Charles Dickens' Ghost Story (radio)

“Charles Dickens’ Ghost Story” is a program from the American radio anthology series Radio Tales. The anthology series adapted classic works of American and world literature for the radio. The series was a recipient of numerous awards, including four Gracie Allen Awards from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television (in 2004, [ [http://www.awrt.org/press-releases/2004/Press_Release_%20Announce_Winners.pdf "AWRT Press Release"] AWRT.org. Accessed March 21, 2008] 2003, [ [http://www.npr.org/about/press/030402.gracie.html "NPR Productions Win Gracie Allen Awards"] NPR.org. Accessed March 21, 2008] 2001, [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20011126020253/www.awrt.org/awards/2000GracieWinners.html "2001 Gracie Allen Award Winners"] AWRT.org, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed March 21, 2008] and 1998 [Hear Here: "Tales by American Masters". AudioFile Magazine, pg. 8, Feb/March 1999, Vol. 7, No. 5.] ) a New York Festivals WorldMedal, [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20050207122048/http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/res/pdf/2004RPwinners.pdf "2004 Winners, Radio Programming and Promotion, New York Festivals"] NewYorkFestivals.com, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed March 21, 2008] and a Golden Reel Merit Award. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20010802161539/www.nfcb.org/2001reelsinfo.html "NFCB Announces 2001 Golden Reel Award Winners"] NFCB.org, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed March 21, 2008] The “Charles Dickens’ Ghost Story" program from the Radio Tales series was an adaptation of the story, “The Trial for Murder” by Charles Dickens.

Broadcast history

The Radio Tales production of “Charles Dickens’ Ghost Story” was first broadcast via XM Satellite Radio on December 6, 2003 as part of the Sonic Theater channel (163) lineup of the XM Satellite Radio service. [ [http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/features/sonictheater.xmc "Sonic Theater"] XMRadio.com. Accessed May 22, 2008.]

Production information

The program was produced and script edited by series producer Winnie Waldron, who also served as the on-air host. [ [http://www.winifredphillips.com/wp_bio.html "Winifred Phillips Official Site: Biography"] Winifredphillips.com. Accessed May 19, 2008.] Composer Winifred Phillips created over fifty-six minutes of music for the program, and also performed as the featured actress. [ [http://www.mninter.net/~jstearns/nprPH.html#top "NPR Playhouse - January - March, 2001"] MNinter.net. Accessed March 21, 2008.]

Media

The Radio Tales production of “Charles Dickens’ Ghost Story” has been available in numerous formats and venues, including burn-on-demand CDs manufactured and distributed by MP3.com [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20031129193548/artists.mp3s.com/artists/33/npr_radio_tales.html "MP3.com: Radio Tales"] MP3.com, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed July 15, 2008.] and Ampcast.com. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20060212003627/http://www.ampcast.com/music/25229/artist.php "Ampcast.com: Radio Tales"] Ampcast.com, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed July 15, 2008.] Beginning in 2005, programs from the series, including the "Charles Dickens’ Ghost Story” program, have been available for download via the Audioville.co.uk web site. [ [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view.php?Id=516 "audioVille | Stor>>Fiction | Radio Tales | Download Audio Books, Podcasts and more in MP3. Comedy, Fiction, sport, news, science, drama."] Audioville.co.uk. Accessed October 8, 2008.]

Opening narration

Plot summary

The narrator has been called for jury duty. Two events occur before the narrator receives the summons to jury duty, which cast events in an unusual light. First, the narrator has a strange vision of an unknown bedroom occupied by a man with whom she is unfamiliar, and in the vision she approaches this stranger and drapes some unidentified object over him… none of the details of the vision are particularly clear. Secondly, from her apartment window the narrator sees a vision of two strangely intent figures walking down the street below – they stop beneath her window and look up at her, as if to allow her to notice them and remember their features.

After the narrator reports for jury duty and is seated in the jury box, the indicted murderer is brought into the courtroom. The narrator recognizes this man as the stranger in the bedroom that she had seen in her first vision, as well as one of the two men from her second vision, who had walked down the street below her apartment window. The accused murderer seems to recognize the narrator as well, for he becomes extremely agitated, and subsequently has a muted argument with his lawyer, which apparently produces no result. The narrator is appointed as the foreperson of the jury, and the trial commences.

After the first day of trial concludes, when the jury is taken to the hotel where they will be kept sequestered for the remainder of the trial, the narrator is startled by a vision of the second figure (the one she had previously seen walking down the street below her window). She is now convinced that she is seeing the ghost of the murdered man. The ghost stands in the hotel hallway, the moonlight spilling across the floor from the window at the end of the hall. One by one, the ghost passes through the doors of the hotel rooms and visits each jury member before finally disappearing. The next day, all the members of the jury (except the narrator) report that they had a dream about the murdered man.

The ghost makes many appearances during the trial, and although no one but the narrator is ever able to see him, his presence is a disturbing influence that causes many to react by shivering or growing pale. During deliberations, the ghost makes himself known to the narrator by repeatedly beckoning her to join conversations that are drifting into the realm of a ‘not guilty’ verdict for the accused. It seems that the ghost wishes the narrator to argue on his behalf, which she proceeds to do.

In the end, the jury convicts the murderer, and the ghost disappears from the courtroom, evidently satisfied. The murderer is allowed to make a statement, in which he says that he knew he was doomed when he first saw the jury foreperson, because he had seen her before. In fact, he’d experienced a vision in which the jury foreperson had stood at his bedside, and slipped a rope around his neck.

References

External links

* [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view.php?Id=516&ProductCategoryId=59 Charles Dickens’ Ghost Story Streaming Audio Samples Audioville]
* [http://www.radiotales.com/ The Official Radio Tales® Web Site]
* [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view_productcategory.php?Id=59 Radio Tales Streaming Audio Samples on AudioVille]
* [http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/channelpage.xmc?ch=163 XM Satellite Radio – Information on the Sonic Theater Channel]


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