Sunday, February 27, 2011
Radio Of Bronze - Fear Cay!
Yesterday I had to do a bit of driving across the state. Fortunately a day earlier, my Radio Archives collection of The Adventures of Doc Savage had arrived at my door. This eight-disk collection features two Doc Savage stories adapted for serial radio performance in the 1980's. The two stories adapted were The Thousand-Headed Man and Fear Cay. Yesterday the seven episode saga of Fear Cay proved ideal listening as I hurtled down the highways.
Fear Cay was featured in the eleventh issue of the original Doc Savage run and offers up a cracking tale featuring Doc and all his five aides along with Pat Savage his cousin. These six find themselves confronting a gang of vicious thugs who are trying to get hold of a mysterious prize on a lost island in the Caribbean. There is also a strange old geezer who claims to be 131 years old, and who gets around quite quickly for someone of such age. There's plenty for all the aides to do with Monk, Ham, Renny, Johnny, and Long Tom all getting some decent exposure. The action is spread around well, despite the pacing being rather relentless.
The producers of this program drew pacing inspiration from the classic Republic serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel and it really works. There are some great fights and some ferocious gun play. The characterizations are crisp and I had very little difficulty telling the players apart, despite there being a large cast of folks to keep track. The plot is classic Doc, with a the battle raging in the streets of NYC before shifting to an exotic locale. There is weird mystery and plenty of raw pulp beats to suit any Doc fan.
I frankly didn't expect these to be as good as they are. Many of these later radio shows can be a bit bloodless, clear copies of an art form that once thrived but now is all but gone. This seems to be more than a mere copy, but a true revival done by real pros who are adept at the business of crafting radio drama.
I haven't listened to the second adventure yet, but I yearn to do so, and will surely offer a report here when I do.
This collection is highly recommended. Not only did I receive the Doc Savage material but Radio Archives sent some other vintage radio shows to flesh out the package. There was even a bonus disk on top of that, so it's a really fair bargain for the money. For more details see this link.