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Radio / Moon Over Africa

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African drums are talking
Speaking of voodoo, withcraft, mystery, and madness
Their rhythmic beat breaks through walls of silence to bring you a story of Africa
Africa, that land where anything can happen

Moon over Africa is a South African radio serial from 1937. The story follows the adventures of Professor Anton Edwards as he journeys through French West Africa in search of the lost Atlantis, accompanied by a talking head that speaks a mysterious ancient language and guides their way. Prof. Edwards is accompanied by his daughter Larna, their assistant Jack, and their loyal Masai warrior companion Nguru.

Not much is known about the production of the serial, but the whole thing is available on the Internet Archive.

This work contains the following tropes:

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Prof. Edwards is a professor, an expert in ancient languages who goes on an exciting journey through Darkest Africa to uncover a lost civilization.
  • Bold Explorer: Prof. Edwards is the first white man to explore or enter many of the dangerous and uncharted areas the party travels, although the unexpected (and often ominous) presence of other white men is a frequent plot twist.
  • Captured by Cannibals: In one episode Edwards, Jack, and Larna are captured by a Cannibal Tribe who intend to eat them, only to be rescued by Nguru.
  • Cliffhanger: Every single episode ends with the characters in the midst of a dangerous situation, which is resolved in the next episode.
  • Closer to Earth: The African Nguru, the party's native guide, and Larna, the nervous woman, are very attuned to danger and usually provide warning of something going off, but they are typically ignored by Prof. Edwards, who is inevitably wrong about the level of danger.
  • Damsel in Distress: Larna is frequently in need or rescue or menaced by supernatural forces.
  • Darkest Africa: See page quote. Africa in this story is full of jungles, terrifying beasts, magic, hostile and primitive natives, and adventure.
  • Evil Laugh: The talking head has outbursts of creepy cackles that scare the heck out of Larna.
  • Genre Blind: Even though the characters are almost always in danger, Prof. Edwards always ignores the warnings of Larna or Nguru that something dangerous is afoot, usually leading to the group being captured or threatened.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: One episode ends with all the characters dangling off the edge of a volcano.
  • Lost World: Prof. Edwards believes that Atlantis is somewhere hidden in Africa, and full of white people. In one episode, the characters stumble on a hidden, unmapped kingdom inside a volcano that's stuck in the middle ages.
  • Jungle Drums: Featured in the intro to every episode. The natives use drums to communicate, and the main characters sense whether they are in danger or not by the messages they send.
  • Jungle Opera: The characters search for (and find) a Lost World in remote parts of Africa, and the whole story is filled with a mix of political intrigue and magic.
  • Never Wake Up a Sleepwalker: Prof. Edwards asserts this, and he and Jack carefully escort Larna back to her bed without waking her after she wandered out into the savanna alone.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Nguru knows the landscape like of the back of his hand, and no matter what happens to Edwards et al., he is always able to find and rescue them.
  • Science Hero's Babe Assistant: Larna, Prof. Edwards' daughter, doesn't seem to know anything about Africa or archeology, and often asks basic questions to her father that allow him to deliver exposition about the area they're in or their short-term goals. Many of the plotlines involve rescuing Larna when she gets possessed by demons, Captured by Cannibals, or menaced by lions. While it's hard to have fanservice in a radio serial, Larna is a love interest for Jack, Prof. Edward's other, more competent assistant.
  • Secret History: Apparently a bunch of Crusaders left England for Africa, and founded their own civilization there, but you'd never know.
  • The Watson: One of Larna's main narrative purposes is to be ignorant about Africa and the other characters, asking obvious questions and allowing Prof. Edwards to deliver exposition.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The volcano dwellers supposedly speak Middle English, but it sounds pretty much like regular English but with lots of "thou"s and "thee"s.
  • You No Take Candle: Nguru speaks very slowly and doesn't conjugate his verbs, sounding much like a stereotypical Native American.