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 Presents: The Spider #11 – Prince Of The Red Looters eBook For One Penny!

Our friends over at Radio Archives have been kind enough to give us the scoop on something every pulp fan is going to appreciate. For a limited time you can purchase an eBook copy of the Spider #11: Prince of the Red Looters by Pulp legend, Norvell W. Page, for a single penny!

From the Press release: “Part of the Will Murray Pulp Classics line, The Spider #11, Prince of the Red Looters first saw print in 1934 and features his momentous battle with The Fly and his armies of crazed criminal killers. Their motto? Why “KILL THE SPIDER!” of course.

For those who have been unsure about digging into the wonderful world of pulps this is a perfect opportunity to give one of these fantastic yarns a real test run. With a full introduction to the Spider written by famed pulp historian and author Will Murray, The Spider #11 was written by one of pulp’s most respected authors, Norvell W. Page. Writing as Grant Stockbridge, Page’s stories included some of the most bizarre and fun takes on heroes and crime fighting in the history of escapist fiction.

Even today Page’s scenarios and his edge-of-the-seat writing style are still thrilling both new and old fans everywhere. For those who have never read one of these rollercoaster adventures, you are in for a thrill. If you already know how much fun a classic pulp is, make sure you download this bargain.

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 you receive all three formats in one ZIP file. When you upgrade to a new eReader, you can transfer your Spider novels to your new device without the need to purchase anything new. Use the PDF version when reading on your PC or Mac computer. If you have a Kindle, the Mobi version is what you want. If you have an iPad/iPhone, Android, Sony eReader or Nook, then the ePub version is what you want.”

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: The Adventures Of Doc Savage Review (1985)

A huge thank you to our friends over at Radio Archives for allowing me the pleasure of reviewing the National Public Radio 1985 classic, The Adventures of Doc Savage. Roger Rittner produced and directed both the tales in this collection with scripting aid by Will Murray. with the Variety Arts Radio Theater. Radio Archives was kind enough to bring this sought after radio show to not only eager Doc Savage devotees but pulp fans in general last year to coincide with the 25th Anniversary of it’s original broadcast. Just take a look at that cover by Bob Larkin of Doc and his cousin Pat Savage!

Unlike the Doc Savage Audiobooks, Python Isle and White Eyes, the Adventures of Doc Savage is set up a little differently. Being a radio show instead of an audiobook each chapter ramps up to precipice point much like the classic Republic serials…and then left you waiting until the next week even though you were ready to learn more at that exact moment as the show comes to a close. That is one of the great things about this collection of course, unlike in 1985 where you had to wait until the next week you can lay back and listen to the next chapter immediately. Perhaps this just shows I’m impatient? Ha, ha.

The Adventures of Doc Savage includes two tales of the Man of Bronze, Fear Cay and The Thousand-Headed Man. The first tale concerns a villain named Dan Thurden, who claims during a fight…in which he takes on Doc Savage AND his friends…that he is 130 years old. The chase for this stranger and the mystery of the “Fountain of Youth Inc.” leads Doc and his team from New York, Florida and to Fear Cay.

With the second radio adventure, “The Thousand-Headed Man”, Will Murray decided to take a different approach. He was inspired by the script of what would have been the first Silver Screen debut for the Man of Bronze starring Chuck Connors, sadly it never reached the filming stage, and the I Love A Mystery radio shows! Murray says of it, “I focused on the mood, mystery and atmospheric horror of Doc Savage’s quest for a lost expedition in 1934 Indo-China which brings the Man of Bronze in direct combat with the half-mythical menace known only as the Thousand-Headed Man”.

The Adventures of Doc Savage – Radio Archives by VicSage2005

By the way, did the voice of Colonel John “Renny” Renwick sound familiar to you? It certainly should…he was voiced by the legendary Bill Ratner, more famous for his work on the animated G.I. Joe series as Flint!

As always with the products from Radio Archives they’ve gone and digitally augmented as well as remastered the tapes so as you can hear from their sample above, it’s crystal clear and more importantly preserved for future generations.

The Adventures of Doc Savage can be purchased from the Radio Archives link up top for a mere $24. 98 on CD or $17.98 for the digital download version. Each option also comes with The Sound of Bronze: Making “The Adventures of Doc Savage”, as well as The Adventures of Philip Marlowe: The August Lion, and The New Adventures of Michael Shayne: A Problem in Murder.