Are you a horror fan? Do you like Sci-Fi? Do you like comedy? Are you a fan of old radio characters like The Shadow? Are you a sick freak like my wife who likes Victorian Romance? If you answered yes to any of the above questions I have the group for you. The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company is a group based out of (duh) Atlanta, Georgia that does “new old radio” shows at various venues, for podcasts and for sale on CD.
I first found out about ARTC when Jenn and I saw them performing Rory Rammer (an original creation in the mold of radio’s old Saturday morning space adventures for the younger set) and an adaptation of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Colour Out of Space’ at Dragon*Con 2006. I was very impressed with the live performance to say the least. All voice acting, music and foley effects were done live and to perfection and created a perfect setting for the mind to create the images needed as the story unfolded. But more impressive to me were the stories themselves.
Rory Rammer captured perfectly the feel of some of the old radio shows it was meant to be a tribute to while adding a touch of humor to it that makes the production more endearing rather than, as is typical with modern productions of this nature, making fun of the shows of yore. But it was ‘The Colour Out of Space’ that really impressed me. Lovecraft was a horror writer of great skill at creating horror that is almost psychologically visceral and very difficult to adapt properly. Most people, with rare exceptions, either fail in making good material based on Lovecraft’s work or they make something good that’s only about 10% H.P. Lovecraft. Their Lovecraft was pure horror, almost purely Lovecraft and magnificently preformed. My only thought after the show was that I had to learn more about these guys and I had to check out their table.
They didn’t have ‘Space’ on a CD, but they did have ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ which has long been an old favorite of mine. I picked it up and, owing to money issues, resigned myself to not getting more at that time. With everything else that there is to do at Dragon*Con I was only able to really sit down and listen to ‘Innsmouth’ some time after I returned home from Atlanta. I was extremely happy with the purchase to say the least.
Being a horror geek first and foremost in my geekness; I put together a birthday and Christmas list made up of ARTC’s Lovecraft work for friends and family to choose. I was quite happy that Christmas. However, It wasn’t until after that Christmas that I really started to explore their website and what ARTC’s full range of productions really were.
ARTC does a line known as The Dean’s List. It is so named because the productions (done with the approval of the man’s family) are adaptations of Robert A. Heinlein’s work. SF by Gaslight is a series of classic science-fiction works while they do original sci-fi productions under their Centauri Express line. Into the Labyrinth and Dark River covers their works of Dark Fantasy. Oh, and they’ve got some Romance stuff in there as well.
Each CD runs around $12 and is worth twice the money. But don’t take my word for it. Look at their website, find something that looks like it’s your thing and buy just one item to try. Iffy on blind buying with a tight economy? Hey, we’re entering the holiday season. Put a CD or two on your Christmas list.
What? Some of you are still a bit iffy on the idea? Fine. For you I have a special offer. Well, it’s not for you as much as it is for everybody. ARTC podcasts their live events for free. They’re not as slick or well produced as their studio work, but they’re still damned good and they’re free. Try out their podcasts and see what you think. If for some reason you can’t download their productions you can always check out their MySpace (you don’t have to be a MySpace member) page. They have a media player on that page that has many of their podcasts set up to listen to without the need to download anything. And, as of this writing, it’s as up to date as possible with their first listing being a funny spoof called ‘Haunter Hunters’ that Jenn and I saw them do live at Dragon*Con 2008.
I’ll post all the links you’ll need below, but I have a request first. ARTC is a group that survives on the profits it makes from live events and the sale of its shows on cassette (yeah, they still have a few of those) and CD. If you enjoy their podcasts then please, please, please buy some of their actual products. If you’re tight for cash right now like a lot of us are; put some ARTC products on your Christmas wish list. And then, especially if you enjoy their work, spread the word about them.
ARTC’s main website:
ARTC’s MySpace page:
The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company – There Is Adventure… In Sound