Tagged: musical

REVIEW: Glee the Complete Third Season

glee-season-3-b_glee_bd_ssn3_spine_boxshot_jp01_rgb-300x400-2757563The greatest pitfall television series featuring high school cast members has is that the cast is already older when the series begins and they age out rapidly. Smallville stopped setting stories in the high school because the cast looked ridiculous on the sets. Confronting the inevitable graduation challenges the producers to find tortured ways to keep the cast intact after the caps and gowns are put away. Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer suffered from this challenge so it is refreshing to see Glee take graduation head on in the third season of the Fox series.

Glee the Complete Third Season came out on DVD last week and seeing it without the weeks-long breaks between cycles, allows you to see how they handled the coming graduation and choices the teens are being asked to make. While the series has never really focused on the kids’ academics, there was almost zero interest in ACTs or college visits, so it was always in the ether but never the focal point of the stories. Instead, it was all about getting to Nationals in New York and succeeding. The season opened with the need for fresh members thanks to a rival Glee Club set up by Shelby Corcoran (Idina Menzel) while Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) ran for Congress on an anti-arts platform.

Clearly, the producers had no real idea of where to take the characters as motivations and the status quo changed, twisting them beyond recognizabilty. The most ill-served may have been Quinn (Dianna Agron) who started off trying to steal back her baby, given to Shelby for adoption,  then embracing the final year of high school until her driving accident (don’t text and drive) and recovery. Somewhere along the line, this sympathetic character, who in season two recognized she was a small town girl stuck in Ohio, gained 50 IQ points and got into Yale and was Ivy League bound. Huh? The best teen villain has become a hero. All the edges to characters are gone, from Puck (Mark Salling) to the divas Mercedes (Amber Riley), robbing the students of interesting character variety. Santana (Naya Rivera) was also softened although her coming out as a lesbian and rising as a performer were among the season’s highlights.

Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) and Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), the romantic couple at the center of the storm, decided to get married and their arc dealt with that reality and the choices each need make for themselves and each other. This rang far more true than the disastrous marriage between Coach Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones) and Cooter Menkins (Eric Bruskotter), which formed a mini-arc in the final third of the season.

While each of the 22 episodes is entertaining and often heartfelt, as a season-long arc for the faculty and students it’s a mess and by now Ryan Murphy should have a very clear idea of who they are and where these characters are going. Instead, he seems to have lost any sense of edge in Sylvester, giving her instead a rival in Roz Washington (NeNe Leakes). Even the show’s most intriguing character, Burt Hummel (Mike O’Malley), somehow found himself running for Congress and winning, stealing him from Kurt (Chris Colfer), just as his son’s dreams of going to NYADA are crushed.

Musically, the show remains strong, aided by the welcome addition of Darren Criss’ Blaine to the New Directions. Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) is also back after a brief contract issue. Some of the winners of the reality series, The Glee Project, wind up added to the cast but are little more than hangers-on with little learned about them and rarely given a showcase. The quest for a championship takes a backseat to the fall musical, West Side Story, which featured some terrific reimaginings of the classic numbers.

In the finale, eight of the cast graduate and turnover in the New Directions will fuel the fourth season as it begins in a few weeks. Most of the graduates will continue to appear so the ensemble swells which is not always a good idea.

The four disc set looks amazing and of course sounds terrific but we’ve come to expect that from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. A neat feature to the set is that the menus will help you keep track as you work your way through the season, remembering where you are.

As usual, the extras are heavy on the music, the show’s hallmark. We get more from the Glee Music Jukebox, although you get clips and not the full songs that were edited to air. Some of the non-musical bits include “Glee Under the Stars” (7:45), a kickoff event at Santa Monica High School. “Glee Give a Note” (7:46) shows stars Jayma Mays and Jones present Culver City Middle School a check for $10,000 for arts education.

You can enjoy some extended and deleted scenes throughout the discs. The highlight here is a Sue Sylvester flashback that should have found its way on air. “Glee Swap: Behind the Scenes of ‘Props'” (5:41) is a nice look at the fun body-swapping episode. “Meet the Newbies” (13:20) spends more time with the new cast members than the series seemed to. “Saying Goodbye” (15:19) is a good look at the emotional toll the finale took on one and all. Lynch’s acerbic Sylvester is found on “Ask Sue: World Domination Blog” (6:07) and “Return of Sue’s Quips” (2:58).

One can hope that the freshened cast will ignite some greater dramatic consistency to match its musical excellence. For now, we have this set which is maddeningly enjoyable while being frustratingly inconsistent.

John Ostrander: Bad Things

My thanks to Martha Thomases for her column this week. In it she confessed to having a fondness for the 1980 Flash Gordon film that started the immortal Sam Jones and Max Van Sydow. It’s bad film and she knows it but she has legit reasons for her fondness of it. Martha, just so you know, the 2007 SyFy TV series is much worse, not even having space ships, for crying out loud! Flash Gordon without space ships?! Talk about not getting the concept!

I say thank you because I had no idea what I was going to do for my column this week and now I do. There are bad films and one CD that I know are horrible but I felt a compulsion to go out and buy a copy of them. This isn’t the same as the weird films of which I own a copy and that I like – things such as Incident At Loch Ness, Get Crazy and, soon, Troll Hunter. These are all justifiable. Not the ones I’m about to talk about; uh-uh, these are plain bad and they are not recommended for viewing. Just to be clear about that.

First up – Barb Wire starring Pamela Lee Anderson. I may have talked about this one before but I stumbled on it one late night on TV while scanning the cable for something to occupy my sleepless mind.

The movie is based on a comic put out by Dark Horse at one point, part of their Heroes Greatest World series of superheroes. I wrote one of those comics for a while and I knew all the other titles. As I said, Pamela Lee Anderson starred in the movie and I lingered, waiting to see if she would take off her clothes, which is the main reason for any guy to watch a Pamela Lee Anderson movie.

I came in after the film started and then watched in horror as I became aware that the movie was an update of Casablanca into a future setting and featuring Pammie in the Humphrey Bogart part. ‘Nuff said? Nuff said.

And then there’s The Return Of Captain Invincible from 1983, a superhero spoof from Australia starring Adam Arkin in tights as the titular hero and Christopher Lee as his archenemy, Mister Midnight. Lee sings in this, by the way. Did I mention there are some songs sprinkled throughout? Not enough to make it a musical, just enough to not make sense – which fits right in with the rest of the movie. The lyrics to some of them were done by Richard O’Brien who wrote the original musical play of Rocky Horror Show and as an actor he was also in, among other things, Martha’s guilty pleasure, Flash Gordon.

I could run through the plot of Captain Invincible but – why?

Next on my list of very dubious pleasures – Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter. Yes, you read that right. It’s a kung fu movie that has Jesus returning to Earth and winding up fighting as a king fu warrior against hordes of vampires, including lesbian ones, with the aide of a masked Mexican wrestler, Santo Enmascardo de Plata. Hmm. I may need to re-write that sentence; it makes the film sound too interesting.

Oh, and it also has a song in it. One. Right in the middle of the film. Why? Who knows.

Finally, there’s a CD – Pat Boone’s In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy from 1997 in which Pat covers heavy metal and hard rock songs with big band arrangements. Oh, and on the cover he wears black leather pants and matching vest – no shirt. Get that picture out of your mind if you can.

I don’t know if I’ve ever listened to the whole thing.

My friend, Bill Nutt, used to have a weekly radio show and, on occasion, I would be invited in as a guest and allowed to select some of the music. I told My Mary one such time to listen in because I would be dedicating a song to her.

That week I also played one of the cuts from In A Metal Mood and it played before Mary’s song came on. When I got back home, Mary demanded why I made her listen to the Pat Boone cut. In an unwise moment, I admitted neither Bill nor I had actually listened to it; we turned down the studio monitor once it came on.

That did not go down well. She has since forgiven me but I doubt she will ever forget my doing that to her.

What unites all these choices is the fact that I own a copy of each and every one of them. I can’t explain to you why these and not the other very bad CDs and DVDs that are out there. The selection probably says something about me and its probably not good.

And, Martha? Flash Gordon is superior to any of them.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell



REVIEW: The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan

amazingchanandthechanclan_complete-300x447-1508426Prime time television in the 1950s and 1960s was packed with family situation comedies, including Hanna-Barbera’s takes on The Honeymooners in the form of The Flintstones and The Jetsons. By the dawn of the 1970s, those situation comedy tropes began to permeate Saturday morning cartoons as funny animal and super-heroic fare began to wane. Then there came Scooby-Doo, the first truly original and fresh concept in ages. The four meddlesome teens, their charismatic canine companion and van became the template for many imitators.

I can therefore imagine the brain trust at H-B trying to find new variations on the successful theme. The idea of combining elements a mystery solving family was a natural but how they ever settled on Charlie Chan and his dozen children remains an, ahem,. mystery.

The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan debuted in 1972 on CBS and was derived from Earl Derr Biggers literary sleuth, Charlie Chan. Based on Honolulu, Chan was modeled on real life detective Apana Biggers, and was introduced in 1926 but gained greatest fame in a series films featuring occidental actor Warner Oland.

Interestingly, there had not been a Chan movie or television series for quite some time by 1972 so one wonders how familiar the youthful target audience was with the character when the series arrived. Regardless, the sixteen episodes showcased the kids a lot more than they did Mr. Chan and the show featured one of the larger casts of regular characters even if the prose Chan Clan was an even dozen, for this show they trimmed that to ten. In prose and television, the mother is never mentioned.


The stories themselves are filled with harmless action, some mild humor, and plenty of chances for the cast to shine. You can see for yourself in the newly released The Amazing Chan Clan and the Chan Clan — The Complete Series from Warner Archive. For the record, the series is credited for being the first time Charlie Chan was performed by a genuine Chinese actor, Keye Luke, who played Number One Son in many of the earlier features. Other performers were also of Asian descent but were quickly recast when CBS deemed their accents difficult for the audience to comprehend (although you wonder if they actually tested this theory and we won’t know because the original stories were redubbed). Only Robert Ito, as Henry, and Brian Trochi as genius inventor Alan, remained.

Debbie Jue (Nancy), Jay Jay Jue (Flip), Leslie Juwai (Mimi), Leslie Kumamota (Anne), Virginia Ann Lee (Suzie), Michael Takamoto (Tom), Robin Toma (Scooter), and Stephen Wong (Stanley) were replaced, respectively, by Beverly Kushida, Gene Andrusco, Cherylene Lee (as Suzie and Mimi), Jodie Foster (yes, that one), John Gunn, Michael Morgan, and Lennie Weinrib. Don Messick was the required dog companion Chu Chu.


Each kid had a specialty in addition to a musical talent so they would perform a song in each episode, making for relatively simplified storytelling. The music was supervised by Don Kirshner (who else?) with vocals led by Ron Dante (carried over from The Archies). As for the cases, they mimicked the movies’ international flavor so Mr. Chan and the kids globetrotted after the Crown Jewels or visited Trinidad to find missing doubloons, or joining in for Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The cases were never the reason to watch the show, but instead to see the siblings interact and to find out what goofy new invention would come in handy. None of the songs ever made it to the Top 40 and are pretty forgettable.


If anything, this series is a curiosity from that transitional period between the Golden Age of Saturday morning fare and the watered down pabulum that denoted the ‘70s.

Martha Thomases: Heroes and Big Hair

For no reasons that are indefensible intellectually, I went to see Rock of Ages the other day. I like Alec Baldwin, okay?  It’s loud and it’s fun, and while hair metal was never my genre, I kind of like the power ballads that dominate the soundtrack.

The main plot is almost identical to Get Crazy,  one of the greatest movies ever made. A sincere rock club on the Sunset Strip (in this case, The Bourbon Room), run by Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, is in the rapacious site of greedy real estate developers. Our heroes must put on a show that will sell enough tickets to raise money and thwart the evil plans. Meanwhile, a sweet young girl (Julianne Hough) from the heartland comes to Los Angeles with dreams of rock stardom, and falls in love with a boy with similar dreams (Diego Benota).

Mixed up in all this is Tom Cruise as Axl Rose, Malin Ackerman as a Rolling Stone reporter, Mary J. Blige in not enough scenes, and Paul Giamatti as Cruise’s manager.

Will the sincere and noble rockers triumph over the skeevy politicians and music executives who want to replace The Bourbon Room’s metal with malls and boy-bands? What do you think?

The acting is broad and fun. My only quibble with the casting is that Diego Benota looks a lot like Jonathan Groff, only he’s not, and that was distracting. I’m sure he’s a lovely human being in his own right.

And yet, as I watched it, I found myself getting irked. “That’s not historically accurate,” I would think, and then I’d remember that it’s a movie based on a Broadway jukebox musical. It’s like complaining that F Troop isn’t historically accurate.

I wasn’t in Los Angeles in 1987. I was in New York. Not only that, but I had a three-year-old child, so I didn’t spend a lot of time in rock clubs. Still, my memory of popular music of that time includes a lot that wasn’t metal. The biggest album for most people was Michael Jackson’s Bad. The biggest albums for me were Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love and Warren Zevon’s Sentimental Hygiene.

From this movie, you wouldn’t know there was any hip-hop. You wouldn’t even know there was any punk, even though the black leather and studs that denote authenticity among the rockers owe nearly as much to punk as they do to rockabilly. I don’t know what it’s like in L.A. these days, but you can see every one of those outfits today on St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan.

The other place you can see all these fashions is superhero comics. For some reason, the big hair, the fringe, even the shoulder pads live on at DC and Marvel. I guess once your creative vision of women is limited to bitch, naif, and slut, your visual imagination is similarly locked in the past.

The difference is that in Rock of Ages, they know they’re being camp. It’s funny, and they expect the audience to be in on it. For those of us who are superhero fans, the joke is on us.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman


Monday Mix-Up: The Dark Knight (Curtain) Rises

Batman with his sidekick Robin. Painting by Al...

In honor of last night’s Tony Awards, we present you with this little musical number starring everybody’s favorite Caped Crusader:


We don’t want to say that Batman’s getting a bit… irked at some of the other movies that have come out so far this year. On the other hand, it’s not like Jim Steinman is going to include this song in the Batman musical. (Hey, whatever happened to that Batman Broadway musical, anyway? Did somebody look at Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark and say, “Heck no”?)

The Sound of Brave

The Disney marketing machine is geared up and in full throttle for next month’s debut of Pixar’s Brave. The focus this week appears to be on the music for the film.

Take a look at “Freedom Broch” – 19 Classic Bagpipe Hits in One Compilation!


Then check out this press release regarding the soundtrack:

BURBANK, Calif. (May 21, 2012) – Disney•Pixar’s epic fantasy adventure Brave harnesses the magic of ancient Scotland, weaving the rich natural setting throughout the story and bringing it to life with sophisticated filmmaking and extraordinary performances. But it’s the music of Brave that ties it all together, elevating the authenticity with a fresh and contemporary approach to Oscar®-nominated composer Patrick Doyle’s score, as well as two original songs performed by lauded Scottish Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis. A third original song plays during the film’s epilogue and is performed by UK singing sensation Birdy with British folk rock band Mumford & Sons. Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, Brave hits theatres on June 22, 2012. The film’s soundtrack from Walt Disney Records will be available June 19, 2012. (more…)

MINDY NEWELL: Music To Write By

Every writer has his or her way of settling down to write. Mine is to bring a Diet Pepsi and a pack of Salem cigarettes – yeah, yeah, I know… my bad – to my computer desk. Oh, yeah, and slipping in a CD.

Here’s the dope.

I’m pretty much out of the loop when it comes to music.

On the radio I listen to our local NPR (I love everything about that station); the local CBS sports station (especially during the football season – and during the past two or three weeks, the Peyton Manning-Tim Tebow-Mark Sanchez drama here in New York City has mesmerized me); WRL-1600 AM (the progressive station that took over for Air America here); occasionally WWOR-710 AM (though the station has moved too far to the right for my tastes – at least they got rid of Lou Dobbs!); and CBS’s “oldies” station when I’m commuting.  I also play my CD’s, which are eclectic to say the least – the soundtrack to Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s musical episode, Once More With Feeling; a lot of Sinatra; the soundtracks to Yentl and South Pacific; a lot of Beatles; Michael Jackson’s Thriller; The Greatest Hits Of Diana Ross and The Supremes; and a great mix of punk, alternative rock, jazz, and Ethan Hawke singing Your Song from Moulin Rouge (which is amazing) that my daughter made me that she called Rod Stewart Sucks,because she knows I like him. Here’s the problem – I groove to all the songs on that CD, but except for the aforementioned Your Song by Hawke, and Midnight Train To Georgia, I’m hard pressed to tell you the names of the songs and the groups who perform them. I’m not even sure of the name of the song that Etta James performs on the CD – I think it’s I’d Rather Be Lonely (Than Be With Somebody Else), but I’m not sure – and it’s one of my favorites.

My musical tastes when writing are equally weird. I listen to soundtracks.

Right now I have the soundtrack to Ben-Hur playing at full volume. (It was composed by Miklos Rozsa, whom I had to look up on Google to discover that he won three Academy Awards – for Double Indemity, Spellbound, and Ben-Hur – and also composed the music for The Lost Weekend, The Jungle Book, The Thief Of Baghdad, Ivanhoe and Lust For Life, to name just a few others.) I find the music of Ben-Hur inspiring, poignant, thrilling/ It’s romantic in its classical sense, meaning that the pieces are passionate and expressive.

Other orchestral soundtracks that inspire me, take me into the heart of my characters or my theme – and this isn’t the complete list – are:

  • The Last Of The Mohicans – which, by the way, was also a favorite of “My Friend Kim”
  • Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back
  • Superman
  • ET The Extraterrestrial
  • Amadeus
  • The Godfather (I and II)
  • The Winds Of War and War And Remembrance
  • Angel (the television series).

I also listen to musical soundtracks. I love that the songs are expressions of emotions and perplexities, which is why I write. I especially love Rodgers and Hammerstein. Lerner and Lowe ain’t bad either. And then there’s Sondheim. Some examples:

  • Carousel
  • South Pacific
  • Brigadoon
  • The King and I
  • Oklahoma!
  • West Side Story
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Funny Girl
  • Glee (every season)

Just put on the second CD to Ben-Hur. I gotta write a paper for school.

TUESDAY: Michael Davis

Lord of the Louisiana Jungle Website Debuts!

From www.tarzanlordlajungle.com

Welcome to our website dedicated to the documentary film Tarzan: Lord 
of the Louisiana Jungle and the original silent motion picture classicTarzan 
of the Apes. Please take a few moments to visit the entire site.

The character of Tarzan™ turns 100 years old 
this year. In celebration of that milestone, Bossier 
City’s Al Bohl and his daughter, filmmaker Allison Bohl 
now of Lafayette have teamed up to produce a 
feature-length documentary entitled, Tarzan: 
Lord of the Louisiana Jungle.
In August of 1917 an eclectic band of filmmakers, 
actors and circus acrobats fought malaria, unbearable 
heat and the swamp of the Louisiana Atchafalaya River 
Basin to bring to the silver screen the best-selling book 
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was an
 instant hit with audiences, considered one of the top six motion pictures of the
 silent era, and one of the first 10 films to earn over one million dollars at the 
box office. The film was shot in Morgan City, Louisiana.
Over a period of four years, Al 
and his daughter combed through 
hundreds of photos and documents
and videotaped up to seventy hours 
of interviews and locations. They 
interviewed scholars, authors, 
historians, fans, experts in merchandise, 
actors, an expert in primates, 
the curator of the Burroughs’ collection and 
the family of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Their travels in Louisiana included 
Morgan City, New Orleans, Patterson and Baton Rouge. They also 
gathered interviews in Los Angeles and Tarzana, California. More footage 
was taped in Ohio, Kentucky and Chicago, Illinois.
In addition, the Bohls re-edited the
 original Tarzan of the Apes silent film 
and added an entirely new orchestral 
musical score written by Kermit Poling 
of Shreveport. The success of the movie 
Tarzan of the Apes spawned over 40 
authorized sequels and 6 television shows.

For behind-the-scenes articles, click here.

Philip Marlowe, The Green Lama, The Spider, Jack Benny, Doug Klauba and More! From Radio Archives

February 10, 2012
NEW Radio Set: The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, Volume 4

“Get this and get it straight: crime is a sucker’s road, and those who travel it end up in the gutter, the prison, or the grave…”
Those words opened each episode of The Adventures of Philip Marlowe starring Gerald Mohr in the title role. Although Marlowe had pounded the airwaves prior to this show’s debut in 1948, no one had yet to bring the right power, the right strength, and the right mood to the character. Not until Gerald Mohr lent his voice to author Raymond Chandler’s best known creation, a voice that Chandler, not too happy with other interpretations of his now classic Private Eye, admitted “packed personality.”
Marlowe, clearly cast in the hard-boiled mold of gumshoes and flatfoots originally created in the Pulps by Dashiell Hammett, brought a whole new dimension to the archetype. Tough as nails and hard to kill, Philip Marlowe was also in many ways a modern day knight. This identification of Marlowe as an updated errant hero wandering a dark world saving the lost and fighting off dragons not only continued throughout Chandler’s works, but remains today to be the primary way the character is described by reviewers, fans, and critics.
Even in the face of goons with guns, molls with malice and murder, and a city convoluted with corruption, Marlowe had standards he would follow. This added a great amount of depth to the character and would require an actor with the skills to convey that depth, to show the complexities of a man like Marlowe fighting the evils he’d find on Los Angeles’ mean streets with just his voice. In 1948, Gerald Mohr became that man.
Truly one of the most distinctive voices of old time radio, Mohr’s resonant baritone lent itself well to parts that evoked mood and energy. This nuance is clearly evident in “The Adventures of Philip Marlowe.” Mohr plays Marlowe with all the edge and grit detective fans expect to hear from their heroes. But Mohr also brings a palpable sense of danger smoking just under the surface. Every time Marlowe opens his mouth, Mohr’s delivery is such that listeners have no idea if Marlowe is going to talk or shoot his way out of whatever corner he’s willingly walking into.
This already fantastic collection of Classic Detective shows also comes with incredible new artwork! Pulp Artists extraordinaire Doug Klauba brings Marlowe to visual life with a thrilling scene showing Chandler’s modern day knight in gun blazing action! A print of this great piece can be yours in one of the newest additions to the Pulp Book Store, The Art of Doug Klauba! Get this artwork as a poster in the new store featuring the varied and awesome work of Douglas C Klauba!
Enjoy the energy and danger that Gerald Mohr brings to “The Adventures of Philip Marlowe” in this fourth volume from Radio Archives! Five Hours on Audio CD for only $14.98.

In 1947, a new soap opera debuted in syndication – a drama that was far different than the storm-and-strife ridden weepers that occupied most of the daytime radio schedule. “Claudia” told the tale of Claudia and David Naughton, newlyweds, just beginning their married life. Young, enthusiastic, and very much in love, they weren’t suffering from any medical maladies, suspicions of infidelity, or dealing with ungrateful children. Instead, they were simply facing the many challenges of any new marriage – finding an apartment, getting used to each other’s quirks, and learning to live together as husband and wife.

Heard today, “Claudia” remains wonderful entertainment, notable for both its light-hearted tone and the believable interplay between its characters. Claudia, a bit younger than her years, is often impulsive, sometimes irresponsible, usually perky, and just a bit flighty. Her father had died when she was still a young girl and, as an only child, had been raised by her widowed mother. As a newlywed who married when she was just eighteen, she occasionally ponders whether she is still a “mama-baby,” tied to her mother’s apron strings and relying too much on Mama’s continuing support and advice. As she matures, she becomes a unique mixture of enthusiasm, incompetence and over-confidence — deeply in love with her somewhat older husband David, but frequently naive and too likely to trust in her insecurities rather than her instincts.
One of the sad things about radio show preservation is the fact that so many long-running series exist today only in fragments – a broadcast here and a broadcast there, rather than long continuous runs of a particular program. This is particularly the case when it comes to soap operas, where it is difficult to get into a storyline when often so few consecutive episodes exist. Happily, that is not the case with “Claudia”; Radio Archives has been able to locate and preserve the entire eighteen-month run of the series – 390 episodes in all – with no missing shows, allowing you to enjoy the complete series on a day-by-day basis. This eighth collection continues the joys and trials of Claudia and David as they adapt to married life together dealing with many of the same ups and downs their listeners both then and now encounter. And “Claudia Volume 8” can be yours from Radio Archives for $17.98 on Audio CDs!
by Tommy Hancock

Every time I pick something from Radio Archive’s extensive catalog of old time radio offerings to review, I feel like I’m choosing a little piece of history, an artifact from a past that simultaneously seems simpler and more glamorous than our present. This time around, though, I selected a whole day’s worth of history, a slice of life from the day when everyone waited to hear the latest adventures of Amos n’ Andy, sat on the edge of their seats to learn what had become of Pretty Kitty Kelly or the latest on the Affairs of Helen Trent, or to hum along to the music of Louis Prima and his Orchestra. And I do mean from the day. September 21, 1939 to be exact.
WJSV- A Day in Radio History is just what the title says. This true piece of radio history resulted from discussions between staff at WJSV and the National Archives about the importance of preservation of radio programming being presented live at the time. In pursuit of saving at least a hint of what a radio broadcast day was like in that era, recordings were made of a broadcast day at Washington station WJSV and then later put in the annals of the Archives.
It is almost impossible to put into words the experience that is this collection. This 20 CD set literally contains the entire day of September 21, 1939 as broadcast over WJSV. From sign on at 5:58 AM to sign off at 1 AM, every minute of WJSV’s broadcast day is presented at the highest quality in the order that listeners originally heard it 73 years ago.
The breadth of programming is one of the stunning aspects of this. Much like local television stations today, WJSV’s schedule was extremely varied, from serials to news programs to human interest shows to popular comedies and dramas and so on. Similarities in programming also are interesting. We have talent shows ad nauseum today, but listeners of the past were not without them as well. Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour presented acts interested in making the big time, much like contestants on “American Idol” and other shows of its kind. Soap operas, waning in today’s hurry up and wait television market, were the cream of the crop in 1939, with several examples offered in this collection.
History is contained in this set, too. A transcript of a speech by President Franklin Roosevelt, news from all over the world delivered throughout the day, and a sampling of the music of the era, live remotes of big bands from all over the United States. Not to mention rare radio shows that pepper the roster of programs presented by WJSV in the course of its day.
WJSV- A Day in Radio History is a 19-hour set. This may seem daunting to some listeners, but know that it is set up in a way that you can skip to the tracks you’re interested in hearing. This collection is a true gem for people interested in the 1930s, in history, or for creators who need a taste of that period for their work. It’s also an undeniable fantastic tool for researchers interested in not only what a radio station of the era might have played, but also a peek into the technical aspect of how broadcasting was done. All in all, this marvelous collection is well worth having.
The price has been reduced to $39.98 from the previous price of $56.98 and featuring new stunning artwork, WJSV-A Day in History is now presented in a new 20 CD storage case and will make a perfect addition to any collection. Restored to the best audio quality possible, this set is both a significant slice of history and a package that has something for every type of Old Time Radio fan, be they casual or avid.

A more unlikely multi-media success than the jade-robed Buddhist monk who fought crime under the nom de guerre ofThe Green Lama would be hard to imagine.
Conceived in 1939 at the behest of the editors of Munsey Publications to compete with the juggernaut that The Shadow had become in print, on radio and in film, The Green Lama was the creation of writer Kendall Foster Crossen, who was asked to think up a hero who could lure mystery-minded readers away from The Shadow’s loyal legion of followers. Inspired by a Columbia University student named Theos Casimir Barnard, who had journeyed to far-off Tibet to plumb the occult mysteries of Lamaism, Crossen concocted millionaire Jethro Dumont, who did the same.
It was an outlandish concept. While The Shadow possessed the power to cloud men’s minds after his time in the East, The Green Lama relied on other, even weirder, powers—including the ability to become radioactive and electrically shock opponents into submission! He carried a traditional scarf, which he employed to bind and befuddle opponents and possessed a knowledge of vulnerable nerve centers which he put to good use in hand-and-hand combat. Being a practicing Buddhist, it would not do to pack a pair of .45 automatics a la The Shadow!
Writing as Richard Foster, Crossen produced The Case of the Crimson Hand, which was published in the April, 1940 Double Detective under the equally colorful title, The Green Lama. That first installment raised the magazine’s circulation several notches. Amazingly, the Lama was a hit. Thirteen additional stories followed over the next four years, with provocative titles like The Case of the Hollywood Ghost and Babies for Sale. Assistants ranging from ordinary Manhattanites to a professional magician came and went with every adventure, which often involved emerging super-criminals and Fifth Column menaces.
RadioArchives.com has selected The Green Lama to be the first 2012 release in its acclaimed Will Murray Pulp Classics line of audiobooks. His first case and its sequel, Croesus of Murder, are presented in one set, voiced by the talented Michael McConnohie. Thus, the hero of a dozen different incarnations has found a new world to conquer! You’ll never encounter another hero anything like him. Om Mani Padme Hum! The Green Lama knows! Will Murray’s Audio Pulp Classics #5 The Green Lama is available now!
The Green Lama, by Kendell Foster Crossen, first appeared in the April 1940 issue of Double-Detective magazine. Copyright © 1940 by The Red Star News Company. Copyright renewed © 1968 and assigned to Argosy Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. “The Green Lama” is a trademark controlled by Argosy Communications, Inc. Produced by arrangement with Argosy Communications, Inc.

One of the most interesting experiences a fan of any character from the printed medium can have is that first time he or she sees or hears someone portraying their favorite character. We all have in our heads how our treasured heroes will look if we ever see them on the screen, who should play them, and also how they’ll sound. The more we read a particular canon of stories, the more those voices start coming to life in our heads, right down to the way the villain will snarl his words or the leading lady will coo in the ear of our masked avenger. I am no different. As a matter of fact, I’m probably the hardest judge on movies and audio performances of characters I absolutely loved to read about. I go into new projects that add voices to stories I have thrilled to in the past with at the least trepidation, if not downright cynicism.
Boy, I love it when someone puts together a package that proves me wrong.
The Spider: Prince of the Red Looters, a Will Murray’s Pulp Classic Audiobook produced by Roger Rittner Productions takes one of the most intriguing, over the top protagonists from classic Pulp fiction and brings him and the carnage and chaos around him to full bloody, violent, justice seeking life.
Pulp Fans are of course familiar with the Spider, Norvell Page’s Master of Men. Secretly millionaire criminologist Richard Wentworth, The Spider was perhaps the most violent pursuer of Right the Pulps ever had. He performed his duty of seeking justice and punishing the guilty with the veracity of a rabid dog. And his enemies matched him step for step, often littering the streets of New York with body after body in story after story. Capturing the frenetic pacing of these stories and especially the wildly mad, nearly insane personality of The Spider, teetering often it seemed at the very edge of his own abyss, would be no easy chore for any Production company or crew of actors. I’m glad to say that Producer/Director Roger Rittner and company took on Prince of Red Looters and the result is simply amazing.
Featuring the first appearance of The Spider’s nemesis The Fly, this enhanced audiobook explodes into stunning dialogue, fantastic sound effects, and a rousing musical score almost instantly. The voice talents of Nick Santa Maria as narrator and all the male parts and Robin Riker as Nita Van Sloan nailed the characters in both tone and delivery. Regardless if Santa Maria is firing off silky missives as The Fly, delivering staccato threats of death to the evil as The Spider, or playing one of many mooks, thugs, and passers by, his turns of voice give this the semblance of a full cast production. Add the sultry dulcet voice of Robin Riker as Nita, a great compliment to Santa Maria’s take on the Spider, and you have the best voices to bring Page’s fevered adventures to audio.
As far as other aspects of this audiobook, Roger Rittner does a wonderful job, top notch throughout the book, of maintaining the pacing of the original Pulp tale. And the ways he does this are myriad, including the use of great music, the inclusion of sound effects, and the speed and clip and which the narration and dialogue are delivered. All of this blends together into a sort of perfect storm for an audiobook and makes The Spider: Prince of the Red Looters a definite shining light in the already awesome line of Will Murray’s Pulp Classics! And you too can swing along with The Spider today by buying The Spider: Prince of the Red Looters for only $19.98 on Audio CDs.

Bringing the best of Classic Pulp to Fans today, Radio Archives presents Will Murray’s Pulp Classic’s line of top notch Pulp Fiction eBooks!  And you will now be able to find eBooks on RadioArchives.com as one of the buttons on the left!  Looking for the best in eBooks!  Click the button and you’ll go right to Will Murray’s Pulp Classics!
New to Will Murray’s Pulp Classics, two new eBooks featuring the epic exploits of America’s best-loved pulp-fiction character of the 1930s and 1940s: The Spider — Master of Men!
Richard Wentworth — the dread Spider, nemesis of the Underworld, lone wolf anti-crime crusader who always fights in that grim no-man’s land between Law and lawless — returns in vintage pulp tales of the Spider, reissued for today’s readers in electronic format.
These exciting pulp adventures have been beautifully reformatted for easy reading as an eBook and feature the original full color cover. Will Murray’s Pulp Classics line of eBooks are of the highest quality and feature the great Pulp Fiction stories of the 1930s-1950s.

Three times that night death struck at Richard Wentworth before he learned his foeman’s name — the yellow-skinned Wang Ba! Wentworth — who, as the relentless Spider, is the scourge of the Underworld — wagers his skill and bravery against the sly treachery of the Orient, with the lives of a hundred thousand Americans depending on the evil coquetry of a dangerously beautiful woman!
Never had Richard Wentworth — he who is the scourge of the Underworld in his guise of the Spider — faced such tremendous odds or been so alone in the strife! And the Master of Madness, chief of a powerful, fiendish syndicate, was spreading his germs of mania unchecked. Who could rescue America from screaming, murderous frenzy when the Spider, harried by Law and lawless, himself half-doubted his own skill and bravery?
As a special Bonus, Will Murray has written “Meet the Spider” especially for this series of eBooks.
All eBooks produced by Radio Archives are available in ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats for the ultimate in compatibility. When you purchase this eBook from RadioArchives.com you receive all three formats in one ZIP file: PDF for PC or Mac computer; Mobi for Kindle; and ePub for iPad/IPhone, Android, Sony eReader, and Nook. When you upgrade to a new eReader, you can transfer your eBook novels to your new device without the need to purchase anything new.
Fight alongside the Master of Men as the Spider takes on Evil in these two latest Ebooks from Will Murray’s Pulp Classics, only $2.99 each!  And remember, click the eBooks button on the left of the homepage for the best digital offerings anywhere from Radio Archives!
Special eBook Announcement! As of today, all Radio Archives eBooks are available at the Kindle Store.
The Pulp Book Store now features the work of an artist considered to be one of the modern masters of Pulp and Classic Action Adventure Art. Doug Klauba, known for his work on covers for companies such as Moonstone, Radio Archives, and more, has brought fan favorite characters, such as Johnny Dollar, Philip Marlowe, and others to life with his fantastic paintings! And now you can own prints of some of Doug’s best work and even purchase original art from this modern Pulp Artist!
The Art of Doug Klauba will first feature posters of paintings of three of Classic Radio’s best known, greatest detective heroes! 12 X 18” posters of Johnny Dollar from “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar,” Dan Holiday from “Box Thirteen”, and Philip Marlowe from “The Adventures of Philip Marlowe” are available for $19.98 each! Done in a style reminiscent of classic Pulp Magazine covers and painted movie posters, these prints will make a perfect addition to any Radio, Pulp, or Detective Fan’s wall and collection! Thrill to the visual excitement that is The Art of Doug Klauba! Now available in the Pulp Book Store!
Dedicated to keeping the memory and work of one of History’s greatest comedic talents alive, The International Jack Benny Fan Club (IJBFC) joins the Pulp Book Store! The IJBFC offers 39 Forever Volume 3, a book written by Laura Leff and Martin Gostonian! Just released, this third volume covers Jack Benny’s television career from his debut in 1950 until his self-titled series ended in 1965! Each show is written up with full indexes of cast members, cities, musical artists, skits, and songs included.
This 826 page volume is a wonderful resource for Benny fans, but also anyone interested in the Golden Age of Television. It outlines how the show went from being Benny’s transition from radio to the top of the ratings and shows why Benny’s legacy has endured! The IJBFC brings a definite classic performer and this definitive work on his awesome career to the right place by becoming a part of The Pulp Book Store!
Well known for the quality Pulp Replicas, authentic reproductions of original Pulp Magazines, Girasol Collectables adds three new Replicas to the Pulp Book Store!
Thrill to the gun blazing justice seeking adventures of the Master of men in The Spider #77 featuring ‘Hell’s Sale Manager!’ Originally printed in February 1940, this replica is now available for $35.00!
Also, discover exotic locales, femme fatales, and more in the Replica of Spicy Adventures #11, originally published in August 1935, for $25.00!
Finally encounter strange events, terrifying creatures, and the unknown in Weird Tales #18. First printed in March 1925, this wonderful Replica is only $35.00!
Girasol Collectables produces the finest in Pulp Reproductions! And you can find their Replicas as well as other products in the Pulp Book Store!

The Knight of Darkness battles evil supercriminals in two action-packed pulp novels by Walter Gibson writing as “Maxwell Grant.” First, in a never-reprinted 1932 epic, The Shadow seeks to unmask The Five Chameleons, master villains whose uncanny ability to blend with their surroundings rivals his own. Then, the Dark Avenger feels the savage sting of The Wasp in his first confrontation with one of his deadliest foes. This double-novel reprints the classic cover paintings by George Rozen and Graves Gladney and the original interior illustrations by Tom Lovell and Earl Mayan, with historical articles by Will Murray. Get it now for $14.95!
The pulp era’s greatest superman returns in two classic pulp thrillers by Lester Dent writing as “Kenneth Robeson.” First, Doc and Patricia Savage enter an Arctic abyss where dinosaurs and prehistoric humans survive, and race against Japanese agents to uncover the secret of The Time Terror that could change the outcome of the war. Then, a series of crimes committed by “graduates” of the Man of Bronze’s Crime College threaten to destroy Doc’s reputation. What is the sinister secret of The Talking Devil? This special collectors edition showcases both color pulp covers by Emery Clarke, Paul Orban’s classic interior illustrations and historical commentary by Will Murray, writer of eight Doc Savage novels. Yours for only $14.95!
The double life of Police Commissioner James Gordon is explored in a pair of two-fisted thrillers that inspired classic Batman stories! First, The Whisperer goes undercover to close down a “School for Murder” that prepares teenagers for criminal careers! Then, Wildcat Gordon investigates corruption in the trucking industry in “Murder on the Line.” BONUS: an adventure of Norgil the Magician by The Shadow’s Maxwell Grant! This historic collector’s item showcases both original color pulp covers by Spider artist John Newton Howitt, classic interior illustrations by Paul Orban and golden-age great Creig Flessel, and historical commentary by Will Murray and Anthony Tollin. Now at Radio Archives for $14.95!

Pulp fiction’s legendary Master of Men returns in two classic novels from the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction, written by Norvell Page under the pseudonym of Grant Stockbridge. First, in “Overlord of the Damned” (October 1935), the Boss unleashes horrible death with his demonic acid guns… with a vat of the same deadly corrosive reserved for those who talk too much! With his beloved Nita van Sloan a hostage to a terrible doom, the Spider faces the soul-tearing prospect of planting the Spider seal on his friend Stanley Kirkpatrick, Commissioner of Police! Then, in “Dictator’s Death Merchants!” (July 1940), The jaws of death gape open when El Crocodilo feasts! With uncanny skill, he forestalls even the Spider’s best attempts to trap him. Striking without mercy, this menace from the past rises anew by demolishing a banking institution each night, in a mad scheme to take control of nothing less than all of America’s finances! This volume is available in two editions and features the original artwork from the October 1935 or the July 1940 edition of “The Spider” magazine. Both versions feature reformatted text and original interior illustrations to accompany each story. Available now for $14.95!

Looking for more than Love this February? How about the best deals in the Pulp Book Store! Check out the specials being offered by these companies!
The greatest Minds of the 19th Century go to battle with the most evil forces known to man! Buy Modern Marvels: Viktoriana by Wayne Reinagel and get 5% off the regular price for the entire month of February!
The Lord of the Vampires Returns and you can get him for 20% off original price. Dracula Lives by Joshua Reynolds is a page turning chill ride and can be yours at a steal!
Puttin’ The Monthly Back into Pulp, Pro Se Productions offers the finest in modern Pulp Magazines! For the month of February, pick up any or all of the first three issues of Pro Se Presents at an amazing 25% off each copy!
Just click on the Treasure Chest on the Pulp Book Store Page for these great offers! From everyone from the avid Pulp Fan to the casual reader, the Treasure Chest offers great deals on wonderful products from The Pulp Book Store!

By John Olsen

Shadow Over Alcatraz was published in the December 1, 1938 issue of The Shadow Magazine. Yes, Alcatraz – The Rock! This is the repository of America’s most dangerous criminals, a concentrated population of the world’s most sinister masterminds. Where better to find lieutenants for the most devious mastermind of all time! Alcatraz, where America’s most hidden mastercriminal will recruit his evil henchmen for a plot to create a world-wide crime spree.
It all starts in Denver, Colorado, where eccentric old inventor Harvey Lanyon is demonstrating his latest invention. He calls himself “The Rainmaker” because he’s created a machine that will end droughts. Or so he thinks. But the invention is a failure; all it does is create a fog. And what good is fog? None, except to that hidden mastermind known as Zanigew. Zanigew has sinister plans for the fog machine. So he sets out to capture Harvey Lanyon and appropriate Lanyon’s invention.
So exactly who is Zanigew and what is he up to? Can even The Shadow stop this cunning genius of crime? Zanigew plans crime such as has never before been known; an empire of evil that will stretch throughout the world! It will take the power of The Shadow to stop him. And it will make an adventure that ranks among the very best among the 325 Shadow magazine stories published. It’s one you won’t want to miss.
Assisting The Shadow in this story are Harry Vincent and F.B.I. agent Vic Marquette. Also appearing in smaller roles are Burbank and pilot Miles Crofton. The Shadow appears only as himself, Kent Allard. There’s no sign of his famous disguises here.
The Shadow does appear in disguise, once, as an unnamed adventurous Easterner who bears little resemblance to Kent Allard. We are told that when he removes the putty-like makeup on his face, the gaunt countenance of Kent Allard emerges. No mention of the “horror face” beneath the makeup that was mentioned in early Shadow novels. Perhaps there was a little judicious plastic surgery performed in the intervening years?
It’s good to see The Shadow’s autogiro make an appearance in this story. It plays a pivotal part in the climax to the story. This is the “new, improved” autogiro that is completely wingless, capable of making a speed of one hundred and twenty miles an hour. Generally, autogiros were considered to have wings, so this must have been closer to the modern helicopter than an autogiro.
And one final note. Did you know that The Shadow can squeeze through steel bars only seven inches apart? It’s not easy, but he accomplishes it in this story. Maybe he can dislocate some joints, somewhat like escape-artist Harry Houdidi was reputed to do. Get out a ruler and look at seven inches. That’s not much space. I’m surprised he could get his head through! Unless… (no, let’s not go there.)
This is one of the classic Shadow stories. It’s one of the top rated stories. 

And it along with another Shadow tale is in The Shadow Volume 16 for $12.95 from Radio Archives!

Comments From Our Customers!
Lon Levy:
Thank you! Please continue until the entire run of THE SPIDER has been released as eBooks. (I don’t have room for any more of the paper editions!)
Allan Smith from England:
Well Tom, I for one am with you all the way, as your products are A1 CLASS items as far as I am concerned. Items, as usual, are a delight. i look forward to sitting, reading and listening for a couple of weeks ahead with great pleasure. thank you once again from windy, wet and cold England.
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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Real Steel’s Hugh Jackman Talks Boxing Bots

charlie-coaching-300x200-1649725Hugh Jackman stars in Real Steel, out on home video this week, and the native Australian is best known to ComicMix fans for his work as Wolverine in  X-Men, X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand before spinning off into X-Men Origins: Wolverine and cameoing as the canucklehead in X-Men First Class.

In the fall of 2009, Jackman made a return to Broadway in the Keith Huff-penned A Steady Rain.

On February 22, 2009, Jackman took on the prestigious role of hosting the 81st Annual Academy Awards live from the Kodak Theater, he wowed those in attendance and helped ABC score a 13% increase in viewership from the previous year. Previously, Jackman served as host of the Tony Awards three years in a row, from 2003-2005, earning an Emmy Award for his 2004 duties at the 58th annual ceremony and a nomination for his 2005 appearance at the 59th annual ceremony.

In 2008, Jackman was seen in Twentieth Century Fox’s Deception opposite Ewan McGregor and the romantic action-adventure epic Australia, directed by Baz Luhrmann.

Jackman has also starred in Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige and Woody Allen’s Scoop. He has lent his voice to the animated features Happy Feet and Flushed Away. Other films in which he has had leading roles include Someone Like You, Swordfish, Van Helsing and Kate and Leopold, for which he received a 2002 Golden Globe nomination.

For his portrayal of the 1970s singer-songwriter Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz, Jackman received the 2004 Tony Award® for Best Actor in a musical as well as Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World awards.

Previous theater credits include Carousel at Carnegie Hall, Oklahoma! at the National Theater in London (Olivier Award nomination), “Sunset Boulevard” (for which he won a Mo Award, Australia’s Tony Award) and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Mo Award nomination). (more…)