Friday, December 21, 2007

A Dream Coming True...

For Immediate Release:

Pulp Writer and Award-Winning Theatre Company Revive Forgotten Hero for Internet Radio Audiences Worldwide

Bill Cunningham and Decoder Ring Theatre Partner via the Web
to Bring the Radio Adventures of The Knightmare to Life

21 December, 2007: Los Angeles, CA and Toronto, Ontario, CAN

Fans of “old time radio” (OTR) know “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men,” (The Shadow) and who “hunts the biggest of all game” (The Green Hornet), but in the Summer of 2008 a long-forgotten hero “Who knows what you fear” will be resurrected courtesy of Los Angeles writer-producer Bill Cunningham and Toronto’s Decoder Ring Theatre Company. Audiences worldwide will be tuning in to a radio first: The broadcast of the lost radio adventure of The Knightmare.

The Knightmare, a character modeled in the same clay as radio and pulp heroes The Shadow and The Spider, was created in 1941 for Titan Studios, an independent motion picture company as a movie serial. Cunningham, a longtime devotee of old radio and pulp characters, re-discovered and acquired the rights to the character when researching “poverty row” studios of the period. “I was interviewing several behind-the-scenes technicians who had worked at the old Mack Sennett Studios back in the days before it was closed, and they kept mentioning Titan Studios - a studio I had never heard of before,” said Cunningham.

Digging around further, Cunningham discovered Titan was a first-time production company that was set to launch a serial titled The Knightmare. In a move that was before its time, Titan’s head Cameron Tyler - a young entrepreneur from New York - made plans to launch a radio program at the same time to promote the serial. Just as Tyler’s plans were coming together, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Tyler’s investors backed out. Destitute, Tyler mysteriously disappeared along with all the preproduction work for The Knightmare, never to be heard from again. “When I was finally able to read some of his story ideas for The Knightmare (recovered from one of the technician’s basement storage) and look at some of the visuals that he had drawn, I was hooked. I have no doubt that if Tyler had been able to launch The Knightmare he would have changed the face of pulp, radio and serial heroes forever,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham immediately contacted Gregg Taylor of Toronto’s award winning Decoder Ring Theatre Company and suggested they partner to bring Tyler’s radio plans to life. “Decoder Ring Theatre is one of the few companies doing original radio dramas for the internet, and has cultivated a strong following amongst fans of OTR. Gregg has a keen story sense of what works for radio having successfully created both The Red Panda and Black Jack Justice serials. Gregg immediately responded to the idea with incredible enthusiasm,” laughed Cunningham, “Which, quite frankly is surprising since he had never met me except via the internet. I will write the first draft and together we will polish it.”

(CONTINUED)

The Knightmare p.2

“Gregg will stage it with the rest of his troupe of very talented players there in Toronto. What Cameron Tyler dreamed of as his entry into Hollywood has become an international digital co-production.”

Taylor commented, “The Pulp Era was a time of adventure, of archetypes and infinite possibilities. In movie serials, dime magazines and classic radio broadcasts, the imaginations of a generation took shape, and a vision of the heroic ideal was created which survives to this day. The Knightmare is an opportunity for us to re-create that world for our listeners, and the chance to work with Bill Cunningham, one of the vanguard of the New Pulp movement, is just too good to pass up. We can’t wait to bring our listeners into the weird world of The Knightmare, and we know that they’ll find themselves back there time and time again in their own dark dreams.”

“Gregg and I will be working directly from Tyler’s original story notes for The Knightmare radio drama,” said Cunningham. “He’s a masked man of mystery who fights evil with the supernatural power to literally become what you fear. This echoes The Shadow, but with a terrifying twist which we hope to capture via the theatre of the mind. The Knightmare’s blend of heroics and horror is one of the key elements to what makes him unique.”

Taylor added, “Thanks to the internet, we will be able to realize Tyler’s dream and give audiences all over the world a one-of-a-kind radio adventure.”

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Decoder Ring Theatre is a Toronto based Theatre and Audio Production company that runs an award-nominated weekly podcast of the same name. It consists primarily of two series, The Red Panda Adventures and Black Jack Justice, both of which are done in the style of old-time radio, and alternate in six-episode runs. For more information log on to: www.decoderringtheatre.com

Bill Cunningham is a writer-producer who is affectionately referred to in the entertainment community as “the mad pulp bastard.” As a screenwriter and producer his credits include: Scarecrow, Scarecrow: Slayer, .Com for Murder, The 2005 DVD Exclusives Awards Show and The 2006 Video Hall of Fame Awards. He is also a regular contributing writer to the Tales of the Shadowmen pulp anthology series from Black Coat Press. He has been a guest speaker at the 2006 Scriptwriter’s Showcase on Direct To DVD screenwriting as well as the 2003 American Black Film Festival. As a movie marketer he has designed and launched campaigns for over 60 motion pictures released on DVD. He can be found online at: www.d2dvd.blogspot.com.


14 comments:

Steve Peterson said...

That's very cool. Many congrats!

Jason Sanders said...

Wow, two of my favorite internet nouns coming together! Unstoppable.

I've been a big OTR fan for the last... 13 years (not bad considering I'm 21) and remember all the old heroes: the shadow, Box 13, Great Gildersleeve, but never heard of the Knightmare.

Congrats!

Bill Cunningham said...

Jason -

Nobody's heard of this character before. That's what makes all of this so exciting.

I've been researching this for years and finally, the writing of the radio drama is here and a lot of fun, and I really hope you enjoy it when it comes out next Summer.

Tim said...

Nice work, Bill!! Aside from dispensing valuable advice to us rookies, you're sleuthing through the dusty crypts of Poverty Row for forgotten heroes of the pulp era.

Can't wait to hear where you and Decoder take this. Kudos!

Tim McGregor

m said...

This is awesome and a half.

I remember seeing mentions of Titan in some old books about the pulps and that era when I first got interested in stuff like The Shadow, but I could never find anything from them.

I'm looking forward to this, for damn sure.

Krale said...

I've been a huge fan of OTR for about 20 years or more and this is one of the most exciting developments in years. Not only the fact that The Knightmare is a "lost" show but it's now linked with Decoder Ring Theatre, the best audio drama company on the web.

Looking forward to hearing these tales.

Congrats

Cunningham said...

Krale,

Thanks for the support. It's an interesting writing challenge crafting the notes Tyler laid down into an actual show, but we think we are living up to his wishes, his legacy, and hope that wherever he is, he's pleased.

Emily Blake said...

Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

Good on you!

EditorJDC said...

You've made Editor Tim very jealous!

Gratz Bill.

EIC JDC

Cunningham said...

You mean beyond jealous because of my good looks and mild demeanor?

Wow.

Lara Z said...

What a fantastic undertaking! I'll sure be tuning in!

Grubber said...

Congrats on that one Bill. Looking forward to the Knightmare!
cheers
Dave

Winterman said...

Holy crap! I can't wait for this.

Niall Mor said...

Destitute, Tyler mysteriously disappeared along with all the preproduction work for The Knightmare, never to be heard from again

That sounds like the beginning of a pulp story right there! Like everybody else who's commented so far, I am mightily curious to hear how this turns out, but I have a gut feeling it will be great. Best of luck!