Where to Find It: Tales From the Static
The Players: Ryan Healey and occasional guests
What Is It: Like so many people in my age range, “more than just” basic cable proved a wonderland for host Ryan Healey and amongst the syndicated fodder one show dug its way into his brain more than any other, the horror anthology series Static Screams.
A (possibly) Canadian production, Healey watched in his late tweens and, in a time before everything would be eventually available on some streaming service or another, lost track of it. Unable to find much about the relatively obscure show on line, he had to settle for his memories—and the memories of his siblings—to recall the show.
However, as the internet expanded, so too did the opportunities to find out more about old shows. In 2016, the internet finally proved its worth and Healey hunted down a collection of annotated Static Screams scripts.
Now Healey revisits his past and spreads the world of Static by recapping the scripts, discussing his memories of them, and, on occasion, bringing in other guests who remember the show from their own youth.
The episodes are relatively short and Healey has a strong voice and gift for storytelling that helps him to make each episode more than just a bland review of the script in front of him. He also makes an effort to give context to some episodes in terms of what was happening in society or his own life at the time and uses other well-known pieces of pop culture to help listeners better understand and “see” the episodes in question.
When Healey has a guest on it is a special treat as well. His children are definitely kids but remarkably poised on mic for their age and their interactions have a laid back sweetness that it is fun to be a part of. When he speaks to those who remember the show from their younger days as well, it is an interesting look at the way memory does and does not and how the emotions of first impression often remain stronger years later that our abilities to recall facts accurately.
Some episodes to start with: In The Video Store- A Static Screams episode is actually not discussed at all in this installment—well sort of….there is an Easter egg that hatches episodes later—but rather Healey just muses on his childhood video store and a particularly vivid memory that years later remains both vibrant and hazy in the ways remembrances tend to.
S1E13 “Hide and Seek w/ Dracula”- The first episode with a Healey offspring as guest host. The story—a ghost story with some fairly familiar tropes with a simple but satisfying twist—largely takes a back seat to the chemistry of father and son—the son being the Dracula of the installment’s title—and the way Healey slightly alters his approach to tell the tale directly to someone.
S1E15 “Three w/ "Luna, Werewolf Queen of the Moon”- The second, this one featuring Healey’s daughter, also happens to probably be one of the best episodes of the series—at least to relate in this way—as well. The fact that the episode apparently concerns people looking out for each other—he said in the vaguest way possible—lends the presence of “Luna” an extra pop.
S1E17- “Bottled Up”- Perhaps not surprisingly, a bottle episode of Screams proves a great showcase for the ‘cast and Healey takes maximum advantage of it.
Schedule- Every other week, typically on Sunday