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Posts Tagged ‘1981’

Nightfall #33: “Angel’s Kiss”

John EvansThis week we present the last episode of the series to be written by John Graham (with assistance from George R.Robertson) and boy is it a doozy!

John Evans (Earth: Final Conflict, Warehouse 13) plays Chuck, a homophobic, womanizing salesman who works the disco scene to find his conquests. He's the stereotypical love-'em-and-leave-'em type, never wanting to settle for the same thing twice…until he meets Delores ( in an unnerving performance by Elva Mai Hoover). Then he gets a taste of his own medicine—in more ways than one.

Bill Howell once described his production style as "rock 'n roll" radio drama and "Angel's Kiss" may just be the epitome of that description, as much of the soundtrack is pure disco. There's also quite a bit of violence, including a suicide, three murders and a police shooting. In this story, the Devil—and the sound effects team—are very busy.

This is yet another episode with a veritable who's-who cast of NIGHTFALL regulars, including cameos from Mary Pirie, Colin Fox, Sandy Webster, Gerard Parkes and others.

Oh, and the little break in the 4th Wall by Delores at the end of the play is a priceless touch.

NOTE: The voice of the male form of the Devil is not credited, but my ear tells me it is probably John Stocker, with a little post-processing.


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Angel's Kiss

Air Date: 3/20/81
Writer(s): John Graham & George R. Robertson
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Eva Mai Hoover, John Evans, John Stocker, Gordon Thomson, Neil Dainard, Mary Pirie, Sandy Webster, Gerard Parkes, Budd Knapp, Ken James, Richard Donat
Commercial Synopsis: The downtown disco and singles bar scene provides an ideal locale for the Devil to bargain for souls.


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #32: “The Room”

DHPA cassette sleeveThis week's episode may have the most extensive lineage of any in the series. It was adapted by NIGHTFALL actor Graham Haley from an episode of the South African radio series Beyond Midnight, which was originally written by Michael McCabe, which was, in turn, based loosely on the 1894 H.G. Wells short story, The Red Room. Phew.

Graham Haley's two adaptations of Michael McCabe's work (the other being episode #35: "Mkara") are something of a mystery. I have found very little background on them and I have yet to make contact with Mr. Haley. He's something of a TV personality these days—known for his Haley's Hints household tips series on PBS and related books and DVDs—which makes him harder to track down. I've found contradicting evidence as to where he lives these days, but it's either somewhere in California or in Toronto. I do know he's from South Africa, which makes his interest in Beyond Midnight understandable. I will keep plugging away at trying to find him.

In the story, a widow (Moya Fenwick) offers a substantial sum of money to anyone willing to spend the night in the Yellow Room—the room where her husband (Chris Wiggins) died without receiving absolution years before. Several men have made the attempt, but none succeeded. They either went mad…or died of fright. Despite this, skeptical young Ronald Todd (Haley) is determined to try.

NOTES:

  • It's interesting to note that in Henry Ramer's intro to the episode, he refers to it as being an adaptation of "a Michael McCabe short story". It makes me wonder if it was just simpler to say that or if it was for legal reasons? I suppose it's possible McCabe did originally write it as a short story, but the dialog is nearly identical to the Beyond Midnight episode.
  • This is one of three episodes where Henry Ramer actually appears in the episode itself, in this instance as narrator.
  • The cast list reads like a NIGHTFALL who's who. Everyone involved has appeared in the series before.

Beyond Midnight is a series well worth tracking down. Only about half of the 1968-1970 series can be found on-line as recordings, but they are comparable to NIGHTFALL in style and quality. If you're interested in hearing the original Beyond Midnight episode, "The Yellow Room", you need look no further than here:

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The Room

Air Date: 3/6/1981
Writer(s): Graham Haley (adapted from the Beyond Midnight episode "The Yellow Room" by Michael McCabe, and inspired by the H.G. Wells short story The Red Room)
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Graham Haley, Moya Fenwick, Colin Fox, Chris Wiggins, John Stocker, Henry Ramer (Narrating as Luther Kranst)
Commercial Synopsis: Since Amanda Watts' husband Alfred died in the Chanceford mansion without the last rites twenty-two years ago, seven men have stayed in the Yellow Room alone overnight. All went mad – or died. Nevertheless, for an offer of 1000 English pounds, down-on-his-luck Ronald Todd is willing to give it a try.


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #31: “Wildcats”

Wildcats: Durkin-Hayes Paperback Audio CassetteAaaaaaaand we're back!

This week we present the only script penned for Nightfall by popular Canadian radio personality, the late Otto Lowy.

For 22 years, up until his death in 2002, Lowy hosted The Transcontinental, CBC Radio's "musical train ride through Europe". During that time he also wrote and acted in several radio and television programs (including acting in two NIGHTFALL episodes, in addition to writing this one).

In this episode, a man traveling by train (series regular Neil Dainard) disembarks at the wrong station and ends up having to spend the night at the old Blue Trout Inn, a run-down hotel from the days when the area was a major tourist attraction. The Inn is run by two elderly sisters (Jane Mallet and series regular Ruth Springford) who live in fear of the local wildcats. Having lived alone at the Inn alone for years, the two women realize they have a chance for company and plot to keep the man there by administering morphine and claiming he is ill. They also take advantage of the man's state to ask him detailed personal questions. Unfortunately for them, the man's truthful confessions inspire the women to make their own…

This is one of the more unusual plays in the NIGHTFALL series and it merits more than one listen to really get the full effect of the story. A lot of key story points can be lost if you're not paying attention. I have tried for years to find the original short story this is based on, but I have so far drawn a blank. Perhaps a lead might be found if Otto Lowy's files have been archived somewhere.


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Wildcats

Air Date: 2/27/81
Writer(s): Otto Lowy (based on the German short story by Christian Noak)
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Jane Mallet, Ruth Springford, Neil Dainard, Sandy Webster
Commercial Synopsis: When Julian's express train drops him off at a remote outpost by mistake, with no local service back to his own village until the next morning, his main problem is finding accommodations for the night. He is offered shelter at the Blue Trout Inn, a decrepit hotel run by two sisters with a penchant for administering morphine, and fighting – like wildcats.


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #30: “Dark Side of the Mind”

Wayne RobsonThis week we bring you another – and probably the best – script from "the late-night pen" of Canadian radio personality Max Ferguson ("Where Do We Go From Here?").

"Dark Side of the Mind" is considered one of the best of NIGHTFALL's psychological chillers, and boy does it deliver! The modus operandi of the story's antagonist is both shocking and highly memorable.

Amidst a series of child murders terrorizing the city, dentist Jeff Robbins (played by the late Wayne Robson [photo left]) and his wife, Myrna (Patricia Collins), having only recently returned from living abroad for several years, encounter an old college friend, Carl, and invite him over for a visit. However, Jeff is called away to his office to treat an emergency case, and it is while he is out that hears some startling news about what Carl was up to while they were out of the country.

Also appearing in the play are Peter Dvorsky as Carl and Denise Fergusson as Kitty Anderson.

The play is a first-time NIGHTFALL production for former series story editor John Douglas (you'll be hearing a lot more about him later).

NOTE: Wayne Robson was well-known for his role as ex-convict Mike Hamar in The Red Green Show.


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Dark Side of the Mind

Air Date: 1/23/81
Writer(s): Max Ferguson
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: John Douglas
Featuring: Wayne Robson, Patricia Collins, Denise Fergusson, Peter Dvorsky, Anne Butler, Mia Anderson, Larry Reynolds, Alan Rosenthal
Commercial Synopsis: An innocent couple live out of the country for a few years – so they don't know what their old friends have been up to, like serial killing and escaping from a prison for the criminally insane. Having Carl over for dinner was a bad idea.


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #29: “They Bite”

David CalderisiThe fifth and final NIGHTFALL script by the late Len Peterson, this week's entry is an adaptation of the 1943 Anthony Boucher short story, "They Bite".

Peterson's ability to adapt a story has always impressed me. There's creating a true-to-the-original script like "The Stone Ship", or taking a story with little or no detail, such as "The Tell-tale Heart", and weaving times and settings and characters into it until it feels like it came from Poe's own hand. And then there's "They Bite", where Peterson made a number of changes to the details of the story and even to some of the motivations of the characters, yet the essential framework and key aspects are mostly still intact.

The story — moved to the current day — revolves around the character of Hugh Blair (played by Robert Haley), a former Vietnam war hero with an interest in paleontology who went a little nuts and had to be sent home to recover. The story is narrated in places by Blair's Army Air Corp tail-gunner, Corey, from Vietnam (excellently portrayed by NIGHTFALL veteran John Stocker), who invites Blair to visit him in "nowhere Nevada" to see the unusual collections of fossil remains out in the desert. What he finds, though, are more than just the remains of some stegosaur. He also finds his former Army commander, Colonel Morgan (David Calderisi, photo left). The man who drove Blair until he cracked.

Blair also finds something else. Something that lives and feeds in the desert, but is only ever seen out of the corner of the eye. Something that shouldn't be alive today, but is.

Also appearing in this episode are Ken James as Set 'em Up Sid and Mavor Moore as Old Jake. (Moore will play an even more important role in NIGHTFALL history as the writer of "The Book of Hell", one of the most popular episodes of the show, which is coming up in a couple of months!)

NOTE: This recording came from the episode's first run on NPR Playhouse in February of 1981.


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They Bite

Air Date: 1/16/81
Writer(s): Len Peterson (adapted from the short story by Anthony Boucher)
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: John Stocker, Robert Haley, David Calderisi, Ken James, Mavor Moore
Commercial Synopsis: "Something moved, something little and thin and brown as the earth. Too large for a rabbit, much too small for a man." Paleontologist and Vietnam veteran Hugh Blair is pitted against predatory desert shadows.


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

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