Beowulf Alley’s Old Time Radio Theatre Company
November and December, 2010 Events
(Tucson, AZ) Beowulf Alley Theatre’s Old Time Radio Theatre Company announces their November stories to be presented at the theatre, 11 South 6th Avenue (Downtown between Broadway and Congress) on November 2 and 16, 2010. Performances are at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $8 for ages 13 to adult and $5 for the first two children ages 6-12, cash at the door, first come-first serve seating. The box office phone number is (520) 882-0555.
To honor Halloween and Dia de los Meurtos, we offer two suspenseful dramas:
QUIET, PLEASE: Don’t Tell Me About Halloween (Oct. 27, 1947) tells the story of a man married to a witch. He has to see her once a year: Halloween. Each year he dreads the day, because he knows she'll find out about what he's been doing the rest of the year. When he's unfaithful, she uses her powers to punish him and his lovers. One of the benefits he receives is immortality. Yet, is it worth it, even when he only has to spend one day a year with her?
QUIET, PLEASE aired from June 8th of 1947 through June 20th of 1949. It is considered by many to be among the most uniquely creative series in history. The series sought to chill the listener through a completely immersed personal experience. The titles and introductory sequences of each series indicated the desired immersion -- the listener was expected to shut off distracting outside stimuli, such as light and sound, in order to fully concentrate on the unfolding story.
ESCAPE: The Fall of the House of Usher was first performed on October 22, 1947. The famous opening of the show, often worded to suit the events of the moment or season, warns the intrepid radio listener of adventure that is anything but... everyday. Like its sister show on the radio, SUSPENCE, it is considered one of the top shows ever performed on radio. ESCAPE takes you on a ride into a world where danger comes in many forms, and you are on the edge of life and death, perhaps being pushed! When ESCAPE says “romantic,” we're not talking kissing. Perhaps those kisses might be from teeming piranha! ESCAPE is more Devil's Island than Fantasy Island. And it is wonderful adventure radio for the whole family, especially Dad. Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher revolves around this realm of fear, and reveals the importance of facing and overcoming our fears. “Tired of the everyday grind? Ever dream of a life of … romantic adventure? Want to get away from it all? We offer you … ESCAPE!”
Join us for two rousing radio pieces - the November 29, 1947 story THE LIFE OF RILEY: Thanksgiving With the Gillises and one of radio’s great mystery series, SUSPENSE and the episode, On a Country Road, first presented November 16, 1950.
In this episode, THE LIFE OF RILEY: Thanksgiving With the Gillises (Nov. 29, 1947), Chester invites the Boss to Thanksgiving dinner, and then is forced into inviting the Gillises as well. “What a revoltin’ development this turns out to be!” THE LIFE OF RILEY radio program, starring William Bendix, initially aired on the Blue Network, later known as ABC, from January 16, 1944 to June 8, 1945. Then it moved to NBC, where it was broadcast from September 8, 1945, 1945 to June 29, 1951. The supporting cast featured John Brown, who portrayed not only undertaker Digger O'Dell but also Riley's co-worker Jim Gillis. Whereas Gillis gave Riley bad information that got him into trouble, Digger gave him good information that "helped him out of a hole," as he might have put it. Brown's lines as the undertaker were often repetitive, including puns based on his profession ("Cheerio, I'd better be... shoveling off"; "Business is a little dead tonight"); but, thanks to Brown's delivery, the audience loved him.
SUSPENSE, the radio series, can be summed up in one episode, On a Country Road. It was a mixture of urban legend and cautionary tale like no other. In this episode, the audience is pulled into a dangerous situation and then is kept trapped, while the suspense mounts and the characters become increasingly hysterical. It was the kind of nightmare "that could happen to anyone." On a Country Road (Nov. 16, 1950) is regarded as one of the classic tales of SUSPENSE because it embodies all of the things at which the radio program excelled. So now, ignore the traffic, the rain, the nearly empty gas tank, as well as those news bulletins about the escaped crazy woman on the loose, and come take a drive down a lonely side road.
MY FRIEND IRMA: Irma Wants Money For Christmas (December 16, 1952), followed by ACADEMY AWARD THEATRE: Brief Encounter (November 20, 1946).
My Friend Irma continues to be our most requested show. One of radio’s funniest comedies, it starred Marie Wilson, Diana Lynn, John Lund and a host of radio and TV greats. Most notably, it was the kick off for two of comedy’s greats, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. My Friend Irma, and it’s popularity and wacky ensemble of misfits, allowed it to go on to two movies, comic books and a huge TV success. There is a laugh every 4.5 seconds.
Academy Award Theatre was a CBS radio anthology series which presented 30-minute adaptations of plays, novels or films, from March 30, 1946 through December 18, 1946. Rather than adaptations of Oscar-winning films, as the title implied, the series offered "Hollywood's finest, the great picture plays, the great actors and actresses, techniques and skills, chosen from the honor roll of those who have won or been nominated for the famous golden Oscar of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.”
Based on Noel Coward’s play Still Life, Brief Encounter is a romantic, bittersweet drama about two married people who meet by chance in a London railway station and carry on an intense love affair. Sentimental yet down-to-earth and set in pre-World War II England, the film follows British housewife Laura Jesson, who is on her way home, but catches a cinder in her eye. By chance, she meets Dr. Alec Harvey, who removes it for her. The two talk for a few minutes and strike immediate sparks, but they end up catching different trains. However, both return to the station once a week to meet and they grow closer, sharing stories, hopes, and fears about their lives, marriages, and children. Brief Encounter was adapted as a radio play on the November 20, 1946 episode of Academy Award Theatre, starring Greer Garson.
Two wonderful holiday stories, The Great Gildersleeve Christmas Show (December 22, 1948) and A Christmas Carol (December 24, 1934), will be presented for a family holiday treat.
The Great Gildersleeve ran on radio from 1941–1957 and was one of broadcast history's earliest spin-off programs. Built around Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, a character who had been a staple on the classic radio situation comedy Fibber McGee and Molly, The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest success in the 1940s. Actor Harold Perry played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in a quartet of feature films released at the height of the show's popularity.
On Fibber McGee and Molly, Peary's Gildersleeve was a pompous windbag who became a consistent McGee nemesis. "You're a haa-aa-aa-aard man, McGee!" became a Gildersleeve catch phrase. The character was given several conflicting first names on Fibber McGee and Molly, and on one episode his middle name was originally revealed. Gildy admits as much at the end of "Gildersleeve's Diary" on the Fibber McGee and Molly series. In this episode, Gildy invites the Judge to Christmas dinner, and a simple dinner turns into the party of the year.
Back before television, a holiday season tradition in America was listening to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens as performed on radio by Lionel Barrymore and narrated by Orson Welles with the Mercury Theatre group. The music was composed and conducted by the legendary Bernard Herrmann. Few actors ever gave more meaning to the character of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge than Lionel Barrymore who first took on the radio role in 1934.
Originally aired live on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1934, this radio broadcast will live in the memories of those that heard it for a lifetime. If you remember listening, and want to recapture those magical days of your childhood Christmas, or have never heard it, but want to experience the magic of live radio theatre and create new memories for you and your family, Beowulf Alley Theatre presents this special holiday treat and allows you and your family to use your imagination in recreating one of classic literature’s most read pieces. “God bless us, everyone.”
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