Bjorn Munson loves this sound effect. If, for some reason, it wasn’t already fixed in the tapestry of movie geekery, he has stated that he would still find ways to use it in his productions. It’s plaintive yet comical. Even though it wasn’t created for a 50s monster movie, it somehow encompasses every hapless monster victim. You can almost hear them swear to the main characters, “I’ll be fine watching the strange obelisk with this here faulty flashlight that will cut out at the wrong moment. Don’t worry. I’m definitely not about to be stung/eviscerated/devoured by an ancient evil/incomprehensible alien/radioactive monstronsity. Nosiree!”
Give it a listen. You’ve heard it before, but here’s a compilation. The scream is a thing of beauty:
One of the lovely aspects of it being called the “Wilhelm Scream” is the eponymous Private Wilhelm is not the first victim nor in the first movie to use the scream. That honor goes to Distant Drums. However, once you see the clip from the later The Charge at Feather River, Private Wilhelm and his strange prioritization of pipe maintenance is just a wonderful version.
The big news is the full, 39 seconds of the recording session where they did six takes of the scream and you hear some of the direction. Because this is the sort of additional recording you do all the time in sessions (we do it all the time with Jabberwocky Audio Theater), they don’t have solid notes on who was the screamer now immortalized across all sorts of media. The current thought is that it’s character actor and singer Sheb Wooley, which feels appropriate. I mean, someone attacked by the giant Purple People Eater would surely cry out with a Wilhelm Scream while being eaten.
Speaking of Jabberwocky Audio, avid listeners will note that we’ve used the Wilhelm Scream in each of the two seasons of Rogue Tyger. It works great mixed in with the sound design for fight sequences. And yes, it will be featured in season three later this year. Bjorn vows to make sure it makes it into every season… because the spirit of Wilhelm must live on (even as the victims perish).
Team Jabberwocky’s mission is telling cool stories and helping people tell theirs (you probably gleaned that what with Jabberwocky Audio Theater), so we were very excited to hear about this online festival starting tomorrow.
Note that the link we’ve provided should allow you to attend for free. Enjoy and don’t stop being creative.
Now from the article it sounds like the initial push is to create companion podcasts for some of their existing TV and film projects, but Netflix has been creating new shows with reckless abandon for some time, so we’ll certainly be checking out if they venture into the fiction podcast realm.
Our move to make more events virtual these days thanks to the pandemic, making them easier to attend, also means it’s easier to forget to attend them.
So, for that reason, we wanted to make sure you knew about one of the events we almost missed: the Hear Now Festival, an annual celebration of audio fiction put on by folks over at NATF (National Audio Theatre Festivals, Inc.).
As we’ve mentioned many times artistic director Bjorn Munson grew up listening to vintage radio fiction — one of the reasons there is a Jabberwocky Audio Theater. We’re glad events like this exist and hope to attend some individually or as a troupe in the future.
We’re slowly recording our second season of Quorum using COVID precautions, which is stretching out our recording sessions into May, which led producer Bjorn Munson to realize we might need to content with Brood X aka the Seventeen-Year Cicada.
Basically from roughly mid-May and for the following month or so, billions upon billions of these grape leaf-sized bugs will emerge and mate. Perhaps because of this single-minded obsession, they will ignore all ideas of social distancing. Now, they don’t have any stingers and are not poisonous, so despite their red-eyed appearance making them look like extras in an insect-themed eco-disaster movie, they’re harmless. If you have a dog, they’ll likely like the snacking options as you go on your walks.
But it’s the mating calls of billions of cicadas which is why we thought it’d be good for some of you audio producers to prepare. Because there’s sound-proofing and sound-prooding, and for those of you who don’t have a nice hermetically-sealed whisper room, you might want to plan your recordings accordingly!
Old Time Radio aka Vintage Radio is, of course, one of the inspirations for Jabberwocky Audio Theater (along with Mind’s Eye productions and some others). So if you like old time radio, you should definitely check out what we suggested they check out: The Big Broadcast every Sunday from 7-11pm ET on WAMU 88.5 FM (luckily, they keep their shows archived for about four weeks so you can check things out).
And if you want to tell the Times that there’s a bunch of wonderful contemporary audio theater, hey, that’s good too.
Happy New Year! Since we’re somewhat affected by it, we suppose we might want to begin celebrating the fact that New Year’s Day is also Public Domain Day, which in the U.S. means that, as of today, any copyrights from works released or otherwise published in 1925 have expired and said works are now in the public domain.
While we can and will continue to find works from the 19th century and earlier to use (adapting “Prince Prigio” last year was a lot of fun), we have a keen interest in adapting “new” old works. Bear in mind that we generally go for stories that have a certain amount of adventure (“Adventure Awaits!” is our slogan after all) and we lean rather heavily into the speculative fiction realms of science fiction and fantasy.
Since we have an international audience, we should also note that Public Domain in the U.S. is a bit different than worldwide rights, which vary widely. But it’s certainly worth exploring. What books or films do you want to see new adaptations of?
Rogue Tyger and, indeed, some of our other series take their cliffhanger inspiration from a certain series about a time-traveling alien. And how better to judge the hero than by their villains?
Certainly, the Daleks have been oddly satisfying in that regard. Odd, because through much of their history, their arch nemesis wasn’t the aforementioned traveler so much as stairs. But those voices! And let’s face it, that’s what we really care about here with an audio theater troupe.
So here is the current Emperor Dalek of Dalek voices, Nicholas Briggs, to show you how it’s done.