The Oak Park Arms retirement community presents a free radio reenactment group, Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, who perform free shows from the Golden Age of Radio to the public, residents, families and friends of the Oak Park Arms.
To celebrate the 10 year milestone of Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, the group’s founders Ben Dooley and Pam Turlow, husband and wife, decided to present a show every month (instead of every other month) and tie in a charity with each performance. Audience members can give free will a donation.
The shows are very popular with residents and people from the community. Some bring their children or grandchildren to demonstrate what “pre-TV” entertainment was like.
Dooley and Turlow established a connection with The Oak Park Arms in September of 2002, when Turlow’s father became a resident. They’ve been volunteering/performing at the Arms ever since. Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear is composed of Chicagoland actors who share a common interest - to perform old time radio programs for the community. Each actor and technician donates talent and time for free.
The radio show for the 2011-2012 season is as follows:
- Sept. 18 – "Beware of the Back Seat"
- Oct. 23 – "Dracula"
- Nov. 20 – “Miracle on 34th Street”
- Dec. 18 – “It’s a Wonderful Life”
- Jan. 22 – “A day in the life of Dennis Day,” “Make Believe Town”
- Feb. 19 – “Magnificent Montague,” “Lost in Hollywood,” “High Noon”
- March 25 – Lux Radio Theatre’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’
- April 15 – Science Fiction Doblue Feature - “The Liar” and "Mars is Heaven"
- May 6 – Command Performance from the Armed Forces Radio Network
- July 1 – The Life of Riley: ‘Are we Ever Going to Get a Car?’, Jack Benny: “Last Radio Show”
Dooley and Turlow browse through thousands of old time radio episodes, select a favorite, listen and type out the script. Many shows are not available in print and have to be painstakingly transcribed. Then they gather sound effects, rehearse and mount the show.
Sound effects were an important part of live radio shows, and the group performs them live. They have a real door for slamming, buzzers, a sound board and shoes for footsteps, and doorbells.
The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides independent living and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay - a weekend, a week, a month or longer.
The radio show is free and open to the public. For more information contact Jill Wagner at 708-386-4040.