Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear present: ‘The Lux Radio Theatre: The Maltese Falcon’ at the Oak Park Arms

Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear perform for residents and the public at the Oak Park Arms retirement community.Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, an all volunteer radio reenactment group, will present the “Lux Radio Theatre: The Maltese Falcon,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave.

Based on a classic detective story, this radio show is a rendition of one of the most famous film noirs of all time. A film noir describes stylish Hollywood crime drama with an emphasis on cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Shifty characters, suspense and plenty of plot twists will keep the audience guessing until the end.

Written by Dashiell Hammett in 1930, “The Maltese Falcon” features characters like Sam Spade, Effie Guttman and Cairo, all striving to be the first to uncover a missing, jewel-encrusted statuette – the Maltese Falcon.

Named one of the greatest films of all time by both Roger Ebert and Entertainment Weekly, the film was cited by Panorama du Film Noir Americain as the first major film noir.

The Lux Radio Theater was a long-running broadcasted classic radio anthology series. The hour-long radio programs, performed live for studio audiences quickly became the most popular dramatic anthology series and were broadcast on radio for more than 20 years, after which the programs continued on television through the 1950s.

The performers

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 actor and technician donates talent and time for free.

Group 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 volunteering/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 effect, 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 and grandchildren to show them what entertainment was like before television.

“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.


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