We begin Season 2 of our audio theater golden-age-of-radio style program by paying homage to the work of the great humorist PG Wodehouse in our loving parody that posits the question, how would the aristocratic world of a gadfly nephew and his gentleman’s gentleman handle an apocalyptic world filled with vampires, werewolves, zombies and more. The answer is found in our two part episode entitled “Giles and Brewster and the Monster Apocalypse” This is PART ONE
Giles and Brewster and the Monster Apocalypse was written, created and produced by J. Timothy Quirk
The program was recorded at WAPJ, Torrington Community Radio
The program starred:
David Macharelli as Woodrow Brewster
Josh Newey as Giles
Lana Peck as Gloria Chennington
Shannon Sniffin as Gwenivere Chuttle
Jandi Hanna as Aunt Agnes
Kurt Boucher as Toppers
Olivia Wadsworth as Lady Chennington
Robert C. Fullerton as Lord Chennington
And J Timothy Quirk as Butterby and Gussie Knitfottle
Episode 28 features an HP Lovecraft inspired story written by Lana Peck, the Corpse Conductor written and performed by Josh Newey and The Snarflepoofs return!
The Corpse Conductor introduces us to the stories and provides a wonderful bookend to the episode. For the third and final installment of Nightmare Junction (The October Halloween episodes) Josh brings it home for us and deserved a week off to rest the vocal chords!
The Call of the Trolley is the first full story segment written by a cast member and it’s wonderful. Created by Lana Peck, it was pitched at the time we were discussing ideas for the Nightmare Junction stories. David Robinson was cast to portray the character (a stand-in for Lovecraft) and Lana’s script gives two nods to two prior Nutmeg Junction stories.
We then conclude with Snarflepoofs-Snarfleween, the mandatory holiday special. Snarflepoofs are “America’s Most Recent Toy Branded Children’s Entertainment Product” and the idea makes fun of the types of shows that only serve to sell toys by having stories and situations that actually discuss concepts of substance. So Snarfleween allows us to talk about climate change and the environment by talking about an Apple bobbing competition all while the characters maintain their philosophical inclinations. We introduce Nick Bourne into the Junction team. Nick and Lana had worked together under the direction of Keith Paul for a staged reading show at the Warner! (note: I had the opportunity to work for Keith in a staged reading many years ago with, among many others, Lana and Kurt Boucher!) Nick will return next week with two roles as he acts in both story segments we present!
Once again, Jandi Hanna is the narrator for the Snarfle-poofs and has a few fun commercials for “Flattread Tires” and “Greedymine Bottled Water”. Melissa Gabehart returns as “Sneetchey” (Nietzsche) and Jeff Savage is Plato! The first joke in this story pays homage to a famous Jack Benny line (we just did it in our own way). Kurt is Renny (Rene Descartes), Olivia is Wollstonecraft and Lana is Simone. We decided not to keep the “Princess” joke going as it had been done already and it would be cumbersome to continue it. The actors like these roles so much, we might have to do a Thanksgiving special, a “not as loved as Halloween or Christmas but still mandatory viewing holiday special”. And Rich Cyr becomes a Snarflepoof-which one? Listen to find out!
Nutmeg Junction: Nightmare Junction Special #3
Was directed by J. Timothy Quirk and recorded at WAPJ Torrington Community Radio
The Corpse Conductor was written by and starred Josh Newey
Intrepid private eye Harriet Holmes meets an iconic detective duo to conclude her search for the Lost Episode of Nutmeg Junction. She locates the story of Trace Duggins: Crime Illustrator in a send-up to the golden age of radio.
There used to be an old time radio program called Casey: Crime Photographer which was nothing more than a detective show with the protagonist who was a photographer for a newspaper. When creating a parody of that show, Kurt Moffett, who is himself a reporter for a newspaper as well as an integral part of the WAPJ radio station family, was tapped to play the lead.
That being said didn’t want to do a photographer and thought a crime “illustrator” had more appeal especially as the character to wax philosophically about the art choices and bake in to the story line a specific reason why the perpetrator would be caught through art. Since I wasn’t going to use “case-y” and thought Trace would be a great name for an artist.
Occasionally we’ll leave some moments of behind the scenes humor/reactions in the show itself. We do that at the very end of the episode courtesy of Rich Cyr!
The Trace Duggins story line is introduced as part of the Harriet Holmes mythology, or rather trilogy for this is the third and probably final part of the “Search for the Lost Episode” saga. To be sure, we’ll have Harriet Holmes in many more adventures but we’ve done three “lost episodes” shows and as it says in the script, three is a magic number. Olivia Wadsworth is wonderful in the role and her monologues have some of the better one-liners.
I’m excited that the show reintroduces Netta and Nathaniel Chance, our tip of the hat to the Thin Man series, and I absolutely love the way Lana Peck and Kurt Boucher channel the iconic era. These characters were recorded on our very first recording day (ever) of Nutmeg Junction and they deserve some more adventures!
The location of the Harriet Holmes section is in Broughton’s Meadow which was the original name for Florence, Massachusetts area in the Pioneer Valley. Their library is Lilly Library and the iconic and wonderful public park is Look Park. See if you can hear the references to these locations!
Also there are a few shout outs to Leominster Massachusetts! The show is heading to Leominster’s WLPZ on October 20th!
We continue our new way of creating Episode art-with photos taken via Kurt Boucher and myself (not sure who took which photos but it was a collaborative effort on the team). Jandi Hanna located a magnifying glass which we used during the photo shoot and in future episode covers it will probably be seen!
EPISODE 25: HARRIET HOLMES AND THE SEARCH FOR THE LOST EPISODE III WITH TRACE DUGGINS: CRIME ILLUSTRATOR
WAS WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY J. TIMOTHY QUIRK (C)2018
OLIVIA WADSWORTH AS HARRIET HOLMES/MS. SUSPECTON/MRS. GRIMLEY
KURT MOFFETT AS TRACE DUGGINS: CRIME ILLUSTRATOR
LANA PECK AS NETTA CHANCE/NARRATOR
KURT BOUCHER AS NATHANIEL CHANCE/MR. GRIMLEY
MELISSA GABEHART AS STRANGER ON A TRAIN/MAUDE PATTERSON
The story of this episode starts with Lana Peck, an original cast member and essential member of the Nutmeg Junction theater company.
Lana’s father Shelby Peck was a teacher and fiction writer with an interest in a particular pulp novel hero and he wrote fan fiction for a fanzine that discussed their favorite hero.
As we created Nutmeg Junction, Lana noted that the genre of audio theater we were creating fit her father’s stories very well so we set about putting them into our own world, in our own way. We changed names and added comic elements that her father would have approved of. We created “Golden Age Budget Conscious Adventures of…” as an interesting way to tell a story but in reality our show is at its best when there are more sound effects and music so as we continue to tell Doctor Keen stories, we’ll continually add more elements every time. This week had no music for the main story. When we return, we are thinking of bringing kazoos into the equation. By the time we do the character five times or so we may have the full orchestra style program.
This episode brought back nearly every member of the original cast (we were missing Conrad and Caroline Sienkiewicz) but we look forward to another opportunity to bring the whole original cast together soon!
Jandi Hanna portrays Michelle Smalls and Rich Cyr portrays Long John. We also had Kurt Boucher as “Knuckles” though he is the one taking the photos and not any of the at-microphone shots.
The villains of this story are portrayed by Josh Newey and Robert C. Fullerton
EPISODE 21: DOCTOR KEEN AND THE PHENOMENAL FIFTY IN THE WIZARDS OF GALLOWS HILL
STORY BY SHELBY PECK
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY LANA PECK AND J. TIMOTHY QUIRK
LANA PECK AS THE NARRATOR AND SAMANTHA THE CAT
J. TIMOTHY QUIRK AS DOCTOR KEEN
KURT BOUCHER AS KNUCKLES
RICH CYR AS LONG JOHN
JANDI HANNA AS MICHELLE SMALLS
JOSH NEWEY AS PRINCE ASMODEOUS/SAM LORD AND SILENT LESTER
ROBERT C. FULLERTON AS THE WIZARD/MR. SEWELL
DOCTOR KEEN WILL RETURN NEXT MONTH FOR THE CONCLUSION OF “THE WIZARD OF GALLOWS HILL!”
A delayed trolley allows a father and son to reconnect over the memories of Saturday morning cartoons.
Jeff Savage and David Macharelli helm this featured episode hearkening back to when Saturday mornings were meant for a bowl of cereal and cartoons on the television. The story is really a contemplation about “time”. Starting out the second half of our inaugural season of audio-theater, Nutmeg Junction presents an episode that takes the anthology series to a different level.
Directed by Jandi Hanna (her prior directorial work for the show was episode 18 “Battle of Elsenorift”) this talented cast all have moments in the spotlight.
Of particular interest for this show is the music. Robert C. Fullerton, the official troubadour of Nutmeg Junction show, creates a special theme for Packy-Dermy-Poo, our miniature Elephant mystery.
Kurt Boucher created an ode to tort law the way “schoolhouse’ style public service announcements might present the topic with contributions by Lana Peck and Nicole Boucher.
Lana Peck and Mik Walker’s 1998 “Jellybean Stomp” was the perfect theme for the SNARFLEPOOFS!
And apologies all around to anyone who has the “Snarfleday Song” still stuck in their heads. It was created and performed on guitar by J. Timothy Quirk and sung by the whole cast.
Regarding the main story:
Jake and his father speak with an understanding of the other’s knowledgebase and not everything said is spoken with words. During rehearsal we discussed where the father was going and why and the performance by Jeff Savage and David Macharelli demonstrated deep insight into the characters. As the writer, I’m incredibly proud of this piece and thrilled it came to life the way it did.
Regarding Snarflepoofs 1 and 2
It seemed there was a time when cartoons were created specifically to sell a line of toys. I won’t go into specific names. But whenever there was a large troupe of characters in a cartoon, it was usually (it seemed) because they were selling figures of each character and the cartoon was completely secondary to that effort. The cartoons usually told some generic and forgettable “lesson” about “friendship” or “sharing” or “being nice”. I thought it would be funny if a cartoon was used to teach something a lot greater, like general philosophy. So that’s the idea of how Snaflepoofs was created. We make references to Rene Descartes (Day Cart says, “call me Cogito!” Plato (who wants to go into my cave and stare at the wall?” and Nietche (Sneetchey steals the show here-nice work by new addition to the team “Melissa Gabehart”)
The song for the holiday song just made me laugh. It’s three chords, generic and infectious. During editing I added in the jinglebells, then expanded the guitar-work to fit the narration so that at the end of each narrated segment, we came back to the refrain.
The largest segment of the show is Packy-Dermy-Poo, the homage to the “teen mystery solvers with an animal” genre. The story nearly wrote itself. I enjoyed immensely the idea of a character specifically named Redmond Herring (red herring). Packy Dermy Poo may be a one-off parody but I loved the laughter at the end and included it in the audio. It fits within the framework of the cartoon but it also demonstrates the fun we have creating Nutmeg Junction.
Mister Tort Law is wonderful, a creation from the mind of Kurt Boucher. I reached out to the musical cast members about what they wanted to create for the show, giving free reign. Kurt came up with the idea of teaching the concepts of torts in the PSA format. Fantastic. We may do an entire tort episode and base it in Winsted where the American Museum of Tort Law is located and we’ll use that song again.
We had a separate PSA that was non-musical and was a parody of the “ad for a TV disguised as a PSA but instead of saying a generic lesson, we taught Einstein’s law of relativity. It was a good idea but there was no time for it once the foley was added to the other segments during editing.
EPISODE 20: LOOKING FORWARD TO IT”
Written, created and produced by J. Timothy Quirk (c) 2018
recorded at WAPJ in Torrington, CT
Directed by Jandi Hanna
Starring Jeff Savage as Dad in the main story, Plato in Snarflepoofs, Redmond Herring in Packy Dermy Poo
David Macharelli as Jake in the main story, Day Cart in Snarflepoofs and Chuck in Packy Dermy Poo
Kurt Boucher as Mister Tortlaw, Renny in Snarflepoofs and Simon in Packy Dermy Poo
Nicole Boucher as Mister Tortlaw’s friend
Rich Cyr as Beau in Packy Dermy Poo
Mellisa Gabehart as the Passenger, as Sneetchey in Snarflepoofs
Jandi Hanna the narrator in Snarflepoofs and Professor Culpritt in Packy Dermy Poo
Lana Peck as Chum in Mister Tort Law, Princess Simone in Snarflepoofs and Val in Packy Dermy Poo
Olivia Wadsworth as Princess Wollstonecraft in Snarflepoofs and Kristine in Packy Dermy Poo
Professor A‘s adventures continue in Chapter Five: Borrower of the Night! Professor A and Ms. Gentry escape to the planet of an alien world in a mini-universe while Dr. Robere remains imprisoned in the “Welcome Center”,distracting the guard, “Officer Funston” for as long as he can.
We continue the story of this multi-episodic Professor A adventure. Last week’s episode of Nutmeg Junction was Chapter Four and it ended on a cliff hanger. So does this episode!
The premise was established in Chapter Four-that the Uni-Ones came from a different universe and took over this world and began extracting its natural resources and then restricted all access to it from anyone else who tries to visit through the dimensional corridor.
In this episode we learn more from the native inhabitants of the world how the current state came to be.
Our principals (Lana Peck as Professor A, Kurt Boucher as Dr. Robere and Tiffy McKay as Ms. Gentry) return and they are joined by David Robinson, Conrad Sienkiewicz and Olivia Wadsworth.
Olivia was not present at the time of the original recording so Tiffy provided two voices, Ms. Gentry’s and B1067. We recorded Olivia after we had edited the show for radio release so there are actually two versions of this episode, the one with Tiffy playing B1067 and one with Olivia portraying the character. As the character will continue in the storyline, we’ve updated/edited the show with Olivia’s voice but Tiffy’s voice is preserved in case we do a “making-of” episode at some point!
David Robinson joins us for the first time and portrays “Bearnard (Bear) Sable/C9359).. Robinson is no stranger to stage and screen, and he was most recently in The Post (2017)
Conrad directs the episode and returns as a voice actor for the neighbor role which is nice because Conrad and I are neighbors in real life too! Conrad will lend his voice to a Harriet Holmes episode within the next few weeks.
The letters and numbers actually correspond to elements of the story
EPISODE 17: PROFESSOR A (CHAPTER FIVE: BORROWER OF THE NIGHT)
CREATED, WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY J. TIMOTHY QUIRK
DIRECTED BY CONRAD SIENKIWICZ
PROFESSOR A THEME MUSIC WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY LANA PECK (C)2018 AND USED WITH PERMISSION
NUTMEG JUNCTION THEME WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY ROBERT C. FULLERTON (C) 2018 AND USED WITH PERMISSION
LANA PECK AS THE PROFESSOR AND OFFICER FUNSTON
KURT BOUCHER AS DR. ROBERE
TIFFY MCKAY AS MS. GENTRY
DAVID ROBINSON AS BEARNARD (BEAR/C9357) SABLE
OLIVIA WADSWORTH AS B1067
CONRAD SIENKIEWICZ AS THE NEIGHBOR
REHEARSED AND RECORDED AT WAPJ TORRINGTON COMMUNITY RADIO
Professor A: Chapter Four-The Welcome Wagon is part of a multi-episode story that ends on a cliffhanger and continues until the next episode (which also ends on a cliff hanger-slightly spoiler alert!)
The topic of “immigration” and detention was prevalent on the minds of the American conscience in July 2018 and I had proposed a story that was, in hindsight, incredibly dark however not as dark as the reality that some in the country faced for the story I proposed was still only about adults and not children who were detained, imprisoned and separated from their loved ones.
I received feedback from the actors that the concepts would work if kept within the prism of the Professor world. At their recommendation, I believe specifically Lana Peck’s (Lana portrays the Professor), I wrote a story that did not take place in America or even Earth but rather on a different world within the multi-verse.
It was the correct decision.
The response back when the script was presented was extremely favorable as it hit the right tone while still presenting difficult and complex themes in a powerful way. The continuation of the story (which is in Episode 17) delves deeper into these dark themes while still keeping the essence of a Professor A story in Nutmeg Junction.
This is a three-actor episode. Lana portrays both the Professor and Officer Funston and her vocal work as Officer Funston is not to be missed. With the echo (reverb) on the vocal track there is an eerie quality in the seemingly gracious words Funston is saying to the visitors. As always Kurt Boucher portrays Dr. Robere and Tiffy McKay portrays Ms. Gentry.
We recorded this episode on the same day as Space Sentries II and was directed by Conrad Sienkiewicz.
We recorded Lana’s Officer Funston voice separately from her Professor A performance and then edited it together.
The quote from Sir Isaac Newton is real.
I am extremely proud with how Episodes 16 and 17 came out and I can’t wait to explore this story further in August.
Episode 16: Professor A: Chapter Four-The Welcome Wagon
Written by J. Timothy Quirk (c)2018
Directed by Conrad Sienkiewicz
Professor A Theme written and performed by Lana Peck (c)2018
Lana Peck as Professor A and Officer Funston
Kurt Boucher as Dr. Robere
Tiffy McKay as Ms. Gentry
Rehearsed and recorded at WAPJ studio in Torrington CT
Additional music and foley sourced by Youtube Royalty free music or otherwise located in the field by J. Timothy Quirk
On June 6, 2018 Lana Peck, Rich Cyr and J. Timothy Quirk were invited to be a part of the Nerd Talk program on Citizens Television in New Haven, CT to discuss Nutmeg Junction.
Kurt Boucher, co-host of the Nerd Talk program, is also an original cast member of Nutmeg Junction. Often paired with Lana Peck (see: Nathaniel and Netta Chance mysteries and especially The Professor episodes) and with Rich Cyr (see Space Sentries episodes), Boucher is well versed in Nutmeg Junction lore. With Nerd Talk Co-host Michael Illian and the puppet “George”, Boucher and the Nutmeg Junction members discussed the concept and favorite moments of the show.
Around the 11:30 mark viewers are given a treat: a behind the scenes video of a rehearsal and recording of The Professor episode which featured Lana, Kurt and Tiffy McKay with Jandi Hanna, Josh Newey, Olivia Wadsworth and Rich Cyr with director Conrad Sienkiewicz and J Timothy Quirk.
It was an honor to be on the program. The dedicated team that puts Nerd Talk together for Citizens Television in New Haven is admirable and noteworthy and we hope to have another opportunity to visit in the future!
In which the crew of the space ship “Salisbury” arrives at the Vermilion system to pick up First Op. Gillard who had been on shore leave. But how will the Space Sentry Central Command rocket powered transport vessel dock with the Salisbury’s docking station if there’s no engineer to guide the way? Can Ensign Puffle learn the assignment in time?
In Episode 6 we introduced the idea of Space Sentries which is loosely based/parody of the old sci fi shows that had to substitute techno-babble jargon in the place of a budget for appropriate sci-fi ambiance. Additionally there is one golden age of radio program that certainly hawked a number of products and incorporated them into the stories.
With that in mind, this show is dedicated for the story tellers who learned to utilize the gift of storytelling through toys and imaginative play. The visual on the episode picture is loosely based on old action figure sets of the 80’s so it gives the impression of them without actually looking like any of them.
Once again Space Sentries stars Rich Cyr as Ensign Puffle, Kurt Boucher as Commander Alx and Phil Hall as Admiral Complication. Joining the episode is Dan Willey as First Op. Gillard.
And for a fun treat we also had three more actors join the cast as the voice of their respective “action figures”, Lana Peck voiced “Laurel (Locksmith) Yannie, Tiffy McKay voiced “Jenny Snips the hair stylist” and Sharon Waagner voiced the enigmatic Dr. Woolf saying the character’s most popular catchphrase.
This episode was tricky to edit as there were four separate audio tracks.
Dan and Sharon both rehearsed with the team on rehearsal night but unfortunately had other obligations for recording day so we recorded them separately (on a Wednesday night).
Then I recorded Lana and Tiffy separately as their action figures only had a few phrases. Well technically Lana’s toy only says one phrase and Tiffy’s figure says one phrase but at the hair salon play set there’s an additional sound that has Jenny Snips say “I’m going to need a bigger comb!”
In my formative years I enjoyed the Star Wars action figures and I can assure you, Hammerhead had greater adventures in my charge than he ever got in the movies.
But in this episode there’s a reference to the old MEGO toys because I refer to a vinyl play set like I used to have with the Star Trek bridge and my sister had with a Wizard of Oz play set.
On the day of recording Rich came off work later than expected so i had to record HIM separately.
So this is one episode where during recording, to help everyone know the pacing of their lines, I voiced every single character from the announcer (Conrad) to Puffle, Alx, Gillard, Complication as well as Yannie, Snips and Woolfe and yet no one will ever hear my versions of these characters as I edited myself out and put in the proper voice in.
In total the editing process had four separate vocal tracks then I added the music and sound effects.
For the main recording day, I had help as Rich Boucher manned the controls and ensured the levels of the performers were in the correct range. We look forward to his work in the future if he chooses to join us on future adventures!
Side note: in the future no one will really get the Laurel Yannie reference. Suffice it to say that for a minute in 2018 facebook blew up with people hearing either Laurel or Yannie in an audio file. Given what we were doing with audio files, I felt this is entirely appropriate to name the character Laurel Yannie.
So we will continue to tell Space Sentries stories and build the crew of the “Salisbury”. The ship is named for a town in the broadcast range of WHDD which plays our program Nutmeg Junction on the multiple stations of the robinhood radio network.
Everyone who was involved in this particular episode enjoyed working on it. We’ll be bringing Dan and Phil back on more adventures in different roles.
We have a big summer planned.
EPISODE 15: SPACE SENTRIES II (c)2018
created, written and produced by J. Timothy Quirk
Directed by Conrad Sienkiewicz
Sound Production by Ray Boucher
RICH CYR AS ENSIGN PUFFLE:
KURT BOUCHER AS COMMANDER ALX:
PHIL HALL AS ADMIRAL COMPLICATION
CONRAD SIENKIEWICZ AS THE ANNOUNCER
DAN WILLEY AS FIRST OP GILLARD:
TIFFY MCKAY AS JENNY SNIPS
LANA PECK AS LOCKSMITH LAUREL:
SHARON WAAGNER AS DR. WOOLFE
Nutmeg Junction theme song by Robert C. Fullerton all rights reserved to the performer and used with permission.
Foley and additional music courtesy of Youtube royalty free music