Oak Park Arms

Radio Show: Mildred Pierce

Oak Park Arms

Thrilling Days of YesteryearThose Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, an all volunteer radio reenactment group, will present, “Mildred Pierce,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave.

Mildred Pierce is a 1945 film based on a novel by James M. Cain. The American drama was directed by Michael Curtiz and starred Joan Crawford, Jack Carson and Zachary Scott. Rosalind Russell portrayed Mildred for Lux Radio Theatre.

The film noir features a long-suffering mother (Mildred) and her ungrateful daughter during the Great Depression. After separating from her husband, Mildred opens a restaurant and falls in love again, all while trying to earn her spoiled, narcissistic daughter’s love and respect.

When questioned by police after the discovery of her second husband’s body, Mildred relates her life story in flashback.

In 2011, a second screen adaptation, a five-part television miniseries, of “Mildred Pierce” premiered on HBO starring Kate Winslet.

The performers

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.

Group founders, 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.

Dooley and Turlow’s group performs only once every two months due to the considerable challenges involved in creating a show. They 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 effect, 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 shows are very popular with residents and people from the community. Some even bring their children and grandchildren to show them what entertainment was like before television.

“Since the entire cast donates its time and energy, we can only do shows six times a year,” Dooley said, “but we strive to make sure that it’s well worth the wait.”

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