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Michael Hellyer

Weather Fan

Aurora, IL United States | Member Since 2009

18
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 26 ratings
  • 266 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • Jack Benny Spoofs

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Radio Spirits, Inc.
    • Narrated By Jack Benny, Phil Harris, Mary Livingstone, and others
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Jack Benny continues to get the laughs with this collection of six spoofs that highlight both fairy tales and classic radio shows. This hysterically humorous collection is a must-have for any comedy or Jack Benny fan. A brilliant, talented comic, Benny continues to captivate audiences of all ages with his laugh-out-loud situational comedies and parodies.

    Michael Hellyer says: "Hardcore Jack Benny fans may like, but..."
    "Hardcore Jack Benny fans may like, but..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Jack Benny Spoofs better?

    Funnier writing. Some Jack Benny programs are full of fun and laughs; these shows are not. There's not much wit here.


    Has Jack Benny Spoofs turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I will be careful which Jack Benny


    Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators???s performances?

    Yes


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Jack Benny Spoofs?

    Pretty much all of it. There's little wit, the live audience on the soundtrack doesn't seem to know if and when to laugh.


    Any additional comments?

    Jack Benny shows vary in quality. These shows are at the lower end. Insults are too direct, gags are cliche'-ridden, there's not too much inspired comedy here.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Missing Chums: Hardy Boys 4

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Franklin Dixon
    • Narrated By Bill Irwin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    When the Hardy Boys set out to solve the mystery of their missing chums, they discover a gang hide-out in a cave on an island along the way.

    Michael Hellyer says: "Enjoyable Hardy Boys sleuthing around Bayport"
    "Enjoyable Hardy Boys sleuthing around Bayport"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not the strongest entry in the "canon," but an enjoyable mystery set along the ocean around Bayport. Two of Frank and Joe's best buds go missing and the Hardy Boys try to locate them while finding linkages with a bank heist crime that their father is trying to solve. Entertaining sleuthing goes on and even if it's not the most exciting or exotic of the series, it is still very entertaining and relaxing to listen to, especially if you, like I, grew up reading every volume in the series. Bill Irwin does an excellent job reading and speaking as each of the characters, and there are just enough sound effects and a soundtrack to add some atmosphere.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rumpole and the Judge's Elbow

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 23 mins)
    • By John Mortimer
    • Narrated By Leo McKern
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Rumpole defends the smarmy owner of a string of massage parlors on the charge of running "disorderly houses" (i.e. bordellos).

    Michael Hellyer says: "Excellent Rumpole, very enjoyable and entertaining"
    "Excellent Rumpole, very enjoyable and entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Rumpole read by Leo McKern and this is almost as good as any, and is very entertaining to listen to. Fun story, brilliantly written and narrated, good to listen to over and over.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The World's Worst Jokes

    • NONE (43 mins)
    • By Henny Youngman
    • Narrated By Henny Youngman
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Michael Hellyer says: "Entertaining but not as fun as other Youngmn shows"
    "Entertaining but not as fun as other Youngmn shows"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This incorporates some of Henny Youngman's life story with his joke telling. I normally love Henny Youngman stuff. I bought it for the jokes, and they are a little lamer than usual, and the "live" audience sounds like the undead barely coming back to life. I need to look for a Youngman recording that does better justice to his joke-telling.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Paul Temple East of Algiers

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Francis Durbridge
    • Narrated By Anthony Head
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    When Paul Temple agreed to do a favour for a friend of Steve, he could never have foreseen the extraordinary sequence of events that would be set in motion. For Judy Wincott's simple request that Paul return a pair of glasses to David Foster in Tunis is a prelude to a body in a Paris rubbish bin and a succession of mysterious killings...

    Pam says: "Same as Sullivan Mystery"
    "Same story as another (dramatised) version"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't believe this is the same plot and same characters as another Paul Temple story with a different title that I heard a couple years ago, so I've paid for it twice. This time it is read by one narrator rather than dramatized by a cast, and it is set in Algiers instead of Cairo -- but it's the same story and the same sinister characters. Buyer beware. The reader does a good job, though,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • French Fried: One Man's Move to France with too many Animals and an Identity Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Chris Dolley
    • Narrated By Darren Stephens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Just when Chris and Shelagh think nothing more could possibly go wrong, they discover that Chris's identity has been stolen and their life savings - all the money from their house sale in England that was going to finance their new life in France - had disappeared. A bank account had been opened in Chris's name in Spain to take the proceeds. Then they're abandoned by the police forces of four countries who all insist the crime belongs in someone else's jurisdiction.

    Michael Hellyer says: "Moderately entertaining, poorly read"
    "Moderately entertaining, poorly read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't find the story very interesting or compelling and the narrator reads it at lightning speed, about 3 times as fast as necessary. The true measure of a book is whether I'd buy it again and I would definitely not buy this. The reading is so frenetic it makes me very jumpy and it is not at all a relaxing and enjoyable experience listening to this. Very disappointing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • As Time Goes By

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Bob Larbey
    • Narrated By Judi Dench, Geoffrey Palmer
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer star as old flames Jean Pargetter and Lionel Hardcastle. Their love story was all set for a happy ending in the 1950s when Jean was a student nurse and Lionel, a young army officer. But he was posted abroad and they lost touch. Thirty-eight years later, Lionel has returned to London to publish his autobiography and, through a strange coincidence, he is reunited with Jean who has set up a secretarial agency.

    Stacie says: "A wonderful time!"
    "Just as charming as the television show"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know what there is about "As Time Goes By" but I am a fan of the TV show and I very much enjoy listening to these 6 shows on audio. The acting is first-rate and the story lines are cute and warm. I hope they bring more of the episodes to audio listening, as they are so enjoyable and relaxing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Tom Standage
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1173)
    Performance
    (992)
    Story
    (993)

    Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period. A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola.

    Stoker says: "Fun and Informative"
    "Interesting history comes through dry storytelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I learned a lot about the influence of beer, wine, distilled spirits, coffee, tea and cola shaping societies and historical events since the early civilizations. In fact, I am listening to this book for the 3rd time there is so much to learn from it. However, some histories are entertaining and others are more like dry encyclopedia articles and this is the latter. It is serious throughout in language and tone. There are many fascinating things to be learned, though, and these do come through. The reading style is just very direct and matter-of-fact, clean and clear with no distractions, but just as dry in tone as is the book. The 6 major units seem to get more interesting as the book advances, but that is perhaps because the more recent the history the more I am familiar with it already or that I can relate to it better.

    Anyway, this book contains lots of fascinating information; in particular I think of the chapters on coffee and how coffee houses were so prevalent in the Arab world in the last millennium and also their importance in the flow of information and the debates on human rights and revolutionary movements in western Europe in the past several centuries.

    Definitely worthwhile listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Pint of Plain: Tradition, Change and the Fate of the Irish Pub

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Bill Barich
    • Narrated By Daniel Noel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Seamlessly blending history and reportage, Bill Barich offers a heartfelt homage to the traditional Irish pub, and to the central piece of Irish culture disappearing along with it. After meeting an I rishwoman in London and moving to Dublin, Bill Baricha blow-in, or stranger, in Irish parlancefound himself looking for a traditional I rish pub to be his local. There are nearly 12 thousand pubs in Ireland, so he appeared to have plenty of choices.

    Michael Hellyer says: "Very annoying reading distracts from the book"
    "Very annoying reading distracts from the book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read "A Pint of Plain" before listening to the audio version. The book seems disjointed, and jumps back and forth in the author's description of Ireland's pub and drinking culture and history, but ultimately is an enjoyable and informative read. The audio version, however, seems much less successful due to the reading style of the narrator, which I found very annoying.

    The book has some humor but nowhere near the wit of "McCarthy's Bar," "'Round Ireland With a Fridge," "A Course Called Ireland," or "Pint-Sized Ireland." Yet the narrator treats it as a comic masterpiece. Every fact is delivered as a punch line, way over the top over-acting. Too bad it wasn't read with the honesty of Edward Enfield's reading of "Freewheeling Through Ireland."

    "A Pint of Plain" is definitely one case of read the book rather than listen to it

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Paul Temple and the Lawrence Affair (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Francis Durbridge
    • Narrated By Peter Coke, Majorie Westbury, Full Cast
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    From 1938 to 1969 crime novelist and detective Paul Temple, together with his Fleet Street journalist wife Steve, solved case after case in one of BBC radio's most popular serials. They inhabited a sophisticated world of chilled cocktails and fast cars, where the women were chic and the men wore cravats, a world where Sir Graham Forbes, of Scotland Yard, usually needed Paul's help with his latest tricky case.

    Michael Hellyer says: "Entertaining and well-produced."
    "Entertaining and well-produced."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the 4th Paul Temple dramatization I've listened to. They are all enjoyable, although so far I haven't given any a top rating. Two have been too bloody (body counts that Quentin Tarantino would envy), and two, including this one, develop a little too slowly with vague clues, but they are still enjoyable to listen to as I take my dog for a leisurely suburban walk. For all the laughing and clanking of cocktail glasses, there really is no wit or humor to these, so these are definitely not Nick and Nora. There's not much of a clue trail in these, it's more guesswork. And, Steve (Mrs. Paul Temple) is always in the backseat in terms of taking any action, thinking things through, and reacting to a bad situation (she'll scream and Paul will figure things out). With all that said, the acting is really good, the production and sound effects are excellent, and the characters, other than the leads, are all nicely shady and suspicious.

    In ".. the Lawrence Affair" there are suspicious deaths in a seaside village where Paul Temple has gone to work on his next novel, but instead he gets caught up in the mystery. The setting bounces back and forth from the village to London. It's not as bloody as some, but not as fast-paced either, but overall it was enjoyable to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Freewheeling Through Ireland

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Edward Enfield
    • Narrated By Edward Enfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    When Edward Enfield decided to cycle around Ireland, he was enchanted by prehistoric fortresses, rugged landscapes, and landladies who insisted on washing his shirts. He takes you with him on a gentle ride up the west coast, eating fresh fish and enormous breakfasts along the way, and stopping to chat to peat-cutters, fishermen, eccentric tourists, and a famous matchmaker.

    Michael Hellyer says: "Very charming, informative & entertaining narative"
    "Very charming, informative & entertaining narative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Freewheeling Through Ireland again? Why?

    Yes, and I am now listening to it a second time. The writer/reader, Edward Enfield, sounds as though he is personally talking to the listener with his reminiscences and insights into Ireland. Having been to Ireland and specifically the areas he tours (riding on his bicycle) I can picture the villages and other sites along the way as he rides up the west coast of Ireland. Remarkably, he sets out on this tour at age 60+, and that is also my age group, which makes another connection with me, but I think that anyone who has a sense of adventure and a wonder for travel will enjoy this, but especially for those familiar with the landscape and people of Ireland. Very enjoyable listen.


    What other book might you compare Freewheeling Through Ireland to and why?

    I enjoy books where the writer takes you on the road through the countryside, and I've read several about Ireland including "A Course Called Ireland" (walking and golfing in Ireland), "McCarthy's Bar," "An Innocent in Ireland," "Whoredom in Kimmage," "A Book of Migrations," "The Irish Way," and one other I forget the name of by a former rock grouper who in travels around Ireland comes across (separately) Meryl Streep and Newt Gingrich. Also, I have yet to read the book "Around Ireland in Low Gear," another book by an older gentleman riding his bicycle around Ireland. I wish they were all available as audio books.


    What about Edward Enfield’s performance did you like?

    Very easy delivery, pleasant voice, personal style, stories are concise and interesting.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, it's more fun to listen in pieces, such as taking my dog for a long walk every morning, listening in bed before sleep or during the night. I'm in no rush to complete the journey through Ireland, so a leisurely pace of listening stretches out my mental visit.


    Any additional comments?

    We need more books like this, especially on Ireland! And, congratulations to Mr. Enfield on his interesting and adventurous journeys, and for writing and reading about them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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