I used to love reading those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books; didn’t you? It was fun skipping pages and then going back to get a different ending. Usually I’d try to be smart and think the way I would if it was really happening to me… I almost always chose the path that ended in me dying. But it was still fun, interacting with the different companions and villains. Well, on my quest for obscure audio drama that needs showcasing, I found one that brings all the fun of those CYOA books to life. Ever wanted to star in an audio drama? Now you can, with Codename Cygnus.
What if someone told you that Leonardo DiCaprio was making a TV series? How would you feel about that? Excited? Confused as to why he was doing that? Well, that’s not happening, so don’t worry about it. But the equivalent did happen sixty years ago when Humphrey Bogart (star of Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and The African Queen, among many other influential films) and his wife Lauren Bacall (a top actress herself) decided to star in this series, which employed a unique technique that worked every time. So let’s take a look at what that technique was in this old-time radio show, “Bold Venture”.
Warning: don’t read past this sentence if you don’t want spoilers for series ten (that’s the one that just ended) of “Doctor Who”. That being said, let’s talk about a few things…
After all the nice things I said about Lucille Ball, how could I not come back to her at least one more time? It’s been forty-five shows on this blog since we last saw Lucy, but this is the last series I intend to review of hers. Mostly, I was intrigued, because every show she was in was successful except for this one. After “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour” (which was essentially the end of “I Love Lucy”), Lucy went on to make another show with Vivian Vance (who played Ethel) called “The Lucy Show”, and after that successful run, she made another show with her son and daughter called “Here’s Lucy”, which was another success. So what happened? Let’s find out with “Life with Lucy”.
After “The Man From UNCLE” grew to its enormous popularity, NBC decided that they wanted a spinoff, with a female lead. The creators of the show didn’t really want to do it, but the network did, and since Ian Fleming had offered the name of a female spy character years before, along came a show that not only failed to deliver what “The Man From UNCLE” had, but it even failed to deliver what it itself promised to be. What am I talking about? Let’s have a look at “The Girl From UNCLE”.
Many people don’t remember this show anymore, but back in its day, it was extremely popular. It was, after all, the first spy show in America, and one of the first in the world (although at least “The Avengers” was on before it in Britain). By its second season, there were over a dozen American spy shows. But this show was cancelled because its fans ran out on it. So how did a pioneer of the spy genre in America that inspired the creation of so many other programs lose its audience? Well, let’s have a look, as we examine “The Man From UNCLE”.