Mark Time Radio Show
The Mark Time Radio Hour
by David Ossman
The first Mark Time Awards were presented at Minicon 32 in March 1997, establishing a format which offered the Con attendees the opportunity not only to applaud the award winners but to see a lively and humorous on-stage radio production as part of the opening night events. The show included Stearns’ “High Moon,” two pieces by Brian Price and sci-fi comedy from Meatball Fulton (pen-name of Grand Master Tom Lopez).
Great Northern Audio has packaged "High Moon" along with “Wizard Jack” by Price from the 1998 Minicon performance on the CD "Dialogue with Martian Trombone." Actors include Jane Yolen, Firesigners David Ossman and Phil Proctor and Melinda Peterson.
1998 also marked the first year for the Ogle Award for Horror or Fantasy Audio, which was named for Charles Ogle, the first actor to play Frankenstein’s Monster (in Thomas Edison’s 1910 silent film).
The Mark Time Radio Hour hit its stride on April 21, 2000 at Minicon 35. Both “Cyber Bob and the Silicon Kid” and “Drummer’s Dome” were written and produced by the team of Stearns and Price. Once again, Jane Yolen joined the cast, with Irene Ruderman and the two Ossman boys, Orson and Preston. This was, however, to be the last awards ceremony to be held at a Minicon.
Internal politics split the giant Minicon into two smaller events later that year. The Mark Time Awards were invited to be a part of CONvergence, which debuted July 6, 2001. The Mark Time Radio Hour that year included the half-hour play, “The Velveteen Submission, or The Lighthouse at the End of the Tunnel” by Price and Stearns, and two solo pieces by Price. Roger Gregg, an award-winning American writer/producer working in Ireland joined the regulars. Original music was provided by Mike Wheaton.
The Sixth Mark Time Awards at CONvergence 2002 included “Your Milage May Vary” by Price and “The Desnoyer Fault” by Stearns and Price. The team produced “Peter Galaxy, Interstellar Envoy” and “Tell Them NAPA Sent You” for the Seventh Awards at CONvergence 2003. “Star Wars” actor Michael Sheard joined David Ossman in “Peter Galaxy.”
The 2004 Awards performance, at CONvergence included “Dialogue With Martian Trombone” by Stearns and Price and Price’s “A Cure For Science.” Martian Trombone is a spin-off of the classic War of the Worlds radio play, asking the question of what became of the Ramone Raquello Orchestra that was featured at the beginning of WoW. It's release included two wizard tales from Minicons 32 and 33, "High Moon" and "Wizard Jack."
In 2005, the CONvergence theme was superheroes, so Stearns and Price invented a super one for the radio show in "SuperPal: The Saving of the World." Released on the same CD was the 2006 radio show, "The Jewels of the 11th Generation", and two shorter works, "Cart 437" by Price, and "Unrelated Cliffhanger Theater", all featuring Ossman.
In 2007, the Great Northern Audio team plans another silly science fiction piece relating to the Convergence theme, Creature Feature.
With CONvergence providing a home for the Mark Time Awards for the forseeable future, the tradition of a live radio performance will continue at upcoming events. (CONvergence is always held on the July 4th weekend, presently at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota.)