Beowulf Alley’s Old Time Radio Theatre Announces Live Presentations of Old Radio Shows, January Thru March

Beowulf Alley Theatre's Old Time Radio Theatre presents an exciting series of live presentations of old radio shows from the golden age at the theatre, 11 South 6th Avenue (Downtown between Broadway and Congress) in the first and third week of each month. Performances are at 7 p.m. (this is a change from the originally announced 6:30 p.m. performance time).

Directed by Sheldon Metz and supported by the sound genius of Mike Saxon, the cast includes Jacob Brown, Janet Bruce, Joel Charles, Geri Courtney-Austein, Sydney Flynn, Vince Flynn, Audrey Ann Gambach, Barbara Glover, Bill La Pointe, Steve McKee, Joan O'Dwyer, Jeff Scotland, Ina Shivack, JarEd Stokes, Pat Timm, John Vornholt, and Brian Wees. Cast members are selected to fill the roles as needed for each live presentation of some of the finest radio shows of the 30s, 40s and 50s.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010:

The audience will first be drawn back to November 30, 1945 with their presentation of The Bickersons: John's Operation, followed by a September 2, 1942 version of Suspense: The Hitchhiker.

The Bickersons, starring Don Ameche and Frances Langford, began as a radio sketch comedy that ran as part of other shows until 1946, when it became its own series. After a turn on NBC, it moved to CBS and ran until 1951. John and Blanche Bickerson spent their entire time in a relentless verbal war. Their quick dialogue brought laughter to all. Blanche: "You used to be so considerate. Since you got married to me you haven't got any sympathy at all." John: "I have, too. I've got everybody's sympathy."

Suspense: The Hitchhiker may be known to some from its life as an episode of The Twilight Zone, starring Inger Stevens. However, on radio, it made hundreds of thousands sit up as their imaginations were sparked. The episode was written for Orson Welles who first performed this episode as part of his Mercury Theater on the Air. "This is another episode meant to keep you in...Suspense."

The cast includes Janet Bruce, Audrey Ann Gambach, Bill La Pointe, Joan O'Dwyer, Jeff Scotland, Ina Shivack, JarEd Stokes, Pat Timm, Brian Wees, John Vornholt under the direction of Sheldon Metz and supported by the sound genius of Mike Saxon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
This time, the audience will be drawn back to, first, 1932 with their presentation of an episode of Vic and Sade: Mr. Dempsey & Mr. Tunney Meet in a Cigar Store followed by a June 26, 1948 version of Sgt. Preston of the Yukon: Breakup.

Vic and Sade was one of radio's longest running shows, on-air from 1932 to 1946. It also ran on T. V. in 1949 and again in 1957. The slice of life show ran about 15 minutes a day, talking about seemingly mundane daily topics and human-interest stories with a slight bit of whimsy and easy naturalness that just seemed to hit the right note with its audience. The show just made people feel good. Come join us as we go to "the small house halfway up in the next block."

While the show, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, is well known by that name, the actual name of the radio show, prior to 1951, was Challenge of the Yukon. The show bore The Common trademarks of a simple, vigorous adventure plot, a staunchly bigger-than-life male hero, and lively music cribbed from the classics. Sgt. Preston R.C.M.P., and Yukon King preserved law and order, and justice "ruled triumphant." The use of one of the three most famous canine heroes on radio, the Husky, Yukon King, drew an audience of youth, many of whom, because of this show, made their way to the Pacific Northwest. "On King...On you Huskies!"

Directed by Sheldon Metz, the cast includes Jacob Brown, Geri Courtney-Austein, Sydney Flynn, Vince Flynn, Steve McKee, Jeff Scotland, JarEd Stokes, Brian Wees, John Vornholt, supported by the sound genius of Mike Saxon.

February 2, 2010
The audience will first be taken back to January 8, 1950 with their presentation of Our Miss Brooks: Board of Education Day, geared toward all age groups, followed by one of radio's classic thrillers, Sorry Wrong Number, first presented May 25, 1943 as an episode of Suspense, originally starring Agnes Moorehead. There will be a guest appearance by Warren Bodow.

Our Miss Brooks, one of radio's great situation comedies, began as a radio series in 1948 and migrated to television in 1952 becoming one of the first hits of the so-called "Golden Age of Television", and making Eve Arden famous as the attractive, wisecracking, but humane high school English teacher Connie Brooks. The show also starred Gale Gordon, Jeff Chandler and Richard Crenna. "Yes, Miss Brooks?"

One of radio's most listened to shows, Suspense, broadcast on CBS from 1942 through 1962, was subtitled "radio's outstanding theater of thrills," and focused on suspense/thriller-type scripts, introduced by the infamous Man in Black, and usually featuring leading Hollywood actors of the era. Approximately 945 episodes were broadcast during its long run. Suspense is often referred to as the last of the program of the "Golden Age of Radio." Sorry Wrong Number is the tale of a woman who accidently overhears a plot for murder on a telephone party line. "Tonight's tale is meant to keep you in... suspense!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We will present two rousing productions. The first, a very funny November 17, 1950 episode of The Life of Riley: The Riley's First Date followed by the December 12, 1937 presentation of The Shadow: The Death Triangle.
The original Life of Riley began as a radio sketch comedy in 1941 with Lionel Stander in the starring role, and ran as part of other shows until 1946, It had nothing to do with the ABC radio show, starring William Bendix, which started January 18, 1944. In 1945, it moved to NBC and ran until 1951. It debuted on television in 1949 with the role of Riley portrayed by Jackie Gleason and later by Bendix in 1951. "What a revoltin' development this is."

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" The Shadow was one of radio's oldest and longest running serialized dramas, beginning July 31, 1930. The show came into its own in 1937 and ran until 1954. The lead character, Kent Allard, evolved over many years from simply the storyteller on Detective Story Magazine into the dark hero. After faking his death in South America, he returns under various aliases, mainly that of Lamont Cranston, running until the Shadow possessed "...the power to cloud men's minds so they cannot see him., Remember, "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay.... The Shadow knows!"
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
We'll take you back to July 24, 1939 with their presentation of the comic-strip radio success, Blondie, geared toward all age groups, followed by one of radios classic mysteries, The Whistler: Beyond Reasonable Doubt, first presented July 16, 1947 as The Signal Oil Program.

Blondie is an American comics strip created by Chic Young and syndicated by King Features Syndicate. It has been published in newspapers since September 8, 1930. The success of the comic strip led to a long-run Blondie film series (1938-1950) and a popular Blondie radio program from 1939 to 1950. Who could forget Arthur Lake as he called, "Hey, BLONDIE!!!"?
One of radio's most listened to shows, The Whistler, broadcast on CBS. The Whistler is one of American radio's most popular mystery dramas, with a 13-year run from May 16, 1942 until September 22, 1955. The Whistler was the most popular West Coast-originated program with its listeners for many years. It was sponsored by the Signal Oil Company: "That whistle is your signal for the Signal Oil program, The Whistler."

Each episode of The Whistler began with the sound of footsteps and a person whistling. The stories followed an effective formula in which a person's criminal acts were typically undone by either an overlooked but important detail or their own stupidity, except on some rare occasions when a curious twist of fate caused the story to end happily for the episode's protagonist. Ironic twist endings were a key feature of each episode of the series. The Whistler himself narrated, often commenting directly upon the action in the manner of a Greek Chorus, taunting the criminal from an omniscient perspective. "I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into The Shadows. Yes ... I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak."

A St. Paddy's Day Special, Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Join us on April 18, 1939 and Fibber McGee and Molly: Molly Wants a Budget. This very funny episode has Molly demanding that she be given a budget in order to better handle the affairs of the house. Laughter ensues. Following this is the radio version of the great film, The Great McGinty as presented on the Academy Award Playhouse on April 20, 1946.
"T'ain't funny, McGee!!" One of radio's greatest hits and one of the longest running shows in radio history, Fibber McGee and Molly, starred Jim and Marion Jordan as the beloved couple. premiered in 1935 and ran until 1959, long after radio's golden days had passed. It is considered by many to be the origin of situation comedy itself. "I gotta get that closet cleaned out one of these days."
The Great McGinty was a 1940 political satire film written and directed by Preston Sturges, starring Brian Donlevy and Akim Tamiroff. It was Sturges' first film as a director; he sold the story to Paramount Pictures for just $10 on the condition that he direct the film. Sturges went on to win the Academy Award for Best Director. It was brought to radio as part of the Academy Award Theatre. This program brought 30-minute radio versions of Oscar-winning films to the vast audience radio provided.

McGinty is a bartender in a Banana Republic who recounts his rise and fall to two American customers. McGinty's career begins when he was a tramp who, cajoled into voting under a false name in order to get $2, he impresses a local political boss by voting thirty-seven times in a rigged mayoral election. McGinty becomes one of the boss's enforcers, later his political protégé, then makes a marriage of convenience and wins the mayor's job as a "reform" candidate. He then goes on to the governor's mansion before a change of heart compels him to take public service seriously after he and his wife finally fall in love. His past catches up with him though.

Join us for these fun-filled evenings as we re-live stories that made us laugh, cry and hold on to the arms of our chairs. Great stories brought to you by a team of terrific storytellers are waiting to entertain you!

General tickets for each evening are $8 for ages 12 and older. The first two children in each family, ages 6-12 are $5 each, additional children in a family are free. Admission is cash at the door with no reserved seating. The box office phone number is (520) 882-0555.

 


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