Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tucson: Beowulf Alley's Old Time Radio Theatre Company Presents ...


From: Beth Dell []
Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2010 5:19 PM

Beowulf Alley’s Old Time Radio Theatre Company Presents

Maxwell House Coffee Time (Burns and Allen): The Sam Spade Episode and Sam Spade: The Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail Caper

September 21, 2010


(Tucson, AZ) Beowulf Alley Theatre’s Old Time Radio Theatre Company will present two classic productions from the golden days of radio on Tuesday, September 21 at the theatre. Beowulf Alley Theatre is located at 11 South 6th Avenue (Downtown between Broadway and Congress). The first show is one of radio’s favorite, long-running series, “Maxwell House Coffee Time (Burns and Allen).” This episode, “The Sam Spade Episode,” was first presented on February 10, 1949, followed by Dashiell Hammett’s famous detective, Sam Spade and The Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail Episode, first presented August 28, 1949.


The performance is at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $8 cash at the door. The first two children in a family, ages 6-12 are $5 each with remaining children free. We do not take reservations for this fun event. The box office phone number is (520) 882-0555.


Directed by Sheldon Metz, the cast includes Jon Benda, Jacob Brown, Janet Bruce, Butch Bryant, Joel Charles, Samantha Cormier, Gerri Courtney-Austein, Laura Davenport, Samuel De Jesus, Sydney Flynn, Vince Flynn, Audrey Ann Gambach, Barbara Glover, Bill La Pointe, Elixabeth Leadon, Steve McKee, Mark McLemore, Bruce Morganti, Joan O'Dwyer, Mike Saxon, Ina Shivack, Pat Timm, Jeff Scotland, Jared Stokes, Brian Wees, and John Vornholt.


Burns and Allen, was one of America’s greatest comedy teams. George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen worked together as a comedy team in vaudeville films, radio and television. They met and first worked together in 1922 in small town vaudeville theatres and married in 1926. Burns was the straight man and Allen played a silly, addle-headed woman, a role often attributed to the "Dumb Dora" stereotype common in early 20th-century vaudeville comedy. At the beginning of their career, their roles were reversed, but it didn’t work as well. Audiences would laugh at the straight lines rather than the punch. They made their first radio appearance in London, on the BBC after failing at an NBC audition in 1930. They were regulars on the Guy Lombardo Show on CBS and took over the slot when he switched to NBC. The show’s name changed several times over the years - The Adventures of Gracie, Gracie For President, The Burns and Allen Show and, finally, Maxwell House Coffee Time. The premise always mixed reality with sketch comedy, variety and music. It was almost 10 years before they incorporated their marriage into the show. Every famous performer of the day worked their wiles to get on the Burns and Allen show, if only for one line, “Say good-night, Gracie.” The Sam Spade Episode starred Howard Duff, who portrayed the detective on radio.

Sam Spade was a fictional character who was the protagonist of Dashiell Hammett’s novel The Maltese Falcon.  Spade combined several features of previous detectives, most notably his cold detachment, keen eye for detail, and unflinching determination to achieve his own justice. He is the man who has seen the wretched, the corrupt, the tawdry side of life but still retains his "tarnished idealism."

"The show was loved in its time and still is. The plots were often run-of-the-mill fare, obviously hacked out in the heat of the deadline. No one cared if holes were patched in an obvious and sometimes careless way. This show had a style and class that the others all envied. Duff made the writing part of his own unique character. The wit and charm of the show has weathered four decades, and The Adventures of Sam Spade remains today the pinnacle of radio private eye broadcasts."

“It all began Thursday afternoon when I entered my office and discovered a tall, wild young man sitting in my chair with his feet up on my desk and sampling my office bottle.  The pose was so familiar, for a minute I thought it was me.” – Sam Spade.



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