Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Thrilling Adventure Hour Brings Back Radio's Golden Age

I've always had an affinity for audio dramatizations and old time radio shows. My iTunes library in loaded shows from the 1930s through the 1950s, and even a vast collection of modern shows produced by the BBC. There are few, if any radio stations in America that produce audio dramas these days. The concept disappeared with the rise of television. While recordngs of the old programs are still available, new broadcasts do not happen anymore.

But, through the magic of the internet, I've found a new source of entertainment in the form of a podcast called the Thrilling Adventure Hour. TAH is a fantastic send up on the old time radio shows of yesteryear. The show, which is recorded live in Los Angeles, is a tongue-in-cheek celebration of radio's golden age.

The Thrilling Adventure Hour consists of a rotating group of continuing stories, and features the voice work of such celebrities as Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds), Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica), and many others. Along with shows comes a wealth of parodies of some of the old commercials from old time radio. One of my favorite thus far is for Patriot Cigarettes, which "with special compensation from the government" is made by children because "tiny hands are better for rolling tobacco in paper".

The Thrilling Adventure Hour tackles the most popular genres of Old Time Radio. For Sci-Fi and Westerns, there is Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars. Sparks, who takes every opportunity to remind everyone that he's "from Earth", rides the plains of Mars righting wrongs. Then there is Beyond Belief taking on the mystery/supernatural genre with Frank and Sadie Doyle, who would much rather be sipping martinis than chasing ghosts. Other stories include Amelia Earhart - Fearless Flyer, Jefferson Reid - Ace American, and the Adventures of Captain Laserbeam.

One of the things that I love about the shows is he fact that they're recorded live, and there is vey little post-production editing. As you would expect from live recordings, there are missed cues, problems with sounds effects, and fumbled lines. The occasional foible just adds to the entertainment as the actors improvise around whatever didn't go right.

If you're looking for some good laughs and great entertainment, check out the Thrilling Adventure Hour.

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