Mythology, Mind’s Eye, and JAT

We’re deep into pre-production for our 2020 season starting in May. We’ll be starting with more entries in our anthology series Through the Looking Glass.

Like a lot of kids, my brothers and I were into mythology. And we didn’t just stop with the standard Greek, Egyptian, Norse myths a lot of people are exposed to either. Thanks to our parents –and a fortuitous global mythology series being published at the time– we learned about folklore from all different parts of the globe.

There’s another shelf with a lot more fairy tale books. And I group Yeats with mythology for reasons.

For those of you who support us on Patreon, check out this post and learn more about some of the mythology and folklore that influences the series, a little more about The Mind’s Eye radio company, and weigh in on what stories you’d like to hear both this year and in future years! Thanks for your support.

Bjorn Munson
Artistic Director
Jabberwocky Audio Theater

31 Replies to “Mythology, Mind’s Eye, and JAT”

  1. Hello,
    I would like to know if this is the same Mind’s Eye/Jabberwocky company that produced The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit un 1979/1980. I am a fan of those old productions and I would love to get more information about them as there is really nothing available on the web. Any help you can give would be most appreciated.

    1. Thanks so much for writing. In the Patreon post, I go more into The Mind’s Eye. I grew up with those productions as well. In fact, my siblings and I collected many Mind’s Eye productions on the preferred format of cassettes back in the 80s. Many of them are listed on their Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mind%27s_Eye_(radio_company)

      While Mind’s Eye productions as much as vintage radio shows are part of the inspiration behind Jabberwocky Audio Theater, we are not a corporate continuation of them. The best we can do is credit their creative spirit and hope we can share some small part of that same spirit.

      Alas, I don’t know who owns the rights to many of their productions, though at least some of the productions are distributed by Highbridge Audio, including the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings productions we both remember: https://highbridgeaudio.com/lotrhobbitset.html

      Regards,
      Bjorn Munson

      1. Thank you for your reply! I listened to those old Hobbit cassettes as a kid and as an adult I have purchased them on CD and a few versions of lord of the rings as well. I have been seeking further information for about five years as theres next to nothing available online. I did contact James Arrington (Frodo) on Facebook. It turned out to be a dead-end as he was unable or unwilling to tell me anything about the production.

        In the meantime I decided to listen to some of your productions. Rogue Tiger is great! It’s definitely in the spirit of the old audiobooks. I really admire what you have done here. In my own spare time I have written a full length science fiction book and partially converted it into an audiobook in this format. I would be happy to support this company. I would also like to talk to you more about this stuff some time as I find it really fascinating.
        Thanks,
        Dan Rasmussen

        1. Thanks for the kind words about Rogue Tyger! And congrats on finishing the science fiction book! I will actually contact you offline about some additional information, but for anyone looking to up their writing game, there’s an online writing conference being done by some indie authors this weekend, April 18-19, 2020: https://www.russellnohelty.com/onlinewritersconference/ , and there’s a Facebook group “Authors and Creators Making Money Selling Books” and that helps each other out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/743617402482919/
          ~Bjorn Munson

  2. Thank you! In the last few days I listened to all of Rogue Tyger, all of Quorum, War of the Worlds, and I’m working my way through every podcast you’ve ever released. This stuff is gold! I really admire what you are doing and I want to contribute if you find that I am up to the task. I have already chipped in on patreon and I’m probably going to increase that payment. This stuff gives me so much energy for creating cool stuff. I have produced some sketches in this format on my own just for the fun of it. I would be happy to send those to you and see what you think. I don’t expect anything in return beyond an outlet for my creativity IF it fits in with your plans.

    I have been inspired to start a project I have been meaning to do for a few years. I want to go through the Mind’s Eye recording of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and accurately credit every minor voice. I have a very keen ear for variations in voice and at this point I’m probably a leading expert on those productions simply because so few people seem to even care about them. I’ve also been repairing the Wikipedia pages for the Mind’s Eye productions. I’ve got a number of leads on reaching out to actors who were a part of the production and seeing if I can learn anything about it for posterity.

    I’d like to talk to you and get your feedback on some of this stuff. Just tell me how you want to contact me. I can message on patreon if that works.
    Thanks for your time,
    Dan Rasmussen

    1. Oh wow! Just updating Wikipedia so that Mind’s Eye gets the attention it deserves would be great, but to get all the voices credited is going to make someone’s day.

      And speaking of making someone’s day, thank you so much for the kind words about our productions. I’ll definitely share them with the rest of the cast and crew. And thank you even more for supporting us on Patreon. It means a tremendous lot.

      I’ll contact you via email regarding the scripts and such. We’re still figuring out how expanding the company and the stories can and should work, but we’ll help you as best as we’re able.

  3. I would give an awful lot to find a digital library of these productions from The Mind’s Eye! I grew up with dozens of them and have been painstakingly going about trying to repair and transfer the audiocassettes to digital media. My tapes were listened to until they stopped working, but I still have them and have been slowly succeeding at getting the squeaks fixed. The worst ones I have had to break the original cases open and transfer the media to new cases. Still needing further treatments to remove squeaks, but I am getting there. I would not lose these for anything. Sharing them with my kids as I get them done and cleaned up with Audition software. I wish the voices were credited on all the tapes as they are on the Dickens radio dramas. I recognize some from other forms, such as the actress that plays Josephine on Little Women was also the voice of the Lively Little Rabbit on my old golden book records!

    1. I think a lot of us would love to have digital versions, perhaps re-mastered!

      It sounds like one of the things we should work on doing is trying to update the list of actors and credits for the productions. What would be the best place for that? Wikipedia? Is there an audio production wiki? I feel we should know this, but I don’t recall anything outside of vintage broadcast radio sites. ~ Bjorn Munson

    2. Kelly,
      I’m just another person trying to find copies of the Minds Eye programs. I have many cassettes but do not have Treasure Island and Robin Hood and Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Do you happen to know where I can get those??
      Thanks,
      Eric

      1. As far as we can tell, both “Treasure Island” and “Robin Hood” are no longer “in print,” so cassette versions would need to be digitized.

      2. I have Treasure Island and have been trying to restore the audio. It was just about my favorite and I can recite it along with the actors, but the last 10 minutes of side 3, and side 4 is giving me trouble. I had set them aside for a while but I can try to run another treatment and see if I can get it through without squeaking!

        1. Kelly, that would be awesome if you can get those last ten minutes to work. I connected with a guy in Illinois about 6 years ago and he had the full Treasure Island and I had it, but somehow it is gone from my itunes. I’m going to try to find it on an old computer as now I only have the first cassette in there.

          1. I have several of these cassettes transferred to mp3 that i bought several years back, would anyone be interested in trading? I tried contacting Soundelux/Highbridge, they only sell a CD version of the Hobbit these days. Reach out to me at mindseye (at) fastmail (d0t) net if you’re interested. (I set up this email special)

  4. I would love digital versions as well. I grew up on the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by them.

    As for crediting the actors, I started a project to credit all the voices in The Hobbit/LOTR but it stalled out. I would be happy to get it going again if somebody wanted the full list. As I said above, I can hear very slight variations in voice and I can tell which actor plays which goblin without a second listen (just for example.)

    It’s nice to see another fan of the original Mind’s Eye! I would recommend listening to Jabberwocky’s stuff, especially Rogue Tyger. I got hooked pretty quickly, they are a lot like the original Mind’s Eye.

  5. Wikipedia would be the most likely and widely accessed option. I can tell which voices are repeated, and they often play multiple characters throughout the recordings. I know Dr. Livesey’s voice played one or two of the pirates. Pretty sure Ben Gunn’s voice played Pip’s benefactor in Great Expectations. I have heard Squire Trelawny’s voice a few times. Beth in Little Women was also Sacagawea… Many others are recognizable if I listen through. But Treasure Island had no credits for the actors. Jim Hawkins and Pip are the same voice. Only my Dicken’s set has voice actors listed and only for main characters. I tried Googling some of them and couldn’t find much, if anything. Bernard Mayes, yes, Billie Harris, nada.

  6. There are fan mail sites that have some info. John Vickery for example who played Legolas is on there but I never got around to sending him mail. I found James Arrington on Facebook (Frodo) and had a brief conversation with him but he didn’t seem too interested.

    I did a lot of work on their Wikipedia a few months back based on information that was in my head but I had no way to source it. There really is almost nothing available on google at all and most of it is only acquired through deep digging.

  7. For those of you who’ve posted about it already… and the other Internet denizens who seem to steadily finding their way here, especially those of you who have some offline knowledge to share, we’re looking into establishing a Mind’s Eye wiki as soon as this Fall so information about all these wonderful productions –productions that inspired and inspire our work here– can finally be online. Stay tuned!

  8. I also have a ton of the cassettes from Mind’s Eye Jabberwocky Theater. I have been looking for digitized files for years. I did digitize all of my own cassettes that would play. Unfortunately, The Odyssey, Through the Looking Glass, and others, squeak too much. Highbridge definitely has the masters and rights to The Hobbit and LOTR, but I have emailed them a couple of times over the past few years to inquire about the other masters and have never received a reply. I thought at one point about contacting a librarian at Berkeley to see if they could contribute any advice, since Mayes, Bliss, and the rest recorded all of the productions there in San Francisco for NPR through Berkeley.
    As a collector of full cast audio drama, it’s a sad state of affairs how much has been lost over the years. I also collect Newbery Award Records, Caedmon Records, and when I can find it: Miller-Brody Productions. So much of this material from the late 70’s and early 80’s was only printed on cassettes, which don’t age well. The vinyls are much more preferable, but the masters of all of this stuff has to be Somewhere.

    1. Hi Amanda, I’m jealous of your digitized files! Highbridge audio did answer my email but I was asking for more information about the Minds Eye theater troupe and they basically told me that they bought the recordings recently and have no information about their production. I didn’t know that Mind’s Eye operated out of San Francisco. The only information I saw was a sketchy website review claiming that they recorded in Virginia with local actors.

      Jabberwocky Audio Theater is looking into creating a database of some sort to house information about the original Mind’s Eye group.

  9. Hi all! I too grew up on these cassettes—more of the fairy tales though. I have ALMOST all of the ones I loved as a kid transferred to digital files but am still searching for “The Happy Prince.” If anyone finds a copy of that lovely Oscar Wilde tale, I would deeply appreciate a copy. I would be happy to share any of my digital files with anyone who wants—as far as I know there is nobody who owns a copyright anymore.

      1. I have a ton of the Mind’s Eye productions, but the cassettes are worn out. I managed to transfer a few to CD, but to share, I’ll need to figure out how to get the CD to .mp3, or maybe just re-digitize the tapes that work to jump drive. I’d be down to swap files. Rachel, do you have the Mind’s Eye Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass? My tape is stretched and it was always one of my favorites. Also, the 4-tape set of The Odyssey. I have it but it won’t play anymore.

        1. I have the Odyssey somewhere but haven’t checked in years to see if it plays. I do have a fix for that, so if I can get a good copy, I will clean up the audio and check back in!

        2. Hi Amanda –
          I’m wondering if you have the cassettes of Treasure Island or Robin Hood or Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I’m looking for those everywhere. I have the Odyssey and the whole greek classics set which includes 4 other tales, and also have the Alice stories and others. I’m working to digitize them currently.

  10. I would be surprised to find that no one holds the copyright, but certainly the only Mind’s Eye productions still available via commercial distribution seem to be “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.”

    ~Bjorn

    1. Highbridge Audio holds the masters and copyright to The Hobbit and LOTR. I have tried to direct message them through email a couple of times over the years to find out if they have the masters and copyright for the rest of the Mind’s Eye catalogue, but never heard anything back. Maybe in 2021 I’ll make a project out of contacting the Berkeley library system and see if they know anything. Reason being, the productions were recorded out of Berkeley, where Bernard Mayes (Gandalf) helped set up San Francisco NPR and KQED-FM.

      1. That sounds like the kind of research that the right reference librarian would enjoy tracking down. Keep us posted! ~Bjorn

      2. Hi Amanda,
        Another minds eye fan here. I’m happy to help with research on this if I can. I’m really wanting to track down moser cassettes if possible. Especially Treasure Island and Robin Hood

  11. I’ll post the reply I got when I contacted Highbridge audio:

    Hello Dan,

    Unfortunately I have no information on The Mind’s Eye radio theater company aside from what exists online.
    The titles produced by HighBridge were acquired many years ago and we don’t have access to any of the older materials that may have been around when originally from them, especially since ownership of HighBridge has changed over the years.

    Thank you for reaching out and I hope you are doing well during these times,

    1. Sounds like the research in Berekely or via the Library of Congress Copyright office may get better answers. Somewhere, there’s better info on the chain of title for all the productions.

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