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 – 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!