Will Murray's Pulp Classics #11
The Spider Audiobook
The Flame Master
by Norvell W. Page, under the pseudonym of Grant Stockbridge
Liner Notes by Will Murray
The Spider battled many an over-the-top enemy in his ten-year career crushing super-criminals. None of them came near the insane spectacle of Aronk Dong, the Lion Man from Mars. A man-monster capable of hurling thunderbolts from his fingertips, he appeared on Earth in the March, 1935 issue of The Spider.
As this drama unfolds, tragedy has already struck the Spider. Ronald Jackson, who had served under Major Wentworth during World War I, had fallen in combat in the story called The Pain Master. Never before had death touched a member of the Richard Wentworth’s inner circle. Now they—and their readers—understood that all of them were living on borrowed time.
With their numbers diminished, the crime-busting band must soldier on as they face their most unbelievable foe. Writer Norvell W. Page must have dug deep into his fevered imagination to produce this nightmare foe. I can’t prove it, but I think he had a little help. Page was good friends with Doc Savage writer Lester Dent, and The Flame Master bears a strong resemblance to an earlier Lester Dent story called “The Flame Horror,” where the master villain turned out to be a—but I don’t want to give away the ending here. It is one of pulpdom’s wildest and most self-referential.
Around the time The Flame Master appeared in print, Doc Savage Magazine ran a novel called Death in Silver, which reads as if it was plotted by Norvell Page. My unsupported theory is that one day over drinks the author of Doc Savage helped Norvell Page plot a Spider novel, and vice versa. Dent handed Page an old plot device he had used early in his career. Page ran with it, producing this riveting Spider installment.
While we may never know the truth behind this thunderous tale of terror and torment, it stands as one of the most bizarre and memorable Spider novels ever committed to pulp paper. Fans of the Spider who never experienced it are destined to have their minds blown by its sheer, headlong drama.
The Flame Master is produced by Roger Rittner, with a full music score and sound effects. Nick Santa Maria voices the story, backed up by Robin Riker as the unforgettable Nita van Sloan.
Chapter 1: Man-Made Lightning
Chapter 2: The Lion Man
Chapter 3: The Lion Man's Plot
Chapter 4: The Fiend's Lightning
Chapter 5: Earl of the Electrons
Chapter 6: A Machine Gun Interrupts
Chapter 7: Victory ... and Defeat
Chapter 8: Madman's Conquest
Chapter 9: The Precious Pawn
Chapter 10: A Thin Trail
Chapter 11: Seal of the Spider
Chapter 12: A Lead At Last
Chapter 13: A Duel of the Mighty
Chapter 14: Battle On Steel
Chapter 15: Face to Face
Chapter 16: A Test for the Brave
Chapter 17: The Spider Is Brave
Chapter 18: Death's Auction
Chapter 19: Beneath the Lion's Mane
Will Murray is the Series Producer for Will Murray’s Pulp Classics line of Pulp Audiobooks and Pulp eBooks. Will is the author of over 50 novels in popular series ranging from “The Destroyer” to “Mars Attacks”. Collaborating posthumously with the legendary Lester Dent, he has written to date nine Doc Savage novels, with “Desert Demons” and “Horror in Gold” now available. For National Public Radio, Murray adapted “The Thousand-Headed Man” for “The Adventures of Doc Savage” in 1985, and recently edited “Doc Savage: The Lost Radio Scripts of Lester Dent” for Moonstone Books. He is versed in all things pulp.
Roger Rittner has written, produced, and directed audio drama specials and multi-part series, including the drama series “Darkness”, the mystery/macabre series “Midnight”, “The Adventures of Doc Savage”, the Western musical comedy “Rhythm Rides the Range”, and the musical special “Charlie Sent Me!” His radio projects have been heard on National Public Radio, as well as stations KMPC, KFI, KCSN, and KGBS in Los Angeles. Roger created and directed The Variety Arts Radio Theatre, live recreations of classic radio drama, for 10 years at the Variety Arts Center in Los Angeles. In addition to producing audiobooks for RadioArchives.com, Roger produces his series of audio versions of classic pulp short stories, “Pulp Radio”, available in the Radio Archives Book Store. In his off-hours, his company, Roger Rittner Productions, creates marketing and promotional audios and videos for corporate clients.
Nick Santa Maria Nick was born early in life in Brooklyn, NY. His theatrical background is based in Comedy Improv. He was a long standing member of the late lamented Miami based, MENTAL FLOSS, where he served as head writer/composer. From there he began his career in commercials, voice- overs, TV, Film, and theatre. He has performed in many roles on the stage including his award winning turn as “Nick” in “Over The River And Through The Woods, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”, as Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls”, in The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee as Mr. Panch (3-D Theatricals), Mr. Bromhead in “No Sex Please, We’re British” at The Norris, and as Pseudolus in, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at the Norris Theatre. Television: “The Buffalo Bill Show”, “B.J. Stryker”, and two Disney Christmas Specials. Off Broadway: Writer/Composer/Performer on “Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know”, Soundtrack on RCA Victor. Broadway: Vince Fontaine in Tommy Tune’s production of “Grease”!. He also appeared in every domestic company of Mel Brooks’ “The Producers”, understudying everyone from Nathan Lane and Jason Alexander, to Tony Danza and David Hassellhoff. He was the original Genie in DISNEY’S “Aladdin”, a Musical Spectacular, soundtrack on Disney Records. Nick is a resident of Los Angeles and is currently writing a book about classic film comedians, Nick’s been a long time film historian, and has written several articles on the topic.
Robin Riker was born in NYC with radio theatre DNA in every chromosome. Her father began his career as a radio theatre actor and the love of the art was clearly passed on to his daughter.
Robin was the original Pat Savage in the Adventures of Doc Savage radio series, and during her years with The Variety Arts Radio Theatre, lent her voice to a multitude of other characters ranging from 90-year-old Chinese women to 8-year-old boys.
Robin was a regular in six television series, among them the ground-breaking Showtime series “Brothers”, the ABC series “Thunder Alley” with Ed Asner, “The Gregory Hines Show” on CBS, and the cult classic “Get a Life” on FOX.
Stage work Off Broadway, with The Geffen Theatre and The Pasadena Playhouse in Los Angeles, three films on the Disney Channel, as well as recurring roles on “Boston Legal”, “Reba”, “The Glades”, as well as the 2012 season of HBO’s “Hung”, have kept Robin busy between her gigs in the recording studio. After all, a girl has to have something to do while awaiting her true love.