February 8, 2011

Surviving SNOWMAGEDDON: Adventures of Doc Savage

(Quick note - this is post # 1501, for those keeping count)

Something I'm not proud of admitting...once, long ago, I downloaded MP3s of this audio via a now-defunct Doc Savage site. I enjoyed it - after all, I am a closet pulp fan (and don't worry - just wait until tomorrow's blog entry for another pulp-flavored jolt), and thought it was enjoyable despite a rather murky sounding drama.

Thankfully, Radio Archives has released an eight disc set of the Doc Savage radio drama, originally presented on NPR in the mid-1980s. Thankfully, with a much better sounding remastered version, this thirteen-chapter show (dramatizing two Doc novels, Fear Cay and The Thousand-Headed Man, is brisk, enjoyable, and quite frankly, one of the best releases of 2010.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about this is that it really evokes the 1930s in tone, dialogue, and even style (much of the dialogue has an exposition-style tone, e.g., "Let me throw these anesthetic globes at them, Doc!"). For those who are weened and familiar with other audio dramas (say, Big Finish), this might come across as rather quaint and old fashioned. However, there's something about the energy throughout the drama that gives it a certain lift, and that makes it very age-appropriate entertainment.

(Given that Doc Savage pretty much defines "pop culture touchstone", this might be a great way to introduce the younger set to a character who has influenced much of what we consider to be our heritage. You may be tempted to download this via bitTorrent - don't. Trust me, this is well worth purchasing, and the sound quality is quite extraordinary. You would swear it was recorded yesterday...and you even get, as part of the package, a documentary called The Sound of Bronze and two other old-time radio shows in a bonus disc. It's a really nicely presented product that really deserves to sit on the shelf of any serious pulp and pop culture fan)

The only weak link that I see in this are some of the vocal talent....more specifically, Daniel Chodos as Doc. His voice sounds a little too high to connote the Man of Bronze's power....but that's a personal opinion, not a fact. In short, the rest of the cast pulls it off, especially the actors playing Monk and Renny. (And quite frankly, having a clean, clear copy makes Ham sound much more human than on my previous dubiously-downloaded files).

During these long winter months, why not give yourself the gift of wild, pulp-filled adventure? I've always been a Doc Savage fan, but now...this audio has me seriously wanting to reread the pulps.

Buy it. Now.

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