Charlie Tower seeks refuge from the horrors of the Great War in Berlin's most notorious nightclubs. There he is reunited with an old friend and a chain of events is set in motion that will lead him across Europe to investigate the mysterious Black Stone. Is it merely a creation of superstitious peasants, or is it a nexus for hideous gods of the ancient world to set foot into ours?
We are very excited to give this classic Robert E. Howard story a Dark Adventure adaptation, with the biggest, most international cast ever!
CONTENT WARNING: This episode features a bit more sex and violence than is typical of Dark Adventure, including one scene of unusual horror. Probably not for younger kids.Get it now!
To enhance your listening pleasure, the HPLHS has packed the binder sleeve for The Black Stone with carefully created props from the story. You'll get:
1. Opening 2:33
2. Berlin 18:57
3. Vienna 10:25
4. Temesvar 12:36
5. Stregoicavar 23:28
6. Budapest 9:11
7. Closing 1:17
Total Runtime 78:30
Amir Abdullah...Selim Bahadur
Sean Branney...Charlie Tower
Kacey Camp...Claudine Ladeau, Cult Victim
Ken Clement...Lester Mayhew
Dan Conroy...Captain Kovács
Mike Dalager...Border Guard, Wolf Priest
Andrew Leman...Kasimir Bartok
Barry Lynch...Zoltan Bartok
Kevin Stidham...Felix, Ugor
László Szegedi...Gyula Hudak
Guido Werner...Grumpy Patron, Guido
Julie Wiesenberg...Marlene Dietrich
Time Winters...Herr Frenzel, Dr. Brunswick
Based on the story by Robert E. Howard
Written by Sean Branney & Andrew Leman
Original Music by Troy Sterling Nies
"Raus mit den Männern" by Friedrich Hollaender, performed by Sigrid Grajek
German language assistance by Lena and Felix Salinger
Hungarian language assistance by Flóra Kovács and Zsolt Matyusz
Cover illustration by Darrell Tutchton
Prop Inserts by Andrew Leman & Sean Branney
Ottoman Turkish Calligraphy by Josh Berer
Tower penmanship by David Feldmann
Special thanks to Mark DeCarlo, Jason McKittrick, Thomas Negovan and Dan Pratt
Produced by Sean Branney and Andrew Leman
in cooperation with Robert E. Howard Properties LLC
We asked beloved DART ensemble member Amir Abdullah to read a draft of the script and give us some feedback on the representation of Muslims in the story, and he made us aware that there is a very real ancient relic called the Black Stone in Mecca. We don't know if Robert E. Howard knew about the real Black Stone when he wrote this story, as it is very different from his fictional Hungarian monolith, but we were amazed to learn more about it.
We thought you might like to hear the entire song from the Heaven & Hell Club scene. The song was actually written in 1926, so it is a little anachronistic to include it, but we thought it was worth the slight cheat. It is by Friedrich Hollaender, and was originally recorded by Claire Waldoff. Hollaender went on to write the hit songs for the film that made Marlene Dietrich a star, The Blue Angel. Our thanks to Sigrid Grajek for giving us permission to use the audio of her performance of the song.
Marlene Dietrich was, of course, a very real person, and we were delighted to realize that she really did play the violin in cabarets in Berlin when she was 17 years old. We couldn't resist the idea that it was she who not only introduced Charlie to his preferred alcoholic beverage, but got him started on his ability to order drinks in every language on Earth.
Although his name sounds entirely fanciful, Alexis Vincent Charles Berbiquier de Terre-Neuve du Thym was also a real person, and he really did believe himself to be tormented by strange supernatural creatures, as he described in a lengthy book on the subject.
Even though Kasimir uses the existence of this magazine only as a pretext to get Charlie into Herr Frenzel's book shop, "The Orchid Garden" was a real publication, and the world's very first fantasy magazine. We first became aware of it through friend and HPLHS member Thomas Negovan, who offers collections of some of the best art printed in the magazine through his Century Guild book shop. If, unlike Charlie, you can read German, you can enjoy the first three years' worth of the complete magazines HERE!
In order to make one of the prop documents for this episode, Andrew sculpted a primitive amulet of Tsathoggua. Designed first as an illustration, he used the HPLHS laser cutter to prepare a layered cardboard mockup, and then covered that with clay and worked out the surface details. He made a mold of that clay sculpture, and cast a copy in brass-filled polyurethane resin. Meanwhile, a very talented calligrapher named Josh Berer translated the final testament of Selim Bahadur into genuine medieval Turkish, while Darrell Tutchton created an ink drawing of Tsathoggua. The calligraphy and drawing were combined digitally to make a scroll, and it was photographed along with the resin cast of the amulet (and a crushed lacquered box from eBay) in Sean's backyard. The resulting photo is one of the props for the episode.
Andrew's clay sculpture was sufficient for this photo, but we wanted something a little better, so using 3D modeling and the help of HPLHS member Travis Hammer we created a 3D printable version of the amulet with more refined details. Travis printed up eight duplicates of the amulet, and we had them cast in solid pewter and plated in an antiqued gold finish. We have paired it with the complete scroll of Selim Bahadur. In the photo you can only see one side, and only in black and white, but in this beautiful prop replica you get both sides in full color. Together they are crucial elements from Robert E. Howard's classic Mythos story plucked from Charlie Tower's bank vault and come to life in your hands! GET YOURS TODAY!
For your enjoyment, we present free PDF downloads of the final recording script and liner notes of "The Black Stone". Note: this script is only for use for reading along with Dark Adventure Radio Theatre; no publication or performance of the script may be made without written consent of the HPLHS.