Skip to comments.Hear the Very First Adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 in a Radio Play Starring David Niven (1949)
Posted on 08/10/2015 12:38:48 PM PDT by don-o
Since George Orwell published his landmark political fable 1984, each generation has found ample reason to make reference to the grim near-future envisioned by the novel. Whether Orwell had some prophetic vision or was simply a very astute reader of the institutions of his dayall still with us in mutated formhardly matters. His book set the tone for the next 60 plus years of dystopian fiction and film. Orwells own political activitieshis stint as a colonial policeman or his denunciation of several colleagues and friends to British intelligencemay render him suspect in some quarters. But his nightmarish fictional projections of totalitarian rule strike a nerve with nearly everyone on the political spectrum because, like the speculative future Aldous Huxley created, no one wants to live in such a world. Or at least no one will admit it if they do.
(Excerpt) Read more at openculture.com ...
I have been listening to a lot of Old Time Radio recently.
ping your list?
You can watch the the December 1954 BBC tv version here.
It’s really bizarre to watch and it upset the British public who watched it.
The play provoked something of an upset. There were complaints about the “horrific” content (particularly the infamous Room 101 scene where Smith is threatened with torture by rats) and the “subversive” nature of the play. Most were worried by the depiction of a totalitarian regime controlling the population’s freedom of thought. There was also a report in the Daily Express newspaper of 42-year-old Beryl Merfin of Herne Bay collapsing and dying as she watched the production, under the headline “Wife dies as she watches”, allegedly from the shock of what she had seen.
Political reaction was divided, with several early day motions and amendments tabled in the Parliament. One motion, signed by five MPs, deplored “the tendency, evident in recent British Broadcasting Corporation television programmes, notably on Sunday evenings, to pander to sexual and sadistic tastes”. An amendment was tabled which sought to make the motion now deplore “the tendency of honourable members to attack the courage and enterprise of the British Broadcasting Corporation in presenting plays and programmes capable of appreciation by adult minds, on Sunday evenings and other occasions.” It was signed by five MPs. Another amendment added “but is thankful that the freedom of the individual still permits viewers to switch off and, due to the foresight of her Majesty’s Government, will soon permit a switch-over to be made to more appropriate programmes.” A second motion signed by six MPs, applauded “the sincere attempts of the B.B.C. to bring home to the British people the logical and soul-destroying consequences of their freedom” and calling attention to the fact that “many of the inhuman practices depicted in the play Nineteen Eighty-Four are already in common use under totalitarian régimes.”, Even the Queen and Prince Philip made it known that they had watched and enjoyed the play.
Amidst objections the BBC went ahead with a live repeat on Thursday 16 December, although the decision went to the Board of Governors, which narrowly voted in favour of the second performance. This was introduced live on camera by Head of Drama Michael Barry, who had already appeared on the Monday’s edition of the topical news programme Panorama to defend the production. The seven million viewers who watched the Thursday performance was the largest television audience in the UK since the Coronation the previous year.
Videotape recording was still in development and television images could only be preserved on film by using a special recording apparatus (known as “telerecording” in the UK and “kinescoping” in the USA) but was used sparingly in Britain for preservation and not for pre-recording. It is thus the second performance, one of the earliest surviving British television dramas, that is preserved in the archives.
When I drove truck, THAT is what I fell asleep to ......
Thanks for posting. For those who want to download:
bmk for later
The story itself does not scare me and never has. It's when I read news stories that show where we are heading that I get a little uneasy.
I love it. Heard the maltese falcon with the original cast. Also got some of the ol’ Shadow and some recent Doc Savage ones too. Better than the radio in the car.
The politicians are using "1984" as a manual.
When I was a teenager, I was always glued to the radio when "The Scarlet Queen" came on. From the site: "The Scarlet Queen embarks on its 40,000 mile round-trip, "Red Gallagher," portrayed by Ed Max, signs on as it's new First Officer. Their ultimate destination is the mysterious Orient by way of the South Seas, under contract to Kang & Sons, China Traders."
I recently re-discovered the downloadable series and spent my long drives living through major deju vu moments from 65 years ago.
They sure knew how to create GREAT titles, such as:
"The Spaniard and the Laskar Pirates"
"The Boston Geisha and Chesapeake Bay"
"The Barefoot Nymph and the Mother Hubbard Jacket"
"The Fat Trader and The Sword from Apokaijian"
"The Fifteenth Lama and the Wise Guy From the East"
Orwell (Eric Blair) was a great man, though flawed. He was sympathetic to socialism but strongly anti-communist.
I strongly recommend his nonfiction books “Down and Out in Paris and London”, “The Road to Wigan Pier.” and “Homage to Catalonia”.
Don’t know if you’re aware (you probably are), but USENET is also a good source for old-time radio stuff. Haven’t looked there in years, though.
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