Monday, October 12, 2009
PRODUCTION NOTES - HALLOWEEN
In 14 years we have produced about 20 programs that are perfect for the fall season - especially Halloween! Of that 20, some are episodes from a series (most notably Jarrem Lee, Dibble, and Jerry and the Pirates). And every October for the past 5 years we have been very lucky to see radio stations around the country broadcast our award winning production of Washington Irving's THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW - this year being no exception.
Our first "spooky" productions were in 1996 with our "Candlelight Tales" series (well, we only did four shows). The first was about a haunted light house in Boston Harbor (Minot's Light) and the second about the alleged ghost at Fort Warren (The Lady In Black). It's worthy to note that these two productions are the only two still in circulation that were recorded on 4 track tape! We went digital in 1997, and re-recorded all our previous titles - except for these two. It wasn't that they were not worthy, but the sales were not sterling and it would have taken too much time to re-record the extensive music scores they both had. Looking back on it - I wish I had re-made them.
THE STORM BREEDER came next, in 1997. Based on a New England legend, we recorded the show sometime in January or February as I recall. This was one of our first all-digital shows (the first being THE SEVEN POOR TRAVELLERS). With a very odd running time of 40 minutes, it will air for the very first time on our Sirius?XM show this month (cut to 27 minutes, and better this way I might add)
Next came THE DEVIL'S BARGAIN, a tale that is very close to that of "The Devil and Daniel Webster." Not a bad one, but suffers from some hammy acting that in hindsight I should have recognized at the time and re-cast. Still, kids like it and it's a fun show.
This was the end of our CANDLELIGHT TALES series. I lost interest, and I don't enjoy writing ghost stories because I am just not good at it.
Mark (my business partner) and I had always loved Washington Irving's THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, and had talked about doing it as a radio play as far back as our first production, BATTLE ROAD in 1995. Well, the book is not an easy one to adapt as a play (by that I mean, to stick right with the story with as much of the authors actual words, which is what CRT always tries to do). In 2003, I was getting antsy to do it, but the script still worried me.
I decided to take a stab at it to test the waters by working it into a Dibble Show. We were doing a 1 hour special, and I decided to have Dibble and the Gang do SLEEPY HOLLOW. This way, I could test out the script and the "visuals" to see if they would work, and they did! So, in October of 2004 I went to Tarrytown, NY (Sleepy Hollow) and did some research. The names and dates you hear the ghosts droning about in the opening are all actual names from the gravestones in the cemetery.
In Feb. of 2005 we recorded the show (in about 8 sessions), and it was released in October of 2005 with great results, and has remained a popular title ever since.
In 2006 we worked with the great Ray Bradbury on his DANDELION WINE, and when he heard the final result, he asked me if I would be interested in producing his SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES.
He sent me script and one month later, August of 2006, we were before the CRT mics recording his incredible story. We had so many boys audition for the two leads that I asked Ray what would the possibilities be of making a radio play from his book THE HALLOWEEN TREE. He gave me permission, I wrote the script (directly from his book - all the words in our show are Rays - including the lyrics to the songs) - and in December of 2006 we recorded the show.
Our publisher in their infinite wisdom did not release SWTWC until many months after it's completion, in November of 2007. Yes, that is a good time to release a Halloween show - the day after Halloween. Needless to say biz wasn't booming. However, it did well in 2008 and is doing well now for this Halloween as well.
THE HALLOWEEN TREE was released in October of 2008, and I think it's one of our very best. Chris Snyder outdid himself with this one.
In 2007 Gareth Tilley, a writer in England, asked if we would be interested in producing a series he had called JARREM LEE. Set in England, in 1900, it concerns a Sherlock Holmes type character who deals with the paranormal. I wasn't ready to do a series at that time, as family matters were dominating my life, however in 2008 we rolled on the show and have completed 12 episodes. They begin airing Oct. 23, and will be released as downloads once they air.
We did another Dibble episode (Dibbles Halloween, in 2005), and a Halloween episode in our series JERRY AND THE PIRATES (2008). So all in all, I think we covered the holiday! Will we do another? Most likely. Just need a good story and a good script.