Radio Archives: Doctor Death – The Gray Creatures Review


As always I would like to thank our friends over at Radio Archives for giving me the opportunity to review another of Will Murray’s Pulp Classic audiobooks. This time it was for Doctor Death: The Gray Creatures, which was written by Harold Ward back in March of 1935 under the pseudonym of Zorro. Now I have to wonder did Ward use the name of Zorro as a nod to the fictional character created by Johnston McCulley back in 1919 or was he using it for the Spanish term of Fox? I haven’t been able to find any answer to my question but thought it was worth pointing out.

Now with other pulp tales the main character is of course the intelligent and dashing hero, much like Doc Savage. Or the cloaked scourge of the underworld in the vein of the Shadow or the Spider. While there is of course a hero in the tales of Doctor Death…the pulp IS named after the villain of the story. Doctor Death was once a Professor of Psychology at Yale University by the name of Rance Mandarin but has now become a mad scientist, this is pulp fiction though so it means he must be even more than that! Mandarin has become a master in the occult arts and thanks to his fanatical belief that the Almighty has commanded him to aid man in turning his back on scientific progress and industry and to do so he has become a servant of Satan and relies on his strange powers of necromancy, consorting not only with the dead but elementals and fiends from the very depths of Hell to slaughter those he has marked for a gruesome demise.

Doctor Death finds himself opposed though by none other than Jimmy Holm, a millionaire criminologist who is also an occultist and a detective in the New York Police Department. Holm is aided by his boss, Inspector John Ricks, as well as a group known as the Secret Twelve. The Secret Twelve is comprised of the top U.S. Civil and Business leaders, not to mention the country’s top criminal gang leader and…the President of the United States!

In the Gray Creatures we find that an important and wealthy Egyptian has been murdered in his apartment, Holm and Ricks quickly realize that this grisly act has all of the trappings of their deplorable foe, Doctor Death. Worse we learn that Holm’s fiance, Nina Fererra who once was an assistant against her will to the Doctor has been kidnapped, the two officers assigned to protect her…murdered.

What plot has Doctor Death concocted this time to hurl the world back into the Dark Ages? What does it have to do with Zombies? Why must Holm and Ricks travel to Egypt? Can Nina be saved in time?

You’ll just have to listen to this fantastic audiobook for yourself to learn these secrets, my friends. Will Murray has knocked it out of the park with this audiobook as he always does. The narrator for this particular tale of Magic, Murder, and Mayhem is Joey D’Auria…who just happened to be Bozo the Clown for WGN-TV from 1984 to 2001.

By following the link up top you can purchase Doctor Death: The Gray Creatures either as a digital download for a mere $11.98 or the CD set for $17.98, of course while you are there you can pick up the first Audiobook featuring Doctor Death entitled 12 Must Die for $9.98 as a digital download or $14.98 as the CD set.

After listening to this offering I came to the conclusion that the delightful 1971 film, The Abominable Dr. Phibes starring the legendary Vincent Price owes no small amount of debt to the likes of Doctor Death.

Radio Archives: The Green Lama – The Case of the Crimson Hand Review (2011)


As always I want to give a big thank you to our friends over at Radio Archives for giving me the chance to review their latest Will Murray Pulp Classic Audiobook, the Green Lama!

Before I get into the review I figure you might want to know a little more about the Green Lama. The pulp character of the Lama and his alter ego, Jethro Dumont, was the brainchild of Kendall Foster Crossen. Crossen was asked to come up with a character that might attract the readers of the popular Smith and Street publication, the Shadow.

Will Murray interviewed Kendall about his famous Pulp creation: “I was trying to pick a name somewhat like in sound to Lamont Cranston,” Crossen candidly admitted. “You know what I mean, Lamont-Dumont. It was as close as I dared get to Lamont Cranston. A book had just been published about an American who had gone to Tibet and studied and had become a lama, the only white person who ever had at that time. The result was the Green Lama, which the company liked.”

The Green Lama wasn’t as deadly as his Pulp brother in arms, the Shadow, nor should he be. Dumount held the ‘mystic’ ability to become radioactive and use electrical powers to shock his foes. Beyond the supernatural he was a master at disguise and for his choice of weapon he chose the Kata, a ceremonial scarf, and wielded it to bind and confuse his foes.

At the behest of his Editors, Crossen changed his original character’s name of the Grey Lama to the Green Lama, the editors felt that the color was too dreary to catch the eyes of the public at the newsstands. Crossen using the pen name of Richard Foster wrote the Case of the Crimson Hand for the 1940 issue of Double Detective magazine and the Green Lama not surprisingly found his audience. 13 more issues followed spread out over a four year time period but the end of the Double Detective magazine did not mean the end of green-hued avenger of the innocent. You see, Crossen had the rights to his character so he took the Green Lama to a different audience, the comic book reading youth where the character became even more supernaturally powerful.

Then in 1949, Crossen sold the Green Lama to CBS to be on their radio network to compete with the Shadow once again. The radio series lasted only one year but the part of Jethro/Lama went to the legendary Paul Frees, famous for not only his radio work for voicing characters like Boris Badenov from Rock and Bullwinkle and John Lennon and George Harrison in the Beatles animated series to name just a few.

Now it’s 2012 and Radio Archives has Will Murray’s next exciting audiobook, once again narrated by the exceptional Michael McConnohie. They were the team responsible for the Doc Savage: Python Isle audiobook, one of my personal favorites featuring the Man of Bronze.

With this latest audiobook we get two stories, The Case of the Crimson Hand and Croesus of Murder! The first tale finds our hero involved with a villainous mastermind named the Crimson Hand who is threatening the city with a weapon that will not only bring the United States to its knees but the entire world. Could it have something to do with the new ‘Liquid’ Ray that Doctor Harrison Valco has discovered?

The second tale of Pulp excitement, Croesus of Murder, finds the Lama matching wits with another mastermind but this time in the Florida Everglades…against a camp of Nazi sympathizers..and their leader the Fuehrer of Crime! Can the Green Lama and his associates best these vile Aryan Brotherhood and their despicable concentration camps to free the prisoners?

The answers to those questions can only be known by visiting the Radio Archives site by following the links up top and purchasing this fantastic audiobook for yourself! The Digital download is a mere $11.98 while the physical set sells for $17.98, on the site for $34.95 you can also purchase the Complete Pulp Adventures, Volume 1:
Volume 1 contains in introduction by Will Murray and features the first five stories:
“The Case of the Crimson Hand,”
“The Case of the Croesus of Murder,”
“The Case of Babies for Sale,”
“The Case of the Wave of Death,”
“The Case of the Man Who Wasn’t There.”

So why not turn off the television tonight, lower the lights, and spend the evening with some high adventure in Pulp?

Radio Archives: Doc Savage – White Eyes Review


I want to thank our friends over at Radio Archives for sending me a review copy of their latest audiobook, Doc Savage: White Eyes. This is another fantastic Pulp tale written by the talented Will Murray, who like in the Python Isle adventure has found inspiration coming from the creator of the Man of Bronze himself, Lester Dent. By using some notes from an abandoned story idea for “The Annihilist”, Will Murrary, has continued to honor the legendary pulp writer by not only keeping Doc Savage active in new adventures but by adopting Lester Dent’s writing style to boot!

Doc Savage – White Eyes Trailer – Radio Archives by VicSage2005

Just check out Joe DeVito’s exciting artwork up top for your first glimpse at the criminal mastermind, White Eyes!

“In “White Eyes”, a new supercriminal emerges from the underworld. Dressed all in white, his face masked, eyes blank as a blind man’s, he calls himself White Eyes. Who is he? What are his goals? All of Manhattan reels under the onslaught of the Blind Death, a scourge so terrible that innocent people are struck dead, their eyes turning white as hardboiled eggs. From his skyscraper headquarters high above the streets of New York City to the sugarcane fields of Cuba, Doc Savage races to crush gangland’s latest uncrowned king!”

As in Python Isle and as you can hear from the trailer posted above you can really tell how much work the likes of Roger Rittner and of course Radio Archives puts into these audiobooks, the sound is crisp and clear and they make sure to get a narrator that can not only portray the Man of Bronze and his “fabulous five” but EVERY character in the tale as well and they’ve chosen wisely with Richard Epcar.

Epcar is well known in the world of voice acting as he has had the honor of playing over 300 characters in everything from Ghost in the Shell to Raiden in the new Mortal Kombat series!

Those of you who have read my reviews before know that I am always very hesitant to step into spoiler territory…but I have to say that in Chapter 28 “Gangdom’s Long Arm”…I was pacing the floor in front of the radio, since this is a chapter where Doc Savage’s skyscraper headquarters comes under siege by the united criminal underworld. That I think is the greatest compliment I can give to Radio Archives and Will Murray, the writing and production is so strong that I actually got nervous for Doc Savage and his friends!

White Eyes is already available to purchase on the Radio Archives site, with the 10 CD set costing a mere $31.98 and the 10 hour digital download available for $21.98! What are you waiting for? Don’t you want to know what happens to Doc Savage in that assault on his skyscraper?

White Eyes – A New Doc Savage Audio Adventure!

If you read my review of Radio Archives last fantastic audio adventure of Doc Savage, Python Island, you can probably guess how excited I was to get this latest press release announcing their newest adventure starring the Man of Bronze!

“He was a role model during the Great Depression and World War II and a pop icon for the millions who thrilled to his paperback exploits from the 1960s thru the 1980s. Now Doc Savage, the legendary Man of Bronze, comes to vivid life in “White Eyes”, the new and soon to be released audiobook adventure from RadioArchives.com.

In “White Eyes”, a new supercriminal emerges from the underworld. Dressed all in white, his face masked, eyes blank as a blind man’s, he calls himself White Eyes. Who is he? What are his goals? All of Manhattan reels under the onslaught of the Blind Death, a scourge so terrible that innocent people are struck dead, their eyes turning white as hardboiled eggs. From his skyscraper headquarters high above the streets of New York City to the sugarcane fields of Cuba, Doc Savage races to crush gangland’s latest uncrowned king!

Written by Will Murray and produced and directed by Roger Rittner – the same team that created “Python Isle” and “The Adventures of Doc Savage” audio collections also available from RadioArchives.com, “White Eyes” features dramatic narration by Richard Epcar, cover art by Joe DeVito, and two exclusive audio interviews with Will Murray on the continuing history of Doc Savage and the original Lester Dent manuscript that led to the writing of this exciting edge-of-your-seat adventure.

Scheduled for release on July 29, 2011, “White Eyes” will be available as a 10-CD set priced at $31.98 and as a 10-hour digital download priced at $21.98. This Doc Savage thriller is the second in a new line of pulp fiction audiobooks from RadioArchives.com; upcoming releases will feature the classic adventures of The Spider, Secret Agent “X”, and more of Will Murray’s exciting Doc Savage adventures.

RadioArchives.com is one of the largest creators and distributors of old time radio and pulp fiction entertainment in the United States. Specializing in fully restored radio programs, remastered from original recordings, they are known for their outstanding audio fidelity, impressive packaging, and commitment to top quality customer service.”

Make sure to follow that link to the Radio Archives site and check out all the incredible audio treats they have to choose from! Keep your eyes peeled on this site for a review of The Lives of Harry Lime next week!

Radio Archives: Doc Savage – Python Island Review

Our good friends over at Radio Archives were kind enough to send a review copy of their latest audiobook Doc Savage: Python Island. An unabridged 8 CD set written by Will Murray, who expanded an 11 page outline for a Doc Savage novel that he found while visiting the widow of the legendary pulp creator of the Man of Bronze, Lester Dent. In 1980 at 28 years of age, the same age that Lester Dent who went under Kenneth Robeson as his nom de plume wrote the first Doc Savage tale for the pulps, Will was given permission to try and make a novel out of it by Norma Dent.
Will did just that and sent it to Bantam Books who liked it and decided to wait until they ran out of reprints of Dent’s original Doc tales…which only took 10 years to accomplish…in 1990 the book saw print and was paired with the Joe DeVito cover you can see posted below.

The Python Island Audiobook is superbly narrated and acted by Michael McConnohie and produced and directed by Roger Rittner. Please believe me when I say this:

This is what all radio plays and audiobooks should strive to sound like!

Doc Savage Python Isle – Audio Trailer by VicSage2005

How can you not love the cover for the audiobook by Joe Devito!

But I’m sure you are wondering about the story!

“In “Python Isle”, a long-lost pioneer flyer returns to civilization accompanied by an exotic woman who speaks in a lost tongue. From his towering skyscraper headquarters in New York, through a dangerous Zeppelin journey to Cape Town, climaxing on a serpent-haunted island in the forbidden reaches of the Indian Ocean, Doc Savage and his iron comrades race to untangle a weird puzzle so deep that the only clues can be found in the Bible!”

I began listening to Python Isle at my computer…it just didn’t feel right so I popped out the CD and placed it in my Emerson “old time radio” replica CD/Record player and laid back in the floor and thrilled to the exploits of Doc Savage and his compatriots! I’m hard pressed to think of a better way to spend an evening as the sun starts to set, the room illuminated by the soft yellow glow of the radio dial as Michael McConnohie’s soothing voice reads Will Murray’s prose both mingling flawlessly together to transport me to a pulp world…that I sometimes wish I could do more than just visit.

Make sure to follow that link up above to visit the Radio Archives site, along with Doc Savage which you can purchase as a digital download, you can purchase many retro radio programs like Fibber McGee and Molly, Amos and Andy, Dragnet, The Lives of Harry Lime (with Orson Welles!), Suspense, and many, many more! You can also pick up reprints of the famous pulp characters like the Shadow, the Avenger, the Spider, the Phantom and of course the tales of the Man of Bronze himself. You’ll probably feel like I did when looking over all the merchandise…like a kid in a candy store!

You can pick up the 8 CD Audiobook from the site for a mere $25.98 or $17.98 for the digital download. Make sure to sign up for their newsletter as well since they let you listen to samples of the radio programs!