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Posts Tagged ‘michael mccabe’

Nightfall #35: “Mkara”

Michael McCabeThis week we present the second of two adaptations by Graham Haley of a story by South African actor/playwright Michael McCabe (photo left).

It is 1943 and Dr. Ray Park has come to eastern Africa at the behest of his friend Sylvia to help her husband, famous hunter and naturalist Charles Woodley (Chris Wiggins), who fervently believes he is dying as the result of a curse. The curse was put on him in Tanganyika five years earlier by Mkara, the brother of a local witch doctor, after Woodley shot and killed the Great Bull of El Haza, an elephant worshiped by the regions tribes as the God of all Elephants. Woodley is convinced he is going to die and nothing will make him think otherwise, until Ray offers to take the curse upon himself.

The introductions of Luther Kranst throughout the first two seasons of NIGHTFALL range from dark and tongue-in-cheek to pithy and profound. The one for this episode is pretty typical of the rest of them, but it tends to stick with me for some reason: "Tonight's story takes us to the interior of Ethiopia, where nowadays they have bounties on virtually all wildlife…except for the human soul." Ah, Luther, I miss you.


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Mkara

Air Date: 4/3/81
Writer(s): Graham Haley (adapted from a production by Michael McCabe)
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Mkara
Featuring: Chris Wiggins, Maya Anderson, Eric House, David Hendlin, Graham Haley, Henry Ramer (Narrating as Luther Kranst)
Commercial Synopsis: Mkara, an Ethiopian native, hunts down two British ivory hunters warning them of dire consequences should they harm the God of All Elephants, the Great Bull of El Haza.


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:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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!

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