Cover art by Ron AAlgar Watt, with elements by Vishal Bharadwaj and Gregory Dickens. Click to see full-sized.


Written by Ron AAlgar Watt with Maggie Rowbotham. 

Mark Boszko as Aquatic Guard, servant

Kristy Brannon as Scientist

Leah Frires as Aquatic Empress

Nathan LaJeunesse as Norman, Tiger Guard

Terry Lohmeyer as Lorikta

Brian Lynch as The Colonel

Kara O'Connor as Dinosaur Puncher

Josef Ravenson as Rektilo, Lizard Man

Maggie Rowbotham as Maggie

Amanda Smith as Announcer, Jungle Queen, Lava Queen

Sabrina Snyder as Dottie

Jason Wallace as Singing Cowboy, Lava Guard

Ron AAlgar Watt as AAlgar, Old-Timey Announcer

Produced and directed by Ron AAlgar Watt for AAlgar Productions © 2023


• Early 2013 was when Sarcastic Voyage completed its somewhat awkward transformation from "chat show with occasional prepared material" to "full-on sketch show bookended by host segments." I had very much enjoyed producing The Adventures of Nick and Willikins in serial form, but I thought it might be time to expand our horizons and introduce a new serial. (I would later realize that the "recurring sketches and serials with host segments" format was subconsciously cribbed from, of all things, Rocky and Bullwinkle.) I was feeling a real "golden age of radio" vibe around this time, as also evidenced by the accompanying artwork provided by Vishal Bharadwaj, whom I had commissioned to create a whole new look for the show. I began as I so often do, by immersing myself in the genre I'm attempting to parody/reference, and dug up as much 30s-era pulp entertainment as I could find — movie serials, pulp magazines, Golden Age comics and, of course, radio serials. What we ended up with was a decent pastiche of quite a lot of this, and not of any one series in particular. This aesthetic would go on to inform the entirety of Sarcastic Voyage Theatre five years later.

• The serial obviously starred me and Maggie because we were, at the time, the cohosts of SV. (And Vishal had drawn those cool pulp versions of us.) But gradually, as we found more voice performers and developed other characters, our characters became the least interesting ones in the thing. This would become much more clear when we revisited the concept in a 1950s setting, but it was already starting to happen pretty early here, I think. I did enjoy making one of us the working class mechanic-type and one of us the clueless flyboy (who also happened to be a pacifist), but our characters never really developed much more beyond that.

• Dottie, on the other hand, became the surprise star of the series. Initially conceived as the antithesis of the typical golden age kid sidekick character, she quickly overshadowed the people she was supposed to be sidekicking for. I will take about 10% credit for this, with my initial idea. The other 90% belongs with Sabrina, whose performance remains one of my favorite things about producing audio. If you pay close attention to the credits that open each episode, you'll notice that Dottie takes a co-starring role with us pretty quickly, and by the last few episodes, she's the only star. This amused me in terms of the fictional 30s radio world in which this all takes place, but was also entirely true in the real world.

• M.U.C.U.S. was one in a series of me giving official entities terrible acronyms. I worked for the federal government for quite some time, and this is barely an exaggeration.

• "Cereal fired out of guns" is, like so many of our more ridiculous elements, taken directly from old-timey ads for cereal. I guess they were called "pops" for a reason?

• The earliest original episodes of this were a bit difficult to follow as I was still learning my way around a production with this degree of production elements (denser sound effects, an actual score). This was one of the things I was keen to correct in the 2023 restaging, and I think I pulled that off while staying true to the original intent. I also ended up streamlining 22 (!!) episodes of wildly varying lengths into 9 episodes of roughly equal runtime.

• One of the ways I streamlined things was by chopping out the entirety of what used to be episode 3, which is why Dottie, Maggie and AAl have this weird conversation about stuff that happened off-camera (off-mic?) I wanted those plot points to have happened, to set up the rest of the story, but I also didn't want to revisit them because... well... okay, let me preface this by saying my heart was in the right place. Most of the serials from this period (as well as movies, comics and pretty much all popular entertainment) featured these super-problematic characters from The Mysterious East. I attempted to make fun of this by creating a deliberately insensitive character and asking Vishal to play him. But in retrospect, I was the wrong person to write this and it's probably best if we just skip past all of it and move on with our lives. Fortunately there were plenty more pulp clichés to play with and this didn't end up hurting the story (such as it was) too much.

• Dottie's robot is voiced by none other than George Lowe (TV's Space Ghost). My friend Irish Gav was gracious enough to loan me the money to secure Mr. Lowe's services (which I repaid years later) and even now, ten years on, I am still delighted to hear this familiar voice reading words that I wrote.

• The Singing Cowboy was based on an actual bugnuts insane movie serial called The Phantom Empire, starring Gene Autry. According to Wikipedia, "the serial film is about a singing cowboy who stumbles upon an ancient subterranean civilization living beneath his own ranch that becomes corrupted by unscrupulous greedy speculators from the surface." I mean, how could I not steal that? And why would I bother embellishing even a word of it?

• So many of the bad guys in pulp entertainment of the 30s (especially Flash Gordon) were animal-based, so it made sense to team everyone up at the end. Also Joe got to play Rektilo the Recalcitrant, our take on Ming the Merciless (who, it turns out, was not a horrible Asian stereotype like I and so many other people misremembered him!)

• You gotta have an arena fight. I mean... you gotta.

• Dottie would go on to solo adventures (with brief cameos by us) in the aptly-titled Radio Adventures of Dottie. I also thought it would be fun to imagine these characters in different period pulp settings, which led to the 50s-set Radio Adventures (currently unavailable as I ponder one more restaging) and Agent Dottie in The Invasion of the Duplitroids, which was inspired by 60s adventure cartoons like Johnny Quest and, coincidentally enough, Space Ghost (the original, not the reimagined comedic version from Coast to Coast). These projects were both a lot of fun, and the original plan was to continue taking Dottie through pulp-influenced entertainment across the ages... but this classic 30s setting is a lot of fun to come back to, so if you see her again, chances are it'll be in that context.