Tuesday, October 26, 2010

LIVE Radio Drama this Friday in Seattle: DRACULA!

Come on down to Town Hall Seattle this Friday, October 29 at 8pm for a live performance and broadcast of the Mercury Theater version of Dracula!

This was the program that kicked off the Mercury series in July 1938, a few months before the infamous Mercury production of War of the Worlds. This Drac is pretty scary, but is appropriate for a family audience.

Tickets for this first-ever Halloween-inspired production by Seattle Radio Theatre are available here, or stay home and listen to AM 1090 KPTK. Those who do show up in person will get to take part in pre-show festivities and sample white powdered-sugar doughnuts and other season-appropriate snacks.

Featured in the cast are Pat Cashman as Orson Welles as Dracula (follow that?), plus Steve Wilson, Tracey Conway, John Maynard, Jim Dever, Lee Callahan and Chris Topping. Live music is by Rob Jones, with live sound effects by Curtis Takahashi (using equipment provided courtesy of the Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound).

Advance warning: this year's Christmastime Seattle Radio Theatre production will take place on Friday, December 10, also at Town Hall Seattle.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Art of Radio: 1930s BBC Year Books

I recently came upon a collection of annual books published by the BBC beginning in 1928. Known (varyingly) as "year books," "hand books" or "annuals," they were issued every year from the late 1920s to the early 1950s, and then for another 20 years or so from the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s.

The books contain a wealth of (okay, probably biased!) information about BBC programming, engineering and management as well as some terrific historical context. The earliest editions also feature some terrific period advertising for radios and non-broadcasting related products and organizations.

While the written material is a great resource for anyone interested in BBC history, the artwork featured on the covers (of the dustjacket, or "dustwrapper" as they say in the UK) in the first two decades is absolutely unbelievable.

Please enjoy this sampling of covers from the early 1930s. I'll plan on posting some additional covers from the WWII years later.