Dietrich Theater announces Golden Days of Radio Players Holiday Show

First Posted: 11/24/2014

All one needs are ears and an imagination to enter the world of old time radio at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2.

A free performance of the Dietrich Theater Radio Players features three original radio plays performed by community volunteer actors. Two of the plays from the 1940’s and 1950’s are from two favorite series: “Father Knows Best” and “The Great Gildersleeve.” The third is “The Plot to Overthrow Christmas” from the Columbia Workshop series.

“The Great Gildersleeve” is a radio situation comedy broadcast from August 31, 1941, to March 21, 1957. It was one of broadcast history’s earliest spin-off programs. The series was built around the character Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, a regular element of the radio situation comedy “Fibber McGee and Molly.”

The Gildersleeve household was one of the first non-traditional families in broadcast media, with two children being raised by an uncle and no mother and father. It shows that Christmas is no less special for this atypical family.

“Father Knows Best” was a radio show during the 1950’s and 1960’s. It portrayed an idealized vision of middle-class American life of the era. A total of 203 episodes were produced until it made a debut on television in 1962. Within a year 19 million households tuned in to watch “Father Knows Best” on Wednesday evenings. By 1960 it was finishing in the top ten every week, becoming an institution.

“The Plot to Overthrow Christmas” is a gem of a play, all in rhyme. In this 1930’s radio play an assemblage of villains throughout history attempt to kill Christmas by going to the North Pole to find Santa. Do they accomplish their mission? Come and find out.

Esther Harmatz, Dietrich Theater Radio Players Director, has been involved with the group ever since it started 10 years ago, as an actor and as a sound effects engineer.

Now she is a director, selecting the plays, casting them, and conducting rehearsals.

All who wish to participate are welcome and everyone gets a role. Jack Frazier, Beth Frazier, and Ian Frazier, and Owen Frazier have made it a family affair since 2005.

Free tickets for the show can be reserved by calling 570-996-1500 and will also be available at the door as long as they last.

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