Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Overlooked Audio: The Tower of the Elephant by Robert E. Howard (and Friends)

Back in the Dark Ages we had these clunky round slabs of black vinyl called records or LPs. This album, from Moondance Productions, was one of them.

Sometime around 1974 a guy named Alan B. Goldstein had a dream. He wanted create a radio series devoted to the adventures of Conan the Cimmerian. The pilot program was a 17-minute dramatization of the Howard story "The Frost Giant's Daughter," adapted by Goldstein himself.

The next step was to produce a second program, so the two could be issued on limited edition LP, in hopes of drumming up interest for the radio series. For the second show, Marvel Comics' REH substitute, Roy Thomas, was brought on board to write the script.

For whatever reason, the show never got off the ground. But it's pretty cool to have this album. I'm posting "The Tower of the Elephant" for a limited time only. ("The Frost Giant's Daughter" is good, too, but "Tower" is ten minutes longer and more interesting.) You can either listen to it here or download it for later. I'll try to keep it available for at least a week.

Conan is played by Paul Falzone, with narration by Owen McGee. Paul Donlon plays Yag Kosha and the Kothian. Carl Penke plays Taurus and Yara. 

The Tower of the Elephant - listen now:

The Tower of the Elephant - download for later:

For more of this week's Overlooked Films, Etc., visit Todd Mason's Sweet Freedom!


Todd Mason said...

It certainly gets across the passion of Howard's writing, and takes its task seriously and executes it at least as well as most '70s radio drama...almost a surprise that it didn't fly, and had it been tried again in, say, 1978, as the reverberations of STAR WARS and the rocketing sales of THE SIMARILLION were all around, it might well've gotten farther along.

Deka Black said...

Thanks Evan! :D Now i have something to make my morning a bit mor eintresting. ^^

Anonymous said...

I remember this album was advertised in the backs of old Marvel magazines or maybe famous Monsters of Filmland. Right next to ads for Elfquest. It was my first inkling of a lot of little tiny businesses that were never going to reach my small town life.

And now something so obscure as this is just a click of the mouse. Thank you.

Dan Luft

Cap'n Bob said...

Oddly enough, I've been reading Conan on my Kindle for about a week, and have only gotten through 7% of the material.

Charles Gramlich said...

oooh, thanks for this.

Evan Lewis said...

I've been listening to the audiobook of the first Ballantine volume. That's taking a while, too.

Michael E. Stamm said...

I'm looking forward to hearing this; I didn't know it existed. Does anyone know where to get hold of--in any form--the 1970s Alternate World recording of Ugo Toppo's readings of Howard, FROM THE HELLS BENEATH THE HELLS?

Evan Lewis said...

I didn't know From the Hells Beneath the Hells existed, but I checked WorldCat, and see four college libraries have the LP. Michigan St U, U of Missouri, Trinity U in Texas, and York U in Canada. Unlikely they'd send it out on InterLibrary Loan, but it's worth a shot, so I put in a request.

Todd Mason said...

Yes, the Alternate Worlds records, a very impressive set, fell into a black hole when Roy Torgeson died, or so I gather.

Tex said...

Youse guys still looking for FROM THE HELLS BENEATH THE HELLS?


(Howard audio aficionado)

Irv the Nerve said...

I bought this album when it was new. I probably still have it around here somewhere.

Unknown said...

I have 2 albums numbered 541 and 542, one of which is still sealed that my father gave to me along with his entire comic book collection from the 60's and 70's.