The Witching Hour
A few long years ago, I pitched an idea to CBC radio executives for a 60 minute radio special called the Witching Hour. While the VP of Radio loved it, it certainly ruffled the elite tail feathers of some of the stalwart guardians of acceptable repertoire on the FM network, which made writing, directing and producing this show that much more fun.
It starred CFNY (and now JazzFM’s) seductive voice and singular talent Dani Elwell as “Malakai”, as well as an enchanting cast of performers including Leanne Hayes and Daniel Richler. Glen Stone kept us in stitches as our beloved “Emissary” and Rod Crocker couldn’t have been a more brilliant sound guy. (RIP you incredible man).
I remember being completely infatuated with Billy Van and the Hilarious House of Frightenstein, and only wished that it wasn’t a kid’s show so that the stakes could be a little higher. So when I went about crafting the atmosphere and content for our show, it was very important that I kept sound flowing through the entire show, and that the music and the effects maintained and heightened the atmosphere. I’d wanted to both transport the listener, and also treat them to the majesty and power of the medium of radio.
Fortunately, I had the budget to commission Denis Martel to compose, play and produce all of the original music, which was unbelievably good. We did three specials before the 11pm time-slot was changed – and just when we were beginning to grow a cult following..sigh. To make matters worse, I lost the digital masters – during a move from Little Italy, and we were all a just little bit devastated. And thank heavens for Shazam, because I couldn’t begin to guess where the song lists went.
The good news is that Denis, the music and sound GOD that he is, was able to clean and restore the only beat-up cassette tapes of the show that I had. Thanks to Denis, I have a digital files to share, and so many happy memories of this magical experience.
If you would like to listen to the Witching Hour featuring guests such as Jane Siberry, Daniel Richler, Lee Carter (reading Mortimer), Patricia Kenneally-Morrison (the Lizard Queen who was handfasted to Jim Morrison), Author Stoker Hunt (Ouija the Most Dangerous Game), I recommend doing so late at night, when the moon is a lemon drop in a liquorice sky.
Thank you everyone for the love, the fun, the long nights and your masterful and now classic performances.