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Theater of the Imagination
The History and Techniques of Audio Drama
Edward Bowen
From Wikipedia -
Radio drama (or audio drama, audio
play, radio play, radio theater, audio
narrative or audio theater) is a dramatized,
purely acoustic performance, broadcast
on radio. With no visual component,
radio drama depends on dialogue, music and
sound effects to help the listener imagine the
characters and story:
"It is auditory in the physical dimension but
equally powerful as a visual force in the
psychological dimension.”
Tim Crook: Radio drama. Theory and practice. London; New
York: Routledge, 1999, p. 8.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_drama
THE GOLDEN
AGE OF
RADIO
(1934 – 1950)
THE GOLDEN
AGE OF
PODCASTING
(2005 - ?)
So, to compensate for the absence of
visuals, an audio drama needs:
• Narrated exposition
• Exposition in dialogue
• Excessive description
• Sound effects
• Music for mood and transitions
“The Amazing Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon”
Episode One “On the Planet Mongo” – April 22, 1935
The Amazing Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon
http://flashgordon.wikia.com/wiki/The_Amazing_Interplanetary_Adventures_of_Fla
sh_Gordon
Episode One “On the Planet Mongo”
http://www.dumb.com/oldtimeradio/listen/14133/Drama/Flash_Gordon/350427_On_
The_Planet_Mongo.html
3:16
https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/flash-godron
As well as previous podcasts.
“The Thrilling Adventure Hour”
Episode One – January 10, 2011
The Thrilling Adventure Radio Hour
http://thrillingadventurehour.com/
Episode One Beyond Belief “Hell Is The Loneliest Number”
http://tinyurl.com/huofhom (Listen to first 2 minutes)
1:50
https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/tah-1-beyond-
belief-hell-is-the-loneliest-number
Attributes of Successful Audio Drama
• Imagination
• Intimacy
* First Person Narration
* Directly Addressing the Individual Listener
• Verisimilitude and Familiarity Through Imitation
Imagination
Radio: The Theater of the Imagination
I like radio
more than
television.
The
pictures are
better.
Letter from America by Alistair Cooke History of conventions - 17 July 1992 http://tinyurl.com/h5zg2ah
Imagination
Imagination
Stan Freberg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Freberg
In 1966, comedian, radio pioneer and advertising executive
Stan Freberg, working for the Radio Advertising Bureau,
aptly illustrated the power of radio to generate imagery in
the imagination of the listener and thereby directly involve
the listener a a co-creator.
“Stretching the Imagination”
Stan Freberg and Sarah Vaughn, 1966
Radio Advertising Bureau
2:00
Imagination
Listen https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/stretching-the-imagination
Lights Out
Lights Out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lights_Out_(radio_show)
Arch Oboler https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arch_Oboler
The radio series “Lights Out” was an anthology horror
program that made extensive use of description and
suggestion to eerie effect. It was created by Wyllis Cooper
and later written and run by playwright Arch Oboler.
Oboler’s “The Chicken Heart” is one of the series’ most
famous episodes, largely due to a comedy routine about the
broadcast recorded by Bill Cosby in 1966. “The Dark” is
another episode remembered for its horrific “imagery.” Both
episodes have been lost, but Oboler recreated them for a
recording in 1962 titled “Drop Dead.”
Lights Out “The Dark”
December 29, 1937 (Recreated in 1962)
Lights Out - "The Dark" - Scary Story 4
https://youtu.be/HC2mNJcYtvw
8:10
Lights Out “The Chicken Heart”
March 10, 1937 (Recreated in 1962)
Listen to https://youtu.be/G_OD_jUnYNM
7:38
Lights Out “The Chicken Heart”
March 10, 1937 (Recreated in 1999)
Or listen to https://youtu.be/bwgmmMYshJQ
7:21
Wonderfulness “Chicken Heart”
Bill Cosby, 1966
6:23
Listen to https://youtu.be/3vPimtcK3-A
Intimacy
Radio was intimate.
It was a member of
your family.
It sat in your living
room,
brought the world
into your home,
and it told you
stories.
Podcasting is
intimate.
It is a predominantly
solitary experience.
It goes with you
wherever you go,
yet still only talks to
you.
and it tells you
stories.
President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt
understood this
intimacy, and used
radio to talk directly,
simply and quietly
to each individual
American.
Intimacy
His “Fireside Chats” helped calm a nation through both the
Great Depression and World War II.
12/29/1940
Remember this voice
FDR - Fireside Chat - National Security 12-29-1940
https://youtu.be/EaQH2LsghZk (Listen to the first 2 minutes and 30 seconds)
2:30
Intimacy
October 30, 1938
“The War of the Worlds
At 8:26 pm, during Orson Welles’ notorious broadcast, a
familiar voice is heard. And it is not the Secretary of the
Interior.
1:25
Listen to https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/war-of-the-worlds-008
“Dracula”
The Mercury Theatre on the Air, July 30, 1938
For his adaptation of Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel, Welles
was able to tell the story from several first person perspectives,
just as Stoker had. From the CBS studio in New York, he
staged in sound a great chase through the wilderness of
Transylvania.
2:28
Listen to https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/dracula-mercury-theater-clip-1
Dracula – Mercury Theatre https://youtu.be/SK4frrg7SyU
“Dracula”
The Mercury Theatre on the Air, July 30, 1938
For his adaptation of Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel, Welles
was able to tell the story from several first person perspectives,
just as Stoker had. From the CBS studio in New York, he
staged in sound a great chase through the wilderness of
Transylvania.
2:08
Listen to https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/dracula-mercury-theater-clip-2
Dracula – Mercury Theatre https://youtu.be/SK4frrg7SyU
“Dracula”
The Mercury Theatre on the Air, July 30, 1938
For his adaptation of Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel, Welles
was able to tell the story from several first person perspectives,
just as Stoker had. From the CBS studio in New York, he
staged in sound a great chase through the wilderness of
Transylvania.
6:50
Listen to http://tinyurl.com/gm5wn4f
Dracula – Mercury Theatre https://youtu.be/SK4frrg7SyU
Quiet Please
Quiet Please https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiet,_Please
Wyllis Cooper https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyllis_Cooper
Quiet Please http://www.quietplease.org/
“Quiet Please,” also created by Wyllis Cooper, was another
fantasy / horror anthology program. The show’s announcer
was Ernest Chappell.
Wyllis Cooper Ernest Chappell
Quiet Please
In “The Thing on the Fourble Board,” sound and description
create an almost unimaginable horror.
Notice that you, the listener, are a character in the story. You
are a visitor to the narrator’s home.
“The Thing on the Fourble Board”
Quiet Please, August 9, 1948
2:57
Listen to http://tinyurl.com/jj2zea3
The Thing on the Fourble Board https://youtu.be/qEiHNihRMRI
“The Thing on the Fourble Board”
Quiet Please, August 9, 1948
The narrator tells you that the “fourble board” is a small platform that
runs around the outside of an oil derrick about half way up.
One night geologist Billy Grunewald thinks he hears someone on the
fourble board. He and the narrator investigate and find a gold ring in
a core sample from a mile underground that’s over a million years
old, and a mud-covered finger made of rock that’s invisible when the
mud is removed.
Later that night Grunewald is killed, his neck broken, the ring stolen.
It is just the first unexplained death.
The derrick is closed.
“The Thing on the Fourble Board”
Quiet Please, August 9, 1948
5:28
Listen to http://tinyurl.com/zdezgpd
The Thing on the Fourble Board https://youtu.be/ilRbcBhD9_0
Quiet Please
The Creepiest Radio Show Ever? http://tinyurl.com/jh6x2zn
Not only are you, the listener, a character in the story. You die
at the end.

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Radio drama 2017 s pod part 1 96 ppl

  • 1. Theater of the Imagination The History and Techniques of Audio Drama Edward Bowen
  • 2. From Wikipedia - Radio drama (or audio drama, audio play, radio play, radio theater, audio narrative or audio theater) is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance, broadcast on radio. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story: "It is auditory in the physical dimension but equally powerful as a visual force in the psychological dimension.” Tim Crook: Radio drama. Theory and practice. London; New York: Routledge, 1999, p. 8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_drama
  • 3. THE GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO (1934 – 1950) THE GOLDEN AGE OF PODCASTING (2005 - ?)
  • 4. So, to compensate for the absence of visuals, an audio drama needs: • Narrated exposition • Exposition in dialogue • Excessive description • Sound effects • Music for mood and transitions
  • 5. “The Amazing Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon” Episode One “On the Planet Mongo” – April 22, 1935 The Amazing Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon http://flashgordon.wikia.com/wiki/The_Amazing_Interplanetary_Adventures_of_Fla sh_Gordon Episode One “On the Planet Mongo” http://www.dumb.com/oldtimeradio/listen/14133/Drama/Flash_Gordon/350427_On_ The_Planet_Mongo.html 3:16 https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/flash-godron
  • 6. As well as previous podcasts. “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” Episode One – January 10, 2011 The Thrilling Adventure Radio Hour http://thrillingadventurehour.com/ Episode One Beyond Belief “Hell Is The Loneliest Number” http://tinyurl.com/huofhom (Listen to first 2 minutes) 1:50 https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/tah-1-beyond- belief-hell-is-the-loneliest-number
  • 7. Attributes of Successful Audio Drama • Imagination • Intimacy * First Person Narration * Directly Addressing the Individual Listener • Verisimilitude and Familiarity Through Imitation
  • 9. Radio: The Theater of the Imagination
  • 10. I like radio more than television. The pictures are better. Letter from America by Alistair Cooke History of conventions - 17 July 1992 http://tinyurl.com/h5zg2ah Imagination
  • 11. Imagination Stan Freberg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Freberg In 1966, comedian, radio pioneer and advertising executive Stan Freberg, working for the Radio Advertising Bureau, aptly illustrated the power of radio to generate imagery in the imagination of the listener and thereby directly involve the listener a a co-creator.
  • 12. “Stretching the Imagination” Stan Freberg and Sarah Vaughn, 1966 Radio Advertising Bureau 2:00 Imagination Listen https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/stretching-the-imagination
  • 13. Lights Out Lights Out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lights_Out_(radio_show) Arch Oboler https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arch_Oboler The radio series “Lights Out” was an anthology horror program that made extensive use of description and suggestion to eerie effect. It was created by Wyllis Cooper and later written and run by playwright Arch Oboler. Oboler’s “The Chicken Heart” is one of the series’ most famous episodes, largely due to a comedy routine about the broadcast recorded by Bill Cosby in 1966. “The Dark” is another episode remembered for its horrific “imagery.” Both episodes have been lost, but Oboler recreated them for a recording in 1962 titled “Drop Dead.”
  • 14. Lights Out “The Dark” December 29, 1937 (Recreated in 1962) Lights Out - "The Dark" - Scary Story 4 https://youtu.be/HC2mNJcYtvw 8:10
  • 15. Lights Out “The Chicken Heart” March 10, 1937 (Recreated in 1962) Listen to https://youtu.be/G_OD_jUnYNM 7:38
  • 16. Lights Out “The Chicken Heart” March 10, 1937 (Recreated in 1999) Or listen to https://youtu.be/bwgmmMYshJQ 7:21
  • 17. Wonderfulness “Chicken Heart” Bill Cosby, 1966 6:23 Listen to https://youtu.be/3vPimtcK3-A
  • 19. Radio was intimate. It was a member of your family. It sat in your living room, brought the world into your home, and it told you stories.
  • 20. Podcasting is intimate. It is a predominantly solitary experience. It goes with you wherever you go, yet still only talks to you. and it tells you stories.
  • 21. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood this intimacy, and used radio to talk directly, simply and quietly to each individual American. Intimacy
  • 22. His “Fireside Chats” helped calm a nation through both the Great Depression and World War II. 12/29/1940 Remember this voice FDR - Fireside Chat - National Security 12-29-1940 https://youtu.be/EaQH2LsghZk (Listen to the first 2 minutes and 30 seconds) 2:30 Intimacy
  • 23. October 30, 1938 “The War of the Worlds At 8:26 pm, during Orson Welles’ notorious broadcast, a familiar voice is heard. And it is not the Secretary of the Interior. 1:25 Listen to https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/war-of-the-worlds-008
  • 24. “Dracula” The Mercury Theatre on the Air, July 30, 1938 For his adaptation of Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel, Welles was able to tell the story from several first person perspectives, just as Stoker had. From the CBS studio in New York, he staged in sound a great chase through the wilderness of Transylvania. 2:28 Listen to https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/dracula-mercury-theater-clip-1 Dracula – Mercury Theatre https://youtu.be/SK4frrg7SyU
  • 25. “Dracula” The Mercury Theatre on the Air, July 30, 1938 For his adaptation of Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel, Welles was able to tell the story from several first person perspectives, just as Stoker had. From the CBS studio in New York, he staged in sound a great chase through the wilderness of Transylvania. 2:08 Listen to https://soundcloud.com/enbowen/dracula-mercury-theater-clip-2 Dracula – Mercury Theatre https://youtu.be/SK4frrg7SyU
  • 26. “Dracula” The Mercury Theatre on the Air, July 30, 1938 For his adaptation of Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel, Welles was able to tell the story from several first person perspectives, just as Stoker had. From the CBS studio in New York, he staged in sound a great chase through the wilderness of Transylvania. 6:50 Listen to http://tinyurl.com/gm5wn4f Dracula – Mercury Theatre https://youtu.be/SK4frrg7SyU
  • 27. Quiet Please Quiet Please https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiet,_Please Wyllis Cooper https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyllis_Cooper Quiet Please http://www.quietplease.org/ “Quiet Please,” also created by Wyllis Cooper, was another fantasy / horror anthology program. The show’s announcer was Ernest Chappell. Wyllis Cooper Ernest Chappell
  • 28. Quiet Please In “The Thing on the Fourble Board,” sound and description create an almost unimaginable horror. Notice that you, the listener, are a character in the story. You are a visitor to the narrator’s home.
  • 29. “The Thing on the Fourble Board” Quiet Please, August 9, 1948 2:57 Listen to http://tinyurl.com/jj2zea3 The Thing on the Fourble Board https://youtu.be/qEiHNihRMRI
  • 30. “The Thing on the Fourble Board” Quiet Please, August 9, 1948 The narrator tells you that the “fourble board” is a small platform that runs around the outside of an oil derrick about half way up. One night geologist Billy Grunewald thinks he hears someone on the fourble board. He and the narrator investigate and find a gold ring in a core sample from a mile underground that’s over a million years old, and a mud-covered finger made of rock that’s invisible when the mud is removed. Later that night Grunewald is killed, his neck broken, the ring stolen. It is just the first unexplained death. The derrick is closed.
  • 31. “The Thing on the Fourble Board” Quiet Please, August 9, 1948 5:28 Listen to http://tinyurl.com/zdezgpd The Thing on the Fourble Board https://youtu.be/ilRbcBhD9_0
  • 32. Quiet Please The Creepiest Radio Show Ever? http://tinyurl.com/jh6x2zn Not only are you, the listener, a character in the story. You die at the end.