Friday, June 21, 2013

"The Thrilling Adventure Hour"

I've been shotgunning The Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast, a stage show and podcast in the style of old-style radio. In fact, I've been listening to so much of that, that I'm pushing off this week's "Short story read-aloud" till next week. And as much as I want to label this as "short story profit," the old-style radio medium is pretty different; for one thing, the show gets a lot of mileage out of the delivery of the lines and the excitement generated by guests, two aspects not replicable by a short story.

That said, I do want to talk about just what fun TAH is, both in their parodic poking fun of their source material and their disregard of fidelity to the original. So, for instance, we have a hard-drinking detective couple, as in The Thin Man, only this detective couple can see ghosts and monsters. And then they also occasionally break the fourth wall and make pop culture jokes about our own time. So they're not going entirely for fidelity; their guiding star is always "what would be fun?"

TAH also hits hard on some recurring jokes, which clearly has a variable rate of return. For instance, the "Captain Laserbeam" stories have a set pattern, where the only things that got slotted in are the ridiculous names of his foes and the repeated lines that Captain Laserbeam hears as he gets the will to break out of the newest death trap.

While some of the segments are pretty formulaic, TAH also features some stories with some serious change, such as "Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars": while Sparks starts with his Martian sidekick (a la Tonto), I'm right now up to a point where he's lost his status as marshal and has a new sidekick.

So, in a way, the anthology series gives them the leeway to cover a lot of ground, both in content (space-western, detective-horror, etc.) and in structure (formulaic, growing, musical, etc.).

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