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Posts Tagged ‘budd knapp’

Nightfall #38: “All-Nighter”

Don FrancksWe close the first season with another of the creepiest episodes of the series: Graham Pomeroy's "All-Nighter".

When it comes to serial-killers, NIGHTFALL's have some of the weirdest MOs. In "Dark Side of the Mind", it was Carl recording responses from his victims before killing them, then playing back the appropriate responses when needed to assuage worried friends and relatives. In this one, a cleanliness-obsessed murderer is compelled to wash and dry his victims in the large-capacity machines at all-night laundromats.

Elva Mai Hoover plays Cheryl, a worker at one of these laundromats who first encounters evidence of the murders, and Le Femme Nikita's Don Francks (photo left) plays Officer Charlie Burns, the local beat patrolman who takes on the investigation.

This episode is also a classic example of producer Bill Howell's fascination with using synth-rock production music in his soundtracks. It's one of the things that establishes NIGHTFALL's unique style.


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All-Nighter

Air Date: 6/5/1981
Writer(s): Graham Pomeroy
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Elva Mai Hoover, Don Francks, Linda Sorenson, Ruth Springford, Budd Knapp
Commercial Synopsis: A 24-hour laundromat is the scene of a series of psychotic murders.


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

Nightfall #34: “The Book of Hell”

Lynne DeragonWell, here it is. Another episode that I know many of you have been waiting for me to post on: Mavor Moore's "The Book of Hell".

On fans' lists of favorite episodes, this one often vies for the top spot with "Welcome to Homerville" and "The Repossession", and for good reason: it's Creep Factor builds pretty much from the beginning.

Two editors (Nonnie Griffin, Patrick Young) and the president (Budd Knapp) of a failing publishing house find themselves in over their heads when they receive a bizarre manuscript from a reclusive author…who's been dead for two years. The book appears to be a first-person account of a soul's experiences in Hell: an account which could make millions and revive the company. But there's only one problem: the book can't be printed. It can't be photocopied. It can't even be recorded.

As the widow of the now-deceased author A. J. Yanovsky, actress Lynne Deragon [photo left] (Falling Skies, Queer As Folk) manages to fully establish the mood for the rest of the episode. Her character calmly makes startling revelations in a soft, gentle voice with a Spanish accent: an effect which makes the listener all the more uneasy, especially with this particular little gem: "That book will never be published…because it is probably true."

In one scene, passages from the book are read aloud. Now I'm sure most people will have a certain expectation of what a first-person description of hell might be like, but mine certainly didn't come anywhere close to the one Moore lays out in this script. It is just chilling. And Bill Howell's choice in background music (some of which was used to the same effect in "The Willoughby Obsession") only adds to the feeling of despair.

An interesting note about this episode: Mavor Moore was not at all happy with the final production. Between an e-mail exchange we had in 2004 and my subsequent research trip to Toronto, it seems the entire script was rewritten. But it wasn't that anything was changed in terms of story. The changes were all cosmetic. The dialog seemed to have been revised to make it more "accessible" to the average listener. In Mavor Moore's archives at York University, there are copies of both the production script and his original (the production script has a snarky little caveat on the front cover: something to the effect of "Rewritten (poorly) by the hand of another." The original script might be described as more "high-brow", but I felt it was just was effective as the one that was produced.

 


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The Book of Hell

Air Date: 3/27/81
Writer(s): Mavor Moore
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Budd Knapp, Nonnie Griffin, Patrick Young, Lynne Deragon, Hugh Webster, Allen Doremus
Commercial Synopsis: A mysterious manuscript purporting to be a first-person account of what it's like in Hell has the editors of a publishing house in an uproar.


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

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 #28: “A Short Wave Goodbye”

Maxine MillerThis week we feature the second episode penned by George R. Robertson (the first being “The Willoughby Obsession”). It is also the second episode where an electronic device receives signals from the future, much to someone’s lament – though, in this case, it’s hard to tell who laments it most.

After a fight with his long-suffering wife, Harriet, in which his prized short-wave radio set is damaged, suburban accountant Harvey John Beasley discovers that he can now pick up transmissions from the near future. After placing a few successful bets with his friend Philip’s bookmaker (though the term “friend” may be subjective, considering what Harriet and Phillip are doing together in their spare time), Harvey goes one further and tries to warn a local mob boss that’s he’s about to be the victim of a hit. Unfortunately, the mobster is gunned down anyway, proving to Harvey that the future cannot be changed – at least, not in the broad scheme of things. Things take an interesting turn when Harriet and Phillip learn of Harvey’s sudden wealth and, aiming to have it for themselves, seek out ways to do Harvey in. Once Harvey figures out their plan, however, things escalate into a covert war of assassination: of his wife and her lover’s traps versus Harvey’s knowledge of future disasters. The result, as it often is, is that someone wins the battle, but someone else loses the war. Which is which and who is who, though, might be a toss-up.

NIGHTFALL regular Arch McDonnell stars as Harvey, Maxine Miller (photo left) as Harriet, and Budd Knapp as is Harvey’s friend, Phillip. John Stocker appears as the Newscaster and Elva Mai Hoover plays the receptionist.


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A Short Wave Goodbye

Air Date: 1/9/81
Writer(s): George R. Robertson
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Arch McDonnell, Maxine Miller, Budd Knapp, John Stocker, Elva Mai Hoover
Commercial Synopsis: A ham radio enthusiast accidentally discovers how to pick up transmissions from the future, and notices that they are becoming increasingly closer to the present.


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

Nightfall #22: “Deadly Developments”

Gordon ThomsonAh, another one of my favorite episodes! It joins the ranks of several other episodes about "cursed objects" and was the first to be written by a woman.

John Stocker and Gordon Thomson (photo left) – starring together on NIGHTFALL for the first time since "How Did You Get My Name?" (#8) – respectively play professional photographer André Phillipe and his assistant, Steve Balfourt, who are preparing a photo shoot for the cover of an upcoming horror novel. During the session, André decides to try out his newly-acquired Von Hensdorf, an extremely rare camera made in pre-war Germany, known for the stark quality of its photos. Very quickly, the shoot turns into a terrifying experience for the three women sent by the modeling agency, who are overwhelmed by the sense of a malevolent presence in the studio. The next day, two police officers arrive at the studio and begin asking questions about three separate incidents that occurred the afternoon before. At roughly the same time, André realizes, that the Von Hensdorf photos were being developed…

The playwright on this episode is something of a mystery. Arlene Ezrin is one of the few writers I haven't been able to track down or to account for as deceased. The only Arlene Ezrin I can find any reference to on-line is the wife of Canadian music producer Bob Ezrin (known for his work with such talents as Alice Cooper, Kiss and Pink Floyd), but so little is to be found about her as to be non-existent. They did, however, live in Toronto, so it's quite possible this is the same person.

Historical Note: The original CBC Radio broadcast of this episode (as well as the version you are listening to here) has an opening scene in Paul Gemmel's pawn shop, in which André purchases the Von Hensdorf camera. However, the oft-circulated copy of this episode is from its run on NPR Playhouse  in 1981, which did not include the scene. Correspondence between the producer of NPR Playhouse and Bill Howell indicates that, due to time constraints, episodes had to be limited to 29 minutes or less in length, so it is likely that Bill Howell excised the scene from the version he sent to NPR to keep it under time. This is only a theory, though, and has not been confirmed.


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Deadly Developments

Air Date: 11/28/8
Writer(s): Arlene Ezrin
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: John Stocker, Gordon Thomson, Budd Knapp, Sandy Webster, Linda Sorenson, Elva Mai Hoover, Nicky Guadagni, Colin Fox, Arch McDonnell
Commercial Synopsis: The discovery of a mysterious old German camera starts a bizarre series of events in this contemporary story focusing on the world of fashion photography.


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

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