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Old time radio thrives again

KCAL Old Time Radio Troupe reenacts

scripts from the 1940s and 1950s

By Brittany Fuller

ARTS&CULTURE

CAL Old Time Radio Troupe re-enacts old

time radio shows bringing back to life a relict

not to be forgotten but enjoyed once more

by those interested in exploring the golden age of

radio. With most of the reproductions taken from

scripts originating back to the 1940s and 1950s, the

troupe offers a variety of shows to those who come

and watch such as comedy, mystery and drama. Recently

the cast added an old-time quiz show to its list

of accomplishments, which the actors created and

produced themselves.

“One phrase we like to use is ‘theater of the

mind,’” said KCAL producer and director Doug Fain.

“Before the days of television all of the programs

were produced on radio and people would listen daily

or weekly to their favorite shows.”

Shows take place periodically throughout

the year, with the next scheduled performance

coming this fall. Performances take place in

the Farmers Bank Theatre, located inside the

Polvino Family Art Center at 109 S. Main St.

in Nicholasville. Having recently finished the

spring show featuring a reproduction of an

old “Fibber McGee and Molly” episode, Fain

said the fall production will be a show they

have produced once before, the 1940s radio

version of “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

“(In ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’) a writer, Mortimer

Brewster, falls for the girl-next-door,

Elaine Harper,” Fain said. “When they return

to their respective family homes to deliver

the news, Brewster finds a corpse hidden in

a window seat. With his eccentric aunts, disturbed

uncle, and homicidal brother, he starts

to realize that his family is even crazier than

he thought.”

With scheduled showtimes for September

28, 29 and 30th, Fain said the fall production

is a hybrid play showing how it may have

looked if produced on the set of a 1940s radio

show. The cast, he said, dresses in period

clothing and produces sound effects, all while

reading the script the way it used to be read.

“We have a core group of actors who are

pretty much in all of the shows,” Fain said.

“But, since our first show in the fall of 2014,

there have been some 20 people from Jessamine

County who have played at least one

part in our reproductions. This whole idea

came out of the mind of the Creative Art

League of Jessamine County. We were approached

to do this special program and the

funds that we make off of ticket sales go to

help other art programs that CAL has for

community members.”

When it comes time to produce a new

show, the producers and directors of KCAL

make the decision on who will be cast in the

upcoming production. The core players of

the last reenactment include Fain, Norman

Cline, Billy Holland, Susan Clements, Lorette

Latham Blackford, Denise Teater Cline,

David Damron, Eddie Clements and Steve

Watts.

Fain is the producer and director, and also

serves as the Jessamine County Circuit Clerk.

He got his start in radio at the age of 15 at

WNVL, and currently hosts a 6 to 8 a.m. radio

show for the local WNJK serving Jessamine

County.

Norman Cline also serves as producer and

director. He is a veteran actor who said his

love for the stage began with his first role in

elementary school. Denise Teater Cline serves

as producer and director alongside her husband

and Fain, and said

she has been performing

since the age of two. A

dancer at heart, she also

loves to act.

Holland is a singer and

songwriter. As a published

author he devotes

his time to community

outreach.

Susan is employed

with Dr. Danny Stickler

Pediatric Dentistry and

said she loves working

with children and learning

from the longtime players in the KCAL

troupe. Eddie has been involved in the arts

all his life and has explored both the visual

and performing arts. Blackford is a lifetime

resident of Jessamine County and an employee

at Farmer’s Bank.

Damron is also employed locally with

Farmer’s Bank, and while he has acted in

several reproductions, he was also responsible

for writing the 2017 “ChristmasTIME

in Nicholasville” as well as the 2018 game

show, “What Do You Know?”

Watts is another lifetime resident of Jessamine

County. A retiree of the UK Medical

Center, Watts started his acting career many

years ago when he played an Indian in the

outdoor drama “Jessamine” written by Elexene

Cox.

“People always leave our shows telling us

how much they enjoyed not only the entertainment

but learning

about the way it used to

be before television really

made it big,” Fain said.

“Performing to a live audience,

we kind of put our

own special touch on these

reproductions. We don’t just

read the script. We might

actually get into it with

costumes or with actions

to make the play come

alive. So what you see is

not a 100 percent reproduction

of the way it was

done back then, but we get pretty close with

our own special KCAL twist.”

For the future, Fain said the group wishes

to continue to deliver family entertainment,

such as the many past plays they have produced,

hopefully for many years to come.

“We have developed quite a dedicated audience

following and everyone seems to always

enjoy the different performances that we

bring each time,” Fain said.

JL