Imagine This

Old time radio, and spoken drama, sometimes locally-produced — with the Jollyfish.

Currently, we're listening to weekly episodes of "Suspense" and "Boston Blackie", with various other content such as "Escape", "The Strange Dr Weird", "Dimension X", science fiction short stories from Librivox, and monologues and short plays from Canberran writer Bart Meehan and the Paper Moon Theatre Company, along with various plays and short stories produced with the help of the CBF right here on 2NVR back in 2013.

"Suspense", one of the premier drama programs of the Golden Age of Radio, was subtitled "radio's outstanding theater of thrills" and focused on suspense thriller-type scripts, usually featuring leading Hollywood actors of the era. Approximately 945 episodes were broadcast during its long run, and more than 900 still exist.

"Suspense" went through several major phases, characterized by different hosts, sponsors, and director/producers. Formula plot devices were followed for all but a handful of episodes: the protagonist was usually a normal person suddenly dropped into a threatening or bizarre situation; solutions were "withheld until the last possible second"; and evildoers were usually punished in the end.

In its early years, the program made only occasional forays into science fiction and fantasy. Notable exceptions include adaptations of Curt Siodmak's Donovan's Brain and H. P. Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror", but by the late 1950s, such material was regularly featured.

"Boston Blackie" is a fictional character who has been on both sides of the law. As originally created by author Jack Boyle, he was a safecracker — a hardened criminal who had served time in a California prison. Prowling the underworld as a detective in adaptations for films, radio, and television, the detective Boston Blackie was "an enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friend".

The Boston Blackie radio series, starring Chester Morris, began June 23, 1944, on NBC as a summer replacement for The Amos 'n' Andy Show. Sponsored by Rinso, the series continued until September 15 of that year. Unlike the concurrent films, Blackie had a steady romantic interest in the radio show — Lesley Woods appeared as Blackie's girlfriend Mary Wesley. Harlow Wilcox was the show's announcer.

On April 11, 1945, Richard Kollmar took over the title role in a radio series syndicated by Frederic W. Ziv to Mutual and other network outlets. Over 200 episodes of this series were produced between 1944 and October 25, 1950. Other sponsors included Lifebuoy Soap, Champagne Velvet beer, and R&H beer. While investigating mysteries, Blackie invariably encountered harebrained Police Inspector Farraday (Maurice Tarplin) and always solved the mystery to Farraday's amazement.

Initially, friction surfaced in the relationship between Blackie and Farraday, but as the series continued, Farraday recognized Blackie's talents and requested assistance. Blackie dated Mary Wesley (Jan Miner), and for the first half of the series, his best pal Shorty was always on hand. The humorless Farraday was on the receiving end of Blackie's bad puns and word play.

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

Welcome to the AntipodeanSF Radio Show, hosted by the editor of AntipodeanSF, Ion Newcombe, aka "Nuke" or "The Jollyfish".

Ion selects the best in speculative (science fiction, fantasy, horror) flash fiction for these shows, with stories often narrated by the authors themselves.

Listen in weekly on-air.

You may also listen to the current or past shows as a podcast (below)

 

You can also read the stories online at AntipodeanSF. If the story isn't in the current magazine, it is most likely at the AntipodeanSF Archive page at the National Library of Australia.