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‘Adrian Cross, For Hire’
The cast of “Adrian Cross, For Hire” poses for a photo at the John Wayne Marina. Left to right: author John Grissim, Jim Dries, Greg Madsen, Ian Scott, Ron Graham, Shelley Taylor, Ric Munhall, Steve Berg, Frank Romeo, Graham Reaves and Jim Weldon. Not shown: Chandler Wendeborn, Sheri Burke, Erika Van Calcar, Mike Bunnell, Rebecca Case and Mike O’Connor. Submitted photo
by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
When he was a young boy, Grissim remembers families sitting in the living room listening to the radio on Sunday evenings. Now people spend more time in separate rooms on their laptop computers, iPads and iPods, smart phones and watching television, he said.
“As I approach full ‘geezerhood,’” he mused, “I sense there are a lot of people, like me, who want to live smaller lives with their families and communities.
“This country, I think, would love to find moments in their week where they have that respite from technology,” he said boldly.
Radio drama, Grissim suggested, fills that nostalgic void.
A local production through and through
“Adrian Cross, For Hire” is a radio drama about an adventurous, slightly jaded, romantic named Adrian Cross.
“He lives aboard an aging cabin cruiser in the John Wayne Marina and scrapes by as a yacht surveyor, charter captain, hull cleaner, salvage consultant, boat repo man — anything more or less legal — and regularly crosses paths with Sequim’s police chief with whom he has a flinty relationship,” Grissim said.
In the show’s initial 74-minute episode, “The Schooner Mystic Rose,” Cross tracks down a priceless artifact stolen generations ago from a renowned elder of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, tangles with a notorious motor-cycle club, courts the aristocratic daughter of a timber baron, foils a kidnapping and participates in a dramatic shootout in the waters off Salt Creek county park west of Port Angeles.
The cast and crew
The show stars Ron Graham — star of the Port Angeles Light Opera Association’s “Oklahoma!” and “Into the Woods” — as Cross and Shelley Taylor — well-known for her recurring role on ABC’s “General Hospital” series — as Christine Hale, Cross’ love interest.
Additional cast members include announcer Steve Berg, Jim Dries as Preston Hale, Graham Reaves as E. Danforth Hale, Chandler Wendenborn as Mitchell Hodder, Ric Munhall as Audie Chambliss and as Roscoe the Parrot, and Frank Romeo as LeRoy Purvis.
Sheri Burke plays Sgt. Jennings, with Jim Weldon as Chief Callaham, Greg Madsen as Nelson Paul, Erika Van Calcar as the Coast Guard dispatcher, Ian Scott as the Coast Guard pilot and Mike Bunnell as Tyler at the fuel dock.
Adam Stern, conductor of the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, wrote the script’s score and recorded it in the Port Angeles High School auditorium last November.
One step back, two steps forward
Grissim first approached KSQM a year ago with the idea for a show modeled on the format of a vintage radio detective drama but with current North Olympic Peninsula settings. With the station’s encouragement, he wrote “Adrian Cross, For Hire.”
The show was set to air Dec. 7 but didn’t because of editing, music and sound effect delays.
As the premiere approaches, a weight is lifted, according to Grissim.
“I think the whole cast feels the way I do,” he said. “Excited, fulfilled, with a great sense of accomplishment.”
Though nobody is making any promises, both Grissim and KSQM station manager Jeff Bankston are leaving the door open for future episodes to air.
“This is a phenomenon,” Bankston said about radio drama, “that’s hit the radio station like a tornado and wrenched us right into the 1940s. It’s been a lot of fun and we hope to do it again.”
“So, stay tuned and don’t touch that dial!” Grissim added.
About the author
Grissim moved from the Bay Area with his family to Sequim in 2001. He’s a former editor of Rolling Stone magazine and the Australian surfing magazine Tracks. He interviewed and wrote about rock and country artists like the Grateful Dead and Johnny Cash in San Francisco during the 1960s and 1970s.
He was also a contributing editor to the U.S. magazine Surfing.
“Adrian Cross, For Hire” is Grissim’s first radio script. The project is a manifestation of his hunger and passion for drama, mystery and maritime.
“It’s a little spark that’s become a flame,” Grissim said. “I’d love to see radio drama thrive and there’s no reason why the North Olympic Peninsula can’t become a hot spot for radio drama.”
Old-time radio mystery drama set in present-day Sequim
“Adrian Cross, For Hire” is an original radio drama written especially for the Olympic Peninsula audience by journalist and author John Grissim. The pilot episode, titled “The Schooner Mystic Rose,” is set to premiere at 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16, on KSQM 91.5 FM.
The feature-length show has local settings, celebrities and a sound track by the Port Angeles Symphony. Listeners can catch the show live on the radio or the Internet. CDs are for sale for $15.
A preview is available online at www.ksqmfm.com and www.youtube.com.