Wednesday, April 1, 2009

“So, bell keeper! Toll the bell so that all may know that we are gathered again in…The Weird Circle…”

You might think the absence of a Premier Collection this month from the First Generation Radio Archives is an elaborate prank designed by the people who are “preserving radio’s past for the future” to make OTR fans look like April Fools. Au contraire! Harlan, Tom and the rest of the hardest-working people in the OTR bidness have just deemed it more important that you take advantage of some sensational finds among their kind-to-your-wallet Radio Legends, beginning with two new sets of broadcasts from the celebrated and syndicated (not to mention accentuated) horror anthology, The Weird Circle.

I briefly described the premise of this program last month:

On the Radio Legends menu, Harlan, Tom and the rest of the FGRA gang are offering up an introductory volume of The Weird Circle, a critically-acclaimed syndicated anthology that dishes up more terrifying tales culled from the works of such authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens…and even Emily and Charlotte Bronte! But what is so particularly interesting about this collection of shows is that because First Generation was able to locate the transcription disc containing the original openings and closings of these shows, you (lucky listener, you) will hear these programs in their original as-broadcast for the first time in decades. With such classic tales as “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Terribly Strange Bed,” “The Horla,” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (along with sixteen other favorites) at your fingertips, you are in for a real aural treat.

And the treats just keep on coming—with Volume 2 and Volume 3 being offered this April for the staggeringly low price of 19.95 each. Volume two contains classic stories like Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” and Ambrose Bierce’s “The Middle Toe of the Right Foot.” Volume three soldiers on with great tales, including Herman Melville’s “The Bell Tower,” Charles Dickens’ “The Queer Client,” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Rapacini’s Daughter” and Algernon Blackwood’s “The Doll.” There are twenty spine-tingling tales in each collection, stories largely calculated to keep you in…wait, that’s another program. But you get the general idea. And if you’re kicking yourself around because you missed out on Volume 1…well, it’s still available at the affordable price of $19.95 as well.

If your taste runs a little more toward mystery or hard-hitting crime drama, FGRA also has a fourth volume of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar available for the same $19.95, a ten-CD set featuring Bob Bailey as “:the man with the action-packed expense account” in ten classic serialized adventures (from the spring and summer of 1956) that are considered by modern OTR fans to be the very best the long-running CBS series had to offer. And remember: with every purchase you make from First Generation this month, you’re entitled to a free bonus of a Shadow or Doc Savage double-novel pulp reprint absolutely gratis.

Hey…even if you’re currently being inundated (as I am) by April showers, I can’t think of a better way to spend a rainy afternoon than to curl up with a good pulp novel—or if you’re trapped at work, slipping on the headphones and listening to a classic half-hour of old time radio drama. The First Generation Radio Archives has something for every OTR fan, and I urge you to do yourself some good and make a purchase today!

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