The Thrilling Adventure Hour was a staged production and podcast in the style of old time radio that was held monthly at Largo, a Los Angeles nightclub located in the former Coronet Theatre. The show ran from March 2005to April 2015. Each episode featured three non-serialized segments as well as songs and commercials from fictional sponsors. The show was written by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker; and directed by Aaron Ginsburg. The show's original songs were written by Acker & Blacker with the composer and band leader Andy Paley.
The roots of the Thrilling Adventure Hour began in Blacker's living room where he and Acker held a reading of their film script for a space western called Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars. Struck by the quality of the performances, they decided to launch a stage show with a radio conceit, so that the performers had the luxury of holding scripts in their hands and minimal blocking. The conceit allowed Acker and Blacker to not impose too greatly on their actor friends, while maintaining a regular deadline for generating material, honing their craft and workshopping content in front of an audience.
The Thrilling Adventure and Supernatural Suspense Hour began a five-year run at M Bar in Hollywood in March 2005. The original WorkJuice Players were Dave 'Gruber' Allen, Paget Brewster, Craig Cackowski, Mark Gagliardi, Marc Evan Jackson, Hal Lublin, Annie Savage and Paul F. Tompkins. In episode six, Eban Schletter performed live musical accompaniment. Schletter wrote the theme song to "Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars". In episode seven, the show was joined by Andy Paley. Acker & Blacker and Paley created musical content for the show. Paley arranged Schletter's Sparks Nevada theme and performed themes and songs with his Andy Paley Orchestra, which, at the time, consisted of Jillinda Palmer, Ben Jaffe, and Brittney Westover.
In episode eight, the show was joined by Joel Spence, a Foley artist and actor. Soon thereafter, Aaron Ginsburg joined as director. Shortly after that, Samm Levine, Danny Strong, and John DiMaggio joined the cast. Then James Urbaniak, John Ennis and Autumn Reeser. The band Common Rotation made a guest appearance on the show and played afterwards. Common Rotation became a regular staple following the Thrilling Adventure Hour. Marc Evan Jackson hosted Common Rotation's segment, which featured songs performed by Common Rotation as well as WorkJuice players and guest stars.
The final performance of The Thrilling Adventure and Supernatural Suspense Hour at M Bar was in January 2010. In March 2010, The Thrilling Adventure Hour shortened its title and started its run at Largo at the Coronet where it continued.Beginning in January 2011, the Thrilling Adventure Hour began podcasting sketches from past performances. In January 2011, the cast took the show on the road for the first time and performed two shows at SF Sketchfest. In October 2011, the Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast joined the network of podcasts released by Chris Hardwick's Nerdist Industries.
At SDCC 2014, Thrilling Adventure Hour performed a live crossover show with the cast of Welcome to Night Vale titled "Thrilling Adventure Hour & Welcome to Night Vale Crossover", which was released for sale on Night Vale's Bandcamp and the iTunes music store on October 1, 2014.
In 2015, it was announced that after 10 years of live monthly Thrilling Adventure Hour stage performances, the last such performance would be April 11, 2015.Also announced, was that there will be two new monthly comics in the Sparks Nevada and Beyond Belief storylines, starting February 2015. The podcast will continue in the form of audio versions of the comic books.
TheThrilling Adventure Hour returned for new episodes in October 2018.[ citation needed ]
Most episodes include both "Sparks Nevada" and "Beyond Belief". Normally "Sparks Nevada" begins a show and "Beyond Belief" ends the show.
"Sparks Nevada" is a Space Western set a thousand years in the future.
Paul F. Tompkins and Paget Brewster play Frank and Sadie Doyle, a pair of fast-talking married mediums in the vein of Nick and Nora Charles. Although this pair of high-society types would rather enjoy martinis and each other's company, Frank and Sadie usually end up solving paranormal mysteries. Hal Lublin has regularly acted as the announcer for the segment.
While not an official title, the Chronopatrol Universe is a convenient way to refer to several mid-show segments that share characters and themes.
Episodes of The Thrilling Adventure Hour tend to include one of the following segments.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour began podcasting in January 2011. That same year, it became a member of the Nerdist Podcast Network.After a hiatus of a few years, the podcast was brought back on the Forever Dog podcast network, with the back catalog found on the show's Patreon.
The fourth season DVD of Castle features video of two episodes guest-starring people from the show—a Sparks Nevada with Molly Quinn, and a Cactoid Jim with Nathan Fillion as well as a behind-the-scenes documentary about the live show.
A graphic novel featuring stories based on each segment was released in 2013,and a concert film recording of one performance was released in spring 2015.
In October 2014, Image Comics digitally released two comics, both previews of 4 issue mini-series for Sparks Nevada and Beyond Belief. "The Sad, Sad Song of Widow Johnson" is a prequel to the canonical story of Sparks Nevada. Issue #4 of Beyond Belief was never released in print by Image Comics but is available digitally on Sellfy.com. Boom Studios took over the property in 2018, releasing a collected edition of the Beyond Belief miniseries and Issue #1 in a new run of Thrilling Adventure Hour stories.
Linda Edna Cardellini is an American actress. In television, she is known for her leading roles in the teen drama Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000), the medical drama ER (2003–09), the drama thriller Bloodline (2015–17), and the dark tragicomedy Dead to Me (2019–present). She also guest starred in the period drama Mad Men (2013–15), for which she received an Emmy Award nomination. Cardellini's voice work includes the animated series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (2010–13), Regular Show (2012–15), Gravity Falls (2012–16), and Sanjay and Craig (2013–16).
Nathan Fillion is a Canadian-American actor, best known for the leading roles of Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds on Firefly and its film continuation Serenity, Richard Castle on Castle and is currently starring as John Nolan on The Rookie.
Hal Harry Magee Sparks III is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, musician, political commentator, television and radio host, and television personality. He is known for his contributions to VH1, hosting E!'s Talk Soup, and the role of Michael Novotny on the American television series Queer as Folk, Donald Davenport in Lab Rats and as the voice of Tak in Tak and the Power of Juju television series and video games.
Paget Valerie Brewster is an American actress and singer. She was first recognized for her recurring role as Kathy on the fourth season of the NBC sitcom Friends. Her breakthrough role came as Supervisory Special Agent Emily Prentiss on the crime drama Criminal Minds, on which she appeared regularly from 2006 to 2012, and then returned to for guest appearances, before returning regularly in 2016. Her other roles include voicing Elise and Mr. Mumbles on Dan Vs., Frankie Dart on the final season of Community, the voice of Birdgirl in Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law, Sara Kingsley on the Fox sitcom Grandfathered, and voicing Donald Duck's twin sister Della in the 2017 series of DuckTales, marking the first animated appearance of the character.
Paul Francis Tompkins is an American comedian, actor, and writer. He is known for his work in television on such programs as Mr. Show with Bob and David, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Best Week Ever, later renamed Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins.
SF Sketchfest, or The San Francisco Comedy Festival, is an American comedy festival founded in 2002 by Bay Area actor-comedians David Owen, Janet Varney and Cole Stratton. It takes place every January and February in a variety of Bay Area venues and features sketch comedy, improv comedy, film and television tributes and reunions, solo performers, podcasts and stand-up comedy performers.
Christopher Ryan Hardwick is an American stand-up comedian, actor, television host, writer, producer, and podcaster. He hosts Talking Dead, an hourly aftershow on AMC affiliated with the network's zombie drama series The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, as well as Talking with Chris Hardwick, a show in which Hardwick interviews prominent pop culture figures, and The Wall, a plinko-inspired gameshow on NBC. From 2013 to 2017, he hosted @midnight with Chris Hardwick, a nightly comedy-game show series on Comedy Central. In June 2018, Hardwick was accused of emotional and sexual abuse by his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra. AMC suspended Hardwick from its shows while conducting an investigation. AMC concluded its investigation and allowed Hardwick to resume his positions in August 2018. Dykstra refused to participate in the investigation.
Janet Varney is an American actress and comedian known for voicing Korra in the Nickelodeon animated television series The Legend of Korra, her role as Becca Barbara in You're the Worst and hosting The JV Club podcast.
Superego is an improvised sketch comedy podcast by American comedians Jeremy Carter, Matt Gourley, Mark McConville, and Paul F. Tompkins.
Maximum Fun is an independent podcast and radio show production organization founded and run by Jesse Thorn. The organization originated with Thorn's college radio show The Sound of Young America which continued in an adapted format and with a new name, Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. Maximum Fun has since grown to include several other programs.
Kyle Christian Kinane is an American stand-up comedian, actor and voice actor from Addison, Illinois.
Mark Moshe Kasher is an American stand-up comedian, writer and actor based in the Los Angeles area. He is the author of the 2012 memoir Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16.
Earwolf is an American comedy podcasting network founded by Scott Aukerman and Jeff Ullrich in August 2010. It merged with podcast advertising network The Mid Roll in 2014 to form Midroll Media. Midroll was acquired by the E. W. Scripps Company in 2015.
Matthew Paul "Matt" Mira is an American podcast host, stand-up comedian and television writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a co-host of The Nerdist Podcast since 2010.
Marc Evan Jackson is an American comedian and actor best known for his work as Sparks Nevada in the Thrilling Adventure Hour, Kevin Cozner in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Trevor Nelsson in Parks and Recreation, Dr. Murphy in 22 Jump Street, and Shawn in The Good Place.
Nerdist Industries, LLC is part of the digital division of Legendary Entertainment. Nerdist Industries was founded as a sole podcast created by Chris Hardwick but later spread to include a network of podcasts, a premium content YouTube channel, a news division, and a television version of the original podcast produced by and aired on BBC America.
Spontaneanation with Paul F. Tompkins was an improv comedy podcast hosted by Paul F. Tompkins on the Earwolf network. Based upon an interview with a special guest, Tompkins and several "improvisational friends" performed narrative improv, set in a location provided by the guest. Spontaneanation's 200th and final episode was released on January 21, 2019.
The Dead Authors Podcast is a comedy and faux-historical podcast hosted by Paul F. Tompkins in character as H.G. Wells. The show ran from 2011 until 2015. In each episode, he welcomes a deceased author via his "time machine" to discuss his or her life and work. The podcast was created in support of 826LA, and all proceeds from the show are donated to the organization.
Matt Gourley is an American actor, comedian, and podcaster best known for his work on the Superego and Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend podcasts, Drunk History, and as a Volkswagen spokesperson.
Hal Lublin is an American actor, improv performer, and voice-over artist best known for his work on the Thrilling Adventure Hour and Welcome to Night Vale.