Monday, March 15, 2010

What do you get when you multiply six by nine?

When I was in Jr. High, I had a friend whose older brother like to be called "Ford Prefect" instead of his real name. Apparently the name was some character in a book that he liked. My friends and I thought he was a total nerd.

When I was in High School, we didn't have cable, so there were only about 4 channels we could get on TV. PBS was one of them. One afternoon they were playing The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy. It was British, it didn't make a lot of sense. It turned out that it was the third episode of the series. I watched the rest of the episodes and I liked it well enough.

A few years out of High School, I had a friend who had cassettes of the Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy radio series. He (or a friend of his) had recorded them off NPR. I borrowed them and loved them. I listened to them multiple times. I could quote lines from the entire show. I finally had some inkling why my friend's brother would name himself after one of the characters (Well, not really. Man, what a nerd!).
I never did return those tapes.
I eventually bought all the books and read them several times. I even got Mostly Harmless in hardcover right when it came out.

About 10 years ago, after the tapes had long worn out, I discovered that the radio series was available on CD. They weren't published in the US at the time, and I had to order them from, but I finally got them. I listened to them a lot. I noticed every edit that they had made between the original broadcasts and the CDs (they had to cut a little bit of material for copyright reasons)

Last week, while digging through my car, I found the CDs again. I have been listening to them in the car on the way to and from work. I've also dug out the books, and am in the process of reading them again. Plus, I have re-discovered the original TV series. It turns out it has been in my DVD cupboard for a few years, still in shrink wrap. I don't even remember exactly when I got it.
The radio series is still my favorite. I don't like the TV version's Ford Prefect or Trillian.

Out of curiosity I checked to see if there was anything else Hitchhiker related and discovered that in the last few years, they have made new radio dramas of the remaining books and that there is a CD set containing all of them. Surprise was not enough, and I was forced to resort to astonishment.
Needless to say, I will be ordering them straight away.