Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fantastic Four on the Radio

So last week, I was listening to a ton of old Superman radio episodes from 1945, looking for the first radio appearance of Batman (which I may have found, but I'm not sure). I figured it would be a good tie-in to my recent post on "The Brave and the Bold."

But then I stumbled onto these Fantastic Four episodes from the mid-70's, and had to do this first. These make the Blue Beetle episode I posted a while back sound positively lavish. Cheap classic radio shows featured sound effects usually performed by a live prop man, with a single organ for music.

The Fantastic Four series featured a canned theme song and goofy scripts based closely on the original early issues of the comic, slightly updated in places (Jonny Storm admires a stereo with Dolby in one episode, for instance). Voice acting was mediocre, and is mainly noteworthy for a young Bill Murray sleepwalking his way through the role of the Human Torch. Sound effects are limited to a bunch of theremin farts.

So, in honor of my recent post about the first appearance of Doctor Doom, here is the radio version of that story. Let Stan Lee transport your imagination through Marvel magic and dull narration. Listen to the psychedelic wonder of the Fantastic Four's talking signal flare ("four..."). Thrill to the adventures of the Fantastic Three as they travel through time on an urgent mission. Quiver with delight as the Human Torch utters the immortal line, "This beverage really quenches my thirst," with complete conviction. Tremble with fear as Doctor Doom does a cross-promotional deal with H.P. Lovecraft by summoning monsters from Carcosa.

This, my friends, is the best of the early 60's crossed with the worst of the mid-70's, brought to you through the modern future miracle of the Internets. Click the widget to listen.

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