Golden Age of Radio Performance

Golden Age of Radio Performance

Old time radio performer using shoes on a wood box for sound effects

Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear Old Time Radio Reenactment Troupe presents “A Long Time Ago on a Radio Far, Far Away,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave. The first three episodes of Flash Gordon, originally broadcast in 1935, will be performed. Also performed will be “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” from 1952.

Flash Gordon began as a comic strip in April 1934. A year later, the radio serial began. The story begins with earth threatened by a collision with the Planet Mongo. To stop the disaster, Dr. Zarkov invents a rocket ship that can fly into space. He kidnaps Flash Gordon and Dale Arden, and they travel to Mongo and meet the evil ruler Ming the Merciless.

Flash Gordon was played by Gale Gordon, who became famous for his television roles in Our Miss Brooks, Dennis the Menace, The Lucy Show, and Here’s Lucy. Maurice Franklin played Dr. Zarkov, and Bruno Wick was Ming the Merciless.

The free radio recreation shows are very popular with Oak Park Arms’ residents and people from the community. Some guests bring their children and grandchildren to show them what entertainment was like before television.

Radio Reenactment: Live Experience of Old Time Radio Shows

Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear features actors and voice over artists who share a common interest – performing golden age or radio programs for the community. Actors and technicians donate their talent and time to make old time radio shows come to life in the ballroom of the Oak Park Arms.

Group founders and Oak Park residents, Ben Dooley and Pam Turlow, husband and wife, 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.

To mount a 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 must be painstakingly transcribed. Then they gather sound effects, rehearse, and finally, perform the show live.

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, shoes for footsteps, and doorbells.

The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides senior housing in the form of senior independent living and assisted living apartments. Additional services include respite care and an award-winning adult day care program. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

Typically the radio show is free and open to the public. Currently this event is limited to residents only. For more information call 708-386-4040.

Golden Age of Radio Performance on WGN Morning News