keep working on it)! And here’s wishing all those podcasts a great 2009! And if you haven’t already received your really hokey award just keep bugging me till you get it. 🙂 Next installment, best Audio dramas of 2009!

Honorable mentions:

WATCHING THE DIRECTORS- A wife and husband duo each show tackle a different legendary director. A great show, that unfortunately came to an end in 2008, however you can for now still sample their old shows online here… http://watchingthedirectors.com/

BATTLESHIP PRETENSION- Well produced show, with two friends giving their views on films and filmmakers. The reviews are hit and miss with me, but the shows are well produced. http://www.battleshippretension.com/homepage.php

RADIO FREETOWN- A streaming audio show, that covers classic African music of the 70s. It’s a must listen. Unfortunately went on hiatus in February, but old shows for now are still up. http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/RF

And now shameless advertising time! 🙂 If you like this blog, ladies and gents do Papa Heroic Times a favor, and support this blog by going to

this link

and buying a whole bunch of stuff. 🙂 Any funds you spend make it possible to keep these internet doors open as it were, and would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Richard Matheson’s HELLHOUSE: An Audio Book Review

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It was the film THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN that did it, put the name Richard Matheson on my radar.

I don’t know if any writer can claim to be as hauntingly adapted to film as Richard Matheson. Sure there are more oft adapted writers (Stephen King- speaking of who, you can see a definite similarity between the two writers. Matheson a definite influence on King’s introspective style ), there are even better adapted writers (Cornell Woolrich), however there is something in the viewpoint of Matheson’s writing, in the nature of it, that lends itself to filmmakers and films, committed to making us ruminate long, and dig deep.

His I AM LEGEND in all its forms has been cinema gold. That lone THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN film remains a timeless masterpiece, a 50s scifi property of somehow existential dread and implications.

I mean what it is it about a Matheson property that sets it as clearly distinct from the herd? In the oft predictable genre field, Matheson’s work while not ignoring the cliches, somehow side-steps them, somehow is always intimate and personal dissections of us. If for Shakespeare the play was the thing, for Matheson it was the people. It was what they said of themselves, and what they said of us.

Despite the premise, it’s always character that carries the day in a Matheson property.

The character of people, even the character of a house.

Which brings us to… HELLHOUSE. HELLHOUSE in all its various forms captivates. The successful THE LEGEND OF HELLHOUSE starring Roddy McDowall being an example (which bares a striking similarity to the Robert Wise film/Shirley Jackson novel THE HAUNTING). The film is such an erudite genre film, informed and informative, and passionate about us, an atypical ghost story to be sure.

Which brings us to the audio book. Narrator Ray Porter does an excellent job of convincingly occupying the diverse cast of characters, creating for us a compelling world. However that said, Matheson’s main protagonist, the scientist Dr. Barrett, becomes so pig headed, and stupid, that by the third part of the 8 part audio drama, I couldn’t take it. I wanted to reach into the audio book, and kill the guy. UrrrrGGHHH!

To hold onto his preconceptions and prejudices in the face of staggering evidence to the contrary, what Barrett does, is not science. It is in many ways dogma, something very akin to religious mania, but just supplanting blind faith in a God, with blind faith in scientific process (God by another name). Dude is crippled, but in the head, rather than the body.

Seriously the guy was so frustrating, like these idiots in slasher films who stay in a haunted house, or makeout at a grave yard. You’re like… “yeah you’re too stupid to live.” So by the third chapter it was frustrating me too much to continue listening to it. I might try finishing it later, but any book that loses me in midstream like that, I can give you my take on now. Cause even if the remaining 5 chapters are brilliant, it is not going to help. Once I lose interest or concern or even compassion for the characters… I’m done.

So a well read book, Porter’s delivery is completely compelling, and it moves from scene to scene without padding, without fluff, but my praise of Matheson’s characters aside, it is the character of Dr. Barrett that loses me.

I can’t keep company with staggeringly pig headed people. Not even for the length of an audio book.

So definitely worth a listen, but if you have a temperament like mine, you may want to skip out on buying (especially if it is an encrypted WMA file. Screw that nonsense). Try it out at your library for free, or borrow it from a friend.

Upcoming Richard Matheson Audio Book reviews will be I AM LEGEND and DUEL.

THE ULTIMATE EDGAR ALLEN POE and Today’s Greatest Voices!

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I’m currently on an audio drama kick (but then again, when am I not 🙂 ). One of my favorites of course being:

WALTER MOSLEY’s ‘Little Scarlet’ read by Michael Boatman. Michael Boatman is one of the best audio actors I’ve come across, and I’ve listened to several hundred audio books. Add him to Walter Mosley and you have a MUST BUY audio book! I’ve been looking for his current audio book work, but so far haven’t found any updated info.

And re-listening to the above, put me back in mind of my pet project.

You all know one of my pet projects is THE ULTIMATE POE CD, the idea is to get great actors together to do readings of Poe’s works. I think it’s a shame that great actors have shuffled off this mortal coil without doing their take on Poe’s TELL TALE HEART.

Call me strange, but if I’m an actor I would think there’s some attraction to the idea of doing Shakespeare, doing Poe, recording these classics for generations to come.

Thankfully people of yesteryear were forward thinking enough, so that we have recordings of Price, Basil Rathbone, Karloff, Peter Lorre, even James Mason doing THE TELL TALE HEART, but for every actor we do have immortalized, there are tons we don’t. no Orson Welles, no Ossie Davis no Paul Robeson doing Poe.

As you can tell I dig Poe. Not all by any means, there’s a good bit of Poe’s work I don’t like. He is a product of his time, and at times in addition to being a bigot his lesser work has a tendency to meander, to be unworthy of him at his best. To speak poorly or him, and his talent. But his TELL TALE HEART is the ultimate performance piece. It just is. And it should be a rite of passage for all great actors.

So my mission is to commit the great audio actors of our day to an ULTIMATE POE cd. Guys whose voices should be immortalized, doing the memorial work of Poe.

Upon my list of dream actors to get for this project is Avery brooks, Harlan Ellsion, Michael Dorn, David Birney, Patrick Stewart and of course Michael Boatman. I’ve been attempting to make this happen, but nothing yet.

So if you’re the agent for these guys contact me! 🙂

Or if you’re just someone who wants to help me make this happen, contact me. And I’m not worried about someone stealing this idea, hey my only concern is getting this done, and getting this stuff recorded for posterity. I don’t care who does it, as long as it gets done. If you can help me, great. If I can help you, great.

And if you want to hear my current favorite performance of TELL TALE HEART, go read this old post and you’ll find a link to listen to Richard Taylor’s kirking rendition of THE TELL TALE HEART. Great stuff!

ADVENTURES BY MORSE (OTR) Old Time Radio Serial

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I’ve been listening to ADVENTURES BY MORSE today.

It is an oft cited series from the golden age of radio, that took me a while to finally sample. But I have to say, it earns its praise.

ADVENTURES BY MORSE, was the brain child of writer/director/producer Carlton E. Morse and a followup to his earlier and much lauded I LOVE A MYSTERY serial. ADVENTURES BY MORSE being a fun, exciting, thrill a minute serial, that regales the listener with the adventures of Capt. Bart Friday, a private investigator who travels the globe, unraveling the world’s greatest mysteries.

The series has been defined as a high adventure serial, and you would be hard pressed to disagree with that. This was written between 1944 and 1945, and is not just more exciting and worldly and informative and erudite, than most anything produced today (movies, tv, etc) it’s also far less formulaic. It has all the trappings of the formulaic, but Carlton E. Morse’s writing and situations and share inventiveness, sets these shows apart.

And thankfully all 52 episodes (as well as 2 audition episodes) are still around to wow, and impress, and entertain… a new generation.

You can pick these up a couple of places online, but be aware some of the episodes on Archive.Org are missing parts of the cliffhanger endings. Most notably in THE COBRA KING STRIKES storyline.

Thankfully Radio Lovers.com has complete episodes. Now onto reviews of the first 3 storylines:

THE CITY OF THE DEAD- The first 10 part serial is THE CITY OF THE DEAD, and introduces us to a great cast of characters, and a deep intriguing mystery, of a bell that rings where no bell is, a shrieking thing, a weeping man, and bodies that don’t stay buried. The show is too convoluted for its own good, you need a scorecard to make sense of the wrap up episode, but the awkwardness of the conclusion and some logic issues aside, the build up is fantastic. I couldn’t stop listening. An addictive, fun, and at times spooky serial. Great serial, well performed. Introduces Elliott Lewis as Captain Bart Friday. B+/A-.

A COFFIN FOR THE LADY- Is a little more conventional mystery, as compared to the fantastic and ghoulish elements of THE CITY OF DEAD, but the 3 part A COFFIN FOR THE LADY is gripping, and entertaining in its own right. It’s the little things that Morse does so right, the weight he gives to people’s injuries, or the ‘you are there’ richness of his storytelling. I’ve seen and listened to so many shows about people getting tied up, but none has expressed it as the near crippling experience that Morse does in these few episodes.

A lot of times in entertainment, there is no weight to the perils. Someone is stabbed in one episode, and is climbing mountains in the next, not so with Morse, he’s ever aware, ever making you aware, of the strains of flesh, and the demands of nature, which gives his plots a gravity, and his characters a reality, they would otherwise lack. A great little serial. B+.

THE COBRA KING STRIKES- Returns to the ten episode format, and it’s a doozy. A new actor plays Captain Friday, David Ellis, but he does it effectively. Took me a couple episodes to get into his leaner, less gruff interpretation of Capt Friday, but his take quickly becomes perfect for this camaraderie rich storyline. And the sizable cast is fully realized and fleshed out, in this tale of a Cambodian odyssey to uncover the remnants of a once and perhaps future Asian empire. Captain Friday is onboard to put down any such uprising. While the Captain is the agent of suppression, there’s enough differing perspectives here to make the episode surprisingly rich, and surprisingly elaborate. This is the one that archive.org has butchered copies of, but it’s worth getting the full episode, as this one is every bit as engaging as THE CITY OF DEAD, and does it one better by having a great final episode. A recommended listen. A-.

Well that’s our review for this installment. Head over to RadioLovers and Archive to check these shows out for yourself. And tell them HT sent you! 🙂

Real Wealth and Richard Taylor’s rendition of Poe’s THE TELL TALE HEART

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I want very few things in my life.

When you’re young you want everything. All the things those tv gods promise you.

If you are lucky enough not to die young or live stupid, you realize the things that are important have very little to do with what everyone has told you. Has very little to do with the bling (street slang for riches– for the uninformed among you).

Though without doubt, without money those higher things in life, those real things in life, are hard to attain.

But money will not give you an appreciation for those things. A fool with money is still a fool. And he will be parted from it and all his things, and he will have missed out on the pursuit of real wealth.

What is real wealth?

I reckon if you’re reading this you know it, and a few of you, a lucky few, may have it. Hold onto it. To real wealth. Hold on to hearth and home, wife and children.

Because that is a wealth… that if you invest in it, endures.

Man, that was awful somber for a Sunday.

Chalk it up to… nostalgia. Yeah, that gets blamed for a lot. 🙂 .

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Leaving on a more up-tempo beat, the real reason I started to post was to share a fantastic find with you.

Well whether you think it’s fantastic depends on two things:

1/ are you a huge fan of Edgar Allen Poe?

and

2/ are you a huge fan of audio dramas?

I happen to be guilty of both of the above vices, so the recent link I stumbled across, and just got finished listening to… made my day.

It happens to be, a combination of both those things.

It is from the 60s, 1960s to be precise. An mp3 of a record created for kids. This particular record is performed by Richard Taylor ( a person I’m not familiar with. I’ve searched and these kids records appear to be his only available work) and on it he tackles Edgar Allen Poe’s THE TELL TALE HEART and THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM.

I don’t know what kids this was aimed at, but it is a frigging UNHINGED performance!

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I’ve heard and seen just about every take on THE TELL TALE HEART there is. It is one of my favorite stories, perhaps the favorite. So I’ve heard everyone’s take on it, Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, you name em, I’ve heard em. And Filmwise, I’ve seen at least 6 to 8 different versions of The Tell-Tale Heart.

But not in all the ones I’ve come across have I seen anyone give a more kirking, manic performance than Richard Taylor does; in these 4 decade old recordings.

It is such a joy to see someone just throw themselves into a part, that I had a smile from ear to ear while listening to this stuff. And i was roaring with appreciation through most of it.

And I’m not talking about someone just hamming it up, or over acting, as I’ve heard some bad examples of actors doing just that with Poe material (most recently THE STRANGE CASE OF EDGAR ALLEN POE I thought had some poor performances, that said BBC is typically excellent. Their recent TELL TALE HEART, read by Richard Pasco, is brilliant).

Without a doubt Richard Taylor is off the charts, but the difference is, you don’t see the artifice, the acting, you don’t see the wires, he makes you buy that he is in the moment, is— this madness. It is a brilliant performance. So good it impelled me to share it, here, with you.

And we have to thank, for the availability of this otherwise lost gem, the fantastic site: SCAR STUFF. For saving this record from the trashbin of history, he and his site should be applauded.

So go on over there and listen to Richard Taylor’s rendition of Edgar Allen Poe’s THE TELL TALE HEART (The site has a few other Taylor recordings, some great [THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USER], some poor [THE BLACK CAT- Taylor stumbles and fumbles many lines, and the obtrusive music doesn’t help, but still well worth a listen] but THE TELL HEART is Richard Taylor’s finest hour).

If you get a 10th as much enjoyment out of it as I did, consider yourself… well paid. You can add it, this really enjoyable performance, to those few things in your life, that you call… real wealth.

Do you like how I tied that up in a bow? Yeah I thought it was pretty nifty.

Oh and if anyone has additional Richard Taylor performances, or is aware of anything else he did, please contact me. And finally, if you guys appreciate this blog and these posts, do me a favor, leave a comment. It helps. It really does. I know you’re looking, cause I can see the stats, but it would be nice if more of you guys left comments or emailed as well.

Thanks, and please enjoy.