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.

Chuck McCann, R.I.P.

One of the reasons we do audio theater is that we love great voices, so it’s always sad when someone like Chuck McCann leaves us as he did last week at the age of 83.

You can read a good piece from AP, an article from the Hollywood Reporter, and the remembrance in the Mirror has some great photos. Writer Mark Evanier has a good story about Chuck McCann’s stories and why he’ll be missed by his friends.

For fans, they may think of how he was the first to be cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, some of his many cartoon voices, or perhaps more recently, his times on the Radio Adventures of Doctor Floyd. Finally, also via a Mark Evanier post:

Things That Go ‘Bump’ in the Podcast

We’re busy in post-production for Rogue Tyger and preparing for a special live performance later this year, but a recent piece we caught on BBC Radio caught our attention.

Jonathan Stroud, an author of appropriately fantastical tales, talks about his family’s tradition of telling ghost stories.

His anecdote of communal storytelling reminded us of one of reasons we have two anthology series in development (Through the Looking Glass and Through a Glass, Darkly). Both aim to have that immediacy you get from storytellers and, in the latter case, give you a good scare from time to time.

We’ll have more details about both series later this Summer.