An original radio serial musical, set in 1944, with the serial set in space.
Based on the old time radio and movie serials – a comedic and musical tribute to a forgotten art form.
The show contains 6 episodes of a 15 episode serial – episodes 1, 2, 4, 7, 12 and 15.
(If you ever attended a Saturday matinee at a cinema back then, you’d know that you never saw all the episodes, because you never went every week. But it didn’t matter as there were always plenty of fights, and recap of “The Story So Far …” and a cliffhanger at episode’s end.)
The story so far …
As you recall in the previous serial: Kitty Stromberg: Space Cadet, our brave heroine Kitty, was crowned Space Goddess by the grateful population of the Planet of the Humming Harridans after stabilizing the galaxy. Befriending Narelle and joining with her idolized companion, boy-genius Buck Granite Jnr, Kitty saved Planet Earth from the evil clutches of Emporer Meglamoff and his equally evilly clutched wife, in 15 nail biting episodes. Now, through the generous support of Crumbly Crumbly Oats Breakfast Cereal and Jones Parker Radio productions we proudly present the follow up serial – Kitty Stromberg; Space Goddess.
Will Kitty be free from the Emporer’s revengeful plan? Will Kitty and Buck find happiness or will they be rendered asunder? What deviously dastardly plans await our loving hero and heroine?
Tune in … same station … same time … next week!
The Actual Story of the Musical …
Hero, Buck Granite Jnr, with the formula for Liquid Uranium memorised in his cranium, takes off for the Planet Zoltar to help free the Zoltaran slaves from the evil clutches of the wicked Emporer Meglamoff.
On the way, his rocket ship is captured by Meglamoff’s henchmen, the torturous Nazis, Zick, Zack and Zock. Upon learning of this, Kitty Stromberg begs President Stallman (of the North Pacific Space Academy) to send her into space to rescue Buck. Aided by her sidekick, the Australian, Narelle, Kitty takes off for a series of adventures in the far flung reaches of the Universe, including the Planet of the Wailing Women; the Planet of the Moaning Maidens; the Planet of the Simpering Sirens; the Planet Zoltar and finally the red Planet Mars, where she learns of Meglamoff’s diabolical scheme to build a giant pipeline from earth to suck up all the atmosphere, except the atmosphere over Germany and Japan, and thereby win WW II.
Kitty Stromberg A Space Cadet, given the title of Space Goddess on her mission to the Planet of the Venomous Vixens, in the previous serial, Kitty Stromberg: Space Cadet. The actress playing Kitty is an American import.
President Stallman Trusted leader of the Pacific Space Academy BUT secretly Meglamoff, the Emperor of Zoltar – villain.
Narelle Baker Space Cadet Second Class; Australian.
Buck Granite Jr. Boyfriend of Kitty; boy genius and an all–round-decent-chap.
Zik, Zak and Zok Villainous Nazi henchmen.
Bug An alien insect.
Poko Leader of the Zoltaran slaves.
Professor Viktenstein Mad Scientist in the thrall of the Emperor of Zoltar. Doubles as Secretary Sledge.
The Duncan Sisters (In fact, Kerry English, Victoria Thompson and Lizzie Hillsdon) – Three singing Aussie beauties who play The Wailing Women, The Moaning Maidens, The Simpering Sirens etc, as well as Nila, Queen of the Wailing Women.
Radio Host Debonair narrator.
Sound Effects Man Making anything sound possible.
Male members of the cast also contribute voices as Mad Scientist’s lab assistants, Zoltaran slaves etc.
During the 1940s and early 1950s – pre-television days in Australia – Aussie kids were entertained by the great radio serials. Every evening from Monday to Thursday, between 5pm and 7pm, young ears would be glued to the huge console radio (which in those days dominated suburban lounge-rooms) listening to their favourite serials. Among the most popular were The Lone Ranger, Tom Corbett: Space Cadet, Superman, Tarzan and the search for the Golden Boomerang.
These serials were recorded in radio studios in various parts of Sydney by a small stock company of radio actors. At one time their number included such future celebrities as Peter Finch, Leonard Teale and Ruth Cracknell. These hardworking players commuted between studios on a daily basis.
To be a radio actor in those days required stamina and the ability to play three different roles in three different voices in the same serial episode.
In 1956, television came to Australia and the face of Australian radio changed forever. One by one serials disappeared from the air as sponsors transferred their advertising money to television.
The twenty years from 1935 to 1955 have become known as the Golden Years of radio with good reason. During these years radio serials and dramas were the nation’s top ranking form of entertainment.
They are mostly all gone now- the actors, writers and sound effects people, but, to the now ageing Baby Boomer generation they will never be forgotten. The sounds are gone but the memories linger on. We will not hear their like again.
To those versatile actors and actress (and sound effects men) of the golden days of radio, we fondly dedicate this play.
Research courtesy of Keith Stokes, Media Consultant
Extract from an interview with Professor Jim Gesten, Professor of Cultural Studies, UCLA,
for the upcoming CD release of The Kitty Stromberg Tapes: A Radio Serial History
“Well, the serial was very important in the wider cultural context of the forties, fifties and sixties. It – and its other two sibling serials, “Kitty Stromberg: Space Cadet” and the one in the fifties, “Kitty Stromberg: Space Capitalist” – they each had the obvious propaganda elements that would have been recognized at the time, for instance the emperor of Zoltar is obviously Hitler by another name, he even has Nazi henchmen, for some unexplained reason. But then you get the more interesting cultural influences, I mean, the kind of what-I-call “proto-feminism”; Kitty, after all, is a woman sent out with another woman to do a man’s job. I mean, don’t forget, the feminists of the sixties were growing up listening to Kitty in the forties. There’s the artistic influence as well: I mean, cultural historians think it’s the first use of the word “groovy” in a song, well before pop culture of the late nineteen fifties. Music historians will tell you Burt Bacharach got his ideas from that song in Chapter – what-is-it – twelve or so, and so arguably it influenced all of American music of the nineteen seventies, and that means world music as well. They made versions of the serial in Australia and Spain and even in France (after the war); they were even able to recycle the Australian sidekick’s name “Narelle” for that one; originally in America she was called “Dorothy”. I mean, it’s ironic: you’ve got this freedom-fighter fighting Nazi imperialists and Russian imperialists, but the real cultural imperialism going on is Kitty herself. I guess it’s just a question of good imperialists versus bad imperialists. Take your pick. It’s true, my father wrote for the programme. Old man “Guy” Gesten, who used to write the old “Space Warrior Joe” serials as well. Before he went into hiding. Some people say he went into hiding because he wrote Kitty. Actually it was because he was named in front of the Un-American Activities Committee. Nobody could believe it, but still. He changed his name and went and wrote for television. “Lost in Space’, I think, at first. I never knew my father.”