For our radio show project for DS106, our group decided to take a creative approach and recreate an episode of a radio drama from the 1950s. I was actually the one to come up with this idea a few weeks ago when we were brainstorming ideas for this project, and was happy when the group decided to give my idea a shot! The radio drama episode we are recreating is “The Missing Scientist” from the Roy Rogers Show, as serial drama from the 1950s that featured Roy Rogers, his wife, Dale Evans, in a western-style episode that features Rogers as “King of the Cowboys” and his wife as “Queen of the West.” I picked this show after discovering many episodes are in the public domain, which means we have creative liberty to remake the episode for this project without any facing too many issues with copyright!
I picked this radio drama mainly because I like westerns, and because I’d seen Roy Rogers growing up. I spent quite a bit of time with my grandmother as a child, and as a result I gained a taste for old music, television, and movies. My grandmother actually had episodes of the Roy Rogers Show on VHS, which I used to watch in my free time. The script for this radio episode is actually one I hadn’t heard before looking into it, so it was fun to hear something new. The script for “The Missing Scientist” is one of the few I could find the complete copy of in the public domain, so I pretty much took in and rolled with it.
The story is simple, yet a little wild and outlandish. It starts out with Roy and Dale visiting some friends, Paul and Julia Saunders. Paul is a scientist who works in a atomic research center outside El Paso, while Julia appears to be a simple housewife (if was the 1950s, okay!). Upon arrival, Roy, Dale, and their friend Pat discover Paul is missing and the government is looking for him. Roy is invited to investigate matters by the lead investigator, Forbes, who takes him to the research center to look around. Meanwhile, Dale and Pat stay with Julia to keep her company. At the center it is revealed Paul appears to have simply disappeared in the middle of the night, having left all his personal belongings, and there being no record of him having left the premises. Since this is a government facility, this is meant to be a big deal. A curious German professor by the name of Braun shows Roy around Paul’s room, where they discover an interesting rock. Afterwards, Roy is cleared to leave but is stopped when it’s revealed he’s been exposed to radiation. Meanwhile, Julia has slipped away from Dale and they do not know where she has gone. After Roy is cleared by decontamination at the facility, he heads back to Julia’s to find she is not home yet. As he and Dale are talking, Julia appears and confesses that she knows what happened to Paul: he’s been abducted by aliens. Everyone thinks she’s gone mad, and Braun suggests Forbes have her do a polygraph test to verify whether or not she is telling the truth. The test results are inconclusive, and Roy and Dale go to sleep hoping to continue investigating in the morning. They wake up to find Julia gone, then Pat runs in with the morning newspaper which headlines a woman being abducted by aliens. Putting two and two together, Roy settles the case. Paul and Julia are reunited, and it is implied that the rock in Paul’s room is what led the aliens to him in the first place.
Sounds interesting, right? It’s a sort of western, sci-fi tale that (sort of) has a happy ending. I actually went through this entire script by myself and rewrote parts of it to incorporate out class theme (Bob Ross!) into it. Paul and Julia Saunders got renamed to Norman and Lynda Ross. Norman is also a painter, so the title of the episode got changed to “The Missing Painter.” The atomic research center became a studio that is also a place of residence to elitist entertainers, hence the advanced security. Also, the German professor became an average joe, but kept the accent. He’s one of those entertainers, but I left it up for the audience to decide what kind. Norman and Lynda get abducted by aliens just like Paul and Julia did, and all is well.
One of the reasons I picked this episode is because it is relatively short, but with the radio bumpers and commercials we must include, it should be easy to make it thirty minutes long. Also, the script literally spells out everything for you. Dialogue, sound effects, cues, everything! Since we are all beginners when it comes to sound production, I thought it nice to make the process as easy as possible.
One other thing I’d like to mention before ending this post is the poster you may have noticed when viewing this post. This poster was made using Canva, since they have easy to use templates and stickers readily available. I have used Canva in the past to make a graphic organizer about Wyatt Earp, so I knew there was no shortage of cowboy themed images to work with! With Roy Rogers being a western, I wanted to stay as close to the source material as possible while alluding to the conclusion of this episode. As you can see, I included the images of a cowboy and cowgirl, who are meant to be Roy Rogers and Dale Evans themselves. However the most prominent part of the image is the UFO, which comes into play at the end of the episode when we learn what really happens to our missing person.
So, what do you think of our show’s premise? Do you think you’ll enjoy it? What do you think of the poster I made? Let me know is a comment down below what you think!