Oak Park Arms
Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear Old Time Radio Recreations Troop

Radio Show: Lady Detectives, Gumshoes in High Heels

Oak Park Arms

Ben Dooley of Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear Old Time RadioThose Thrilling Days of Yesteryear Old Time Radio Recreations Troop presents “Lady Detectives: Gumshoes in High Heels,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 12, at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave. The public is invited to the free performance.

In the world of Old Time Radio, when there was a crime, there was always a man to solve it such as the Thin Man, Sherlock Holmes or Sam Spade. Women appeared as various supporting roles in these stories: the dizzy dame, the femme fatal, the helpless honey, the scrumptious starlet, the sweet secretary or the damsel in distress.

However, there were a few amazing women who were strong, clever, unstoppable and independent, women who solved crimes on their own. In these shows, the woman could do just as well and sometimes better than men.

The first of such women was Phyl Coe, daughter of famed criminologist Phillip Coe.  Although her name was a clever use of the name of the sponsor (Philco Radios), she never let that stop her. In fact, she would solve her crimes then and there. Phyl never wasted time exploring and hunting around for clues.  For example, in the first show of the series, “The Case of the Dead Magician” (originally aired January 29, 1936), a magician is killed on stage during a show. Phyl is in a front row seat. Using her wits and keen sense of observation, she solves the crime in less than 15 minutes.

Next up is an unfortunately short-lived show called, “Police Woman” which was a dramatization of actual cases solved by real Police Lieutenant Mary Sullivan. In “The Case of the Scheming Bridegroom,” (originally aired June 29, 1947), Mary poses as a woman answering an ad in the personals column of the local paper that may lead to a killer. Will she solve the crime and put the killer behind bars before it’s too late?

The final show of the afternoon is the lady’s version of those snappy private eyes like Pat Novak and The Saint. Here comes Candy Madsen, an ex-Hollywood model turned sassy and smart detective. In the series premiere (July 7, 1949), Candy is going home on a cable car when the man next to her is discovered dead. He was clearly alive when she first sat next to him. Candy becomes the number one suspect, and to clear her name, she must solve “The Cable Car Case.”

These women, as well as others, helped pave the way for future crime solving women like V.I. Warshawski, Cagney and Lacey, Police Woman Sgt. “Pepper” Anderson (Angie Dickenson) and Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury).

The early heroines of mystery and intrigue each proved that they could be sweet and still be tough. With the right amount of intelligence, commitment and know-how, any woman could be a “Gumshoe in High Heels.”

A reception with coffee and cookies follows the performance.

About Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

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.

Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear features actors and voice over artists who share a common interest – performing old time radio programs for the community. Each actor and technician donates talent and time.

Sound effects were an important part of live radio shows, and the group performs them live. They have a real door for slamming, doorbells, buzzers, a sound board and shoes for footsteps.

The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides independent 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 shows are free and open to the public. For more information call 708-386-4040.