Thursday, June 19, 2008

Audio Dramas: Star Wars – The Original Radio Drama

I’ve mentioned before about how I loved to lay around and listen to dramas in big bulky old school headphones. One of those dramas that sticks out in my mind is the NPR radio versions of Star Wars. I would race home to hear the thrilling audio adventures of those characters I knew from the 50 times I had seen the movies. And since I had the Early Bird Action Figure sets I could reenact a few scenes as well. The Lucasfilm approved project utilized all the official music and sound effects of the movies. And in some cases the actual cast is on hand to lend their vocal talents to the proceedings. Mark Hamil, Antony Daniels and others reprise their roles throughout the episodes. And actors like the late Broc Peters, Ann Sax and Perry [80’s TV Vet from “Rip Tide”] King all do some great voice work too. Although it does take a little getting used to when you jump from James Earl Jones to Peters as Vader. It isn’t distracting. Its just different.

The really neat thing is that the radio plays expand or even have new content only seen in the novelazations. In the first episodes we get to meet Luke’s friends on Tatoine, race through Beggar’s Canyon, meet Lea before she leaves in the Blockade Runner and hear a conversation between Luke and Biggs Darklighter about the Rebellion. The latter of which was filmed and is available on You Tube if you know where to look.

Amazingly enough the set’s audio quality holds up surprisingly well considering it was recorded two and a half decades ago. And even more of a shocker is that the prequels don’t totally break the radio play/Classic Trilogy continuity up. Minus the usual spots like the Force being an Energy Field versus Midiclorions nonsense. Or in the radio version Han definitely does shoot first. Therefore if you prefer your Jedi Knights of 1977 then this set will feel like a warm pair of Wookie fur lined slippers. 

To learn more about this set go to the NPR store.

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