Wednesday, October 31, 2007

November Calendar

Here is the November calendar - no TOTM shows this month (yet), so there's none listed (yet). Feel free to hire us, the contact info is hidden somewhere near the bottom in very tiny print. Whew. Got this one in just under the wire(less)!

This is Burns and Allen. George and Gracie. George Burns. And. Gracie Allen. She actually did run for President (sort of) in 1940, as a member of the "Surprise" party.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Would You Let A 16-Year-Old Fly Your Plane?

Another in our series of Radio Membership Cards - the Jimmie Allen Flying Club card! This popular series ran through the 1930's, and starred 40-year-old John Frank as the 16-year-old pilot, Jimmie Allen. The Hi-Octane Hi-Flying Sponsor was Skelly Oil:

"Mom! Dad! We just passed a Skelly Oil Station! We HAVE to go in so I can get my membership forms to join the Jimmie Allen Flying Club! PLEEEEEASE?!?!? It's free..." (Father sighs), "Yes, Little Willie, I guess we can stop in. Might as well get some ethyl, too, as long as we're there."

And ring up another sale, thanks to the bright idea of marketing your adult product to the children of those same adults. Thank goodness this idea has come and gone, hm? Now I'm off to McDonnal's for a Shrec-themed Happi-meal...might as well get some "food" for myself, while I'm there...I'm loathin' it!TM

Er, print out the card, fill in your name, and put it in your wallet. Show the card at your friendly neighborhood Skelly Oil dealer - it's good for a FREE gallon of gas! (nudge nudge wink wink)

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Shadow's NOSE

Here's an ultra-rare premium - a 1943 GLOW IN THE DARK Shadow pinback. Okay, so it's not really a radio premium (it's a Shadow Comic premium), but when you see the Shadow, you think radio show! I believe this one recently sold for more than $1,000 - so keep an eye on what you're cleaning out of the "junk" drawer, hm?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mastering Dialects

So you want to put on your own audio drama? GOOD FOR YOU! Do it. Maybe you'd like to utilize some dialects in your show, in order to keep your listener's interests piqued, or to help keep the characters separate.

Here's a few pages from the 1943 book "Manual Of Foreign Dialects For Radio, Stage, And Screen" (my copy was evidently owned by Judith Krauss, somehow associated with the Will O Way Playhouse, according to the signature on the flyleaf). Be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the phonetic symbols (click each picture for a larger, easy-to-read version) before attempting to read the Irish dialect passage that I've included here:

WHEW! Did you try it out loud?

This book is a really, really rough read! No easy thing to do, learning dialects from a book - but if you were in radio or theater, having a big list of dialects on your resume meant getting more work. Nothing like doubling or tripling your salary by reading multiple parts in the same show, hm? I wonder what kind of money Paul Frees made when he performed EVERY ROLE in the OTR show "The Player"?!?

Of course, I have to mention to everyone that's interested in producing their own audio drama (or "radio shows", whether they are heard on the radio or not) how important it is to study what went before. There's a reason why the (good) old shows are as good as they are, even after 60 years or so: these writers and actors and sound effects men were all PROFESSIONALS. They made their livings doing this. If they weren't up to snuff, they didn't have a job!

So isn't it your responsibility to research the past? Pick up books and scripts that are related to Old Time Radio, and soak them up. As with any profession, you must first learn the rules before you go out and break them. There are tons of old "how to" books out there about radio writing, production, direction, and sound effects - pick up a few and LEARN HOW IT'S REALLY DONE. Besides, the books, just like the old radio shows, are a window to a different time...certainly not very politically correct, worth a nervous laugh or two (I'll post another book snippet later about why women are just not cut out for careers in radio!).

MAH'r LAY/uhr!

("More later!") 8^)#

Monday, October 1, 2007

Okay, here's a bit of TOTM history for you - an original piece that we did our first year (izzat NINE YEARS AGO?!?). Be forewarned: this is NOT one of the newer, mindblowing pieces that we're working on right now, but a rather flawed amateur production...there's plenty wrong with this one, but there's also plenty that's cool.

"The Seven Dogs Of Death" was written by Shawn Fitzgerald, and features several of the current TOTM members, plus Heidi Feldkirchner and Mark Kettner (full credits at the end of the show...and I still wince because I badly mispronounced Heidi's last name - sorry!). Done in the harder-to-edit analog tape days, this horror tale hasn't been heard (live or recorded or otherwise) for many years.

Give it a listen. Leave a comment. Use it as a way to measure how much we've improved, once you hear the newer stuff.

It was tons of fun to do. Now I'll have to dig up "Dear Old Dad", a horror monologue that we did before this one. That one's so bad it's good. Yeah, man, where'd I put that cassette? What do you mean, "What's a cassette?"?

CLICK HERE to hear it, or right click and "Save Link As" to save it.