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Friday, April 15, 2011

AUDIO DRAMA CORNER: THE UNEXPECTED VOLUME 1!

AUDIO DRAMA CORNER: THE UNEXPECTED VOLUME 1!

NOW AVAILABLE FROM RADIO ARCHIVES!

Fifty years from now, should some intrepid archaeologist happen to come across a stack of radio and movie scripts from the postwar years, he or she is bound to end up with an interesting take on our culture. It's likely, in fact, that American society circa 1947 will be interpreted as paranoid, suspicious, and steeped in fear and dread.

It won't be a true assessment, of course, but if you were to see our culture strictly through the eyes of popular entertainment of the time, it would be easy to understand why someone might believe it. Many of the more popular movies were certainly dark - film noir classics that stressed fear and an ever-present undercurrent of dread and uncertainty. Radio, too, gave us its share of paranoia, with the Shadow clouding men's minds and the Whistler "knowing the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak". And if, in that pile of crumbling paper, that archaeologist happens upon scripts for a little-known radio series titled "The Unexpected", his or her impression of a society in psychological crisis would be even more certain.

"The Unexpected" was a quarter-hour radio series produced by Hamilton-Whitney Productions. Like many syndicated shows of the time, the series chose its stars from the rank and file of both radio and motion pictures. Unlike big-time network dramatic shows, of course, Hamilton-Whitney couldn't afford the price tags attached to "A" list celebrities - but this actually proved beneficial, since busy character actors like Barry Sullivan, Jack Holt, and Marsha Hunt were used to playing a multitude of parts with little preparation and performers like Lurene Tuttle, who specialized in radio, could credibly play most any part after one or two read-thrus. The budgets may have been small but, thanks to experienced hands both before and behind the microphone, the results were impressive.

Then as now, every show that wished to be successful had to have some sort of a hook - a gimmick, if you will - that differentiated it from the rest of the pack. In the case of "The Unexpected", the series specialized in tense stories of mystery and suspense, usually centering on the thoughts or actions of a single person. A husband loses patience with his nattering wife and decides to do away with her; an ex-con finds himself blackmailed by a fellow inmate; a self-centered debutante carefully plans her break-up with her fiancé - all were simple but engaging plots for this enterprising series. But the fascinating thing about the shows, the "hook" which was designed to attract and retain the interest of listeners, was the twist ending that came with each program. You'd be listening along to the story and then, just about the time the plot was being resolved, the program's announcer would say "You think the story is over, don't you? But wait! Fate takes a hand. Wait...for the unexpected!" Well, after that, what could a poor listener do but sit thru the commercial that followed to find out the REAL ending to the tale?

For mystery fans, "The Unexpected" is a real discovery - and it's a show that that even the most avid of radio buffs has never even heard of, let alone heard. Radio Archives is excited to bring this series back for the enjoyment of a whole new generation of listeners. Transferred directly from original transcription recordings and fully restored for sparkling audio fidelity, "The Unexpected" is a series we know you'll find as fascinating and entertaining as we do. This 5-CD collection, now available for just $14.95 from RadioArchives.com, offers you the first twenty shows in the series, with such additional guest stars as Tom Neal, Lyle Talbot, Binnie Barnes, and Jackie Cooper.

FOR MORE CLICK HERE

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