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Posts Tagged ‘robert haley’

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!

Nightfall #25: “On Christmas Day in the Morning”

Sandy WebsterThe 1980 Holiday season brought us not one, but two Christmas episodes!

This week's is a fun little story that, at first, seems pretty unlikely as a NIGHTFALL episode. It's one everyone can listen to: no severed limbs, no creepy ghosts, no self-destructive split personalities, and no historical vampire royalty. Just a good ol' mystery. Oddly enough, though, it was penned by the same duo that brought you episode #3, "Welcome to Homerville". Hard to imagine this story coming from Don Dickinson and Allan Guttman!

It is an adaptation of one of British author Margery Allingham's popular Campion mysteries, originally written in 1952. For the purposes of making it a one-off story, the writers replaced Arthur Campion with a retired provincial judge and set it in rural Ontario during the Second World War.

The story deals with the death of the local mail carrier, who seems to have been the victim of a hit and run, on Christmas morning. Things look bad for the mayor's son and his girlfriend, except in order to pin the crime on them, they would have to explain how the carrier managed to deliver mail to a reclusive old woman after he was dead.

The episode features the wonderful voice of Sandy Webster (photo left) as the judge, as well as series regulars Colin Fox, Arch McDonnell and Robert Haley. Michael Wincott and Elva Mai Hoover play the teenage suspects.

(NOTE: There's a slight dropout in the recording at 28:00, but it's only momentary. Nothing significant to the story is lost.)


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On Christmas Day in the Morning

Air Date: 12/19/80
Writer(s): Don Dickinson & Allan Guttman  (based on the short story by Margery Allingham)
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Sandy Webster, Colin Fox, Arch McDonnell, Sandra Scott, Robert Haley, Elva Mai Hoover, Michael Wincott, John Stocker
Commercial Synopsis: The sudden death of the local mail carrier on Christmas morning presents a newly-retired judge with a bizarre mystery: how could the carrier have delivered mail to an elderly woman after he was dead?


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

Nightfall #12: “Wind Chill”

Elva Mai Hoover

While "Wind Chill" this is not the first episode to feature actress Elva Mai Hoover (photo left), it is certainly one of the best she appeared in. Here she portrays a young woman lost in the snow, who's befriended by a mysterious young man that invites her to wait out the night at his parents' cabin not far away.

The characters Hoover plays in her 16 NIGHTFALL appearances range from the innocent young woman ("Wind Chill", "The Undertaker") to the devious witch ("The Blood Countess") and she does them all well. I've not heard a whole lot of her work outside of NIGHTFALL (a few episodes of Johnny Chase, Vanishing Point and one of Midnight Cab), but if you want to hear a real tour de force, check out her performance in the CBC Playhouse production of "The Sisters" by Silver Donald Cameron, with music by Stan Rogers. You can find it on the CD Poetic Justice, which it shares with the NIGHTFALL episode "Harris and the Mare", in which she also appeared. The CD is no longer in print, but it's very easy to find on eBay and, IIRC, on iTunes as well.

As to the title, there is some question as to whether it's "Windchill" or "Wind Chill", as both have been used at various times. If I remember correctly from my conversation with writer David McCaughna, he believed his original title had been "Wind Chill Factor", which was apparently changed before the episode was broadcast. I settled on "Wind Chill" as that is the title listed in the CBC Radio Broadcast Log for NIGHTFALL.

This is one of 30 or so episodes that made their way into the Durkin-Hayes Paperback Audio cassette series back in the 90s.


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Wind Chill

Air Date: 9/19/1980
Writer(s): David McCaughna
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Elva Mai Hoover, Robert Haley, Hadley Kay, Aileen Seaton
Commercial Synopsis: A city girl's car breaks down in the country in the dead of winter, and chilling events start to occur in the cabin of the mysterious young man who offers her a place to stay for the night.   (NPR)


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

Nightfall #11: “No Admittance/No Exit”

Don Bailey

This week we present another classic episode, and one that Sarah Palin would probably love: a tale of socialized medicine gone too far! A new clinic where computers diagnose your illness and treat you according to your value to society (OMG, a death panel!).

But the more interesting thing about this episode are the writers. Don Bailey (photo left) came to be one of Canada's most respected writers, not through the usual channels you'd expect, but by way of bank robbery. Bailey was incarcerated in Collins Bay Penitentiary in the 1960s for armed robbery and it was there he turned to writing. By the time he was released, Bailey had written and published numerous poems and stories and had a community of big name authors who had supported his work waiting for him. He went on to be prolific in many areas of literature, including radio and TV script writing.

At various times Bailey teamed up with writer/actress Milo Ringham. Together they wrote this episode for Nightfall and one for Midnight Cab ("The Mystery of the Friendless Man"). There is a script rumored to be floating around for a Nightfall episode called "The Prize", but so far nothing has turned up. It isn't listed in the archive of Don Bailey's papers at the University of Toronto, though some data about it supposedly exists at Concordia University in Montréal, where there's an archive of CBC Radio documents.

Sadly there is very little information available about this partnership. In fact, there is virtually no information about Milo Ringham anywhere on the Net, except that she was member of the Toronto Free Theatre and went to the University of New Brunswick. (I have, however, recently received a note from someone who has information about her, I just haven't had time to follow it up.)

Don Bailey passed away in the early 2000's (2003 or 2004, I believe – it's hard to confirm) and Milo Ringham passed shortly afterward.

This is one of 30 or so episodes that made their way into the Durkin-Hayes Paperback Audio cassette series back in the 90s.


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No Admittance/No Exit

Air Date: 9/12/1980
Writer(s): Don Bailey & Milo Ringham
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Hugh Webster, Deirdre Flannigan, Robert Christie, Robert Haley, Mary Pirie
Commercial Synopsis: Welcome to the brave new world of the Future Clinic, where computers decide patients' treatment options on the basis of their contribution to society.   (NPR)


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

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