A 1940’s Radio Show

September 6, 2012 - No Comments

by Jim Barnes

Searching for the Maltese Falcon

Searching for the Maltese Falcon

I had big plans for the weekend of August 18th. I was going to head down to Nokesville, VA for the annual open house at the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles, better known as the tank farm. However, as some of you know, I have been plagued with ill health this year and have had to cut out some things. Unfortunately, this time I had to cut out riding around in a T-34. I just simply felt too bad to drive 4-5 hours to an event.

However, I fortunately didn’t feel too bad to drive 30 minutes. My daughter was involved in a stage  production of a 1940’s radio show, using authentic scripts from the time period, which was being presented by The Preston County Arts Council in Kingwood. Even though I was just going to be in the audience, I decked out in my best period finery and set out with my son-in-law for the show.

The doors had not opened yet and there was a line outside. I got a few curious glances from other patrons. Finally, the doors opened and an older lady sat at the entrance checking reservations and selling tickets to those who didn’t have a ticket. She would ask each person their name and then look for it in her book. She was so engrossed in what she was doing that she never looked down the line at anyone other than the people directly in front of her. When it was my turn, she looked up at me and said ‘Name, please.” Never one to miss a chance to ham it up, I said “The name’s Spade, Sweetheart, Sam Spade,” in my best Bogie voice. Unfortunately, she just started dutifully looking in the ‘S’s’ for Spade. Then I had to explain that I was joking and that wasn’t my real name. That caused her more confusion, but I was able to eventually help her find my actual reservation. So much for my attempt at humor!

The production was a dessert theater, so before the show started, we were able to ramp our energy level with outrageous amounts of sugar and/or chocolate. I have to say that there were some pretty good dishes available. The show itself was done in a variety format, with a ‘Little Orphan Annie’ segment, a short mystery about an attempted murder and appearances by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. In between these acts, there were a number of period commercials. One, for Nestles’ Quick featured the old jingle once sung by Danny O’Day and Farfel the singing dog. The Master of Ceremonies who introduced it, was Larry Nelson, whose father, Jimmy, was the puppeteer and ventriloquist  behind the famous dummies.

So, despite not feeling particularly well, I managed to attend a sort of living history event and had a pretty good time doing it. I am told that next year, they will put on the show again, in cooperation with the Arthurdale New Deal Festival. I am looking forward to that.





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