Farewell, Imagination Theater

When a good thing comes to an end, there seldom seems anything on hand to take its place.

This weekend was the final broadcast of Jim French’s Imagination Theater, home of America’s finest original radio drama. It couldn’t be helped. Jim French, who wrote hundreds of the scripts, acted and directed in them, and ran the business aspect of the enterprise as well, had been in radio since World War II, in Seattle radio since 1959, and put in the last 21 years on Jim French Productions–and he just can’t carry it any farther. He married his wife, Pat, in 1950, and she was his partner in every sense of the word–writing, acting, and directing. Pat died last month. It tears my heart to think of it.

Patty and I have been listening to Imagination Theater every Saturday night since sometime in the 1990s, and we will very keenly feel its loss. These shows were wholesome as well as entertaining. We bought a lot of their discs. We chatted with them on their blog. We’ve got T-shirts.

I have included a recent sample of their work, if you’d like to listen to it.

Jim, old man, I’m sure we aren’t alone in missing you and your work. It meant a lot to us. Go with God, my friend. Go with God.

3 comments on “Farewell, Imagination Theater

  1. Sounds great. I love the British accent, laid on thick. There’s a hint of tongue in cheek, but it’s not overplayed.

    If my math and my assumptions are accurate, Mr. French must be in his late eighties at the youngest, and likely in his nineties. That’s admirable, for a man to work for as long as possible. It’s my intention, I doubt that I’d last long were I ever to retire.

    1. If you were listening to the Hillary Kane story, the actress who plays her is actually Australian, and she normally speaks with a thick Aussie accent.

      And yes, Jim French is in his 80s. It’s too, too bad that he and Pat had no one to keep IT going–although it could never be the same without his writing.

    2. Indeed. It was very well written. That Sherlock Holmes piece was excellent, as well. One thing I liked is that the pieces were just long enough to develop a good plot, but short enough to make listening to them a pleasure.

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