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QP episodes that stand up today?

Comments on QP episodes that stand up today?
Corey Klemow
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Posted 01/16/04 - 12:16 PM:

Hiya, folks. I was introduced to \"Quiet, Please\" via a friend, who sent me a link to the script of \"The Thing on the Fourble Board.\" I thought it was terrific - a standard \"there's some THING lurking in the shadows\" plot shored up with great characterizations, and a truly surprising ending that piles perversity on top of horror.

I've now read about 2/3 of the scripts at http://www.geocities.com/emruf6/, and listened to a couple of the MP3s that are still up, and haven't found anything else that comes close. Oh, the writing is excellent, the characters are usually superb... but the stories, while innovative for the 1940s, usually just make me shrug and think, \"Hmph, I've seen something like that before.\" They don't stand up on all fronts the way \"Fourble\" does.

\"Whence Came You\" was a near miss for me - the problem with the ending being, we're supposed to buy that he's having a crisis of conscience, I suppose - I freed you, now you are obligated to free me. But it's pretty obvious she lured him there and trapped him in the first place. It's also obvious that she's actually a bloodthirsty ancient goddess. And there's light ahead - he CAN get out. So... what's the problem, then?

Other strong entires that ultimately dissapointed were \"Tap the Heat, Bogdan\" and \"Wear the Dead Man's Coat\" - again, simply because I felt I'd seen stories like those before, not because they were actually bad per se.

\"Shadow of the Wings\" gave me a lot of hope, at first - it was so moving, and so effective, and makes such a nice contrast with \"Fourble\" (going for the heart rather than the screaming meemies)... but I just can't buy the ending. The play seemed so strongly to be about the inevitability and inescapability of death, that when it made a hard right turn in its last seconds into being an Easter story of resurrection, it seemed to come out of nowhere. (And it isn't even done well. Mom just says \"Remember!\" and Azrael knows *exactly* what she's talking about... ?) The ending was a surprise, but for just this once I *wanted* the ending to be predictable, as it seemed the only possible honest ending, and the inevitability of it combined with the richly sympathetic characters of Carol Sue and her mother would have made it heart-rendingly poignant.

Any recommendations? Or do y'all think I'm just WAY too hard to please? smiling face

--Corey K.
MS
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Posted 01/16/04 - 11:48 PM:

It's not that you're hard to please. It's just that, if you're looking for consistent original plots, that's not what the series is all about. In fact, Cooper is quoted in an article on the page you link to as saying:

"I don't believe in too strong a story line because it's apt to be too hard for the listener to keep in mind ... The charm in radio consists of good characterization. Plot should consist of a twist rather than a formalized structure."

Consequently, his scripts usually make use of the simplest genre plots -- ghost stories, love triangles, etc. -- and are borrowed from the usual suspects -- the Bible, Washington Irving, Poe, etc. -- so they're not particularly "innovative for the 1940s." Some are almost plotless, just a series of vignettes or variations on a theme. Sometimes, it's easy enough to predict how a story is going to end within the first few minutes ("Little Visitor" "Calling All Souls") but it doesn't matter much because the emphasis is elsewhere: on the mood, the odd details and digressions, and the characters.

Still, if you're looking for something akin to "Fourble," you might listen to "Northern Lights" ... As for honest endings, I've always liked "Adam and the Darkest Day."
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Posted 01/17/04 - 6:43 PM:

FYI, "Adam and the Darkest Day" will be one of the radio plays in a new Radio Spirits compilation of Science Fiction to be released this summer.
Corey Klemow
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Posted 01/21/04 - 1:22 PM:

>Still, if you're looking for something akin to "Fourble," you might listen to "Northern Lights" ... As for honest endings, I've always liked "Adam and the Darkest Day."<

Thanks for the recommendations, those were pretty good! (Only somewhat marred by all the stuff in "Darkest Day" about how "all the laws of nature" mean that it's inevitable that the earth will indeed return to its normal orbit eventually.... heh.)
Paul
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Posted 01/23/04 - 11:27 AM:

Some of my favorites that I listen to again and again: "Clarissa", "I Have Been Looking for You", "Dialogue for a Tragedy", "Inquest", "Pavane"

None of those have too strong of plots, they're more about crafting an emotion, which is what I like the series for.

And in particular, I do love episodes that do things other entertainment doesn't normally dare to do. "Inquest"'s inclusion of the radio audience (also picked up on in "The Venetian Blind Man", a nice touch), "Tragedy"'s one-direction conversation, "Looking"'s merging of the two first person stories plus its poetic nature, and Clarissa and Pavane's calm, slow, almost surreal haunting styles.

This may be heresy, but I've never seen what's so great about Fourble. Fourble is good, sure, but it doesn't seem to me like anything that another series couldn't have done. It's jsut a horror story.

As far as Shadow of the Wings I agree... it starts with promise but never really delivers.
Zorka
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Posted 01/24/04 - 6:57 AM:

> This may be heresy, but I've never seen what's so great about
> Fourble. Fourble is good, sure, but it doesn't seem to me like
> anything that another series couldn't have done. It's jsut a horror
> story.

Not heresy to me. While I like the episode, after listening to many of Cooper's radio plays (not just "Quiet, Please"), I'd have to say it is not as effective as some of his others.

What I sometimes imagine in some of his plays is almost a bare stage with a single spotlight. Chappell is narrating in that spotlight and then various spots will light up on the stage as the story is told and others might interact. His staging in my mind is that simple - his stories are little fantastic tales and the power of his word is what seems to bring it home to me. "Fourable" had elements of that but just wasn't as effective as others.
Corey Klemow
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Posted 01/25/04 - 10:33 AM:

>What I sometimes imagine in some of his plays is almost a bare stage with a single spotlight. Chappell is narrating in that spotlight and then various spots will light up on the stage as the story is told and others might interact.<

Migawd, you read my mind. smiling face

For the last month, I've been pondering proposing to the artistic committee of my theatre company a late-night production of "Fourble" and maybe one other "Quiet, Please" script, to go up 'round about Halloween time, done in pretty much exactly that style. Creating a world entirely through lights, sound effects, and Cooper's words.

These plans are why I was so particularly dissapointed in "Shadow of the Wings" - I thought I'd found the perfect contrasting companion piece, and then it fell flat. (In a fit of madness, I wrote my own ending for it. It wasn't any better, of course.) smiling face

Thanks for the further suggestions, folks; I'll check 'em out if'n they're online.

--Corey K.
Thomas Davie
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Posted 01/26/04 - 9:35 PM:

First, last and always this will remain the greatest Quiet Please episode for me. I could easily see this been made into a Teilight Zone episode.

It sends chills down my spine every time I listen to it.

Tom

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Posted 02/11/04 - 9:52 PM:

\"Fourble Board\" is probably one of the best realized plays for the structure that Cooper set for himself.

\"Shadow of the Wings\" is one of my favorites because of Ernest Chappel's performance. I did pick up clues to how the story would end when the Angel of Death chats with his brother angels outside heaven, where he cannot re - enter until the End of the World.

In the last scene, Chappel pulled out the stops and created a picture in my head of an angel weeping in joy that he has seen, for a second time, a hint of the resurrection and an end of his exile from Heaven.

I wish i could have talked to Chappel about how Cooper worked with his actors. They had little rehearsal time. I may be wrong here but I think Cooper was allowing them to play off the stereotyped characters that populated so much of daytime and evening radio.

Cooper also had a unique view of villains, at least from the names he gave them. A bank robber and killer named Stanley, Kidneyfoot Cassidy and Schuster from \"Good Ghost\" come to mind. \"Good Ghost\" is one of my favorites because of the contrast in the main characters: Gus, the nearly saintly ghost and Schuster, a coward, murderer, freeloader, wife-beater and liar.

The actor who played Schuster gave it all he had and the picture was vivid and real when Gus appeared to Schuster first, and later when he was in the \"psychopathic\" hospital.

The talent Cooper had to draw on in the studio could not be beat. Only a few, like Fred Allen, seemed to strive to get the right actor who could give the right performance.
Old Timer
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Posted 05/12/04 - 4:56 PM:

Orginally posted by Old Timer

"Fourble Board" will always stand out to me as being the Only Radio Episode of Any series that took me by surprise with its ending. There are three other episodes that have really stood out for me. "Whence Came You" and "12 to 5" (along with Fourble Board) stand out as my 3 favorite QP episodes smiling face . "The Hat, The Bed & John J. Catherine" also stands out as being one of the worst shows I've ever heard sticking out tongue .
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Posted 07/15/04 - 10:13 PM:

cool


I've

listened to most of the Quiet Please episodes. Fourble Board is very atmospheric, but the ending is VERY SILLY, especially

that ridiculous cat-like whining of the 'Thing'. I'm not a big fan of this episode.

A list of my own favorites

would most certainly begin with \"There Are Shadows Here\", a wonderfully atmospheric and well-acted tale that

encapsulates all the elements that made Quiet Please so special: slow, funereal music at beginning of show, low-key first

person narrative by the wonderful and versatile Ernest Chappell, memorable characterisations (especiallty the bartender

Paddy). It is my favorite episode. I've listend to it many times.

Second favorite would be \"Take Me To the

Graveyard\". Another low-key, ghostly tale.

Other tales that really stand out include \"My Son,

John\" and \"Beezer's Cellar\". There are others that really impressed me, but I'll have to think

further about it. The sound quality of the above episodes is excellent. Sadly, there are a number of surviving episodes

that are very nearly unlistenable, due to extremely poor sound quality.


Paul
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Posted 07/28/04 - 12:26 AM:

Shadows is kind of an odd one for me, in that I really dislike most of the episode (too much repetition, I think)... yet the ending of it is great. The emotion which that ending manages to craft is one of the best.
MS
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Posted 07/30/04 - 10:34 PM:

Orginally posted by Corey Klemow

>What I sometimes imagine in some of his plays is almost a bare stage with a single spotlight. Chappell is narrating in that spotlight and then various spots will light up on the stage as the story is told and others might interact.<

Migawd, you read my mind. smiling face

For the last month, I've been pondering proposing to the artistic committee of my theatre company a late-night production of "Fourble" and maybe one other "Quiet, Please" script, to go up 'round about Halloween time, done in pretty much exactly that style. Creating a world entirely through lights, sound effects, and Cooper's words. ...

--Corey K.



I see Corey's proposal is online:

www.sacredfools.org/backsta...als2004-05/QuietPlease.htm

But check out this February 9, 1935 Chicago Tribune item:

Fifty members of Evanston's Lights Out club got more than they bargained for the other midnight when they came to NBC studios to view Bill Cooper's macabre "Lights Out" broadcast. This week's episode concerned a honeymooning couple lost in the Roman catacombs. Studio lights are doused during the broadcast, only two narrow beams playing on the actors themselves. The studio sound experts gave Evanstonians a nice case of jitters.


Corey Klemow
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Posted 09/07/04 - 6:37 PM:

Neat! Thanks for digging that up.

I should (hopefully) know soon if and when my "Quiet, Please" proposal is a go!
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