Home > Interviews > Poe and Sorbo benefit A World Fit for Kids

Poe and Sorbo benefit A World Fit for Kids

“I shall ever bear about me a memory of the solemn hour I thus spent alone with the master of the House of Usher. …An excited and highly distempered ideality threw a sulphureous lustre over all.”  Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher”

Kevin recently recorded an Audio Drama for Macabre Mansion entitled, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” in which he narrates one of American author Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809-1849) most famous tales. He starred with Jim O’Rear (Roderick Usher), Bonita Friedericy (Madeline Usher), and John Billingsley (the family doctor).

His role as Narrator tells the unfortunate story of twins Roderick and Madeline Usher via first person as an unnamed childhood friend of Roderick. The short fiction, published in 1839 and revised a year later, opens with the Narrator arriving at the grand Usher estate at Roderick’s behest. It masterfully weaves its way through mystery, horror, and psychological dimensions about which I will write no more so as to not spoil your listening pleasure. Poe is one of my favorite authors, and I want you, too, to experience the thrill of this underrated literary genius.

Kevin Herren, Director and Producer of “The Fall of the House of Usher,” kindly answered a few questions regarding this project, a generous portion of which will benefit A World Fit for Kids.

SW: How and when did Macabre Mansion originate?

KH: Macabre Mansion started out as an Internet Radio Station in 2005 broadcasting mostly classic Old Time Radio Programs such as “Dark Fantasy,” “CBS Mystery Theatre,” and “Inner Sanctum.” Over time Macabre Mansion branched out into other areas and became a multi-genre media organization. Comprised of an all-volunteer team of writers, Macabre covers and reviews all things Horror, SciFi and Fantasy.

SW: What is “The Fall of the House of Usher” project and how did it happen?

KH: “The Fall of the House of Usher” is an Audio Drama adaptation of the classic short story by Edgar Allan Poe. It’s a fully dramatized recording in the style of the classic Old Time Radio programs. Our adaptation stays true to Poe’s original vision with only minor changes in dialogue. The script consists of four speaking roles: Roderick Usher (O’Rear), Madeline Usher (Friedericy), the family Doctor (Billingsley), and the Narrator (Sorbo), who is an unnamed childhood friend of Roderick.

The founders of Macabre Mansion had a goal to produce original Audio Dramas, and this was a primary reason that Macabre Mansion was started. It’s been a long time coming, but their original vision is now coming to fruition.

SW: How did Kevin get involved?

KH: We met and interviewed Mr. Sorbo at a Science Fiction convention in Florida and have stayed in contact since. Please see http://www.macabremansion.com/index.php?room=ksorbo

Once the script was finished and we started casting we knew he would be perfect for the part of the Narrator. He thought it was an interesting project and agreed to come on board.

SW: Please outline Kevin’s role and your collaboration with him during taping.

KH: Mr. Sorbo plays the part of the Narrator who is also a childhood friend of Roderick Usher. He and the rest of the cast were such naturals at their roles (that) they needed little direction. The recording session went incredibly smooth. We recorded all the voice-work in Burbank, California. We will be doing the final edit (and) adding sounds effects and music in the Macabre studio. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this project. The audio we recorded in Burbank was perfect, and the cast was amazing to work with.

SW: Please address your WFIT donation.

KH: We first learned about A World Fit For Kids after the interview we did with Mr. Sorbo in Florida. We’ve been following their work ever since. We actually decided to make this a charity project before we ever cast the first actor. We believe the work that WFIT is doing is vital and important, and we’re proud to be donating 75% of our first-year proceeds to this worthwhile organization.

Jim O'Rear, John Billingsley, Amber Preston, Kevin Sorbo, Bonita Friedericy

SW: How can Kevin’s fans support this project?

KH: We’re currently doing a fundraiser through the KickStarter fundraising service. Backers who make a funding donation will receive reward items that include promotional photographs and Compact Discs of the finished retail productions autographed by a cast member of their choice. This is an all-or-nothing fundraiser and time is limited. Fans can help by making a donation and by helping to spread the word. The deadline for the KickStarter fundraiser is Saturday, September 18, at 3:14 p.m. CST. Here’s a link to the fundraiser page: http://kck.st/cjd3oX

Please see the following for more information:




“…my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the ‘House of Usher.'”  Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher”

(photos courtesy of Macabre Mansion)

  1. teresa
    September 4, 2010 at 4:18 am

    fantastic interview,thanks for sharing Jan¡¡¡

  2. September 4, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Thank you so much, Jan! Great job, as usual!

  3. Anne
    November 1, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for some great insight into the project & how Macabre Mansion got Kevin involved. I was glad to hear that the producers believed in a World Fit for Kids so much that they wanted to get Kevin’s charity involved before they got him in the studio.

    As for the photos, they were great (as always) but I didn’t realize how diminutive Bonita Friedericy (“Chuck’s” Gen. Beckman) was… especially standing next to Kevin. 😀

    I still hope I can order a copy of this project.

  4. Rhonda
    February 28, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Great review,Jan! I love the way you described the project without giving away too much! Thanks for the insightful interview,too!

  1. September 4, 2010 at 10:41 am

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