The Classic Tales Podcast
Designed to make classic literature less intimidating, The Classic Tales Podcast has been showcasing the greatest literary authors for years. Narrating with gusto, BJ Harrison performs each word of the classic texts, elevating them with character voices, sharp accents and bridled emotion. Adventure, Mystery, Horror, Humor and more - The Classic Tales Podcast has something for everybody. It really is The Cure for the Common Commute. Winner - Outstanding Podcast Host: Arts and Entertainment , Society of Voice Arts and Sciences- 2022 Winner of w3 Silver Award by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts-2022 Winner of w3 Gold Award by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts-2021 Winner of Independent Audiobook Award for "Scaramouche", by Raphael Sabatini - 2021

Sleepy Hollow sounded like such a peaceful place to the gentle Ichabod Crane. Boy, was he in for a surprise. Washington Irving, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. Please help us to keep the Vintage Episodes coming by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com, and becoming a supporter. Thank you so much. 

The character of Ichabod Crane in Irving’s immortal story has had many incarnations. He’s been a detective, a dabbler in the supernatural, and a criminologist, among other things. First published in 1820, this is among the first examples of American fiction with enduring popularity. Of course, cartoons help. 

I’ve always appreciated how much of the original text survived in the Disney version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Required viewing at Halloween time. 

And now, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving.

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Direct download: CT_877_SleepyHollow_VINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Why is an unobtrusive, simple flat in the middle of London outrageously haunted? Edward Bulwer-Lytton, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Halloween! Keep an eye open for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving, and The Eyes, by Edith Wharton. As you’ve noticed, there’s a lot of new material we’re sending your way, and we really want to keep the momentum going. Please go to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com and become a supporter for $5 a month. We’ll send you a coupon code every month, so you can get even more! And thanks for your support! 

The Right Honourable Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton was a prolific novelist, and very popular in his day. He coined many phrases now commonplace, such as, “the pen is mightier than the sword”, “The pursuit of the almighty dollar”, and “It was a dark and stormy night”. He represented the Whigs in Parliament, and was the Secretary of State for the Colonies from June 1858 to June 1859. 

He married Rosina Doyle Wheeler, also a writer, and they had two children. He wasn’t a faithful husband, and they parted acrimoniously in 1833. When he was standing as a parliamentary candidate in June 1858, Rosina continued to publicly denounce him, in print and in person, and his responses escalated until he eventually had her committed to a mental asylum. She was shortly released after a public outcry. 

He suffered with gradual hearing loss from the time he was a young man. As it worsened during the course of his life, he pulled out of the public eye. An unsuccessful ear operation eventually killed him, and he died in 1873. 

And now, The Haunters and the Haunted, by Edward Bulwer Litton.

 

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Direct download: CT_876_HauntersandtheHaunted.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Dreaming of eternal tranquility, Winzy quaffs the elixir of immortality. But soon his tranquility turns to torture. Mary Shelley, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. Please help us to keep the Vintage Episodes coming by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com, and becoming a supporter. Thank you so much. 

Today’s story was commissioned in 1833 for The Keepsake, a literary annual which combined short fiction, poetry, and engraved artwork. “The Mortal Immortal” is an example of a Godwinian confessional narrative, a technique developed by Mary’s father, William Godwin, in his novel St. Leon. Godwin’s novel features a tragic immortal protagonist possessed of exceptional powers, but unable to use them well. 

The narrative technique and the theme of exploring the nature of life and immortality are evident in many of her writings, including the short story “Transformation” and of course, Frankenstein

And now, The Mortal Immortal, by Mary Shelley. 

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Direct download: CT_875_TheMortalImmortal_VINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

It was the dull, sightless, vulture's eye that shredded his final nerve. Edgar Allan Poe, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. Please help us to keep the Vintage Episodes coming by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com, and becoming a supporter. Thank you so much.

In today’s story, an unnamed narrator attempts to convince us of his sanity, while simultaneously describing a murder he committed. It was first published 180 years ago in 1843. 

I heard a radio version of this story where they have different voice actors “tempt”, or “guide”  the narrator through the steps of the murder, which was rather effective. When I first recorded this back in 2007, it was in the middle of the night, and I was all alone, and really into the height of the drama, and right at the critical point, a car drove by with some crazy bass going on, and it nearly gave me a heart attack.

This recording was the #3 bestselling audiobook at the iTunes Music Store in 2008. 

And now, The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe. 

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Direct download: CT_874_TheTellTaleHeart_VINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

The mystery of the cursed room is solved, and all is revealed. Anonymous, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

The Vintage Episodes of The Classic Tales Podcast are in full swing – every Monday and Wednesday. Monday we’ll have The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe, and on Wednesday, The Mortal Immortal, by Mary Shelley. It actually takes quite a bit more work to release three episodes a week instead of one, so if you’d like more Vintage Episodes, please go to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com and become a supporter. And thanks for your support! 

This week concludes our story by Anonymous of The Closed Cabinet, jointly narrated with Nancy Peterson. 

Evie’s cousins live on an ancient estate with a cursed history. Featured in this history is a room with a closed cabinet, where tradition has it that if a single woman sleeps in the room, she will die. On her third night in the room, Evie has an extremely realistic dream, where she lived through the terrifying moment of a wronged woman taking revenge against her abusive husband. She awakes with a cut on her hand from a dagger she retrieved from the closed cabinet – which was open in her dream. 

I know that the writing of this story isn’t as fast paced as some of our other offerings, but I am so impressed with the level of craft in the book. Evie is initially extremely naïve and innocent, and Alan is aloof to the point of boorishness. But Evie and Alan gently move from opposite sides of the “worldly experience” spectrum, until they meet at just the right place. 

And once again, a huge thank you to Nancy Peterson for her stunning narration. Do yourself a favor, and check out her recordings of the Anne of Green Gables series. Links are in the show notes.

And now, The Closed Cabinet, Part 3 of 3, by Anonymous. Narrated with Nancy Peterson

Follow these links to see Nancy Peterson’s TikTok channel and Anne of Green Gables series

 

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Direct download: CT_873_TheClosedCabinet_Part3of3.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Seeking shelter from the storm, a young traveler finds refuge in a cozy cottage nestled in the notch of a hill. But is the cottage really safe? Nathaniel Hawthorne, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. Please help us to keep the Vintage Episodes coming by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com, and becoming a supporter. Thank you so much. 

Today’s story is based in fact. The basis of the story is the Willey tragedy of Crawford Notch, New Hampshire. On August 28, 1826, a family living in the Notch of the White Mountains was killed by an avalanche as they rushed from their home attempting to seek safety. The home they fled, however, was unharmed. Hawthorne visited the area four years later.

Hawthorne wrote this piece as a series of travel pieces he titled, “Sketches from Memory, by a Pedestrian”, in the November 1835 issue of The New-England Magazine. It was later included in the second edition of Twice-Told Tales

And now, The Ambitious Guest, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

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Direct download: CT_872_TheAmbitiousGuest_VINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

After abandoning a life of dissipation, the baron settles down - but this version of simple domesticity isn’t what he had in mind. Charles Dickens, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. Please help us to keep the Vintage Episodes coming by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com, and becoming a supporter. Thank you so much. 

Dickens’ first serialized novel, The Pickwick Papers, used a significant amount of peripheral short fiction to bulk up the length of the story, or as Dickens said, “make length”. In Nicholas Nickleby, he did it again, inserting a short story in his serialized title. The Baron of Grogswig can be found in Chapter 6. 

Considered a “satire of a Gothic tale”, hopefully the charm of Dickens is still shining strong. 

And now, The Baron of Grogzwig, by Charles Dickens. 

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Direct download: CT_871_TheBaronofGrogzwigVINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

What does Evie discover when she finds the cursed, closed cabinet – open? Anonymous, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

The Vintage Episodes of The Classic Tales Podcast are in full swing – every Monday and Wednesday. Monday we’ll have The Baron of Grogswig, by Charles Dickens, and on Wednesday, The Ambitious Guest, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It actually takes quite a bit more work to release three episodes a week instead of one, so if you’d like more Vintage Episodes, please go to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com and become a supporter. And thanks for your support! 

This week continues our story by Anonymous of The Closed Cabinet, jointly narrated with Nancy Peterson. 

Last week, we met Evie who is visiting her esteemed cousins, the Mervyns, who live on an ancient estate with a wicked history. Featured in this history is a room with a closed cabinet, where it is rumored that a girl died when she slept there 150 years ago. Events so fell out that Evie has to stay in this room for several nights. Each night she has terrible dreams. 

Note how Evie’s reaction to the elements helps to move the story along, and adds to the supernatural nature of the story. It’s a small step from reacting strongly to the wind, to reacting to other invisible things. 

And now, The Closed Cabinet, Part 2 of 3, by Anonymous. Narrated with Nancy Peterson.  

Follow these links to see Nancy Peterson’s TikTok channel and Anne of Green Gables series: 

https://www.tiktok.com/@nancy_peterson_narrates

https://tinyurl.com/54ncrx9s

 

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Direct download: CT_870_TheClosedCabinet_Part2of3.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Jabez Wilson is exorbitantly paid to copy the Encyclopedia Britannica at a certain time and place every day. Is he right to be suspicious? Arthur Conan Doyle, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. Please help us to keep the Vintage Episodes coming by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Become a supporter, tell your friends, order an audiobook, or send us an email. You can also give us a review on Apple Podcasts. Every little bit helps. Thank you so much. 

The Adventure of the Red-Headed League is one of 12 Sherlock Holmes stories comprising The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It is one of the 56 short stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon. It was originally published in the Strand Magazine in August 1891. 

One thing to note – the dates in the story don’t match the characters’ descriptions of time passing. Wilson first discovers the advertisement for the League on April 27, 1890, works for 8 weeks, finishing at the end of June. However, the story begins as “one day in autumn”, and describes the league closing on October 9, 1890. 

The story is still great, but nitpickers are going to nitpick, so we thought we’d point it out. 

And now, The Adventure of the Red-Headed League, by Arthur Conan Doyle. 

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Direct download: CT_869_TheRed-HeadedLeagueVINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Father and son enter a magic shop where the shopman is a genius at sleight of hand. But, as the son becomes more and more enthralled, the father feels an icy hand grip his heart. H.G. Wells, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. Please help us to keep the Vintage Episodes coming by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Become a supporter, tell your friends, order an audiobook, or send us an email. You can also give us a review on Apple Podcasts. Every little bit helps. Thank you so much. 

H.G. Wells. Yeah, when he invents a genre, he invents a genre. Think of all the stories with magic shops like the one in today’s story – Harry Potter, The Twilight Zone, Gremlins, Little Shop of Horrors, the list goes on and on. 

This story is a little lighter than Wells’ typical fare, and is perfect for Halloween listening. So, let’s journey to a magic shop where “All goods (are) of the same quality…and that is the best”

And now, The Magic Shop, by H.G. Wells. 

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Direct download: CT_868_TheMagicShopVINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

A family secret, an ominous curse, and a mysterious cabinet equals a surplusage of horrors. No wonder the writer withheld their name. Anonymous, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

The Vintage Episodes of The Classic Tales Podcast are in full swing – every Monday and Wednesday. How did you like them? Are you looking for more? Please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Pick up an audiobook, become a supporter, leave a review, or send us an email. Let us know if you’d like more. 

Monday we’ll have H.G. Wells’ fanciful story The Magic Shop, and on Wednesday, Sherlock Holmes returns in The Red-headed League. It actually takes quite a bit more work to release three episodes a week instead of one, so if you’d like more Vintage Episodes, please go to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com and chip in. And thanks for your support! 

Today begins a three-part series of The Closed Cabinet, by Anonymous. There are so many wonderful elements in today’s story – a bespelled cabinet built by an ancient witch, a family curse, and beautiful prose tying it all together. But the majority of this story is told from the point of view of a 19-year-old woman. And so I reached out to Nancy Peterson, the award-winning narrator and Tik-Tok sensation, and we decided to collaborate again. So the parts of the story that are told from the heroine, Evie’s point of view will be read by Nancy, and I’ll be chiming in when the men speak.

I thought this approach would be best for the way this story is written. Hopefully it works okay. Just trying something new. 

And if you’re a fan of Nancy’s, like I am, she is in the process of recording the Anne of Green Gables series of books, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Links to her recordings can be found in the show notes. I’ve seen her perform some of it live – it’s amazing. 

And now, The Closed Cabinet, Part 1 of 3, by Anonymous. Narrated with Nancy Peterson. 

Follow these links to see Nancy Peterson’s TikTok channel and Anne of Green Gables series: 

https://www.tiktok.com/@nancy_peterson_narrates

https://tinyurl.com/54ncrx9s

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Direct download: CT_867_TheClosedCabinet_1of3.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Enter the tormented mind of a prisoner in his quest for hope in a world of darkness. Edgar Allan Poe, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. If you like the Vintage Episodes, please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Become a supporter, tell your friends, order an audiobook, or send us an email. You can also leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We’d love to hear if you like the older episodes, or even if you don’t.

Edgar Allan Poe. This master of the short story was such a pioneer, defining the sleuth mystery, expanding the realm of science fiction. And of course, he gave us the definitive canon of horror stories. 

Today’s story was published 180 years ago, in 1843. There are no supernatural elements in the story itself. The realism of the story is enhanced through the reported sensations of the narrator. It’s a thrill ride, moving from one thrilling episode to the next. It seems as though Poe is experimenting with the effectiveness of several devices to create a desired thrilling effect.

16 years ago, this episode rocketed The Classic Tales Podcast to the #3 Top Podcast in Apple Podcasts (then iTunes). Let’s see how it holds up. 

And now, The Pit and the Pendulum, Edgar Allan Poe. 

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Direct download: CT_866_ThePitandthePendulumVINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Everyone says Henry’s wife, Phoebe, has died. But to Henry, she’s still alive. Theodore Dreiser, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. If you like the Vintage Episodes, please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Become a supporter, tell your friends, order an audiobook, or send us an email. You can also give us a review on Apple Podcasts. We’d love to hear if you like the older episodes. 

Theodore Dreiser was a leading figure of a new literary movement in America, replacing the observances of the Victorian days with new social problems that reflected the industrialization of America. His best known works are Sister Carrie (1922), and An American Tragedy (1925). 

Dreiser’s works are far from perfect, and tend to get longer as you read them. However, like many who brave new paths, the writers before Dreiser were remarkably different than those who followed him. While perhaps not a perfect guidepost, he nevertheless showed a new path and took a few wavering steps.

The Lost Phoebe is the only one of Dreiser’s titles in the Classic Tales canon. I’ve tried to return to him over the past 16 years and it just hasn’t worked out. Strange, because The Lost Phoebe has some absolutely masterful moments. 

And now, The Lost Phoebe, by Theodore Dreiser.

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Direct download: CT_865_TheLostPhoebeVINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST