Friday, August 31, 2018

FFR: THE ZOO STORY by Edward Albee, performed by William Daniels and Mark Richman (Spoken Arts Records 1964?); NO EXIT by Jean-Paul Sartre (as translated by Paul Bowles), performed by Donald Pleasance, Anna Massey and Glenda Jackson (Caedmon Records 1968); LUV by Murray Schisgal, performed by Alan Arkin, Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach (Columbia Masterworks 1967?); JUST SO STORIES, Volume II by Rudyard Kipling, read by Sterling Holloway; music by Tutti Camarata (Disneyland Records 1965)

I've noted before on the blog that storytelling albums, such as a Smothers Brothers item I was given as a very young child (Aesop's Fables, the Smothers Brothers Way) and a very few other comedy albums my parents bought (SmoBro, Firesign Theater) helped bend the twig, along with such inputs as an audio dramatization of Dracula I borrowed on cassette from my elementary school library (and my very young brother managed to record over) and a wider range of audio materials I found at the public library from about age 9 onward, have left me a lifelong fan of the audio drama and the well-performed reading. 

So, this week, revisiting some of the items of my past in this regard, which have become kind of remotely accessible when sought after at all...and certainly not on display for loan from public libraries or new purchase as they once were.

The Spoken Arts recording of The Zoo Story was probably the last of these I caught up with, in this week's set, and it was almost certainly not the first encounter I had with William Daniels in those days of the 1970s, but this was before I first saw the film of 1776, or of course his turn in St. Elsewhere or other, later television work...though I suspect I'd already seen him as the officious villain of the likes of The Rockford Files episodes. His name didn't mean much to me, if anything, though, any more than Mark Richman's did, though his voice seemed instantly familiar. Albee I'd heard of, mostly for Who's Afraid, but it was much more fun dealing with this bit of unprovoked parody, where (as you probably know) a somewhat fussy publishing executive is bothered while sitting, eating his lunch on a park bench, by a random stranger with a rather less settled life, and an outlook to match. Richman's bluff, somewhat reflective but arrogant swagger seemed even better-fitted to his role than Daniels's growing vexation...the role didn't allow him his later patented rage against whatever small irritants were bedeviling him. This was all but the Original Cast recording (apparently, the first US production had featured George Maharis in the Richman role, for about a week, before Richman took over), and it was an excellent introduction.

The Caedmon recording of No Exit, on the other hand, was among the first of the adult plays in the LP set format I listened to, given the horror-related theme of the work in question...and the production and performances struck me as excellent, as well as the play compelling (I don't think I was introduced to the concept of lesbianism by the play, but it wasn't too long after I learned the word, I'm sure...might've been as old as ten when I first heard this one). I was mildly aware of Donald Pleasance before the production, in much the way I was mildly aware of Sartre (I had read descriptions of his play, this Monty Python thing had a few jokes about him), but I was very impressed by this set...the recording below is slightly scratched up, but listenable:
No Exit

Now, by the time I tried this recording of Luv, Murray Schisgal's hit black comedy about suicidal and scheming NYC intellectuals in the then-present day (mid '60s), I was already a veteran of a number of plays on vinyl, and this one looked promising, even if doomed triangles (see above) were not a novel concept in my listening; I was already an Alan Arkin fan, from such films as Wait Until Dark, and was broadly aware of Jackson and Wallach...though the broad performances at the beginning of the play as recorded were a bit more offputting than I had hoped (I still haven't seen the little-loved film version, though as a stone Elaine May fan, I'll have to eventually...Nichols directed this version, and May takes the woman's role in the film, though as far as I know neither was involved with thought of the other in either version).  Another YouTube transcription of a scratchy but listenable copy (I have Never loved surface noise and worse damage on vinyl).
Luv, side 1

Luv, side 2

Luv, side 3

Luv, side 4

And while such labels as Spoken Arts, Caedmon, Argo and to a lesser extent more generalized labels such as CBS and RCA (or the little jazz label Prestige) would do spoken word recordings of often high caliber, one item that was actually purchased for my younger brother when he was only a year or so past recording over library tapes caught my ear, from the slightly improbable source of Disneyland Records...but Sterling Holloway's recording of Rudyard Kipling's fables was work that could and can stand alongside the fine work in folklore and youth-accessible literature the other spoken-word labels were offering...and the music, usually not missed in the other labels' recordings, was often not too shabby in at least such recordings as this. I don't think my parents ever got around to finding Vol. I for Eric, and I'm not sure I sought it out, but I did enjoy hearing this one with him.
"How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin"

For more purely literary contributions this week (except usually from Gerard Saylor, if he's contributing), please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Friday's Books (etc.), alphabetized by author and/or editor (and, failing that, publisher) for August, so far: more new links

The ongoing August alpha by author(s), editor(s), publisher(s) index: "Lester del Rey" under one of his other pseudonyms

Douglas Winter wanted to know if there was any way the FFB items might be arrayed by author, to make finding or refinding a given item easier. I told him I thought so, but it would be extra work for me (one can, if searching for a specific title or writer/editor/publisher, also search on the blogs in question). Nonetheless, it didn't seem like the worst possible idea, so this might go forward as a monthly summary/reordering of the weekly roundelay...added to over the course of the month. 

In some cases below, you'll do better to click on the title or author/editor/publisher of the work in question, rather than the contributor's name, which might still take you to the first item they dealt with as listed for that week. People vastly more famous for their pseudonym than their real name are listed under that pseudonym...or, in Cele Goldsmith Lalli's case, in the most famous form of her name (albeit not in fantastic fiction circles), and that listed under Lalli. 


Will Errickson: the gothics of Victor Banis

Steve Weddle: All the President's Men by Carl Bernstein and Robert Woodward

Elgin Bleecker: Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block
Martin Edwards: His Name Was Death by Fredric Brown


Mark Baker: Chasing Darkness by Robert Crais 

Gerard Saylor: Pines by Blake Crouch


Peter Enfantino & Jack Seabrook: DC War Comics, March 1973 

Rob Kitchin: Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson




Features Clark Howard's story


Evan Lewis: "Lance Lewis, Space Detective" by Graham Ingels

Yvette Banek: "Michael Innes" (J.I.M. Stewart) novels



John Boston: Amazing: Fact and Science Fiction Stories, September 1963, edited by Cele Goldsmith Lalli

M (including Mac/Mc)

Paul Fraser: New Worlds, January 1965, edited by Michael Moorcock 


Barry Gardner: Brother Cadfael's Penance by "Ellis Peters" (Edith Pargeter) 

Juri Nummelin: The Fury by Jason Pinter

Victoria Silverwolf: Worlds of Tomorrow, October 1963, edited by Frederik Pohl

Steven H. Silver: "Burning Beard: The Dreams and Visions of Joseph Ben Jacob, Lord Viceroy of Egypt" by Rachel Pollack

Danielle Torres: Act Like It by Lucy Potter 

"TomCat": Death of a Beauty Queen by E. R. Punshon




Colman Keane: Silent City by Alex Segura

Colman Keane: Haematemesis by Henry Sheppard
Les Blatt: Too Many Women by Rex Stout

Richard Robinson: The Age of Myth and The Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Kevin Tipple: See Also Murder by Larry D. Sweazy 


Curtis Evans: The Singing Masons by "Francis Vivian" (Arthur Ashley)

Yvette Banek: Darkness at Pemberley by T. H. White

A. J. Wright: Nobody Knows How It Got This Good by Amos Wright