Welcome to another installment of Retro Radio Memories! We are doing something a little different this week, instead of the next chapter in the Flash Gordon saga or something similar we are taking a listen to an episode of the Twilight Zone Radio Drama.
The Twilight Radio Drama are new radio dramatizations that are produced by Carl Amari who in 2002 licensed the rights from the Rod Serling Estate as well as CBS Enterprises. Featuring narration by Stacy Keach (Road Games, American History X) as well as a slew of well known actors including Jim Caviezel, Jane Seymour, Ed Begley Jr., Adam West, Blair Underwood, Chris McDonald, Stan Freberg, Adam Baldwin, and Hal Sparks to name just a few, the series features adaptations from the original scripts preserved in the Serling Archives by writer Dennis Etchinson.
The Twilight Zone Radio Drama is hosted on many stations across the States and even in Canada, follow the link provided to find out where you can catch it in your neck of the woods. You can pick up box sets and individual episodes on the official site too.
The shows are also available to purchase on iTunes and I’ve loaded up my iPod with almost the complete collection, I highly recommend you check the shows out for yourself.
Welcome back all of you fear fiends to a new installment of Saturday Frights! Tonight we offer for your enjoyment a duo of Night Gallery Episodes entitled “Make Me Laugh” as well as “Clean Kills and Other Trophies”.
Our first of the two offerings this evening “Make Me Laugh” was written by Rod Serling and directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Godfrey Cambridge delivering a powerful performance as a comedian who has seen his best days pass him by but thanks to a chance meeting with a miracle worker by the name of Chatterje (Jackie Vernon), the comedian might find you should be careful what you wish for. The episode also has appearances by Tom Bosley (Happy Days) and Al Lewis (The Munsters).
The second segment entitled “Cleans Kills and Other Trophies” is also written by Rod Serling and deals with the rigid Colonel Archie Dittman (Raymond Massey), a big game hunter who is disgusted by his sensitive son Archie Dittman Jr (Barry Brown) and his refusal to hunt. The disgust that the Colonel bestows on his Son goes beyond mere insults and browbeating, he has changed his will to stipulate that if Archie Jr. hasn’t killed a beast with a gun within 15 days his multimillion dollar inheritance will be forfeit.
So dim the lights and grab your favorite snacks and join us for Saturday Frights as we pay a visit to the Night Gallery.
As always I wish to thank Sean Hartter for the impressive artwork you see up top. Make sure to visit his site and check out all of the many wonderful works there.
I’ve been doing a bit of cleaning in the old house this week and happened to come across this collection of stories entitled Rod Serling’s Triple W: Witches, Warlocks, and Werewolves. I picked it up the first year I visited the San Diego Comic-Con back in the early 90s but it was released by Bantam Books back in 1963.
The writers for these 12 tales in this particular collection range from Rudyard Kipling to Fritz Leiber with an introduction by Serling himself of course. The tales offered up for your perusal are:
1) The Amulet By Gordon R. Dickson
2) The Story of Sidi Nonman By Anonymous
3) The Final Ingredient By Jack Sharkey
4) Blind Alley By Malcolm Jameson
5) Young Goodman Brown By Nathanial Hawthorne
6) The Chestnut Beads By Jane Roberts
7) Hatchery of Dreams By Fritz Leiber
8) The Mark of the Beast By Rudyard Kipling
9) And Not Quite Human By Joe. L. Hensley
10) Wolves Don’t Cry By Bruce Elliot
11) The Black Retriever By Charles G. Finney
12 Witch Trials and the Law By Charles Mackay
Probably my favorite of the book is the tale, Wolves Don’t Cry. It’s an interesting take on the Werewolf mythos and a love story to boot. If you happen to see this collection at your local used book store I would highly recommend that you pick it up and give it a read, especially if you are a fan of Rod Serling…and who isn’t?
After too long of a wait in my humble opinion, Universal Studios is releasing the third and final season of Night Gallery to DVD on April 10th!
In the third season of this classic television series, the hour long running time had been cut to 30 minutes by the heads of NBC. The 3 disc set will include 19 episodes starring the likes of Vincent Price, Patricia Sterling, Bill Bixby, James Farentino, John Astin, Joanna Pettet, Mickey Rooney, Raymond Massey, Sandra Dee, Dane Clark, Christopher Connelly, Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, Roger Davis, Michael Lerner, and Leonard Nimoy to point out just a few.
I’ve not been able to find any information concerning the special features but if it’s anything like the second volume of the Night Gallery DVD, I hope there will be further commentary by the authors of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An after-hours tour, Jim Benson and Scott Skelton.
With an episode that concerns a suicide attempt of it’s main character, you could understandably be confused when I say it is not only one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes but one of the best “Christmas Themed” TV episodes.
The Changing of the Guard is a moving episode focusing on one Professor Ellis Fowler (Played expertly by Donald Pleasence!), a man who is forced into retirement by the headmasters of the school he teaches at on Christmas Eve. Brought low by the news of his dismissal he returns to his home and after looking through his many yearbooks, recalling the students he taught from years past he comes to the conclusion that his teaching have been for naught. In a fit of despair her intends to take his own life on the school grounds.
Let us not forget though…this is the Twilight Zone.
Just a bit of trivia about this episode:
1) The “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity,” quote that Pleasence mentions in the episode is credited to Horace Mann, the first President of Antioch College, which happened to be Rod Serling’s Alma Mater.
2) In fact, after completing the script for this very episode, Serling took a teaching position at Antioch College.
A huge thank you to Nally Bud over on YouTube for uploading this episode!