Bringing Back Classics from the Golden Age of Radio
February 23, 2023
When Karen Flickinger and her husband George moved to The Village at Penn State in 2008, they had an idea: produce an old time radio show. But would residents be interested in participating and watching it?
They got their answer, and 14 years later just presented their 30th radio show last October to an audience of 135. Residents at The Village were taken back in time by a familiar character from the past.
Sam Spade, first played by Humphrey Bogart in “The Maltese Falcon,” led the audience through a ‘who done it’ series, “The Fairley-Bright Caper”. The episode originally aired in 1948 on Halloween day.
Karen explains, “Having been involved much of my adult life in various forms of Community Theater, I realized that re-enacting a radio show could be just as entertaining and fun, not to mention easier.”
The production continues to grow and delight residents at the Village, bringing laughter and joy to both audience and actors. “Many of us remember listening to ‘Jack Benny’, ‘Fibber Magee and Molly’, and ‘Suspense’, as well as a host of other great shows on the radio,” she adds.
Having been involved much of my adult life in various forms of Community Theater, I realized that re-enacting a radio show could be just as entertaining and fun, not to mention easier.Karen F.
The first shows were held in the Lion’s Den on The Village campus, a small room that only held 40 people. It provided a close up and personal experience for both actors and audience. They have since moved the show to the new, larger community room.
“Part of the fun has come from seeing residents try something new,” Karen asserts. “For example, a retired engineer stepped out of his comfort zone to try acting.”
“The Fairley-Bright Caper” included a cast of ten, seven who were either new to acting or new to the Village. Karen shares that over the years, they’ve also had the good fortune of residents bringing unique expertise to enhance the show.
“A former high school English teacher helped residents with skills like pronunciation and projection. More recently, Dr. Helen Manfull, Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Penn State, has lent her considerable skills to offer one-on-one acting sessions with cast members.”
“Another resident, who is tech savvy, pulls together sound effects like whistling or a body hitting the floor. There are so many sounds to choose from, though George still enjoys making the sound of footsteps.”
With their success, Karen and the Radio Players are already working on a Spring production. They are ever grateful for the tremendous support they’ve received from The Village community.