Vishal Bharadwaj - Lesser Celestial, Robot
Duncan Boszko - Fishman 2
Mark Boszko - Fishman 1
Dave Fields - Robot, Stalacmitan
Jason Ellis - Dr. Greg
Nathan LaJeunesse - Dinosaur Puncher
George Lowe - Robot
Brian Lynch - The Colonel
Moises Mora - Stalactitan
Josef Ravenson - Rektilo the Recalcitrant
Matt Rowbotham - Matt
Jessie Schutz - Lorikta
Amanda Smith - Announcer, Queen Veronica, Lava Queen
Sabrina Snyder - Dottie
John Thomas - Lizard Man
Jason Wallace - Singing Cowboy, Tiger Man
Ron “AAlgar” Watt - AAlgar
Written & directed by Ron “AAlgar” Watt
© 2013 AAlgar Productions
• Early 2013 was when Sarcastic Voyage completed its somewhat awkward transformation from "chat show with occasional prepared material" to "full-on sketch show bookended by host segments." I had very much enjoyed producing The Adventures of Nick and Willikins in serial form, but I thought it might be time to expand our horizons and introduce a new serial. (I would later realize that the "recurring sketches and serials with host segments" format was subconsciously cribbed from, of all things, Rocky and Bullwinkle. I was feeling a real "golden age of radio" vibe around this time, as also evidenced by the accompanying artwork provided by Vishal Bharadwaj, whom I had commissioned to create a whole new look for the show. I began as I so often do, by immersing myself in the genre I'm attempting to parody/reference, and dug up as much 30s-era pulp entertainment as I could find — movie serials, pulp magazines, Golden Age comics and, of course, radio serials. What we ended up with was a decent pastiche of quite a lot of this, and not of any one series in particular. This aesthetic would go on to inform the entirety of Sarcastic Voyage Theatre five years later.
• The serial obviously starred me and Matt because we were, at the time, the cohosts of SV. But gradually, as we found more voice performers and developed other characters, our guys became the least interesting ones in the thing. This would become much more clear in season 2, but it was already starting to happen pretty early here, I think. I did enjoy making one of us the working class mechanic-type and one of us the clueless flyboy (who also happened to be a pacifist), but our characters never really developed much more beyond that.
• Dottie, on the other hand, became the surprise star of the series. Initially conceived as the antithesis of the typical golden age kid sidekick character, she quickly overshadowed the people she was supposed to be sidekicking for. I will take about 10% credit for this, with my initial idea. The other 90% belongs with Sabrina, whose performance remains one of my favorite things about producing audio.
• M.U.C.U.S. was one in a series of me giving official entities terrible acronyms. I worked for the federal government for quite some time, and this is barely an exaggeration.
• The earliest episodes of Radio Adventures were, I admit, a bit difficult to follow — largely because I was trying just a bit too hard with all the music and sound effects and such. I really do like a lot of what I put together, but it took me a little while to learn the correct balance of the various elements. After about 3 or 4 episodes, I think I'd mostly worked it out. I stand by my use of Shostakovich for score — his bombastic compositions have a perfect 30s pulp adventure feel to them. Or at the very least, our modern idea of what 30s pulp adventure sounded like, by way of Indiana Jones, Sky Captain, et. al.
• "Cereal fired out of guns" is, like so many of our more ridiculous elements, taken directly from old-timey ads for cereal. I guess they were called "pops" for a reason?
• Most of these old serials had super-problematic characters from The Mysterious East. I tried my best to get around this by casting Vishal, who is from India. I don't know that I'd necessarily do that now, but I think my heart was in the right place.
• The practice of calling characters "cowards" when what they really meant was "racists" was lifted from the 30s Superman radio show. It's a reference that I don't think I clarified enough in this story.
• The chunk of the story where the evil scientist (Jason Ellis) has his passive-aggressive letter writing fight with the evil queen (Amanda) is probably my favorite part.
• At some point, Dottie's robot gets "upgraded" pretty much because I had paid for George "Space Ghost" Lowe's voice and wanted to get every penny's worth. (I've mentioned this in a lot of annotations, because I've really tried to use this material as often as I can without stretching it too thin.)
• The Singing Cowboy was based on an actual bugnuts insane movie serial called The Phantom Empire, starring Gene Autry. According to Wikipedia, "the serial film is about a singing cowboy who stumbles upon an ancient subterranean civilization living beneath his own ranch that becomes corrupted by unscrupulous greedy speculators from the surface." I mean, how could I not steal that?
• So many of the bad guys in pulp entertainment of the 30s (especially Flash Gordon) were animal-based, so it made sense to team everyone up at the end. Also Joe got to play Rektilo the Recalcitrant, our take on Ming the Merciless (who, it turns out, was not a horrible Asian stereotype like I and so many other people misremembered him!)
• You gotta have an arena fight. I mean... you gotta.
• These characters and situations — okay, really just Dottie and her robot, with cameo appearances by Matt, AAlgar and The Colonel in episode one — reappeared in an ongoing feature in Sarcastic Voyage Theatre. As fun as it was to take Dottie through a few different other eras in some different projects, this original take on her was always her best form.