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Prairie radio theater premieres

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BY JEAN RUZICKA

jruzicka@parkrapidsenterprise.com

The Golden Age of Radio returns with the “Voice of the Prairie” to debut at Long Lake Theater Sept 20.

From the 1920s to the ’50s, families surrounded the radio to listen to broadcasts of Sherlock Holmes, Groucho Marx, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason and more.

“Radio host” Bruce Bolton is reviving that era with the Voice of the Prairie radio theater, to be presented live before an audience in Hubbard at 7:30 p.m. the third Friday of every month through April.

Talent is being sought for the old time radio shows that will sweep the audience to another era through a fast-paced variety of music, comedy and short drama. Remember the night Orson Welles told millions about the impending alien invasion in “War of the Worlds”?

A sample of what’s in store includes a brief introduction, songs, Irish toasts and blessings, sponsor interviews, poems, jokes, farm news, a Norwegian boyhood story, a musical performance, more jokes and a grand finale sing-along, just to name a few.

“There is room for all kinds of talent,” Bolton said. “The show will move along quickly, no dead air.”

Just guffaws.

“Though the convention is live radio broadcast, the real drama is watching it being performed live at Long Lake Theater,” he said.

But in keeping with the genre he will be offering sample podcasts of the show on the Long Lake Theater’s website, longlaketheater.com.

Bolton is “in talks” with Michael Roers from Lakes Area Theatre in Alexandria in hopes some of the Voice of the Prairie talent can be involved in their radio shows that are currently aired on 15 area radio stations.

Aspirations are to form a troupe of voice/acting talent, Bolton said. “Scripts can be generated by us or we may be getting some from Lakes Area Theatre to be performed at both places.”

A sound effects table, one of the aspects of the radio shows of yore, is in the works. This “essential part of the show” is run by a foley, Bolton explained.  

The reproduced sounds can be anything from footsteps to squeaky doors and breaking glass. A foley is already at work in preparation for the Sept. 20 show.

For more information on contributing talent, go to the longlaketheater.com website or contact Bolton at 732-0099.

Tickets are available through the same number and website or at Beagle Books.

Television replaced radio as the primary home entertainment medium in the 1950s. But during old-time radio’s age of dominance, people tuned in regularly to be entertained with music, humor and drama.

That era is about to be reborn on the Hubbard Prairie.

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