News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Theater

April 3, 2014

Crosley Radio Players show April 6

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

Tuscany, at 1218 N. Main St. (Illinois Route 1) will offer a complete buffet dinner with drink and dessert, in addition to the Crosley Radio Players’ 75-minute show for only $20 per person.

The show will feature episodes of “Suspense,” “Command Performance,” and “Our Miss Brooks.” 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. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Tuscany in Paris, or by calling 217-466-1610. Buffet service begins at 5 p.m. CDT with the Crosley show about an hour later.

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’s high production standards even 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.

“Our Miss Brooks” premiered on CBS July 19, 1948, and ran until 1957, by which time the situation comedy had made the transition to TV. Eve Arden starred in the title role. Gale Gordon, later to be known for his TV work with Lucille Ball, starred as Mr. Conklin, the principal of Miss Brooks’ high school. Squeaky-voiced Walter Denton was portrayed by Richard Crenna, who would go on to a lengthy career in both TV and movies.

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