Oak Park Arms
Three old time radio actors holding scripts in the ballroom of the Oak Park Arms

Golden Age of Radio Performance

Oak Park Arms

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 golden age of radio performance of “Women Can Change the Laws! Women Can Change the World” at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 16, 2020 at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave, Oak Park. Two historical radio dramas tell about the battle of women for the right to vote. The public is invited to the free presentation. A reception with coffee and cookies follows the performance.

The first show celebrates “Gallant American Women” which aired December 5, 1939. The end of women’s suffrage was recent. It was in 1787 that the American Constitution originally declared that all people had the right to vote, but that came with severe limitations, and most of the rights were state regulated and defined. Women were not included. It took 130 years of courage, commitment and passion to recognize the simple fact that women are people.

“Cavalcade of America,” the second show originally aired September 22, 1947. It is about a woman who is frustrated with doing twice the work of her male co-workers and getting paid half. She hears, “That’s just the way it is.” In order to change the laws, she attends law school, becomes a lawyer, and becomes a passionate advocate for women’s rights. It’s only then that she decides to run for the office of President of the United States. This true story happened in 1886.

“Even in the 1940s, there were many shows that told the story of women and their battle for equality,” said Ben Dooley, founder of the radio troupe. “These shows illustrated their power, their contribution, and their gift to our country.”

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.

The radio show is free and open to the public. For more information call 708-386-4040.

Golden Age of Radio Performance on WGN Morning News