Robot radio DJ

There is nothing wrong with your monitor. Don’t attempt to adjust the screen. We are controlling the transmission.

“The Outer Limits” probably gave many kids growing up in the 1960s nightmares. As a show that mastered telling incredible science fiction stories, it was famous for being a sort of anti-“Twilight Zone.”

While both were philosophical anthology series, “The Outer Limits” wanted to show the depths of the human spirit, displaying how we could rise up when confronted with something dark. It was much more focused on action and suspense, while using innovative cinematography to give the show a moody, eerie look.

However, some people might not know that it also was a radio production in the 1950s.

Cheyenne Little Theatre Players managing director Todd Martin knew what a groundbreaking show “The Outer Limits” was, both on the radio and on TV. He believed one of the radio series’ episodes would be a perfect fit for this year’s CLTP radio show, which the company stages at least once or twice annually.

The Live Sci-Fi Radio Show will take place next weekend, with performances being held Friday and next Saturday at the Atlas Theatre downtown. This show will act as a fundraiser for the theater company.

If you’ve never been to one of their live radio shows, it’s a little different than a normal CLTP production.

For starters, there isn’t much of a set. Or costumes. There is a bit of production, but their focus is more on the story and the actors creating an immersive, thrilling experience for the audience using just their voices and sounds.

“Each year, we try to find an interesting theme for the radio shows,” Martin said. “We found a couple of scripts we really liked for this year’s show were one from ‘The Outer Limits’ radio show that aired in 1950, and the other was from ‘The Shadow,’ which aired in 1938. We thought those would go well together.”

The Shadow is a famous adventure hero from the 20th century, having been featured in a radio series, a pulp magazine, comic books, television and much, much more. A film adaptation of The Shadow, starring Alec Baldwin as the titular character, was released in 1994.

Martin wasn’t originally slated to direct any shows for the CLTP’s 90th season, but when the opportunity arose for him to helm the radio show, he thought it would be a great chance to try out directing something entirely different. While he’s been involved in the radio shows before, those roles have been as an actor.

This radio show has a fairly large cast, with around 14 people involved. Martin noted that the audition turnout was so great he wanted to include as many people as possible.

The Shadow’s story has the larger cast, with the titular character, his assistant, Margo Lane, and a number of other characters telling the story.

For “The Outer Limits” production, the plot revolves around a group of scientists testing out a new rocket. The pilot only has 10 minutes of fuel, but ends up in orbit for 10 hours, and no one knows why.

“He comes back and has some dangerous news for the world,” Martin added. “He ends up being in orbit for 10 hours instead of 10 minutes. How did that 10 minutes of fuel last for 10 hours?”

As for The Shadow, the story focuses on two petty criminals extorting people in the city and later murdering a local panhandler. The Shadow comes in to save the day and bring the two men to justice.

Martin said he’s excited to do some fun things with the audio for this radio show, especially with “The Outer Limits” story. He added that the production team is going to add some lighting and projection to this radio show, showing the audience changes in locale, making the show easier to follow.

“We want to keep the spirit of the old-fashioned radio show alive, but also use the technology available to us now,” he said.

Ellen Fike is a freelance writer living in Cheyenne. She can be reached at elfylucille@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter at @EllenLFike.

Ellen Fike is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s features editor. She can be reached at efike@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3135. Follow her on Twitter @EllenLFike

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