The Origin of
Stories of “The Spanish Conquistador” had been folklore throughout Europe for centuries before Ian Staley came across them in his later life. The time was 1929, the depression was already leaving Ian Staley broken and beaten. He had recently lost his Irish Setter to cancer and his own depression rivaled that in which the country was suffering. Down on his luck, he took a job at a Manhattan radio station known as WQBR, back in its time.
There, he began to hear stories from a man he quickly befriended, known to him only as “Orson.” The stories told were adventures that his dad told to him of a Spanish hero called a “conquistador.” The tales were all spun in such great story telling, that the two had decided to use new recording technology to mass market these stories. In a time before high quality sound and effects were possible, the two began to write scripts for the “The Spanish Conquistador.” Orson quickly became enraged to see the lack of teamwork coming from Ian and started to secretly seek other projects until he discovered a reading of an H.G. Wells classic was in the works. Once the word got back to Ian that Orson was leaving him, Ian confronted Orson. What happened that fateful day is still under clouds of mystery, but what we do know for sure is that day was the last time the two ever communicated about the show. The fate of “The Spanish Conquistador” seemed to be falling apart. The stories were no longer being passed on and people were beginning to forget his action packed pursuits. Ian went into the studio to begin his own recordings of the show but in there lay yet another confrontation. The equipment was recording for this exchange and we present now for the first time, the transcript of the unedited tape of what transpired in that studio.
Ian: Oh, hello Walter. I thought I would be alone in the studio. I thought I’d maybe put some ideas down on tape.
Walter: Hell no! I’m blocking you from this studio. We know about you and Mr. Welles and how you’re not a team player. We only employ team players here at WQBR.
Ian: What? I am a team player! I am very dedicated to-
Walter: Save it Has-been! You’re fired and you are to never come back. We are promoting Mr. Welles and you’re out on your ass!
Ian: You’re firing me over Orson Welles? I’m Ian Staley! No one fires me. I will go down in history as the greatest radio voice of all time. In ten years, no one will even remember who Orson Welles was! Just wait and see! Ahahahahaha!
After this, Orson Welles became known as Radio’s “The Shadow” and became one of the most recognizable voices in the world. When his time came for him to team with Hollywood heavyweight RKO Studios at the youthful age of 25, he directed and starred in his first attempt in movie making. The movie “Citizen Kane” was released and is still today known by many as the “greatest motion picture ever made.” Ian never saw it.
Instead, Ian was fired from WQBR and his depression grew. On his way out of the studios, in a final act of disgrace, he attempted stealing a key to the studio and the police were called. The key never was recovered and Ian was arrested and served a light sentence.
At this point, Ian’s story stops, but somehow, the episodes written by Ian Staley and Orson Welles do get produced. Still no one quite understands how Ian gained access to the studios, however. Security in the building was tripled and no unauthorized personnel entered or exited the premises for four years. Ian was never seen again even though the police were on constant watch. Still though, every Thursday, a tape would be seen on Walter Gludlum’s desk of the newest “Spanish Conquistador” adventure and strangely enough, every episode after much study and analysis was credited for being recorded in WQBR studios.
Walter Gludlum saved the tapes, totaling over 200, and when programming on the station seemed to predominate the airways with stories of heroes, he allowed only the first eight episodes to finally be heard in a test with the audience to see if this show could possibly work. A national vote was then conducted in which listeners would send their comments to the station deciding whether they wanted more episodes or whether the tapes would be burned and forgotten forever. To Walter’s surprise, “The Spanish Conquistador” was a hit with America.
Over the next several years, “The Spanish Conquistador” was everywhere. Everything from lunch boxes to alarm clocks were bought by school children and his weekly radio show was even beating Superman’s in the ratings. People wanted to know more about this mysterious creator, but no information could be found anywhere. Some believed him dead as no new episodes were being delivered. The story of the show’s creator was becoming lore in itself apart from the content. Newspapermen worked around the clock to be first to break a story of an interview with Ian Staley but it seemed impossible. One paper did publish an interview but that also proved later to be an elaborate hoax.
Upon the completion of airing all 208 episodes, WQBR executives were worried their mega-hit had run its course. They were in desperation of Mr. Staley to reveal himself for the sake of creating new episodes. A public announcement was broadcasted at the end of the last episode rewarding one million dollars to anyone who could locate Ian Staley. This sadly yielded no results.
That year, in dedication to the cultural icon, a “Spanish Conquistador” balloon was constructed over 80 feet tall to be in “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.” This was to be the first parade to have balloons in years due to the rationing of rubber and helium during World War II. The Conquistador was scheduled to appear just before Santa, but tragedy struck. As he was about to appear, the winds changed and “The Spanish Conquistador” began to wreak havoc on New York City. Twenty-eight people were killed as the horrified announcers screamed over the airways. Upon the balloon being released, one victim made it as far as Trenton.
That was a shameful end to “The Spanish Conquistador.” No one spoke of the event for years and a new generation came to be without these great stories being told…until now. Presented here for the first time, “The Spanish Conquistador” lives on in his original glory. Starting from the beginning, episodes are turning up of this once dead cultural icon. For the first time ever available in modern MP3-layering format, it is only a click away. It is a free download on this page and one already again being called a hit. “The Spanish Conquistador” is back.