RIP, Russi Taylor

We were sad to read that Russi Taylor, veteran voice actor, has died at the age of 75. Taylor may be best remember by many of us as the voice of Minnie Mouse. In fact, she was married to the voice of Mickey Mouse for some time until he sadly passed in 2009. By all accounts, Taylor was great to work with. Writer and all-around pop culture historian Mark Evanier has a nice remembrance as well.

Of course, like just about all voice actors, Taylor was more than just the voice of Minnie as this great compilation shows:

Happy Independence Day!

Yes, we know we have many listeners in the Commonwealth countries, so this is likely just another Thursday for you. However, we are “theater” not “theatre” after all… and in any case, just check out the recording studio in the video below. Ah, we’ll have to tackle a musical one of these days…

More War of the Worlds Headed Our Way

We were already excited to see the TV version of War of the Worlds due sometime this year, but we’ve since learned David Tennant aka The Doctor aka Scrooge McDuck will be reading an audio version of War of the Worlds as well. We’re looking forward to both! (And we bet some of you are too).

Of course, if you want a version of War of the Worlds closer to our time and our neck of the woods (the Washington, DC area), you can check out the version we did last year.

Corporate Interest in Podcasting

Over at Vulture, Boris Kachka details some of the latest moves by bigger and bigger business entities to monetize podcasting.

Here at our humble JAT headquarters in Deepest Springfield, we keep on watching these sorts of reports the same way YouTubers and others might look at news of changes to the streaming and on-demand video space.

One thing that’s frustrating is that the default definition of “podcast” seems to be mainly non-fiction shows. Don’t get us wrong, we love and listen to many a non-fiction podcast. But as all this money is entering the podcast realm, we can’t help but hope some of that can include full-cast audio stories… and we’d be more hopeful if fiction podcasts were mentioned with more frequency.

We’re still working on getting support through our Patreon campaign, but we absolutely won’t say no to additional revenue sources or, say, someone other than the BBC doing regular audio drama…

Just putting that out there.

The Sound of French Horns… and the Smell of Gunsmoke!

The Library of Congress is an amazing institution and works hard to preserve just about everything, but even they need to prioritize.

To that end, they have registries of films and other media that they take extra care to preserve. Every year, about 25 works are added to these registries due to their cultural significance.

This year, the National Recording Registry added 25 songs and assorted audio works. Their selection is always eclectic, but two items caught our eye in their recent announcement.

One was a hard-hitting episode from the first year of Gunsmoke called “The Cabin.” Written by John Meston, it involves Marshall Dillon taking refuge in the titular cabin during a blizzard, only to encounter two very bad men. We won’t go into any more detail than that for people who haven’t heard it, but rest assured, this was a great example of how Gunsmoke wasn’t going to be about a fanciful, happy-go-lucky West.

The second selection that caught our eye was the whole album Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America Volume One: The Early Years. If you’ve never heard it, you are in for a treat. As Mark Evanier says, “…it’s either the best history lesson disguised as a comedy album or the best comedy album disguised as a history lesson.”

People Seem to like this Audio Theater stuff

As we mentioned last week, the 2018 season of Jabberwocky Audio Theater will debut on WERA-LP Radio Arlington on Sunday, June 10th at 4pm ET.

We’re excited to originate on broadcast radio, but of course when we started JAT (before the time distortion), we were thinking of doing distribution solely as a podcast… so it’s nice to see that people like this radio drama stuff, even if they’re thinking of a lot of examples of the non-fiction variety.

For When 10,000 Sound Effects Just Aren’t Enough…

You can always use more sound effects and the Beeb has long been an excellent source of all sorts of delightful sounds. Our artistic director fondly remembers listening through a multi-LP set of sound effects whilst doing the sound design for a stage production many moons ago. Apparently, he was unsuccessful at slipping in a “drilling into skull” sound effect for a production of “Grease,” but Auntie Beeb had the sound ready for him just in case.

Just this week, the BBC has announced they are opening up 16,000 sound effects up for use… for free! Granted it needs to be for “personal, educational, or research purposes,” (check out the license) but for those of you who can claim that, we would be remiss if we didn’t share the good news.