Mike Hobart

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About Mike Hobart

  • Birthday 04/25/1950

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    Tasmania, Australia

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    Jazz, movies, old radio shows, collecting science fiction magazines, dogs, cats.
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  1. GARRISON KEILLOR RADIO SHOW 2007-08-05 BBC7 Garrison Keillor at the Cincinnati Music Hall, with mandolin genius Sam Bush who belts out the Cincinnati Rag with the Guy's All Star Shoe Band. Buddy Emmons, the pedal steel legend, plays "Shenandoah" and Garrison reads a sonnet he has written for Robert Altman. Private eye Guy Noir is still trying to find the answer to life's persistent questions (as well as a missing person) and in "The News from Lake Wobegon", the citizens are celebrating Thanksgiving by standing around bonfires drinking red wine. SHERLOCK HOLMES 99-01-16 "The Clockwork Fiend" OK, this wasn't actually the series that I thought it was. I thought this was the South African drama series, but it turned out to be a British comedy series. Imagine if Conan Doyle and Spike Milligan had collaborated on a radio script and you'd have some idea of the feel of this wacky show. FRIDAY NIGHT IS MUSIC NIGHT Barbara Windsor is an icon of British entertainment. Among her stage and film credits are the long-running 'Carry On' series. In this musical celebration for her 70th birthday, she looked back over her extraordinary career and the best of British musical theatre. The concert at the Hackney Empire in London spanned British shows from Sandy Wilson’s 'The Boyfriend' to music from Noel Coward and Ivor Novello, right up to Andrew Lloyd Webber. A LIFE OF BLISS 1959.02.11 s05e08 "A Moving Story" An almost-forgotten but mildly amusing sitcom starring George Cole. You know how old it is when somebody puts their house on the market for the astronomical figure of six thousand pounds.... PAST REFRAIN BBC 2000-09-08 Friday Play One of those stories about a woman who rediscovers a long-repressed trauma from her childhood. One website reviewer describes it as "a rather frightening play about Lara who hears a foreign nursery tune on the car radio, and is terrified by it. There follows a careful investigation of her past to find the cause. There was an impressive cast, including Ben Crowe and Mary Wimbush; Cherry Cookson directed." These sorts of plots can be fairly tedious if done badly, but this works well and keeps the listener guessing about how it's going to turn out. Good performances and direction. RED ELVIS - BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play 2007 A mockumentary that tells the (ahem) true story of Elvis Presley's involvement in the Cold War. Quite entertaining to listen to. BBC Reporter ...... Gerry Northam Elvis ...... Kevin Paul CIA agent Baines Hoskin ...... John Moraitis DUDE, WHO STOLE MY TITLE - BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play 2007 Olly Smith stars in his own play about a quest to reclaim an ancient ancestor's title. But he only has 24 hours. Fortunately he has the ancestor's ghost [Ewan Bailey] to help him. Unfortunately not as funny as it thinks it is -- I started to fidget about halfway through and began to find it all a bit tiresome. BOSTON BLACKIE 46-09-03 "stolen rare book" A rare book is stolen from the vault of a library and it's up to Blackie to solve the locked vault mystery and clear the name of his girlfriend Mary. As usual, mildly entertaining. JACK BENNY 48-05-23 Jack returns from New York, the cue for a barrage of jokes about tightfistedness. Then we get the show's version of the popular story "The Egg and I" (we've actually got a rooster that sounds like the one in this skit - that's a bit of a worry). Lots of good gags and a few topical references that may go over the heads of modern listeners. FIBBER McGEE & MOLLY 43-11-02 "Cleaning Doc Gamble's house" Maybe it's just me, but this one wasn't as much fun as usual, possibly because the punchline was so obvious. I was intrigued to discover that the Doc owned a television set in 1943 though.
  2. Listening to Phillip Hunt's Sounds of Brass show on the BBC Radio Player website, I was intrigued to hear that some of the tracks he was playing came from a bag of vinyl LP records that a fan of brass band music had passed on to him. I knew that in Australia few radio studios come with turntables or record players. My local station had a Vinyl Week recently where they played stuff on vinyl every afternoon, and they had to get technicians in specially to install a turntable. So I fired off an e-mail to Phillip asking if his studio at Radio Devon still had one and got the following answer promptly: Dear Michael, Yes it does, not one but two in fact. How much longer they will survive I do not know, but there are still some of us who use them regularly. I just breathe a sigh of relief every week when I go in to still find them there. Nice to see the old technology still survives in some isolated pockets of the Empire.
  3. THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (NPR 1988) An interesting idea - a faithful re-make of the famous Orson Welles radio play using the voices of today's Nationjal Public Radio personalities to report on those alarming events at Grover's Mill, New Jersey. A bit of a risky idea, since it all sounds very convincing in the opening sequences! Later on, we follow the destruction of civilization through notes made by Professor Pierson (Jason Robards replacing Orson Welles) on his pocket tape-recorder as he trudges through the ruins of New York. Hector Elizondo co-stars. I'm usually wary of re-makes and sequels but this really works well. And speaking of re-makes.... THE MEN FROM THE MINISTRY 1979-07-15 "Pritkin Castle" This is from South African Radio's series of MFTM, so the voices are a bit of a shock - they're considerably younger and less upper-crust than the original English cast. There is also an extra character, a comical Indian builder, who seems a new addition to the cast of characters. But it's still fun because the plots remain the same - a dizzying farce about inept civil servants who, through a series of misunderstandings, end up building a life-size replica of a crusader's castle instead of the hyper-modern transport terminal that was originally planned. MY WORD 1979-11-14 series 31 episode 4 Another episode of the classic BBC game show, with John Julius Norwich asking the panel to define words like "zonasthesia" then letting Frank Muir and Dennis Norden have their heads to make up stories to fit the phrases "Half a loaf is better than no bread" and "I'm dancing with tears in my eyes". As usual, Frank Muir's story is impeccably delivered but Dennis has the more inventive explanation. JUBILEE episode 1 From the tumult of World War II comes a ground-breaking music programme featuring the work of what we'd now call African-Americans. Duke Ellington and Ethel Waters are on hand for the music, while Rochester and Manton Moreland provide some comedy and do a song from the movie "Cabin in the Sky." There's also a poem by Dore Schary that I hadn't heard before. Maybe not politically correct these days, but makes for fascinating listening. INNER SANCTUM 44-06-10 "Death is a joker" Peter Lorre in fine form in this ingenious story about a man who commits a murder (or does he?) but gets away with it (or does he?). BOSTON BLACKIE 49-02-23_fake accident racket Our hero discovers a racket run by the proprietors of a mission for the down-and-out on skid row. In between, he warbles some Gilbert & Sullivan hits (apparently he's just come back from the theater!) OK. CRIME CLUB 47-05-29 murder makes a mummy When a body is found hidden in a mummy case, the mystery is solved by the son of the Police Chief. After a great opening, this is fairly mediocre stuff. AFTERNOON PLAY 2007-06-13 BBC Radio 4 "A Man Cut in Slices", by Adrian Penketh. Paul Tate finds himself in headlines across the world, unwillingly cast as the symbol of London's defiance in the face of terrorism. He becomes an instant celebrity despite not actually having anything to say to the panting media. A cutting look at the 15-minutes-of-fame syndrome.
  4. This week's favorite has to be from the old ESCAPE series..... “Earth Abides” Part1 - ESCAPE 50-11-05 (#131) “Earth Abides” Part2 - ESCAPE 50-11-12 (#132) Enthralling radio adaptation of the famous George R. Stewart end-of-the-world novel. John Dehner gives a spellbinding performance as the geologist who returns from a trip into the mountains to discover civilization has collapsed. How he searches for other survivors and tries to rebuild society makes for two riveting half-hour episodes. And if the finale doesn’t leave a lump in your throat you’ve got no heart. If you want to hear the above episodes, they're currently available here. MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER 50-05-02 “S.O.S.” Three gangsters try the biggest heist of their career – hijacking a liner between ports. When it goes awry, the ship’s captain decides to reinstate one of the traditional penalties for piracy… There’s a twist in the final scene I didn’t spot. FORT LARAMIE 56-06-03 “Don’t Kick My Horse” The title sounds comical, but this is a straight drama about a Cavalry trooper whose only friend is his increasingly infirm horse. Adult western fare. EDDIE CANTOR 41-02-26 ep#22 Guest - John Barrymore Cantor makes some jokes about the weather in California and trades quips about age with the great Barrymore. Later Barrymore flirts with Dinah Shore and does a scene with the show’s resident character The Mad Russian. Cantor cautions Dinah Shore: “Careful, Dinah -- compared to Barrymore, Phil Harris is a boy scout!” before singing “The Streamlined Mother Goose.” ABBOTT AND COSTELLO 48-05-05 Guest - Bela Lugosi I usually enjoy Bud & Lou, corny as their routines are, but here we have Dracula himself as their special guest and – oh dear! – what a missed opportunity. The writers seem completely unable to come up with anything remotely funny. Disappointing indeed. AMAZING MR MALONE - 48-08-28 – “Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness” Craig Rice’s criminal lawyer is brought to radio with flair. In this one, Malone’s client is framed by a suave but creepy Italian racketeer. The effect is very like one of those 1930s gangster movie from Warner Brothers. _________________ you can see my page at http://mikehobart.multiply.com/
  5. My local church has been using the NIV (New International Version) for about ten years. I find it relatively painless but there is no such thing as a perfect translation. NIV is better in some passages than the others, but there are a few spots where I still feel there is room for improvement.
  6. Somebody on another site asked if there are any radio stations that still play the old shows. These are the ones that I know about: http://www.wamu.org/programs/bb/ http://www.nostalgiadigest.com/Those%20Were%20The%20Days.htm http://www.wrvo.fm/playhouse.html http://www.wpr.org/webcasting/ideas_audioa...es.cfm?Code=otr http://www.wmkvfm.org/# And then there's always http://www.radiospirits.com/ http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7/
  7. Yeah, that's a bit weird. It's like the first time I read that the actress who played that cute little 8-year-old Punky Brewster had not only grown up but had grown so much she'd had to have breast reduction surgery. That had me shaking my head at the conflicting images. "What the --- ?" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soleil_Moon_Frye
  8. The Da Vinci Code -- no, sorry, this is one bestseller that I read with a curled lip. The plot is so obviously set up so that the author can unload all his research onto us that I don't see how they ever made a movie out of it at all. And the surprise ending? Gee, if you couldn't see that coming a mile off, I'd get my eyes tested.
  9. Reach for Tomorrow, published back in 1956, was Arthur C. Clarke's second collection of his short stories. I read it about forty years ago but the other day I picked up a nice new copy on the sale table at the newsagents. And isn't it a great collection, even after all this time. --Rescue Party, 1946. (novelette) (Astounding, May, 1946.) --A Walk in the Dark, 1950. (Thrilling Wonder Stories, August, 1950.) --The Forgotten Enemy, 1949. (New Worlds, #5, 1949; Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader, January, 1953.) --Technical Error, 1950. (as The Reversed Man, in Thrilling Wonder Stories, June, 1950.) --The Parasite, 1953. (Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader, April, 1953.) --The Fires Within, 1947. (as by E. G. O'Brien in Fantasy, August, 1947; Startling Stories, September, 1949.) --The Awakening, 1951. (Future, January, 1952.) --Trouble with the Natives, 1951. (as Three Men in a Flying Saucer, in Lilliput, February, 1951.) --The Curse, 1953. (short short) (Cosmos, #1, September, 1953.) --Time's Arrow, 1952. (Science Fantasy, #1, Summer, 1950; Worlds Beyond, 1952.) --Jupiter Five, 1953. (novelette) (If, May, 1953.) --The Possessed, 1952. (Dynamic Science Fiction, March, 1953.) It's a bit strange to look at these stories again after such a long time. The one I remember best is the first story "Rescue Party", which was Clarke's first sale and still one of his best. Aliens discover Earth is doomed and come to our rescue, only to find that the human race has already made its arrangements. "The Forgotten Enemy" I remembered really well, but I sat down and re-read it anyway. A very low-key end-of-the-world story. What I didn't remember was that some of Clarke's early stuff was horror stories. Tales like "The Parasite" and "Walk in the Dark" are far from typical Clarke, and some of the other stories (like "The Possessed") depend on the twist in the last line that was often found in genre magazines of the time. However I really enjoyed re-reading "The Fires Within" and "Jupiter Five", which was written decades before space probes actually told us anything about this distant body. It was a cover story in IF magazine.
  10. My favorite site for e-books is at Many Books They're adding new books all the time. There's a wide choice of formats (I like the large-print PDF myself) and it's free !
  11. Oh yeah, I used to read all the SF magazines from about 1965 onwards. Analog. Galaxy. Fantasy & Science Fiction. Galaxy is gone now (alas) but the other two are still going strong. There's also Asimov's SF which I think has been around for 30 years now -- yikes, where do the decades go? Aside from the two crime magazines Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock, I think they're the sole survivors of that enormous shoal of pulp magazines that filled the newsstands in the pre-television era. I still have boxes and boxes of them in my attic. So many great stories in them, I couldn't bear to part with them. (My estate will probably have a gynormous garage sale when I die!)
  12. METROPOLITAN LINE MURDER (BBC 1997-11-12) One of a mini-series about crimes on the London Underground, this one is based on a story by Baroness Orczy. I was disappointed in the ending because I thought I had worked out how the murder was committed and the real solution was much less interesting. DRAGNET 51-06-14 "The big building" A rich woman is reported missing. Friday suspects the husband, as the police usually do. Interesting in that the actor playing the husband follows the Dragnet-style speech rhythms but makes it individual and different. MR KEEN, TRACER OF LOST PERSONS 51-08-10 "The abandoned well murder" This was later on in this long-running series and the old codger, er old sleuth has become less of an expert on missing persons and more of a Manhattan Sherlock Holmes. Fairly routine scripting. DR CHRISTIAN 37-11-07 First episode of the well-made series about a small-town doctor played by Jean Hersholt. Here he is finally persuaded to go on a fishing trip but becomes a celebrity when he saves the life of a small boy with appendicitis. Reporters ask if he's moving to the city. I think you can guess his answer. JACK BENNY 37-03-14 The show is broadcasting from a New York hotel when his rival Fred Allen comes downstairs to complain about the noise of Benny's singing! Always fun to hear these two comedians sparring with each other. CASEBOOK OF GREGORY HOOD 46-10-07 - "Tommy, The Saddest Clown" Gregory Hood, the debonair San Francisco art dealer who is always getting involved with murder, comes across as a Bay Area Sherlock Holmes to me. In this colourful outing he solves a crime at the circus. SCREEN GUILD THEATER 47-02-10 "Heavenly Days!" Try and follow. Fibber McGee & Molly had their own radio series. There were three movies based on the radio series. This is a radio adaptation of the third movie inspired by the original radio series. Got it? Once your head stops spinning, this is a lovely Capraesque romp in which the McGees head for Washington DC to represent the voice of the common man, while rejecting Dr Gallup's finding that they are "average". Essential if you're a McGee fan. [under various titles, Screen Guild Theater was on the air for 14 years.]
  13. Two of my most-visited sites are Zoot Radio and the Internet Archive. They have a lot of shows for download and - best of all - it's absolutely free. My two big problems are deciding which show to download next and findng the time to listen to them all!
  14. A good beginners' site is otrfan.com They don't have everything, but it's free and friendly - a good place to start off in the field. I'll look up some of my other favorite sites and add them later (I'm not at my home PC).
  15. One of the good things about the Internet is that you can connect with people who have similar interests, no matter how obscure or esoteric. For example, I've found there are lots of people on-line who like collecting radio shows from the pre-television era and are happy to share their treasures. Here's what I've been listening to this month: X MINUS ONE 1957-10-03. #109 "A Wind Is Rising". Les Damon stars in this low-key story about two Earthmen exploring a planet where the weather turns out to be less than ideal. One of the natives has the last word! George Lefferts adapted the short story by Finn O'Donovan from the July 1957 issue of Galaxy -- O'Donovan is actually one of my favourite authors Robert Sheckley (presumably using a pen-name because he also had a novelette as Sheckley in that issue). X MINUS ONE 1958-01-02 #122 "Prime Difference". A henpecked husband gets help from an android double when he has domestic problems. George Lefferts adapted Alan E. Nourse's short story (Galaxy June 1957)and it works well though many may find a resemblance to one of Ray Bradbury's stories in the basic plot. (This was the second-last show in the long-running series.) JACK BENNY 43-03-14 What happens when Jack Benny is sick and can't appear? The answer here was to deluge the listeners with star power. Phil Harris and his band returned to the show, Orson Welles was brought in to give a tongue-in-cheek performance as the new presenter, and even Andy Devine dropped in for a cameo (the reference to him taking out Rita Hayworth is a bit startling if you remember it was Welles who married Rita six months later!) THE FALCON 50-10-29 "Double Exposure" Les Damon again as crime-fighter Mike Waring. This time he's baffled by a man who was supposed to be dead but turns up alive only to be murdered in Waring's apartment. The cops are understandably sceptical. Not that gripping, but if you were listening on a lazy Sunday afternoon in 1950 you were probably entertained. FIBBER McGEE & MOLLY 40-04-16 "the ink stain" Celebrating five years on the air, Fibber takes up his pen to write a thank-you note to the sponsor and spills ink on the carpet. The rest of the story revolves around his attempts to remove the stain using salt and milk, till the hilarious punch-line. At the end, our hero thanks the unseen star of the show, writer Don Quinn (There should be a gold statue of him outside the Radio Hall of Fame: imagine having to come up with all those gags week after week!). THE FIRST FABULOUS FIFTY - part 2 1936-46 Bob Hope hosts this look at NBC radio during that turbulent decade - a nice job of covering this eventful period in one programme. You can get this from the Monitor website. http://www.monitorbeacon.net/sounddownloads.html WORDS AT WAR 43-07-10 (03) "They Call It Pacific" Surprisingly candid reminiscences of an American correspondent looking at the over-confidence of the military in 1941 -- and the patronising attitude of some Americans towards the Filipino people. THE 21st PRECINCT 53-09-08 "certified 600" Sort of an east coast Dragnet - a nice police drama in which a safecracker phones the cops to ask if they'll tell him the combination of the safe he's stolen! Not bad. CALIFORNIA MELODIES 1941-02-15 (0045) A very entertaining musical programme which doesn't seem to have dated at all in six decades. THE WHISTLER 1942-12-13 "The Accounting" "I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, many secrets hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes, I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak…” He knows the dark secrets - and this melodrama about a murder inside a dysfunctional family is pretty dark. ABBOTT & COSTELLO 1947.06.18 Baseball episode Lou is asked to substitute for Joe DiMaggio (say what?) so we get a series of jokes about baseball culminating in the famous "Who's On First?" routine. Silly but still amusing.