Check Out ‘Imagination Theater’

Saturday night at our place is time for “Imagination Theater,” a cornucopia of original radio dramas (and comedies) by Jim French Productions.

We’ve been enjoying this for years. It used to be broadcast on one of our local radio stations, complete with interruptions and cancellations for stupid sports events until it was finally dropped altogether. So we listen online ( ).

Our favorite series is “Sherlock Holmes” starring John Patrick Lowrie as Holmes and Larry Albert as Watson. Lowrie is something else: he does Basil Rathbone to a T. You might even think of it as Basil Rathbone imitating Lowrie.

These voice actors are really something. Imagine how hard it must be to make the character come alive without being able to use facial expressions or body movements, to impart varying degrees of emotion to your lines without hamming it up. And some of them are such vocal chameleons that you just can’t tell who was who until they give you the cast at the end of the show.

The stories themselves are pretty cool, too.

If you’re too young to have grown up in the pre-television era, in which radio was king, you may never have heard radio drama. Heck, I grew up with TV. But radio is its own art form and these plays are tremendous fun. More than any visual medium, radio engages one’s imagination. If you don’t have an imagination, you probably won’t enjoy Imagination Theater. But then if you’re that dull, you probably aren’t reading this, anyway.

2 comments on “Check Out ‘Imagination Theater’

  1. Well, one good thing about the ‘net is the radio archives that may have been otherwise lost. One example is Virginia Christine [here I go again] doing Scooby Doo from the TV cartoon series as well as her early radio gigs.

    Radio is an art form in itself and I’m one fan for sure; however, God brought me into this world during the Golden Age of Television and I missed most of radio.

    1. Yeah, we missed a lot of good radio. But the good news is that a lot of it was preserved and is now available online. You can even buy discs–although I must say the “Johnny Dollar” discs we bought deteriorated before too long, and erased themselves. Caveat emptor. But the “Sherlock Holmes” discs we’ve purchased from Jim French Productions have held up just fine, and provided us with many hours of pleasant entertainment.

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