Hip tip: 1970s' Fantastic Four radio show

Think about the golden age of radio drama and the 30s and 40s likely come to mind. But the mid 1970s weren't too shabby, either, if you lived in the right market.

I was lucky. The college radio station in my town--along playing a diverse assortment of great music--played some great radio adventure programs. I've already mentioned the Jack Flanders adventures like "The Fourth Tower of Inverness" and "Moon Over Morocco" here, but they also played "The Fantastic Four" radio show.

Listening now, yeah, the show may sound a little cheesy. But, compared to many TV programs and movies based on comics (even those produced today) it was great. Nice sound effects, decent voice acting and--best of all--scripts that were loyal to the comic. In fact, the scripts were the comic. In most cases, narration and dialogue came straight out of early issues of FF. Even nicer, the narrator for these shows was none other than Stan Lee--the guy who wrote the scripts in the first place.

And, oh yeah, the role of Johnny Storm: The Human Torch was voiced by none other than Bill Murray, future star of movies and "Saturday Night Live" and movies, but then a comic working on the "National Lampoon Radio Hour"--another cool show my college station aired.

The NLRH had a stellar cast, in fact, featuring lots of Second City folks who later went on to do big stuff: John Belushi, Christopher Guest, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner...

Anyway, if you're a comics fan--particularly if you enjoy early Marvel Age stuff--the FF show is something you're sure to enjoy. If you can get ahold of copies. Sadly, the show is commercially unavailable--although if you Google around you might be able to find CD copies or downloads. It'd be really nice if someone--I don't know who exactly owns the rights--made it available. Maybe Marvel could offer it up on their Web site.

I did see, recently, original broadcast LPs of the program for sale on e-Bay, which sparked this recollection. Here are cover images of those:

Also of interest, is this in-depth interview with the show's producer Peter B. Lewis over at the Fantastic Four Plaza.

More info:

National Lampoon Radio Hour