Suspense: The Lost Special

Orson Welles

Suspense opens its microphone to a condemned man who has a story to tell of how he pull off a daring crime and he’ll name his employers unless they secure a pardon for him before the broadcast ends.

Original Air Date: September 30, 1943

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EP1976: Dragnet: The Big Crazy

Jack Webb
Friday and Romero are looking for a missing woman whose husband is all but admitting to her murder, but they can find no evidence he did it.

Original Air Date: August 30, 1951

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Audio Drama Review: The Hobbit (NPR)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien was adapted for radio in the 1970s by Mind’s Eye Theater in Virginia. It tells the classic tale of Bilbo Baggins’ journey through Middle Earth to a lost Dwarf Kingdom.

The story is one of the classics of the Fantasy genre and the adaptation deserves credit for its faithfulness to the story. It captures all of the most important and interesting moments of the novel. Ray Reinhhart (who plays Bilbo) does a good job portraying Bilbo’s transformation in the course of the story from respectable Shire Hobbit homeowner to the heroic burglar he becomes in the course of his adventures. While I think the performance is mostly serviceable and enjoyable, I think the production deserves some praise for the way it handled the scene where Bilbo met Golem. This was before the motion pictures so defined the character of Golem and how he talked. I found this audio adaptation to be different, but still genuinely chilling.

Where the story does lose points is with some of the acting. The cast are essentially unknowns and some of the voices don’t quite fit the parts. As was the case on several radio programs in between the Golden Age of Radio and the Twenty-first Century, the sound design was very minimalist. That’s not a huge problem when Bilbo and friends are walking down the road, but when you’re dealing with something like the Battle of the Five Armies, the Sound Producers couldn’t do it Justice, so you’d better have a really good imagination.

Still, the strength of J.R.R. Tolkien’s story and this adaptation’s faithfulness to it make it a worthwhile listen, if not a perfect one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0

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EP1975: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Leumas Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny is called in to find a wealthy middle aged businessman with a young wife who doesn’t care that he’s gone.

Original Air Date: September 13, 1959

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EP1974: Boston Blackie: The Evelyn Jones Murder

Richard Kollmar
Boston Blackie helps a woman deal with a troublesome blackmailer, murder results, but when Blackie brings the police back to the scene of the crime, there’s no sign of the crime.

Original Air Date: August 13, 1945

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