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Posts Tagged ‘actors’

Nightfall #3: “Welcome to Homerville”

Neil DainardArguably the best episode of the entire series, "Welcome to Homerville" was nominated for a 1980 ACTRA Award for best writing. On more than one occasion during my research, I ran into someone who remembered hearing this episode when it originally aired, or during one its runs on NPR Playhouse, and being scared to death by it. The secret is: don't listen to it while driving at night!

"Welcome to Homerville" was the first episode of the series to be recorded (in the studio March 20th & 21st, 1980) and was probably used as a demo for Susan Rubes and the other higher-ups at CBC Radio, though I don't know this for certain.

For the cast, producer Bill Howell turned to some of the actors he worked with frequently, including Neil Dainard (photo left), Elva Mai Hoover and John Stocker, all of whom appeared in Howell's highly-successful sci-fi series, Johnny Chase: Secret Agent of Space, among his other projects. (There's another show that the world is sadly missing out on while the recordings languish in the CBC Archive).

The thing that first set me on edge when I first heard this episode was the flute. Just before the voice's first appearance on the radio, there comes a low flute motif. It's job is to telegraph to the listener that something ominous is about to happen, and oh yeah, it does that very well. But even then, you're just not expecting what comes next. As someone who is not fond of driving at night as it is, this episode just amplified my fear ten times. I'm serious when I say don't listen to it while driving at night. Especially on a lonely stretch of road or highway!

("Welcome to Homerville" was the inspiration for my radio drama troupe's (The Post-Meridian Radio Players) 2010 Halloween play "The Sirens of War", in which the crew of a barge transporting Naval munitions along the Missouri River during WWII is haunted by a voice on their radio.).


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Welcome to Homerville

Air Date: 7/18/1980
Writer(s): Don Dickinson & Allan Guttman
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Neil Dainard, James D. (Jimmy) Morris, John Stocker, Frank Perry, Robert Christie, Corinne Langston, Marian Waldman, Elva Mai Hoover, Ron Hartman, Arch McDonnell, Budd Knapp, Gordon Thomson, Lynne Deragon
Commercial Synopsis: A trucker, traveling a lonely highway, hears a mysterious female on his radio who says she is waiting for him in Homerville. Unnerved, he tells his CB buddies who warn him not to go there because danger lies ahead. But the seductive voice keeps luring him on.  (NPR)


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

Nightfall #1: “Love and the Lonely One”

31 years ago tonight, CBC Radio aired the first episode of NIGHTFALL. In celebration of that event, we offer you that first program. Enjoy…the Edge!


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Love and the Lonely One
Elva Mai Hoover

Air Date: 7/4/1980
Writer(s): John Graham
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Elva Mai Hoover (photo right), Jay Bowen, John Stocker, Mignon Elkins, Graham Haley
Commercial Synopsis: As a lark, a pair of medical students steal the corpse of an old lady from an anatomy lab, but they soon discover that the joke's on them. (NPR)


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

In Memoriam: Henry Ramer

Henry Ramer

When I began to explore the world of Canadian radio drama back in 2002, the very first voice I heard was that of "the mysterious Luther Kranst", the Host for the first two seasons of CBC Radio's infamous Nightfall horror series. It wasn't until I began collecting data on the series that I learned his real name was Henry Ramer.

I found out from from Elva Mai Hoover, one of the regular actors from the show, that Mr. Ramer died back in August. He was in his 80s.

Henry Ramer was one of the people associated with the show that I never had a chance to talk with, but wish I had. From what I've read of him, his voice was known to everyone in Canada, even if his name wasn't. He narrated commercials and documentaries, voiced cartoon characters, and performed on the radio. He was also a stage, screen and TV actor, receiving an ACTRA nomination for his role in 1974's iconic film, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. He acted alongside stars like Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor, Christopher Plummer and Carol Burnett, and was known widely as "The Voice of Canada".

Here are links to a couple of brief news articles about his passing:

The world of radio drama is a little quieter now.

Thank you, Henry, for giving me a chill.

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