The Black Hole
Episode 124: The Black Hole
(Featuring a dramatized radio presentation of the Walt Disney 1979 classic, The Black Hole.)
Sit back for a radio adaptation of The Black Hole, Disney’s attempt at Sci-Fi that is equal parts 2001 and Star Wars. While the film was a bit of a flop when it was released, there were a number of pieces of media released at the time that retold the story of the film, all on vinyl. That, coupled with samples from the film itself, have been combined for two-hour presentation of one of the most over-looked narratives of the last 30 years. Now, today, join us for the entire story, specifically designed for radio enjoyment.
I have to say, as a kid, this film left a pretty big impression on me. My parents took me to see it at a Drive-In, and while most of the film had been forgotten almost immediately, the robot characters stood out so much that I immediately incorporated them into my own imaginary games that I regularly played on my own. Years later, I discovered the audio treat of listening to this film on headphones. Minus one orchestral bit in the last third of the film, the score is creepy and awesome at the same time, and the audio effects fully utilize the stereo effects that were available. It’s really a joy to listen to, and while the delivery of the dialog in many parts borders only on passable, the audio editing is what draws me back to this film over and over again.
Plus, there is also a bit of Odysseus traveling into the Underworld at work here. That always goes over well.
Obsessive Black Hole fans will note that I eliminated two somewhat-confusing subplots from this presentation: the fact that Dr. Reinhardt used to have Kate’s father on the Cygnus with him, but later killed Kate’s father. This subplot adds nothing to the story, and is irrelevant on the whole. There is one bit of dialog that I failed to cut, but it is out of context and I don’t think it makes things any more confusing than it already is. I also eliminated the suggestion that Maximillian (the robot) was actually the one in charge, controlling through intimidation Dr. Reinhardt. Again, it was a confusing subplot that only surfaces once or twice. I also tried to trim as much of the “bad” orchestra cue as humanly possible. (The only used during some of the lazer battle scenes.) With all the good music in this film, that song really stands out. While much of it is still in the show, I cut as much as it made sense to.
Attentive fans will notice that this is the second time I’ve attempted this story for radio. This is an expanded recreation retrocast of a show from August of 2007. At the time, the show was only an hour long, and I did not yet have the LPs that I’ve used to expand and supplement this broadcast. What is funny is that the story finally makes sense in this form; originally I just used samples from the film, which means that the visual elements that tell the story are lost on the audience. (I’m specifically thinking of the ending sequence, that lacks dialog for much of it.) That, coupled with editing out about 45 minutes of the story, made that version a little difficult to make sense of. (However, it was a great piece of experimental audio.) Lastly, there is no recording of the original version. I’ve been planning to do a recreation of it for quite some time. However, now that I have the Disney LPs, it seemed appropriate.
For those curious about the people involved in working on this film, here are the appropriate credits, in terms of the audio story. While I did all the editing and arrangements on the radio version, it was done with original materials created by Walt Disney Pictures. It seems important to give credit where credit is due.
Directed by Gary Nelson
Story by Jeb Rosebrook, Bob Barbash, Richard Landau & Gerry Day.
Narrated by Percy Rodrigues.
Music by John Barry, with help from Evelyn Kennedy, Helen Sneddon, Dan Wallin and Albert Woodbury
Sound Effects and Editing by Wayne Allwine, Nick Alphin, Barney Cabral, Norman Carlisle, George Fredrick, Robert Hathaway, Ben Hendricks, John Jolliffe, Stephen Katz, James MacDonald, Bud Maffett, Al Maguire, Joe Parker, Frank Regula, Herb Taylor, Louis Terrusa, John Van Frey, and Bill Wylie.
Staring: Maximilian Schell as Dr. Hans Reinhardt, Anthony Perkins as Dr. Alex Durant, Robert Forster as Captain Dan Holland, Joseph Bottoms as Lieutenant Charles Pizer, Yvette Mimieux as Dr. Kate McCrae, Ernest Borgnine as Harry Booth, Roddy McDowall as V.I.N.CENT., & Slim Pickens as B.O.B.
The Black Hole
# Title * Artist * Album * Label
01.) Selected Excerpts & Samples * Walt Disney * The Black Hole * Walt Disney Productions
02.) Main Title * John Barry * Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Black Hole * Walt Disney Productions
03.) Selected Excerpts & Samples * Walt Disney Productions * Walt Disney Productions Presents the Story of The Black Hole * Walt Disney Productions
04.) The Door Opens * John Barry * Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Black Hole * Walt Disney Productions
05.) Zero Gravity * John Barry * Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Black Hole * Walt Disney Productions
06.) Six Robots * John Barry * Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Black Hole * Walt Disney Productions
07.) Durant Is Dead * John Barry * Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Black Hole * Walt Disney Productions
08.) Start The Countdown * John Barry * Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Black Hole * Walt Disney Productions
09.) End Credits * John Barry * Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Black Hole * Walt Disney Productions