Saturday, June 24, 2017

BRIAN DALEY...TAKING STAR WARS TO NEW (RADIO) HEIGHTS

A promise kept...

Something I had mentioned in my latest (and last) podcast intro that  I promised to post...I would be remiss as a Jack McKinney fan if I didn't.

Among  Brian Daley's great accomplishments outside of Robotech was writing the scripts for the Audio Dramatizations of Star War's Original Trilogy that aired on National Public Radio (U.S.) in 1981, 1983 and 1996.

The productions featured original cast members, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels all reprising their roles. Anthony appeared in all three adaptations.

"C3PO and Master Luke" in an audio galaxy far, far away.

With George Lucas selling the radio rights to the public radio affiliate at his alma mater, the University of Southern California for $1 and the addition of English director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), it was Brian's task to take an already phenomenal space opera and bring it to life in the audio drama realm. As Madden put it, "We were making movies with the lights turned out...You know, movies to watch with your eyes closed."

The result was a 29 episode journey reliving the adventures of a long time ago...

In addition, scenes that never made it to the screen were adapted by Brian in the production;


  • - Han's docking bay meeting with Jabba the Hutt. (BEFORE the release of the Special Edition movies)
  • - Leia's interrogation by Darth Vader.
  • - Luke's construction of his green light saber.


Brian took it a step further with his own scenes to the narrative including a backstory of Princess Leia's acquisition of the Death Star plans. So there was Rogue One....before Rogue One, albeit a told differently. 

Besides original actors, several notable celebrities lent their talents;

Ed Asner - Jabba the Hutt
Perry King - Han Solo
John Lithgow - Yoda

The debut of A New Hope took place in 1981 and Empire Strikes Back in 1983.

While Brian did get the green light for the script of Return of the Jedi in 1983 shortly after the movie premiered. Due to federal funding though, it would not be completed until 1996. Now Brian was in Nepal with Jim Luceno when he first got the news about this. The celebration that took place after finding out is quite the story and you can listen to in our interview with Jim at this LINK.

Brian was ill with cancer during production of ROTJ and passed away before work completed. And although, Brian did not get to hear it, the cast recorded a touching get well message, all done in Star Wars characters. A special tribute to a special man. You can hear it below;



The radio dramatizations are a more than a worthy part of the Star Wars Universe. The complete trilogy available on Amazon.com at this link

A book was also published with the script for Return of the Jedi audio drama and an inside look on the production of it. Also available on Amazon at this link.

There is a Special Edition set which comes with extras including the tribute to Brian. There were only 7500 of these made.You will have to look around for it, Ebay being a possibility, I was lucky enough to secure one that now sits proudly on my Robotech Novels bookcase. 

In this day and age where the visual seems to dominate over the story, audio productions let your mind decide what images to form and with that sort\ of control, makes the actual story much more enjoyable.

Power of the mind baby....power of the mind.

- John  

For more information;

Official Website for Brian Daley
That Time NPR Turned 'Star Wars' Into A Radio Drama — And It Actually Worked, (NPR, Dec. 18, 2015)
Wookipedia Article; Star Wars Audio Dramas

Sunday, June 11, 2017

YEAH...THE THINKING CAPS ARE REAL!


Excerpt;

"Scott, his body sheathed in lime-green armor, was strapping himself into one of the Veritechs now. Fifteen years had seen only minor changes in armor and craft. Lang's Robotech design team had maintained the "thinking caps" and sensor-studded mitts and boots that were so characteristic of the first-generation VT pilots. Armor itself had become somewhat bulky due to the fact that these third-generation warriors were involved in ground-assault missions as often as they were in space strikes; but there was none of the gladiatorial styling favored by Lang's counterparts in the Army of the Southern Cross."


RN, Invid Invasion

Debates have been had up and down about the concept of the "thinking caps" in the Robotech Novels. The technology of merging the mechanical with the mental when regards to the mecha handled by Earth's military forces. 

Much has been said to squash the idea that they would work in the "real world" or simply saying; "THINKING CAPS AREN'T MENTIONED ON THE SHOW!"


And it has seemed over the years that the fans of the Novels have this "burden" to defend or make some sort of case for the thinking caps.

And for that matter, a lot of the concepts the guys came up with for the Robotech Novels Universe. (RNU)

I guess the only thing I can say when it comes to "making a case" for the Robotech Novels for the arguments made against them made......aka "The Nitpicking"

I'll take Jim Luceno's words;




"...doesn't require a counterpoint from me. The books, after all, are the counterpoint."

Sometimes what is FORGOTTEN is that the Novels are an ADAPTATION of the Robotech: The Animated Series which itself is an ADAPTATION of three separate, unrelated, Japanese animated series.

An exact transcript of the series into novel form would have been a DISASTER.

Carl Macek had the business.....and common sense to tell Brian and Jim...."Here's the Robotech ball...RUN WITH IT!"

And twenty-one books later.

The Novels will always stand on their own. I've got 30 years of proof behind that. 

I will always recommend that the series be watched as it is "lightning in a bottle" with what Carl did. And it did lead to Jack McKinney

But has it ever occurred to "opponents" of the Novels that perhaps the animated series really isn't needed to enjoy the RNU?

The answer to that question though...is another story for another day...

But I will say this;


- John
robotechnovels@gmail.com

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

IMAGE: Robotech: TAS, The Invid Invasion