Q: The New York Times recently ran an article about the resurgence
radio drama. Why do you think radio drama is becoming popular
A: First, radio itself
is becoming more popular again. More and more people are listening
again. Radio is a more
leisurely and comfortable medium than MTV-type television and
movies—bang-bang, zip-zip, rip-rip. People can listen and drive
without having to watch every frame for fear of missing something.
And of course, for the older element there's that something called
us about the recent production of The
Man With Bogart’s Face radio play.
friend, Blake Chambers, who had read the novel, seen the
movie, and read the play called
and asked, “Why
not do it as a radio play?” I called Linda Habjan, Chris
and Sue Sergel and posed the same question. Their unanimous,
was, “Why not?” So I did. The
Man With Bogart’s Face was first performed by CART (California
Artists Radio Theatre) with a stellar cast including Rich Little,
Samantha Eggar, JoAnne
Worley, William Windom, Beverly Garland, Ian Abercrombe, Marvin
Kaplan, Leslie Easterbrook, H.M. Wynant, etc., at the Beverly
Garland Theatre. Another production was done recently by The
Lake Forest Players under the supervision of Blake Chambers.
I saw both productions--they were both excellent.
Q: What makes radio plays so effective and versatile?
A: It’s live
theatre of the mind and the audience seems to
more by using
their imaginations. And radio
plays are easier to produce: no memorization or marks to hit,
less rehearsal, fewer sets, no wardrobe changes and actors can
perform more parts.
Q: How did you become involved in theatre? Did you start out
as an actor or a writer?
started acting at LaGrange Grade School, Woodward High
School and the University of Toledo—producing
and acting at radio station
WTOD in Toledo—stock at Priscilla Beach Theatre in Massachusetts—at
Stamford, Connecticut, and road companies of Claire Tree Major's
National Classic Theatre, then onto Hollywood where I became
a writer-producer of Paul Coates’ Confidential File, then onto
feature, television, novels, stage plays, songs—easy as climbing
Mt. Whitney backwards.
Q: You’ve written stage plays, novels, radio
plays, screenplays, and songs. Do you have a favorite medium
to write for?
A: No favorite medium. If they accept
me, I accept them. But novels and stage plays are the last
of individualism and independence.
Q: You’ve worked with many actors and actresses
in your role as producer, director and writer. Do you find
easily to doing radio drama? Does it take something special
to be behind that mike?
an actor, all it takes to be behind the microphone is
a script—and talent.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: A novel, A Night
in Beverly Hills,
published by Five Star Mysteries, November 2003; a novel (western),
to Moonrock, to be published
by Leisure Books in 2004, plus a feature and two Movies of the
Week, and a project I can’t disclose due to National Security.
Among his many other awards, A.J. Fenady recently
Andrew J. Fenady was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Toledo, where he appeared in leading roles in many stage productions. He later produced and acted in local dramatic radio shows and performed in summer stock, touring with the National Classic Theatre in a Shakespearean company. Once in Hollywood he became a legman for Paul Coates, which led to writing and producing Coates' controversial television series, Confidential File, winner of three Emmy awards. Three years and 150 programs later, Fenady and the show's director, Irvin Kershner, wrote and produced a feature film on a borrowed $15,000. This was Stakeout on Dope Street, the first of its genre, and the young filmmakers sold it to Warner Brothers for $150,000. Following this, Fenady wrote and produced the feature The Young Captives and created and produced The Rebel series for television (Nick Adams). The top-rated show lasted three seasons and the Fenady-penned theme song, "Johnny Yuma," became a No. 1 smash for singer Johnny Cash. Another series, Branded, followed. Between seasons, Fenady wrote and produced the feature film Ride Beyond Vengeance. He then combined television and motion pictures with Hondo, which served as a television pilot. The Hondo project led to a long-term association with John Wayne's organization, culminating in Fenady writing and producing Chisum, a feature picture starring John Wayne. A. J. Fenady has been honored with The Golden Boot Award for his lifetime contribution to westerns.
received the Western Writers of America's
most prestigious honor—
THE WISTER AWARD—for his lifetime achievements and
contributions to Westerns.
Other television movies and feature films written and/or produced by Fenady are: Black Noon (Yvette Mimieux, Ray Milland and Roy Thinnes); The Woman Hunter (Barbara Eden); Voyage of the Yes (Desi Arnaz, Jr.); The Stranger; Terror in the Wax Museum (Ray Milland, Broderick Crawford, Maurice Evans and Elsa Lanchester); Arnold (Stella Stevens, Roddy McDowall, Elsa Lanchester, Farley Granger, Victor Buono, John McGiver and Shani Wallis); The Hanged Man; Sky Heist; Mayday at 40,000 Feet; The Mask of Alexander; Hostage Heart; Who is Julia?(Mare Winningham; A Masterpiece of Murder (Bob Hope and Don Ameche); Jake Spanner, Private Eye (Robert Mitchum, Ernest Borgnine, Stella Stevens, Dick Van Patten, Sheree North, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Nita Talbot); and The Love She Sought (Angela Lansbury and Denholm Elliott), for which he won a Christopher award. Fenady also wrote the screenplay and executive produced The Sea Wolf based on the novel by Jack London, which starred Charles Bronson, Christopher Reeve and Catherine Mary Stewart. Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus, which Fenady co-wrote and executive produced and which starred Ed Asner, Charles Bronson and Richard Thomas, was given the Award of Excellence by the Film Advisory Board.
Also the author of several books, Fenady's novels include The Man With Bogart's Face, which received an Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America. He also wrote the screenplay and produced the feature film based on the book. Other novels include The Secret of Sam Marlow, The Further Adventures of the Man With Bogart's Face, Claws of the Eagle, A Novel of Tom Horn and the Apache Kid, The Summer of Jack London, Mulligan, and a Christmas western called Runaways, for which he is writing the screenplay. Fenady's latest novel is The Rebel: Johnny Yuma, based on the popular series he wrote and produced.
Fenady has been a guest lecturer on writing and producing for motion pictures and television at universities, museums and many other institutions. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Mary Frances (Dolan). They have six children, most of whom are following in their father's footsteps.