Radio Theater and Robert E. Howard

There is a little non-profit radio station in Portland, Oregon producing radio plays adapting Howard’s stories under the direction of longtime Howard fan Matthew Clark. The plays are part of a program called Gremlin Time, featured on KBOO radio, which regularly presents plays based on horror, adventure and science fiction classics. Among the authors adapted are several of Howard’s favorite writers (Jack London and Rafael Sabatini). Thus far, two Howard stories have appeared: “Wild Water” and “Pigeons From Hell.”

‘Pigeons From Hell’ by Robert E. Howard

Submitted by Matthew Clark

Program Date: Mon, 10/19/2009

For Halloween, we submit for your approval, “Pigeons From Hell;” a scary Southern Gothic short story by Texas-born Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian. Two lost travelers come across a long abandoned plantation house, where they decide to spend the night. But something is hiding in the old manor house, something horrible! Something undead, that ‘lives’ off murder! Howard combines a classic haunted house story with elements of nightmarish dream states, and voodoo legends of the undead, with the aftermath of the Reconstuction for a tale of horror and cruel revenge.

First published in 1938 in the pulp magazine Weird Tales, two years after Howard’s death; it was later adapted for an episode of the early 1960’s TV show Thiller,  hosted by Boris Karloff. By the late 60’s, there was a popular interest in fantasy literature due to the success of  The Lord of the Rings, and Howard’s work began to be reprinted. This story appeared in the paperback collection The Dark Man and Others, and then began appearing in many other collections of horror stories. In 1983 Stephen King called it one of the great horror stories of the 20th Century.

‘Wild Water’ by Robert E. Howard

Submitted by Matthew Clark

Program Date: Wed, 05/20/2009

Jim Reynolds sets out to take down the corrupt political machine of Bisley, Texas.  But his idea of justice brings more than he bargained for.  Set during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, this 20th Century Western short story is a departure for fantasy/adventure writer Robert E. Howard. A 3D Radio production featuring Sterling Sam Silver, Rasco Veldt, and Fortunato.

Both of these radio plays are first rate productions and very entertaining to listen to.  You can either listen to them at the KBOO website or download them to your computer for later listening on your MP3 player. Matthew is working on several other adaptations of Howard stories, with the next one, “The Valley of the Lost,” premiering this summer.