Another return to the Glory Days of Radio serial

Grace Gibson Productions have released another batch of vintage Australian radio serials from their archive which is brimming with classic shows.

Left: On a loom of words and music, narrator Ron Roberts, weaves dramatic moments into the Tapestries of Life. Right: Thelma Scott starred in the TV serial Number 96 and can be heard in Tapestries of Life.

Tapestries of Life was a serial adapted for Australian audiences from American scripts and explores unfamiliar moments in the lives of well-known figures. We hear of a shy and sickly child called Nelson who overcame countless obstacles to become the greatest naval hero of all time. Fashionable dandy George Bryan (Beau Brummell) would only find true happiness after being incarcerated in a debtor’s prison, and after a major struggle, Elizabeth Blackwell succeeded in becoming America’s first female doctor. Other lives explored include those of writer Eugene Field, British prime minister William Gladstone, explorer Christopher Columbus, physicist Marie Curie, Merrick The Elephant Man, and we learn how Sarah Norton saved Rudyard Kipling’s greatest poem from the bin. The impressive cast includes Thelma Scott, Sheila Sewell and Lyndall Barbour.

Starlight Theatre Volume 3 features another fifteen outstanding radio plays written by leading overseas writers and adapted to suit Australian tastes. The assortment of plays ranges from mystery to romance, comedy and suspense. We wonder if a nice guy who lets people walk all over him will ever get the girl of his dreams, and a bookie begins having problems with a poltergeist after buying a green sports jacket. An anonymous historian finds fame after writing a book about the remnants of a perfect civilisation, and in another play, an angel is sent to earth on a special mission but becomes absorbed in the problems of a little girl who is crippled but who longs to dance like her sister. Cast members in Starlight Theatre Volume 3 include John Ewart, Georgie Sterling, Wendy Playfair, Patricia Kennedy, Brian James, Gordon Glenwright, Margo Lee, Charles Tingwell and Don Crosby.

Left: Don Crosby appeared in TV serials such as The Young Doctors, A Country Practice and The Restless Years. He can be heard in Starlight Theatre. Right: The theatre of the air is back with Starlight Theatre Volume 3.

There are more spellbinding tales of the supernatural in volumes two and three of The Uninvited with ghostly adventures galore. In these episodes we meet the restless spirit of Polkington Manor, there is revenge on a Swiss mountain, the miller with three thumbs comes out of the woodwork, and we learn of the evil lurking at Bellengate Hall.

John Doremus explores another batch of fascinating lives in volume 23 of The Passing Parade. This time around we hear about D.H. Lawrence, Henry Royce of Rolls-Royce fame, Billy the Kid, and we meet the man who broke the Bank of Monte Carlo.

On a lighter note we return to the suburbs for laughs aplenty with volume five of Life with Dexter. In this edition, Dexter Dutton (Willie Fennell) takes part in a radio quiz show and hits the jackpot. Young Ashley (Ray Hartley) is suffering from toothache and is petrified of visiting the dentist, while the family wonder what career path he’ll follow when he leaves school. Dexter buys a new jalopy with hilarious results and a camping trip proves to be a total disaster with an infestation of mosquitos and a storm brewing overhead.

Left: The Uninvited will give you a few sleepless nights. Right: More fascinating lives are revealed in The Passing Parade.

The laughs keep coming with the two latest releases of the political satire How Green Was My Cactus. In these editions, featuring episodes broadcast during October and November of this year, we join the Royals at Uluru (Ayers Rock), endure some courtroom whaling, hear all about Mal’s election and we even meet some bank idiots. There is a tipsy race caller, and we encounter some wide-eyed schoolies. Hardcore fans will also want to order Cactus: The Best of 2019 which features highlights from this year’s episodes including bogan penalty rates, the body parts warehouse and depressing sport.

All of these classic Australian radio serials and a wealth of others can be purchased on CD or as digital downloads by listeners worldwide exclusively from the Grace Gibson Productions website.

Left: The laughs continue with volume 5 of Life With Dexter. Right: Nobody is safe in the political satire How Green Was My Cactus.

Photographs copyright IRS Grace Gibson Productions.
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One Reply to “Another return to the Glory Days of Radio serial”

  1. So many radio serials from the old days are lost forever. It’s great that a company like Grace Gibson is still around and is making its archive of shows available to the modern consumer. Bravo !

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