Well, this week we're airing "There Goes the Neighborhood" with my pal Tim Kazurinsky as star. It's a brand new story written especially for The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas by terrific writer Barry Richert. Tim plays a timid scientist who builds a device that transports a grotesque beast from another dimension. The scientist quickly learns though that the unsightly visitor has a kind, gentle nature and he must thwart his greedy wife’s efforts to exploit the creature. One of my favorite "Zoners" Meg Thalken plays Tim's nasty wife - you just love to hate her in this!
The next "new" TZ show that we've produced is one you'll be hearing the week of December 14th. It's one of the most intriguing short-stories in all of literature, "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce. It's the story of a Confederate spy who is inexplicably spared death when the rope meant to hang him miraculously breaks. In 1962, the story was produced as a French short-film by Marcel Ichal and Paul de Robaix called "Incident at Owl Creek" and it won first prize for short subjects at the Cannes Film Festival that year. In 1963 it won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. That same year Rod Serling attended a private screening of the French film and he liked it so much he agreed to have it shown on his Twilight Zone TV series, with the French dialog dubbed in English so that American audiences could experience it. The February 28, 1964 telecast offered this introduction by Serling: "Tonight on the Twilight Zone, a special event. A program made outside of the United States that seems to us to be so different, so effective, and so meaningful that we offer it to you now. A haunting study of the incredible from the past master of the incredible - Ambrose Bierce. What you will now see is the French production of ... "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge."
Because the short film had very little dialog, it posed a great challenge in being adapted for our radio series. Fortunately for us, British writer M.J. Elliott was up for the challenge. M.J. is a brilliant writer, who specializes in radio drama style writing. He has written a few "new" TZ stories that you will be hearing next year and recently adapted Richard Matheson's TZ story "Once Upon a Time." The televised version of that story starred silent film icon Buster Keaton. Our radio version stars the amazing John Rhys-Davies and you'll hear it the broadcast week of February 22nd, 2010.
With a brilliant radio adaptation of the Bierce classic by M.J. Elliott, I decided to leave the directing chores up to JoBe Cerny. JoBe directed my Word of Promise audio Bible - see www.wordofpromisebible.com - In the lead role of "Peyton Farquhar" I chose actor Christian Stolte, who can currently be seen co-starring with Gerard Butler and Jamie Fox in "Law Abiding Citizen." In that film Christian plays "Clarence Darby" a crazed killer that murders Butler's character's wife and young daughter. Don't worry, Butler makes him pay mightily for the crimes. Christian can also be seen as "Charles Makley" one of John Dillinger's gang in the Johnny Depp film "Public Enemies" and as "Jesse's father" in the soon-to-be-released "A Nightmare on Elm Street." In the supporting cast of "Owl Creek Bridge" we have: William Dick, Danny Goldring, Rob Riley, Gonzo Schexnayder, Susan Hart and John Hooganakker.
The incredible mix to this hallucinatory story fell to the amazing sound designer Craig Lee at Cerny American Creative. Craig never ceases to amaze me with his vivid design style (he headed up the sound design for Word of Promise) and it's evident in this story - so kudos Craig!
With all this build up you probably wouldn't be surprised if I say that this radio version of "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" is one of my favorite Twilight Zone Radio Dramas to date - and you wouldn't be wrong. I think it ranks right up there along with "Five Characters In Search of an Exit," "Long Distance Call," "Four O'clock," "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank" and "Long Live Walter Jameson" which are my faves.
I hope after you listen to this episode you'll blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and comments. Well, that's all for now, I hope you'll join me next time for MORE NEWS FROM THE ZONE!