By John King Tarpinian: California Artists Radio Theatre presented Ray Bradbury’s Leviathan ’99 on May 3 in honor of his friend’s 99th birthday, Norman Corwin. Leviathan ‘99 is Ray Bradbury’s version of Moby Dick — only in outer space — inspired by his having written the screenplay of Moby Dick for John Huston, in 1953.
Norman Corwin wanted to produce this in 1961 but CBS Radio wished to do it in 3-minute segments. It did not get produced as a radio play until 1968 and that was by the BBC.
John Harlan did the announcing. He has over 50 years experience as a TV announcer: a voice you immediately recognize. The lead character of Ishmael Jones was played by Sean Astin. William Shatner played the 8-foot-tall eight-eyed spider alien, Quell. Norman Lloyd was the crazed captain of the doomed Cetus 7. Walter Koenig was Father Colworth. H.M. Wynant was Elijah. Richard Herd was first mate John Redleigh. Samantha Eggar was Captain Rachel of the Pius One.
Sean Astin is best known for his role in The Goonies and as Samwise in Lord of the Rings, Bill Shatner for Star Trek, T.J. Hooker and Boston Legal. Norman Lloyd formed the Mercury Theatre with Orson Welles and John Houseman, not to mention starred in two Hitchcock films, directed most of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents (including Ray Bradbury’s “The Jar”), The Twilight Zone, Saint Elsewhere…the list goes on. Walter Koenig is best known for Star Trek and Babylon 5. Samantha Eggar played opposite Yul Brynner in Anna and the King, in Dr. Doolittle, etc. Richard Herd’s TV roles are voluminous, including All the President’s Men and The China Syndrome. H.M. Wynant is probably best known for the Twilight Zone’s “The Howling Man.”
Top photo: Leviathan 99 cast members: Robert Legionaire, H.M. Wynant, Samantha Eggar, Sean Astin, William Shatner, Norman Lloyd, John Harlan.
Update 05/08/2009: Listed Robert Legionaire in the cast photo, following the correction in his comment.