The Oak Park Arms Retirement Community presents “Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear,” performing two radio shows from the Golden Age of Radio at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Oak Park Arms, 408 S. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park. The public is invited to this free event.
With a theme of “It’s a Man’s Life in Old Time Radio,” the show features a Lucky Strike Program that originally aired Sept. 23, 1951 – “Captain Horatio Hornblower,” starring Jack Benny. The second show is “The Sam Spade vs. Gracie Allen Caper,” originally broadcast Feb. 10, 1949, starring George Burns and Gracie Allen.
Every other month “Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear” presents a show from the Golden Age of Radio to residents, families and friends of the Oak Park Arms and to the public.
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 donates talent and time for free. The group’s 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 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 effects, 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 bring their children to show them what “pre-TV” entertainment was like.
“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 Jill Wagner at 708-386-4040 or visit http://www.oakparkarms.com.