The Black Mass: Disillusionment by Thomas Mann

in Radio Drama, Radio Riel Main, The Black Mass

by Elrik Merlin on Wednesday, 5 December, 2012

Tune in to The Black Mass today at 11am and 7pm Pacific Time (19:00 and 03:00 GMT), for the latest in our continuing series of chilling landmark radio dramas by some of literature’s most famous authors.

The Black Mass was produced by Erik Bauersfeld and John Whiting at KPFA in Berkeley, California between 1963 and 1970, and is presented by kind permission of Erik Bauersfeld and Bay Area Radio Drama.

Today we present

by Thomas Mann

Man 1: Bernard Mayes
Man 2: Erik Bauersfeld
Adapted and Produced by: Erik Bauersfeld

Two strangers sit at Florian’s Café on the Piazza de San Marco in Venice, Italy, in Thomas Mann’s brief tale about a search in life for something that isn’t a disappointment. It also reveals the origin of Miss Peggy Lee’s popular song: Is That all There Is. Most of the lyrics are taken, word for word, from Mann’s story.

Erik Bauersfeld tells an interesting story about the recording of this tale.

I’d never been to Venice at that time, but we assembled what seemed like a suitable soundscape for the location: the Piazza di San Marco, where the conversation takes place. The day before broadcast I consulted my Blue Guide. Mann had mentioned pigeons and a few people walking about… a girl strewing corn for a host of pigeons. Like many Piazzas there is other activity for getting about that we included, like buses and trolleys. But I caught mention in one guide book that there are no buses and trolleys in Venice — at least not in their grand Piazza. It took many hours of editing to get them out of our production — well into the the day of broadcast, up nearly to the broadcast itself.

I think we eliminated them all, under and over the dialogue. If you hear any trolleys, however distant, let us know.”

Next week at the same time: The Feeder by Carl Linder.

Read more about The Black Mass on the Bay Area Radio Drama web site.
Our logo for the series was designed specially by Terry Lightfoot of To A T Designs.

You can listen to Radio Riel’s Main Stream now at, or simply click here to start your player, if your browser is configured to do so. Listeners in the United States are encouraged to tune in using this link:


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