“Adventure wanted. Will go anyplace, do anything. Box Thirteen.” This want ad, placed by reporter turned mystery writer Dan Holiday in the Star-Times serves as the centerpiece of ‘Box Thirteen’, a classic mystery adventure program starring screen legend Alan Ladd.
Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Alan Ladd found his way to Hollywood, California by his high school years. Finding work initially on the radio, landing roles such as ‘The Richfield Reporter,” Ladd also began appearing in several films, taking the small roles he could get. The part that would change Ladd’s life forever and cement him as a movie tough guy came in 1942. Playing Raven, a conscientious murderer for hire, in ‘This Gun For Hire,’ Ladd gained fame for being able to play hard-boiled characters with at least some heart.
Now a leading man, Ladd played his hard bitten world wearied warrior with a soul in films now considered classics – including the role he’s most known for, Shane. With the creation of his own production company, Mayfair in 1948, Ladd found yet another way to turn the skills he’d become famous for into a program that radio listeners would thrill to decades after its original run.
In “Box Thirteen,” Ladd played Dan Holiday, a journalist who was now an author of mystery fiction. Interested in writing the most successful and thrilling stories possible, Holiday placed an ad in the paper he worked for – the Star-Times. Apparently prospering as a mystery writer, Holiday rarely charged a fee to any of the colorful clients that crossed his path, most of whom needed his assistance in one way or another.
Even on a rail thin budget, “Box Thirteen” was a fairly high-quality program. Writer Russell Hughes supplied the show with witty, engaging scripts and many of radio’s acting professionals, including Betty Lou Gerson, Lurene Tuttle, Alan Reed, Joseph Kearns, Frank Lovejoy, John Beal, and others, lent their talents to ‘Box Thirteen’ throughout its run.
“Box Thirteen” clearly showcased Alan Ladd at his best. Known largely for tough guy roles in film, this series allowed Ladd to take his charisma and stoic presence from the screen and apply it to a good guy character in a different medium. The show’s format also guaranteed that each week, something new and exciting awaited Holiday and the show’s listeners. This second volume of twelve episodes restored to the highest quality continues Holiday’s adventures into the mystery and unknown that he discovered every week when he checked ‘Box Thirteen.’ Available today on CD for $17.98 and as a digital download for $11.98!
Adapting a story from one medium to another is never an easy task. Difficulty increases when the tale being adapted is a classic work first written hundreds of years ago and those adapting it have to figure out a way to make it work for their intended audience. So many things can go wrong with this process; too much can be cut out of the story, making it something else entirely; too much of the original work gets included, adding unnecessary weight and exposition to the new product; or the sensibilities of the intended consumers isn’t considered enough and what is produced seems boring and tepid to said consumers. So it’s a hard journey, this road of adaptation, sometimes.
Fortunately for Old Time Radio enthusiasts today, this trip was a successful one for the people behind The Adventures of Marco Polo, Volume 1. Written originally in 1300, this seminal work, part adventure tale and part exotic travelogue, not only told a wonderfully exciting tale of world travels and of a wayward boy growing into a legendary explorer, but it also set the standard for both future volumes of this sort as well as for the men those volumes would be about. Many explorers from the 1300s into the modern day cite one of their earliest inspirations to breach the unknown around them, being the thrill of reading about Polo and the Kublai Khan and the wondrous things Polo encountered on his journeys. This appeal over the centuries is just one factor that likely led to George Edwards, a noted Australian radio performer and producer, to adapting the book into a radio serial in the 1940s.
The Adventures of Marco Polo, Volume 1, is a great OTR collection for several reasons. As already stated, the material was suited for adaptation due to both its popularity and its content. Also, the assembled cast and staff behind its production speak volumes for quality. Edwards, known as much for his ability to mimic hundreds if not more voices as he is for the shows he produced, lends his incredible talent to this production. Filling the roles of many of the characters, the most intriguing task Edwards takes on is playing both Marco Polo and the Kublai Khan. It’s truly a treat listening to this show and knowing when these two distinct sounding characters are having a conversation, it’s Edwards talking to himself!
If you’re looking for dialogue laden completely character driven audio, The Adventures of Marco Polo may not be your bag. That’s not really a negative with this show, though. The narrative moves the story along at a pretty quick clip at the slowest moments and at a nearly breakneck speed in the action scenes. In this program, narration and dialogue comfortably compliment each other, making what might have seemed dry to some readers in school actually exciting and vibrant to the listener.
Another aspect of this program that is done extremely well is how it’s handled as a serial. Serialization, like adaptation, is as much art as it is work. Building the tension in small snippets of story just right to leave the listener wanting more is no easy chore. The Adventures of Marco Polo is a well paced, finely crafted serial, its cliffhangers and surprise twists of which there are a few are written and delivered in a manner that hooks the listener for the rest of the ride.
The Adventures of Marco Polo, Volume 1 from Radio Archives is a wonderful program for those interested in serial adventures and/or history period. Combine the pacing, the performance, and the production quality with the fact that it has been restored by Radio Archives to the finest sound quality possible and this collection is a must have for fans of Old Time Radio, history, serials, or just those who like a well told tale. Only $20.98 for the Seven hour CD set or $13.98 for the Digital Download version.
Radio Archives, known as a leading producer of quality Audio collections as well as a popular purveyor of Pulp Fiction announces the blending of the two in its latest product line. Not only is Radio Archives adding twelve new audiobooks to its future lineup, it is doing so with the direction of perhaps the best known Pulp expert and author of the modern era. Acting as series producer, historian/author Will Murray lends his name to Radio Archive’s newest line of audiobooks. Will Murray’s Pulp Classics are now available from Radio Archives and take both Pulp and audio to a whole new level!
Murray’s involvement with past Radio Archives projects led to this new innovation in sharing Pulp classics with today’s audience. “Like everything about my association with RadioArchives.com,” stated Murray, “it was like being struck by lightning. They had just released the first two Doc Savage audiobooks and were preparing The Spider and Secret Agent X, which I had recommended to them, when Tom Brown suggested expanding the line under the umbrella of Will Murray’s Pulp Classics.”
With the success of the Doc Savage audiobooks, based on Murray’s Doc novels, and the early indicators that The Spider audiobook was a hit, discussion of this project turned toward what other classic characters would get the Will Murray’s Pulp Classic treatment. “We already had a full Spider program planned, and the first Secret Agent X novel, The Torture Trust, mapped out,” Murray explained, “so Tom and I hashed out a number of titles that would both compliment and contrast those. As a kind of pulp alternate-reality version of Batman, the Black Bat was a natural. Since Zombies are all the rage, who better than the past master of the undead, Dr. Death? With the legions of weird menaces like mad scientists, vampires and—yes, more Zombies—that he fought, G-8 and His Battles Aces, made sense. And for a dose of Untouchables-style reality, George Fielding-Eliot’s hard-fighting G-Man, Dan Fowler. In almost every case, we’re launching each character with his inaugural exploit.”
Although the stories used in Will Murray’s Pulp Classics first appeared in print during the heyday of the Pulp magazines, Murray sees the transition of these tales to audiobooks as a good and logical one. “Pulp fiction endures because in contrast to the bloated novels modern publishers insist on foisting upon the reading public, vintage pulp fiction tells a fast-moving, never-flagging, riveting narrative that holds you in your seat until you careen to The End. Audiobooks demand that the reader’s attention be held tightly. Whether it’s Doc Savage, the Spider or Dan Fowler, pulp novels are a perfect fit. I’ve had several of my Destroyer novels adapted as audiobooks in years past, but this is the first time I’d been hands-on in this medium since I worked with Roger Rittner on the Adventures of Doc Savage radio series.”
Murray looks forward to the future of the Pulp Classics line and sees the customers and listeners as a vital part of it. “For the first year, we’re going to be introducing our top heroes. The buying public will tell us whether they want more G-8, Dr. Death or the Spider. And I’m sure that same audience will make suggestions. I’d like to do some horror and fantasy pulp writers, like A. Merritt and William Hodgson, a few exceptional Westerns, and high adventures in the Talbot Mundy vein. But pulp fans prefer heroes, so we’ll see if, for example, we can find a Dan Turner detective story that works as an audiobook. Ultimately, I hope we can mine all the major pulp genres. We expect involved and excited listeners will be the ones to surprise us, not vice versa.”
The first two entries in Will Murray’s Pulp Classics are now available from Radio Archives.
If Batman ever had a brother, he would be the pulp hero called the Black Bat.
Both bat-caped heroes debuted in the same year, 1939. It was a strange coincidence. Blame The Shadow for that. He was in his eighth year fighting crime in the pages of his celebrated pulp magazine, and Orson Welles was bringing him to life on radio, when two different publishers decided the time was perfect to copy The Shadow.
Batman was the creation of artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. He debuted in Detective Comics #37, dated March, 1939, in “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” which was freely adapted from the 1936 Shadow mystery, Partners of Peril.
At virtually the same time, over at the Thrilling Group pulp house, editor in chief Leo Margulies asked prolific writer Norman A. Daniels to create a new hero for Black Book Detective magazine. Daniels came up with a character he called the Tiger. Margulies liked his idea, but decided the new hero should be more mysterioso, like The Shadow, and renamed him the Black Bat. The new nemesis of criminals was first published in the July, 1939 Black Book Detective.
As they appeared on the covers of their respective magazines, Batman and the Black Bat were strikingly similar. While the Black Bat lacked Batman’s signature spread-winged chest emblem and bat-ears on his cowl, both had similar finned gauntlets.
The similarities did not go much beyond their ebony costumes. The Black Bat was a district attorney named Anthony Quinn—this was long before the actor of that name made the scene. Blinded by a cowardly criminal, Quinn lost his sight, his face acid-scarred around the eyes. No longer able to practice law, Quinn retired. But a miracle eye transplant restored his sight, and more. Quinn discovered that he could see in the dark. This gave him inspiration.
Gathering together a small band of assistants—reformed conman “Silk” Kirby and muscleman “Butch” O’Leary—Quinn decided to wage an unrelenting secret war on the criminal element. Joining him is lovely Carol Baldwin. It was the corneas of her dying policeman father which were grafted into Tony’s own eyes, restoring his sight.
The first Black Bat adventure, Brand of the Black Bat, relates all that. It’s a stirring story of crime and corruption, and of a courageous avenger 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. For like The Shadow, but unlike Batman, The Bat carries a brace of .45 automatics and the will to use them. This does not make the cloaked vigilante popular with the police.
There has never been a media crossover for this long-running pulp hero. No radio show, no movie serial, no comic books. So it is with justifiable pride that RadioArchives.com lures the Black Bat out of the shadows of his original era and into the 21st century with his first audiobook, read with impeccable skill and fidelity by the accomplished Michael McConnohie. Brand of the Black Bat is available now from Radio Archives for $14.98 for Audio CDs and $9.98 for the Digital Download!
Prince of the Red Looters, the first audio adventure of The Spider and the first of Will Murray’s Pulp Classics, packs mile-a-minute thrills as Richard Wentworth races to discover the identity of The Fly, one of the Spider’s most fiendish foes. A master of the blade who can anticipate The Spider’s every move, The Fly is bent on The Spider’s destruction, leaving The Fly’s criminal organization free to loot, maim, and kill.
Producer/Director Roger Rittner says, “Prince of the Red Looters is an astounding accomplishment, wedding dynamic narration from two unique stars of stage and screen, specially selected sound effects, and a complete period music score.”
Prince of the Red Looters is available now in a six-CD set, priced at $19.98, with original cover art and special bonus features. The audiobook is also available as an MP3 Digital Download, including the special bonus feature, at just $13.98.
Also, RadioArchives.com first two Doc Savage audiobooks, Will Murray’s Python Isle and White Eyes continue to garner accolades from Doc fans as well as those just discovering the greatest adventure hero of the 1930s.
Python Isle, narrated by Michael McConnohie, and White Eyes, narrated by Richard Epcar, are available in impressive CD sets and as digital downloads. Python Isle and White Eyes are also available in special Signed Director’s Editions.
Like your audiobooks Adventure filled and Pulpy? Then RadioArchives.com is the right place for you!
Yesteryear or Today, Pulp Fiction is where readers find adventure, suspense, justice, and thrills a minute! And The Pulp Book Store is where the finest of Pulp can be found! Whether you’re seeking Classic Pulp tales from legendary authors or you’re looking for new tales of derring do by today’s writers, all of it and more is right here for you in The Pulp Book Store!
The Dark Avenger and Harry Vincent share center stage in two thrilling tales of lost treasure by Walter Gibson writing as “Maxwell Grant.” First, The Shadow and his ablest agent journey to Michigan timber country in The Golden Quest, a thrilling tale of deadly avarice, betrayal and a forgotten gold mine. Then, a supercrook preys upon aristocratic refugees from the Spanish civil war, leading The Shadow into a deadly dual with The Masked Headsman. This instant collector’s item showcases both classic pulp covers by George Rozen, the original interior illustrations by Tom Lovell, commentary by popular-culture historian Will Murray plus “The Shadow Around the World.” Enjoy these tales and extra features for only $14.95 from Sanctum Press in The Pulp Book Store!
Triple-novel World War II Special: The Man of Bronze battles America’s enemies in three World War II thrillers by Lester Dent writing as “Kenneth Robeson.” First, Doc Savage has only two days to unmask the disguised Adolf Hitler, who has fled a collapsing Nazi Germany! Then, the Man of Bronze is framed for murder as he hunts an undercover Gestapo officer. Finally, after Johnny Littlejohn vanishes on a secret mission for Army Intelligence, Doc goes on a rescue mission to the Far East. Can he unmask a murderous fugitive from Nazi Germany in time to save his aide? This classic pulp reprint features the original color pulp covers by Modest Stein, Paul Orban’s classic interior illustrations and historical commentary by Will Murray, writer of eight Doc Savage novels. All of this and more available now for $14.95 from Sanctum Press from The Pulp Book Store!
First, The Spider sets out to stop wholesale slaughter that turns the dead green as he squares off with The Corpse Broker! Next, The Spider encounters deadly plague germs used against the nation and, stricken himself, battles the Volunteer Corpse Brigade! All of this available from Girasol Collectables for $14.95 in the Pulp Book Store!
In 1939, author Paul Ernst gave Pulp fiction a frozen faced force of Justice. Now the greatest crime-fighter of the 40s returns in a stunning collection from Moonstone of original action-packed tales of adventure, intrigue and revenge written by leading names in Pulp today, including the first and only time The Avenger meets the uncompromising relentless justice of The Spider! From Moonstone Books, available in the Pulp Book Store for $18.95!
The only survivor of a doomed starship, stranded in his spacesuit, leaves a frantic message about a strange alien “talent”. Classic sci-fi by Peter Baily, from Astounding Science Fiction magazine, February 1959. A full cast audio play adapted from a Pulp magazine of the late 1950s. Specially dramatized and produced in dimensional sound with professional cast, stereo sound effects, and period music. Starring Terwilliger Rhinehart. From Roger Rittner Productions! Only $4.95 in The Pulp Book Store!
Fighting the aerial forces of evil for nearly ten years in the pages of Flying Aces, Kerry Keen AKA The Griffon returns to print! This edition begins a complete reprinting of the entire series. Volume 1 contains his first six stories, all from 1935, including the debut story-“Guns of the Griffon”: Meet Kerry Keen sky sleuth in this new series of modern thrillers! Also included is an article by series author, Arch Whitehouse. From Altus Press and only $19.95 in the Pulp Book Store!
The Pulp Book Store – The Place to get the Pulp You Need.
The Man of Bronze confronts his greatest enemy in The Devil Genghis, reprinted in Doc Savage, Volume 1! From the Arctic to the French Riviera, men begin to go mad and lash out at invisible opponents until they are either exhausted or physically restrained. Then Doc Savage on his way to play the violin and the clarinet in a charity concert is kidnapped! He escapes but discovers that whoever ordered the kidnapping wanted to bring him to Europe. Doc and his aides set sail for Europe to find out what was behind the plot to capture the Man of Bronze. Along the way they encounter danger and Renny falls victim to the invisible enemy madness. Meanwhile, the stunning and resourceful woman, Toni Lash joins up with Doc and his crew to solve the mystery. She is an exceptional woman and even Doc takes notice.
The trail leads to the Arctic and to the unthinkable. Is John Sunlight still alive? It was believed that he had been devoured by a polar bear months before. But unmistakably, Sunlight is alive and well and he is plotting again to conquer the world. Now under the title of “The Devil Genghis” he plans to create a world empire under his absolute rule. But this time instead of fighting Doc Savage, Sunlight will offer him a Faustian bargain. Can even Doc Savage refuse an offer to share dominion over the entire world?
John Sunlight is the greatest villain the Man of Bronze has ever faced. No other enemy had ever survived to confront Doc a second time. Sunlight is a man of great physical and mental powers with the indomitable will to survive death itself. Has Doc Savage finally met his match? Find all the answers to these troubling questions for $12.95 in Doc Savage, Volume 1 from Radio Archives!
High quality Audio, Pulp, and Classic DVDs! And at a fantastic price! That’s the Radio Archives Deal of the Day! The Deal of the Day is actually several great deals at all times. No limits! Simply Great Products at Unbelievable Prices!
Look for the yellow ‘Deal Of The Day’ price tag on the right side of the home page and click it for a great deal every Single Day from RadioArchives.com!
Comments From Our Customers!
Ken Bosworth writes:
I can’t wait to get Volume 2 of “Afloat with Henry Morgan” My wife and I found the first volume to be totally enjoyable, very good radio drama. We really look forward to listening to the rest of the story. We had intended to listen to one disc each evening, but ended up listening to the entire 7-disc series in one evening and the next morning because we just could not tear ourselves away from the story. Thanks again.
Randall F Miller Jr., Society of Broadcast Engineers:
I just want to tell you that your program selection is excellent, and the quality is superb. As a broadcast engineer with over 30 years experience, I certainly appreciate good quality and yours is the best. Keep up the good work, and keep adding to the digital downloads. They are the best way to get my old time radio fix.
Solid Gold Reviews comments on “The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”:
Complete with musical transition, multiple actors with background sounds, and excellent story-play, Sherlock Holmes has everything the audiobook enthusiast seeks. Holmes addicts, or just those looking for a quick suspenseful mystery, will greatly enjoy this audio broadcast. This audio selection is perfect for those who want to enjoy the original Holmes, sans image, or find themselves on a vehicle trek in need of background storytelling at its finest.
“Listening to Old Time Radio shows from Radio Archives has actually slowed down my highway driving (the faster I go, the harder it is to hear the shows clearly because of road noise) which has resulted in fewer speeding tickets! Excellent by product of my love affair with the many shows I’ve ordered from Radio Archives!”
I’m really liking the new pulp audiobooks. Looking forward to many more. Thanks!
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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Glenn is VP of Production at ComicMix. He has written Star Trek and X-Men stories and worked for DC Comics, Simon & Schuster, Random House, arrogant/MGMS and Apple Comics. He's also what happens when a Young Turk of publishing gets old.