December 30, 2011
NEW Radio Set: The Railroad Hour, Volume 3
"Ladies and Gentlemen, The Railroad Hour!" This opening line, delivered by announcer Marvin Miller, along with whistles, hissing steam escaping from smoke stacks, and other train sounds heralded the beginning of each episode of one of the most beloved, often sought after music programs of the golden age of radio! Gordon MacRae, noted baritone, acted as conductor as he led listeners through recreations of musicals, operettas, and even the careers of some of the greatest American composers and lyricists each week. You can take the same ride now on The Railroad Hour, Volume 3.
Sponsored by the Association of American Railroads, The Railroad Hour presented vest-pocket versions of some of the most popular and beloved musicals and operettas of all time - everything from the romantic melodies of Victor Herbert and Sigmund Romberg to the modern musical comedies of Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, and Lorenz Hart. In these lush and tuneful half-hours, star and leading man Gordon MacRae was joined by a host of leading ladies. In his role as host and leading man, MacRae generally narrated the programs, giving listeners the basic structure of the plot as the show went along.
The job of adapting massive musicals and full-scale operettas into a 45 minute format, the original length 'The Radio Hour' ran when it debuted initially on ABC, fell to Jean Holloway and the writing team of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. Holloway, who herself was also a singer and musician, had earlier written for such programs as "The Kate Smith Hour" and "Mr. President", while Lawrence and Lee had honed their writing skills as two of the first staff members of the Armed Forces Radio Service during World War II. All three had considerable knowledge of both music and theater; Lawrence and Lee, in fact, would in later years write the Broadway classic "Auntie Mame" and its musical counterpart "Mame", as well as such well-known plays as "Inherit the Wind" and "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail".
The Railroad Hour, Volume 3 is a special collection of this classic program. First appearing on ABC, The Railroad Hour was a 45-minute program. This collection is six episodes from that run, shows that provide not only outstanding entertainment for today's listeners but that also stand as a tribute to the talent and production techniques that went into their creation so many years ago. Enjoy Classic Music and Classic Radio at its best by getting The Railroad Hour, Volume 3 today for only $17.98 on Audio CDs or $11.98 as a Digital Download!
by Tommy Hancock
"If you like high adventure, come with me. If you like the stealth of intrigue, come with me. If you like blood and thunder, come with me..."
Simply reading those words inspires someone to step up, ready to tackle whatever action and trouble might come their way. When you hear Captain Bart Friday say them at the opening of each episode of Adventures by Morse, you'll be ready to run off and join the circus, the Foreign Legion, the Merchant Marines, and all before lunch!
Best known for his classic pulpy I Love a Mystery and the serial drama One Man's Family, Carlton E. Morse stands out as one of the best writers from the era of old time radio. A series from Morse that is, in my opinion, as good as his best known works, is the one with his name in it. Adventures by Morse is similar in format to I Love A Mystery. Both shows have strong male leads and center on men who encounter guns, fists, mysteries, and more danger than a Sam Peckinpah film on speed can muster before they finally win the day. Although I Love A Mystery is better known and for valid reasons, it's a show that is sometimes action centered, other times focused on the 'Mystery' in the title, and at times has some inconsistencies due to this. Adventures by Morse, on the other hand, is unabashedly squarely set in the pulpy Adventure genre and captures the atmosphere and the pacing that modern listeners will recognize as being one of the reasons they love the Indiana Jones movies.
The series is straight forward, just like a roundhouse in a South Seas Island bar fight. Captain Bart Friday and his cohort Skip Turner get mixed up in strange escapades involving exotic locales, strange villains, and mystical magical encounters with damsels, goons, and life and death moments aplenty! This collection includes two serials, "The City of the Dead" and "The Cobra King Strikes Back." Both of these stories are dead on adventure tales, stories that sweat blood and danger and move at a clip that keeps the listener tangled up in all the twists and turns. Comparing the two, I prefer City of the Dead only slightly due to the fact it builds tension a bit better than The Cobra King Strikes Back. Having said that, the performances in The Cobra King are a bit more spot on, but not by much. All in all, both of these cliffhanger laden serials in Adventures by Morse, Volume 1 deliver in every way a good adventure tale should! Available on Audio CDs for $29.98 and for digital downloads for $19.98 from Radio Archives.
The audiobook of Will Murray’s monumental Doc Savage adventure The Jade Ogre is a feature-length excursion into one of the Bronze Man’s most exotic adventures.
“The Jade Ogre makes a wonderful listening experience,” Producer/Director Roger Rittner says. “Will has packed a cast of colorful characters, plus mystery, intrigue, action, adventure, and a bit of mysticism into an heroic tale. It’s an epic adventure to be savored.”
Based on an outline by Lester Dent, the massive The Jade Ogre carries the listener from the fog-shrouded streets of 1935 Chinatown San Francisco, to the crumbling ruins of an ancient temple in Cambodia.
Accompanied by his aides Monk Mayfair and Ham Brooks, his cousin Pat Savage, and a cast of unique characters, Doc races to unlock the secret of the Jade Ogre, a fantastic Oriental villain who unleashes death in the form of disembodied flying arms, capable of disintegrating its victims in a flash of fire. But the lethal flying arms are merely the cover for a more deadly menace – the mysterious Jade Fever, which strikes down its victims with a deadly virus that turns its victims green as jade.
Narrator Michael McConnohie essays every role in the story with unerring vocal impressions that give life to Murray’s distinctive characters.
In addition to the 36-chapter story, the 12-CD set includes two bonus audio features: a continuation of Will Murray’s discussion of the creation of Doc Savage, and his memory of creating The Jade Ogre from Lester Dent’s notes, plus how Pat Savage has contributed to the Doc Savage canon.
The Jade Ogre is available now from RadioArchives.com at $37.98 for the deluxe 12-CD set, or $25.98 for instant digital download.
For over-the-top thrills, you can’t beat Prince of the Red Looters, the first audiobook from RadioArchives.com featuring the pulp hero, The Spider.
“With extensive sound effects and complete period music score, Prince of the Red Looters is an almost ‘cinematic’ experience for listeners,’ says Producer/Director Roger Rittner. “Customers are telling us it’s like a movie playing in your mind.”
Narrating Norvel Page’s propulsive prose, stage and screen stars Nick Santa Maria and Robin Riker give life to the sword fights, escapes, insurmountable odds, nail-biting suspense, and unexpected twists in Prince of the Red Looters.
Prince of the Red Looters is available in a 6-CD deluxe set at just $19.98, or as an instant digital download at just $14.98.
A nameless mystery man with a wartime past in the Intelligence service. Declared dead by the Department of Justice. Now backed by a shadowy group of powerful philanthropists, to infiltrate the Underworld and crush crime in all of its hideous manifestations.
Secret Agent “X” was one of the most unusual pulp adventurers ever, and also one of the most action-filled continuing characters in its day. Now The Torture Trust, the latest entry in RadioArchives.com’s Will Murray’s Pulp Classics audiobook series, provides thrills and chills to pulp and audiobook fans alike.
The Torture Trust introduces the mysterious nemesis of the most nefarious criminals the pulp writers could dream up. In it, Secret Agent “X” pits all his secretive skill and devious daring against a criminal triad that wields face-destroying acid as an instrument of blackmail.
Read by noted voiceover actor Dave Mallow, The Torture Trust takes listeners into the dark and sinister world of this fantastic mystery man.
Scoop, the online blog about pulps, comics, and all things collectable, says, “The Torture Trust is a danger-a-minute audio introduction to this fondly remembered pulp avenger of the 1930s. The Torture Trust will provide thrills and chills to pulp and audiobook fans alike. “
The deluxe five-CD set of The Torture Trust is just $14.98. The instant download version is just $9.98.
Python Isle, RadioArchives.com’s first Doc Savage audiobook, continues to delight listeners. In Booklist, the 100-year-old journal of the American Library Association, Kaite Mediatore Stover says that Python Isle, the first Doc Savage audiobook from Radio Archives.com, “takes listeners on a breathless, roller-coaster adventure ride. Michael McConnohie’s masterful pacing keeps the tension and suspense tighter than a python’s grip, and a superb blend of sound effects and music enhance the mood, lending the production a cinematic feel.”
The full-cast NPR series The Adventures of Doc Savage presents special adaptations of “Fear Cay” and “The Thousand-Headed Man” by Roger Rittner and Will Murray. Featuring a full cast of voice actors, extensive sound effects, and period music score, The Adventures of Doc Savage is non-stop action in 13 exciting installments.
A super-criminal emerges in White Eyes, the second Doc Savage audiobook from RadioArchives.com. From his skyscraper headquarters high above the streets of New York City to the sugarcane fields of Cuba, Doc Savage races to crush gangland’s latest uncrowned king. White Eyes features dramatic narration by Richard Epcar, cover art by Joe DeVito, plus fantastic extras.
The first Black Bat audiobook, Brand of the Black Bat, is a stirring story of crime and corruption, and of a courageous avenger – district attorney Anthony Quinn – determined to track down the vicious gangster who robbed him of his brilliant career, all the while thwarting Captain MacGrath of the N.Y.P.D., who suspects Quinn and the Black Bat are one and the same. Michael McConnohie reads this fantastic tale.
RadioArchives.com resurrects the wild and wonderful Doctor Death, one of the rare unabashedly supernatural pulp series. Equal parts Doctor Frankenstein and Albert Einstein, with a dash of Fu Manchu, Doctor Death’s supreme goal in life was to crush civilization. His first fatal foray into reversing mankind’s fortunes, 12 Must Die, is now available in an audiobook read by television and animé star Joey D’Auria.
By Larry Josephson, Bob & Ray’s long time producer
Bob & Ray are classic American humorists who started in 1946 at WHDH, Boston. Bob was a disc jockey, Ray a newscaster. They riffed during the handoffs, something like local news anchors do today, only funnier. The station liked them so much they were given a daily afternoon show, “Matinee with Bob & Ray.” When Red Sox or Braves games were delayed by rain Bob & Ray filled in with their special brand of humor. Some of these shows are included in our RadioArt® Bob & Ray albums.
In 1951 NBC brought them to New York to work on Monitor and to do a nightly 15-minute television show that followed the Camel News Caravan. Cloris Leachman or Audrey Meadows played Linda Lovely. On radio Ray did all the female characters like Mary McGoon and Mary Backstayge in falsetto. For the television show, they shot Ray from the neck down wearing a house dress.
During their 40-year career, Bob & Ray appeared on just about every radio and television network, and on major local New York stations WOR, WINS, and WHN. I invited them to perform at a conference I organized for public radio producers and managers held in Glen Cove, NY in the spring of 1981. They were a big hit with the 20- and 30-something audience. I called Bob & Ray the next day to ask them to do a series for NPR, The Bob & Ray Public Radio Show. They had been off the air for several years, but were busy doing commercials for a wide range of clients, including Piels Beer. They played Bert and Harry Piel in a legendary series of animated spots. Great advertising, lousy beer! Many of their commercials, including the Piels spots, are on our albums. (BR004, BR006, BR009. BR015, BR017, BR018)
The NPR shows are captured on the Best of Bob & Ray, Volumes 1-4, BR001-BR004). In 1984 I produced two sold-out concerts in Carnegie Hall. The Carnegie Hall shows turned out to be Bob & Ray’s farewell performances (Ray died in 1990). They are captured on our album, “Bob & Ray: A Night of Two Stars, recorded live in Carnegie Hall.” (BR 026).
Bob & Ray’s targets--commercials, infomercials, game shows, soap operas, fatuous radio shrinks, bloviating politicians, rigged contests, and public service announcements from corporations who “really care” about the environment---are still with us in the cable age, only more so.
Bob & Ray is for smart people: they’re satirists, not comedians. They don’t tell jokes like Bob Hope or do stupid physical comedy like The Three Stooges. Many of their routines run more than 4 minutes. The joke slowly builds until it explodes in your mind.
Bob & Ray were admired and imitated by every comedian and humorist of their time, including Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, David Letterman, George Carlin, Garrison Keillor, Kurt Vonnegut and Andy Rooney. Many of them “borrowed” Bob & Ray material and characters. Keillor’s “writer,” Nattily Dressed, is very close to Bob & Ray’s Nattily Attired. Lifting material has long been a part of comedy tradition. Bob & Ray were inspired by two old time radio shows, “Vic and Sade,” and by Raymond Knight’s “Cuckoo Hour.”
Their signature routine, “The Slow Talkers of America,” belongs in the comedy pantheon alongside Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” and Jack Benny’s “Your Money or Your Life.”
Some of my favorite things about Bob & Ray include their sheer intelligence and talent; their acute ear for language, cant and cliché; their sense of timing; the hundreds of characters they created, all performed either by Bob or Ray, including the immortal Wally Ballou (–ly Ballou); the lovable Marys (McGoon and Backstayge) and affable dolts like Webley Webster. Their work is deeply moral. They used humor to express their anger at the corruption and stupidity of much of American culture. And to make people laugh.
I’ve devoted 30 years of my life to collecting and restoring Bob & Ray recordings for old and new fans. Bob & Ray’s humor is ageless. You needn’t have heard “Mary Noble, Backstage Wife” to enjoy “Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife,” absurd on its face. Knowing the original adds to your enjoyment of the parody, but it works either way. The one exception might be “Awful Godfrey, “a thinly disguised Arthur Godfrey, who was, by reputation, a vain and viscous man (he famously fired singer Julius LaRosa on the air for “lack of humility”). Bob & Ray’s parody of Godfrey skewers him expertly. Bob’s impression of Godfrey is uncanny.
We offer more than 100 hours of Bob & Ray and Jean Shepherd on CD, including “The Very Best of Bob & Ray,” 5 hours on 4 CDs, selected from all of our CDs (BR024). It’s the perfect starter album, and makes a great gift. The booklet includes a long, insightful essay on Bob & Ray by the Canadian critic, Kerrie Mills. Worth the price alone.
I’ve remained Bob & Ray’s producer for all these years simply because they make me laugh. When asked how their partnership lasted 40 years, they replied, “We made each other laugh.” (They also didn’t spend much time together after work.) I hope the current generation of Bob & Ray fans will buy these CDs and pass them down to their children and grandchildren, keeping Bob & Ray alive forever. I’m pleased that Bob & Ray have now joined the Radio Archives collection.
Hang By Your Thumbs, and don’t forget to Write If You Get Work.
-Larry Josephson, proud to have been Bob & Ray’s producer for 30 years and counting.
Doc Savage and his beautiful cousin Patricia battle threats to national security in pulp classics by Evelyn Coulson and Lester Dent writing as "Kenneth Robeson." First, while testing an experimental plane for the Army, Renny disappears after his airship is engulfed by The Yellow Cloud. Then, what has transformed Monk, Ham and Johnny into cowardly Men of Fear? The incredible secret could end the war, unless Nazi agents seize it first. This special collectors edition showcases the original color pulp covers by Emery Clarke, Paul Orban's classic interior illustrations and historical commentary by Will Murray, author of eight Doc Savage novels. Available now for $14.95!
The Pulp Era's strangest mystery man returns in two more epic adventures by Paul Ernst writing as "Kenneth Robeson." First, can Justice, Inc. prevent secrets of an ancient civilization buried for centuries in The River of Ice from destroying the modern world? Then, scientists in Paris, Berlin and Montreal exhale fire as they die, setting The Avenger on the trail of The Flame Breathers and a deadly secret that threatens to plunge the world into a fiery infernal! BONUS: a thrilling adventure of Police Commissioner James Gordon, a.k.a. The Whisperer! This classic pulp reprint showcases H. W. Scott's classic pulp covers, all the original interior illustrations by Paul Orban, and historical commentary by Will Murray. This fantastic reprint is only $14.95 in the Pulp Book Store!
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! The Master of Darkness, agent Clyde Burke and Secret Service agent Vic Marquette investigate deadly plots in two thrilling pulp novels by Walter Gibson as "Maxwell Grant." First, The Shadow's investigation of The Embassy Murders unearths a sinister plot that threatens world peace. Then, the kidnapping of Clyde Burke leads The Shadow and his agents on a winding murder trail through New Jersey's Hills of Death. BONUS: a two-fisted adventure of Police Commissioner James Gordon, a.k.a. The Whisperer! This instant collectors' item features both classic cover paintings by George Rozen, the original interior pulp illustrations by Tom Lovell and Edd Cartier and historical commentary by popular culture historians Anthony Tollin and Will Murray. And it can be yours for $14.95!
Three fantastic Pulp Replicas featuring classic Pulp Heroes and Tales and designed to give readers and collectors the experience of holding an actual pulp!
Already the best place to find Classic and New Pulp tales and Pulp related products from the best companies in the business, The Pulp Book Store goes itself one better! The Treasure Chest, the place to find great deals, now exclusively features products for the Pulp Book Store! Just click on the Treasure Chest on the Pulp Book Store Page and you'll find fantastic monthly discounts on an ever changing variety of items from our various stores! Check the Treasure Chest now to see what great discounts await everyone from the avid Pulp Fan to the casual reader! The Treasure Chest is Open now in the Pulp Book Store!
Review of "Doc Savage, Supreme Adventurer" from Doc Savage, Volume 15
By Dr. Art Sippo
In December, 1932 Lester Dent was assigned the job of writing the first story for the planned Doc Savage Magazine. To assist him, the magazine’s editor, John Nanovic, wrote a brief story showcasing the Doc Savage character and his five associates. It was entitled Doc Savage, Supreme Adventurer. Doc and his five men travel to Central America and find a lost tribe of Indians who possess a massive treasure in God. Doc’s father had arranged for this to be his son’s legacy. But corrupt government officials in the Central American country want to hijack the treasure for themselves. They already killed the elder Savage and now they are trying to kill Doc.
The portrait of Doc and his aides in this story is not quite what we have come to know through the Classic pulp series. Dent recast the characters and rewrote the story to give us the initial Doc Savage saga “The Man of Bronze.” Along the way he crafted a cast of unforgettable characters upon whom he had left his own literary stamp.
But the story “Doc Savage, Supreme Adventurer” is the first Doc Savage story ever written and is of significant importance in the origin and development of the series. As a bonus, this story contains the complete text of the letter Clark Savage Sr. had written to his son which was only quoted in part in “The Man of Bronze.” Every true Doc Savage fan needs to read this story. We are indebted to Anthony Tollin and Will Murray for including it in their reprint series.
Get your copy of this piece of Doc Savage History, ‘Doc Savage, Supreme Adventurer’ along with another classic Doc Savage Pulp tale today in Doc Savage Volume 15 for only $12.95 from Radio Archives!
Comments From Our Customers!
I'm loving all the audiobooks!
Kenneth D. Schwartz:
Just listened to Music of the 1930s, Vol. I and every show in this collection is a gem, even if hearing Harry Richman singing about "darkies" and "pickaninnies" made me cringe. I understand that those were the times. But thanks for another marvelous collection.
Tom C. Miller:
I wanted to thank you for all of your support in offering old-time radio shows. I especially like it when you describe where your transcription discs came from and how they were preserved. Moreover I am continually surprised how much of the stuff was actually saved over the years. Thanks for bringing it alive again.
Jade Ogre took me longer to read, due to its length, but it was great! As always, Michael McConnohie was the perfect narrator. I enjoyed The Torture Trust, but not nearly as much as the other series. I thought Dave Mallow did an excellent job of narrating it. Really excited and anxious for audio pulps 2012. Keep up the great work!
If you'd like to share a comment with us or if you have a question or a suggestion send an email to Service@RadioArchives.com. We'd love to hear from you!
The products you've read about in this newsletter are just a small fraction of what you'll find waiting for you at RadioArchives.com. Whether it's the sparkling audio fidelity of our classic radio collections, the excitement of our new line of audiobooks, or the timeless novels of the pulp heroes, you'll find hundreds of intriguing items at RadioArchives.com.
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