It is the eve of the millennium. America’s last space traveler, citizen Mark Time, returns from a 20-year journey to Planet X, on the far side of the Solar System from Earth. To his astonishment, the U.S. has closed its space-center, leaving only a pre-recorded welcoming committee and an inflated robot to welcome Our Hero home. The holographic records of Mark’s journey are immediately hijacked by an evil Media Mogul for public display over Panoramaland – a desert fun-park filled with tacky reproductions of the world’s monuments and treasures. Suddenly, a Black Hole arrives to turn Time in his flight.
In addition to my partners in the Firesign, “How Time Flys” features Radio Hero Wolfman Jack in his first dramatic performance (just before “American Graffiti”) and “Simsons” voice Harry Shearer (years before he sent up our musical generation in “Spinal Tap”). Others in the cast include the late, much lamented character actor Richard Paul, Hollywood resturateur Jock Livingston, belly dance queen Helena Kallianiotes (remembered best as the hitchhiker in “Five Easy Pieces), L.A. newsman Lew Irwin, singer Penny Nichols and a clutch of friends and relations from my then home-town of Santa Barbara.
It’s been exactly 30 years since producer Steve Gillmor and I created what we hoped would be a bridge from such 50’s thrillers as “Dimension X” and provide an inspiration for future sci-fi audio adventures. Today, the Mark Time Award is given annually to the best new work in this perennially popular genre. Thanks to laugh.com for bringing Mark back into print.
David Ossman, May 2003
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