Edgar Allan Poe's Predicament (radio)

Edgar Allan Poe's Predicament (radio)

“Edgar Allan Poe’s Predicament” is a radio 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), 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 "Edgar Allan Poe’s Predicament" program from the Radio Tales series was an adaptation of the classic short story by Edgar Allan Poe, known alternately as "A Predicament" and "The Scythe of Time".

Broadcast History

The Radio Tales production of “Edgar Allan Poe’s Predicament” was first broadcast via NPR on November 16th, 1999 [National Public Radio: "NPR Quarterly Edition Fall 1999". NPR Marketing, Vol. V, No. IV] . The program encompassed one half-hour installment that was distributed to NPR member stations as part of the NPR Playhouse cultural series. Since November 28th, 2002, the entire Radio Tales series has aired in reruns on the Sonic Theater channel (163) of the XM Satellite Radio service [ [http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/features/sonictheater.xmc "Sonic Theater"] XMRadio.com. Accessed May 22, 2008.] . The “Edgar Allan Poe’s Predicament” program debuted on XM Satellite Radio on February 22, 2003.

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 twenty-eight 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.] . “Edgar Allan Poe’s Predicament” was part of the fourth year of Radio Tales on NPR Playhouse [National Public Radio: "NPR Quarterly Edition Fall 1999". NPR Marketing, Vol. V, No. IV] .


The Radio Tales production of “Edgar Allan Poe’s Predicament” 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 “Edgar Allan Poe’s Predicament” program, have been available for download via the Audioville.co.uk web site [ [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view_productcategory.php?Id=59 "audioVille | Stor>>Fiction | Radio Tales | Download Audio Books, Podcasts and more in MP3. Comedy, Fiction, sport, news, science, drama."] Audioville.co.uk. Accessed May 24, 2008.] .

Critical Reception

The “Edgar Allan Poe’s Predicament” program from the Radio Tales series has received favorable reviews. In his review of the program for AudioFile Magazine, Steven E. Steinbock wrote, “Winifred Phillips’ well-timed reading and creepily rhythmic musical score evoke the ticking and grinding gears of a life gone insane.” [AudioFile Publications Inc: "AudioFile Magazine" February / March 2000, page 51.]

Opening narration

Plot Summary

Told in the haughty voice of a self-important lady who dubs herself “Signora Psyche Zenobia”, this is the tale of a stroll through Edinburgh, into a lofty church and from there up the winding stairs to the steeple overlooking the city. Accompanying Zenobia on her trip is her five inch poodle and her manservant. Reaching the steeple, Zenobia sticks her head through an opening in the wall, intending to take in the view. Finding her head has emerged in the middle of the face of the enormous tower clock, Zenobia quickly discovers that her neck is pinned in place by the sharp-edged minute hand. During the rest of this bizarrely humorous story, she is slowly decapitated by the advance of this inexorable ‘scythe of time’. She loses both eyes (one at a time) and finally the head, whereupon she is able to step down again… terrorizing her manservant, who flees from the headless figure. She takes a moment to lament her poodle (consumed by a rat in her absence) and then proclaims that her life is done.


External Links

* [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view.php?Id=524&ProductCategoryId=59 Edgar Allan Poe’s Predicament page on Audioville.co.uk]
* [http://www.radiotales.com/ The Official Radio Tales® Web Site]
* [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view_productcategory.php?Id=59 Radio Tales® Full Catalog on AudioVille]
* [http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/channelpage.xmc?ch=163 XM Satellite Radio's Sonic Theater Channel]

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