Winter 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 67 of 91

W e live in a time when entertainment is becoming increasingly high-definition and digital, when if you're not moving forward, you're falling behind. But while the way of doing business and consuming media may have changed, performing skills are timeless, and some SAG-AFTRA members are finding a useful way to sharpen their skills by looking back to another era of rapid technological change. When the first radio stations to broadcast voice transmissions crackled to life in the early 20th century, the country would never be the same. Radio ushered in the era of mass communications and became a tremendous force in creating a popular culture. A 1922 publication, Radio Broadcast Vol. 1, marveled at the phenomenon: "Families were compelled sometimes to sacrifice physical comfort for the sake of having a radio set in the house." By the 1920s, comedies and dramas drew families to their radios every evening to listen to adventures and farces, horror stories and crime dramas. Actors and comedians created the one- liners that everyone would quote and requote the next day on the playground, the job or at the market. Members across the country, "NO MATTER WHAT from Los Angeles to New York and San Francisco to Atlanta are reviving the art of the radio play, complete with on-the-fly sound effects, for live audiences. For performers, radio plays can be a great way to sharpen their talents and expand their range — and many are finding it to be quite a workout. In Los Angeles, member Clyde Sacks is a long-time radio player, having been involved in 28 shows, including directing he Halloween Jewel hief at the Oct. 18 show in Los Angeles. "People will constantly come up to me and say 'I had no idea it was this complicated,'" Sacks said. hey don't realize that they need to pay attention to the music, mesh their performances with the sound effects and hit the proper cues. "hey thought they were just going to show up and read lines," Sacks said. "You really have to be focused with this." As with any live show, a lot can go wrong. Just ask Edith Ivey. Ivey not only performs with the Atlanta Left: Paula Bellamy, Judy Nazemetz, Michael Crandall and Eileen Mary Butler perform in The Halloween Jewel Thief, which orginally aired on The Dennis Day Show in 1948. The Los Angeles Local show was a production of SAG-AFTRA Radio Plays, headed by David Westberg, in partnership with the Autry National Center. Top right, Ann Marie Ravens. YOU LOOK LIKE, YOU CAN BE ANYBODY. THAT'S THE FUN OF IT," Bi-Union Players' recreations of the radio plays of yesteryear, she was a performer during the medium's heyday. Ivey worked on daytime radio soaps and would later go on to transition to television, appearing on Howdy Doody as Princess Summerfall Winterspring. For the last 22 years, most of her work has been in film, but radio has remained her first love. "It's the theater of the mind," Ivey said. "It's more exciting to me than either theater or film." Ivey recalled one incident during an episode of Whispering Street, a daytime radio soap opera in the '50s, when technical difficulties led to an opportunity for improvisation. Five minutes before going live, the director announced to the performers that the soundtrack had been lost, and that they needed a performer to sound like a crying baby. "hey said, 'Edith, you've got five minutes, can you do that?'" Similar quick-thinking was sometimes needed during the show, if, for instance, one of the performers huddled around a single mic dropped their script. | Winter 2013 | SAG-AFTRA 55

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of SAG-AFTRA - Winter 2013