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The Tesla City Stories, the revival of 1940s radio theater performed live onstage in Portland, OR since 2014, is looking to expand!
The Tesla City Stories, the revival of 1940s radio theater performed live onstage in Portland, OR since 2014, is looking to expand!
66 backers pledged $6,727 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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BOOST THE SIGNAL! Fans of vintage radio unite! The Tesla City Stories, the well-received revival of 1940s radio theater performed live onstage in Portland, Oregon since 2014, is looking to expand.

After 17 shows and producing/performing over 40 story episodes, we are looking to grow! 

For those of you who haven't been able to see us in action, our shows feature talented voice actors, original music as well as special musical guests, and live "Foley" sound effects bringing these stories to life right before your, er, ears. It's a fun experience that we aim to offer to a wider audience by turning The Tesla City Stories into a podcast.

The Tesla City Stories, live or on the web, is the only place to (re)discover the amazing, lost programs of the Tesla Broadcasting Company*, such as their most successful quartet:

  • The Off-Key Life of Viola Harper, a daffy sitcom featuring the misadventures of the titular Ms. Harper, the plucky, would-be singing sensation of Tesla City, who won't let a little thing like a lack of talent get in her way! 

  • The Wilde Card Mysteries, a noir-ish collection of the strangest cases to walk through the door of affable gumshoe, Jack Wilde, a P.I. with a silver tongue and a jones for gambling. 

  • Blevins to Betsy, a romantic-comedy between two unlikely lovers - Blevins DeBell, egotistical radio star, and Betsy Harper (Viola's kid sister), production assistant at the TBC whom Fate casts as DeBell's new on-air wife! 

  • The Wraith, the bizarre adventures of resurrected archaeologist Lazarus St. George and his eerie alter-ego, the supernatural crimefighter and scourge of Tesla City's underworld, The Wraith. 

  • Plus the assorted shorter runs of other shows like the Western Shepherd's Trail, the sci-fi anthology Other Worlds, horror anthology The 13th Floor, rustic comedy Hooten Holler, hospital soap opera Nightingale of the Broken Heart, and more.

It's still remarkable to us, and any other fan of Radio Age obscurities, how the TBC shows maintained a tight continuity between their disparate shows, connecting each to fictional Tesla City regardless of genre or setting, a kind of "shared universe" that was ahead of its time.

That's a majority of the fun in representing these shows for the public today, sharing the widespread tapestry of character and history that make the TBC shows, truly, one big story.

  • To pay our very talented cast, crew and musicians who previously volunteered their precious time and energy. They deserve it. 

  • Effectively expanding our advertising to bring the vintage magic to a larger audience, and thus sustaining the ability to pay our team!

  • Purchasing better equipment for lighting, sound, projection, and staging. 

  • Enhancing the audience experience with an upgraded venue that has better accoutrements all-around.

  • Building a network for podcasts to bring the show world-wide. 

By contributing or "boosting the signal" in any capacity - even by simply letting other folks know about our show and this campaign, you're helping us share these stories with a bigger audience.

So, on behalf of myself (Brendan) and Jerry, our cast and crew and, most specifically, those unsung talents behind the original TBC, I thank you for any and all support you lend our production.

Boost the signal!

*For more on the history of the short-lived TBC, or the unusual tale of how Brendan came upon the transcripts of these obscure shows, check out our website at teslacitystories.com!

  • If we can reach $7500, we can build an amazing backlit set with projectors that will greatly enhance the experienced of the show!

  • if we reach $10,000, we can build our own recording studio to produce more content and podcasts!

  • If we reach $15,000 we can promote ourselves to larger events and invite known celebrities for guest appearances!

BRENDAN DOUGLAS JONES (Director & Archivist) is a Mississippi-born, Texas-bred Californian living in Oregon. Along the way he’s been the author/illustrator of the quasi-notorious web-to-print comic book Breakfast of the Gods, lead singer in the rock band Zsu-Zsu's Petals, an unsolicited screenwriter, an art school dropout, a sometime actor, stand-up comedian and TV kiddie show host.

A lifelong collector of pop culture arcana, nothing has been as fulfilling to Jones as recovering and presenting the output of the all-but-forgotten Tesla Broadcasting Company to 21st Century audiences.

JERRY CHRISMAN (Executive Producer) is a media producer, graphic artist, musician, creative director, and improviser. Owner of Grip Media Inc., a Portland-based web and graphic design firm, he spends his days realizing his own and others’ creative visions. He is producing Tesla City Stories with his long time creative collaborator and friend, Brendan Jones.

Risks and challenges

As you might guess, producing, presenting and promoting any art/performance is challenging. Building, much less maintaining, an audience in an arts-rich environment such as Portland Oregon, requires diligence, persistence and savvy to keep said audiences engaged.

But with our previous successful run, seventeen performances produced with limited resources and the endless generosity of our volunteers and collaborators, we amassed a wealth of experience and a solid bedrock of fans. All we need now is the support of folks like you. With your help, there is no limit to our signal."

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    The knowledge that you have done something truly worthwhile for the price of a fancy coffee drink AND, get this, you'll also receive an "electronic letter" of thanks from us delivered through the air, via electricity!, to your computing box. If only Tesla himself were alive to see this! Plus you get an exclusive call-in number to hear a special message for you and a surprise JUST for calling!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    The previous rewards AND permanent mention - by name or alias of your choice - on our website and programs as one of our treasured Signal Boosters. If only Tesla himself were alive to see this!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    All of the previous rewards AND a handsome TBC sticker. A sticker! Just be prepared for admiring and jealous friends asking, "What's that?"

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    All of the previous rewards PLUS a Tesla City Stories poster AND two general admission tickets to our premier show! We want to see you there!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All the previous rewards PLUS a set of four Tesla show posters (Viola, The Wraith, Blevins to Betsy, Wilde Card) designed by brilliant local graphic artist Matt Vosburg and signed by the man himself! PLUS a TBC T-shirt in your choice of size! Wear it proudly and let the whole world know you're down with TBC fever (currently unrecognized and untreatable)!

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    12 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All the previous rewards AND a gorgeous limited edition Tesla Broadcasting Company pendant. AND, as befits such a fancy tier, how about we also upgrade your seats to two VIP tickets to our premier show? Done!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Whew! We're really gettin' up there! Obviously you'll receive all of the previous rewards PLUS two VIP seats for every show for our first season PLUS a copy of one of your favorite show's scripts (from Brendan's trove o' transcripts) PLUS a Home Foley Kit for acting out said script at home (or whatever you need manual sound effects for). AND, the kicker, a chance to be in the show! That's right, be a part of the Tesla City Stories as a to-be-determined commercial spokesperson! (Got stagefright? That's okay, this reward is, of course, not mandatory. But fun!)

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    Pledge $1,944 or more About $1,944

    In honor of the Tesla Broadcasting Company's golden year, 1944! Pledge this amount and you'll get all of those awesome previous rewards PLUS an upgrade to a VIP Table (5 seats) for every show for our first season! That's nice, but we want to do something even more special.... Oh, okay, how about the cast of the Tesla City Stories records an original 10 minute personalized performance just for you? You more than deserve it!

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Wow. Seriously? That's a whole lotta love, Signal Booster! So, what can we do to show our appreciation? How about we bring the Tesla City Stories to you? That's right, we're talking about a private performance of two episodes of your choosing at an event you are hosting in the coming year!* That's a one-of-a-kind gift for a one-of-a-kind booster and it will be an honor to present it for you. Thanks for keeping the Tesla City Stories on the air! ...*Must be in the greater Portland, Oregon area, 8 weeks advanced notice required. Venue must meet certain technical and space requirements.

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Funding period

- (30 days)