Tag Archives: radio

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (original BBC radio broadcast)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Original BBC Radio Broadcast): Before the movie, before the television series, and even before the book, there was the radio play. Of course, all versions and adaptations were written by Douglas Adams, so it’s hard to call any of them the Real Version, but they all follow more or less the same story. Either way, this was the First Version.

As you know if you’re at all familiar with HHGTTG, the story begins with hapless human Arthur Dent and his alien pal Ford Prefect escaping the Earth moments before it is destroyed to create an interstellar bypass. Shortly thereafter they meet up with multi-headed alien Zaphod Beeblebrox, his female companion Trillian, and depressed robot Marvin. The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous and utterly marvelous. I would suggest reading the book first as a sort of warm-up, because the radio show is even more random, if you can believe it. Things just sort of happen and you have to just go with it. There are plenty of wonderfully quotable lines and if you’re already a fan of the books, this is a fun walk down memory lane. The voice actors are marvelous, though I confess there were times when I wasn’t sure whether it was Ford or Arthur speaking. Not that it mattered much. All in all, it’s a great time, and well worth it for any fan of absurdity.

Note on my version: A friend taped this off the radio when it was originally broadcast back in the late 1970s and recently digitized it. There’s a fair bit of tape hiss but I had almost no problem hearing and understanding everyone. One thing he noted, however, is that the version that was offered commercially had different sound effects and music due to copyright issues. Evidently the interstitial music played on the radio version was fair game, but all sorts of rights needed to be purchased in order to sell the recording. I have not listened to the commercial version, so I cannot comment on those differences. I linked to the remastered CD because the version I have, rather by definition, is not available for purchase.

P.S. – Happy birthday to my sweetie!

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