Hi there TZ radio fans,
Well, this week you'll hear a radio adaptation of the classic story "Once Upon a Time" which was originally seen December 15th, 1961. The TV episode was written by the great Richard Matheson and featured silent film star Buster Keaton as Woodrow Mulligan, a grumpy janitor in 1890, dissatisfied with his time and place. He works for Professor Gilbert, who has just invented a time helmet. Seizing the opportunity, Mulligan uses the helmet to transport himself to the future of 1960, which of course turns out to not be what he was hoping for.
"Once Upon a Time" was one of the Twilight Zone's comedy episodes. The portions of the episode set in the 1890s have no sound and include silent film intertitle cards (except for Rod Serling) with music provided by a saloon piano.
In our radio version of "Once Upon a Time" adapted by Matthew Elliott, the brilliant actor John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings / Raiders of the Lost Ark) stars as Woodrow Mulligan with Mike Starr as Rollo. John completely nails the role of Mulligan and of course Mike Starr hits the ball out of the park as always.
I received the rough mix on this show last week and, other than the acting, I was pretty disappointed with it. I'm a big believer that anything you can do on TV can be done on radio - and in most cases, even better because the theatre of the imagination sets a bigger stage. However, I think comedy (in general) is better represented in a visual medium. For example -- Abbott & Costello, Martin & Lewis, Red Skelton, Milton Berle and many others had more success in visual arenas. "Once Upon a Time" in my humble opinion was only an okay show on TV so there is really only so much you can do with it. And because it's a comedy episode it just doesn't translate as well to radio. After hearing the first draft I made extensive notes for the Cerny team and they went to work on bettering it. Yesterday I received the final mix and although I think it's much better now, it still has some problems. The TV episode and the radio episode have so many scene changes and jump-cuts to different character's points of view, listeners may have a tougher time following the perspective on this one than they would in the video version. All that said, I think it's still a fun radio show and I hope listeners will enjoy it. Every one of these shows is like a newborn baby to me - this baby just isn't as 'cute' as most of my others ; )
The next new TZ story will be broadcast the week of March 22nd and is already produced. It's called "Now You Hear It, Now You Don't" and stars marvelous actress Dee Wallace as Rose Lynbrook, powerful CEO of Lady Lynbrook Cosmetics. Rose is in her mid 50's and is still quite beautiful, though her best years are behind her, she is too vain to wear a hearing aid despite a degenerative hearing loss. After she's almost killed by a bus because she didn't hear it approaching, she reluctantly is fitted for a hearing aid that is a prototype for a new cutting-edge model. Recently remarried to a younger man, Rose begins suspecting he is cheating on her with her young assistant and that the two are plotting to murder her in order to take over the business. These suspicions are fuelled by the conversations she's able to overhear thanks to the powerful hearing aid.
I decided to take a stab at writing a TZ episode and this is my first. The inspiration to write this story came from my 81 year old mom Rose Amari who has had substantial hearing loss over the last few years. She never wanted to wear a hearing aid but I'm happy to say she's just gotten one and it's been a real blessing (hi mom!). I know my writing limitations so I called on Dennis Etchison to take my story and adapted it into a TZ radio script. As always, he didn't disappoint. Dee Wallace is brilliant in her portrayal of Rose Lynbrook. Norm Woodel portrays her younger, power-hungry husband Wayne Benson and Rob Riley is Rose's friend and confidant Dr. Wrightson. Jennifer Joy, who plays "Eve" in my "Word of Promise" audio Bible plays Sally, Rose's assistant and Wayne's mistress. I'm really happy with the final mix and I can't wait for you to hear it. When I think of "The Twilight Zone" this is the kind of story that comes to mind - murder, mystery, intrigue, plot twists and an element of the supernatural. I hope you will enjoy it.
Well, that's all for now, I hope you'll join me next time for MORE NEWS FROM THE ZONE!