News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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March 7, 2013

Crosley Radio Players serving up three courses at dinner theater

PARIS, IL — The Crosley Radio Players return to the new dinner theater at the Tuscany Restaurant in Paris, Ill., on Sunday.

The Players will be featuring episodes of  ”Suspense”, “Command Performance,” and “Fibber McGee and Molly.”

Many of the sound effects used will be generated live, just as they were when the shows were on radio.

Reservations are strongly suggested, as seating is limited.

Tuscany, located at 1218 North Main St., in Paris (Illinois Route 1) will be offering a buffet dinner, with drink and dessert, plus the Crosley Radio Players 80-minute show for $17 per person.  

Tickets can be purchased in advance at Tuscany in Paris, or by phone 217-466-1610. Buffet service begins at 5 p.m. CDT, 6 p.m. Eastern, with the Crosley show at 6:15 p.m. Central.

“Suspense,” which was called “radio's outstanding theater of thrills,” was one of the longest-running dramas from the Golden Age. The program ran for 20 years on the CBS Radio Network, and featured many well-known actors of the day, such as Agnes Moorehead, Orson Welles, Henry Fonda and Cary Grant. The show influenced later television shows, such as “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Twilight Zone.”

“Command Performance,” which aired on the Armed Forces Radio Network, was aimed at American service personnel stationed all around the world.  G.I.s would write requesting their favorite entertainers. A celebrity host such as Bob Hope or band leader Kay Kyser would read the letters on the show, giving the writer’s APO or FPO address for authenticity. Frank Sinatra, The Andrews Sisters and Judy Garland were frequent guest stars.

Long-running situation comedy “Fibber McGee and Molly” premiered on NBC April 16, 1935, starring real-life husband and wife, Jim and Marian Jordan. The show kept Americans laughing with reoccurring gags and regular characters, several of whom were portrayed by Terre Haute’s Bill Thompson.

For most of its 24-year radio run, the show was sponsored by S.C. Johnson Wax Co.. Pitchman Harlow Wilcox was a regular character on the show, weaving a Johnson's commercial into the fabric of the program.

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