Judson Fountain: Completely in the Dark!

Completely in the Dark!
, originally uploaded by Coilhouse.

Jackson Brain Griffith sums up the appeal of crackpot visionary Judson Fountain: “Imagine paint-sniffers aiming for the Firesign Theatre and hitting Plan 9 From Outer Space.”

Much like cult legends Shooby Taylor, Lucia Pamela and Gary Wilson, Fountain’s warped genius would not have survived these long decades were it not for the feverish worship of bootleggers. By the time his priceless “radio drammers” were officially released on CD in 2004, Fountain had long-since gained icon status among lovers of outsider music, cartoonists, and (somewhat redundantly) WFMU DJs and listeners.

From Innova’s artist one-sheet:

Judson Fountain (b. 1952) grew up after the heyday of classic radio theater, but as a child heard vestiges of programs that had enthralled his parents. He developed an obsession with suspense-filled shows like The Shadow, Inner Sanctum, and Lights Out! While most Americans were evolving into couch potatoes, Judson embraced radio as the superior theatrical medium, and felt compelled to single-handedly revive the art. That he lacked training, technology, skilled staff and a budget did not deter him. Ed Wood, Jr. made movies; Judson produced radio dramas.

Judson was between 17 and 22 when he produced these extremely primitive affairs. His simple, derivative plotlines employ Halloween kitsch — spooks, witches, haunted houses — as vehicles in morality plays about redemption for the honorable and damnation for evil-doers. The original recordings were pressed on LPs (reportedly about 200 copies of each). The jackets were hand-made, with grainy xeroxes pasted on otherwise blank cardboard sleeves.

Their limited edition CD (produced by foremost outsider musicologist Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon) is itself growing difficult to score. But you can still grab the tracks off emusic, bless ’em.

3 Responses to “Judson Fountain: Completely in the Dark!”

  1. Jerem Morrow Says:


    http://scarstuff.com/ (He’s working on fixing ze dead links)


    Don’t miss out on ze links they both have up, either!

  2. theremina Says:

    Yeee! Jackpot! I may have to include these sites in an upcoming blogroll of Halloween-themed podcasts. Thanks for the linkies, Mr. Morrow.

  3. Violaine Says:

    I tried recording a scary tale in the style of a radio drama, following advice from an DIY article I read in a kid’s magazine. It was to be a suspenseful story. I made rain by shaking rice inside a box lined with tin foil, and a horse’s gallop by clapping two paper cups on the table. The story was about a dark rider in the night and that’s as far as I got.