• William Conrad

  • A Life & Career
  • By: Charles Tranberg
  • Narrated by: Nat Segaloff
  • Length: 5 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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William Conrad  By  cover art

William Conrad

By: Charles Tranberg
Narrated by: Nat Segaloff
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Publisher's Summary

Heavyweight (in every sense of the word) actor William Conrad made his name in radio drama as Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke and then powered his way into television with Cannon, Nero Wolfe, and Jake and the Fat Man. A producer and director as well as one of the most successful voice actors in history, Conrad rude success with aplomb. This audiobook relates his early years, life, family, and friendships interwoven with his credits.

©2018 Charles Tranberg (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing

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MIDDLING . . .

This is a solid 'listen,' and contains valuable insights to one of many 20th century entertainers whose memory seems to be ever more lost in oblivion--John William Cann Jr., later known as William Conrad. The book by Charles Tranberg is read by Nat Segaloff, who overall is an engaging and effective reader, but who really needs to stop assuming he knows the pronunciation of some higher-level words without double-checking them first. 'Consummate' and 'nihilism' are among some ten other words that he consistently mispronounces, which may not mean anything to some readers but certainly annoys me. The editing of the total performance also needs work here and there, as there are a few unprofessional breaks and some 'broken-record' redundancy.

As for the text itself, at points it bogs down in the provision of too much detail regarding plot synopses and cast lists from Conrad's various radio and television, but as someone who has always been interested in things Hollywood I was able to enjoy most of those insights. Yes, it would certainly have been nice to learn more about the man's private life, but I have the impression Conrad was a man who, other than anecdotally, was not inclined to provide much detail about his inner workings. Had it not been for the inclusion of a number of quotes from his son Christopher, bolstered by a handful of creative partners, most of that information would have been woefully lacking. On the other hand, I could have done without the two or three samples of Conrad's famous foul mouth, but I suppose, to paraphrase an old saw, that we have to accept the dirty bathwater with the baby.

In the end, I wanted much more depth and color, but I recognize that Tranberg most likely did the best he could with limited sources. Something is certainly a lot better than nothing.