Now, how about James Earl Jones?
Did you know that in 1938, the same year that they horrified America with their production of The War Of The Worlds, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater did a radio version of Dracula?
Check out this amazing cast list:
Orson Welles – Dracula/Dr. Arthur Seward
George Coulouris- Jonathan Harker
Ray Collins – Russian Captain
Karl Swenson – The Mate
Elizabeth Fuller – Lucy Westenra
Martin Gabel – Professor Van Helsing
Agnes Moorehead – Mina Harker
Coulouris, Collins, and Moorehead would, of course, all go one to appear with Orson Welles in Citizen Kane.
And now, we are proud to present, for your listening pleasure …. DRACULA!
A few Halloweens ago, we shared a video of Vincent Price reading Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven.
Here’s Christopher Lee doing the same thing!
Still need some help getting into the holiday spirit?
Here to help are Orson Welles, the Mercury Theater, and the broadcast the panicked America back in 1938!
It’s …. The War of the Worlds!
For your Halloween pleasure, here is Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, as read by the great Basil Rathbone:
Since it’s Orson Welles’s birthday and everyone’s kind of nervous about going outside right now, why not experience the live radio broadcast that panicked America in 1938?
Actually, there’s some debate as to just how panicked America got when they heard the Mercury Theater On The Air’s adaptation of War of the Worlds. There was definitely some panic but there are differing reports on just how wide spread it was. For our purposes, let’s assume that the entire country was terrified at the same time and that everyone was loading up a shotgun and planning to go out and look for aliens. One thing is for sure. With his adaptation of War of the Worlds, Orson Welles managed to invent the whole found footage genre that would later come to dominate horror cinema in the late 90s and the aughts. Every Paranormal Activity film owes a debt to what Orson Welles accomplished with War of the Worlds. We won’t hold that against Orson.
H.G. Wells, the original author of War of the Worlds, and Orson Welles only met once. Interestingly enough, they were both in San Antonio, Texas in 1940. They were interviewed for a local radio station. H.G. Wells expressed some skepticism about the reports of Americans panicking while Welles compared the radio broadcast to someone dressing up like a ghost and shouting “Boo!” during Halloween. Both Wells and Welles then encouraged Americans to worry less about Martians and more about the growing threat of Hitler and the war in Europe.
I’ve shared this before but this just seems like the time to share it again. Here is the 1938 Mercury Theater On The Air production of The War of the Worlds!
Some things have been bothering me lately about stuff going on in the Audio Drama/Audio Fiction community. It started with the Parsec awards, which I had a problem with. I was correctly advised by a trusted mentor and friend to keep my head down, and I did.
But what has come up recently I can not help myself but to comment on. So instead of doing a really long twitter thread I am going to use my blog to post my thoughts.
First, I love AD/AF. Over the last two and a half years or so you might say I have become a junkie, and that would be a fair assessment. These thoughts come from me as a fan of AD/AF. Nothing more, nothing less.
But something has come up recently that really upsets me. There has been a “bashing” of the LGBTQ podcast community that is completely unfair. People have been leaving negative reviews and down right nasty comments on shows simply based on the characters in the show, or even worse, the actors in the shows. And mostly theses “reviewers” have no stake in the shows other than plugging their earbuds in and listening. But more and more recently, it seems, “reviewers” are coming out just to bash shows with LGBTQ themes, characters or actors, instead of the quality of the show.
A lot of the shows I have discovered recently are driven by LGBTQ characters, writers and actors. And I have become a big fan of many of them. But, I can honestly say that not one of those shows I have become a fan of is for that reason. The reason I become a fan of shows is because of the quality of the storytelling.
Something most listeners don’t realize is that it takes ~20 hours and ~2000$ to write, produce, edit and publish a 30 minute episode. You take that over the span of a 10-12 episode season and it gets labour intensive and extremely costly in a hurry. A vast majority of AD/AF writers and producers do that out of their own time and pocket, with little reward other than the praise us fans give them.
It only takes 15 seconds to make a negative review and completely destroy someones writing dreams. All of that just because you got your ‘feelings’ hurt over a character or writer? My thoughts, if you don’t like a show then move on. It’s not that difficult to find another show.
But, if your reasoning for finding another show is simply based on a show having LGBTQ themes. Then my advice is simply move on from me. I’ll continue supporting quality shows without you.
And, lastly, as an AD/AF fan, when you find a show you like say hi to the writers and actors. It means more to them than you realize.