Command Performance Radio Reenactment at the Oak Park Arms

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Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, an all volunteer radio reenactment group, will present “Command Performance,” a World War II radio show that was sent overseas to support the U.S. troops.

Old Time Radio reenactment group at the Oak Park Arms

Old Time Radio reenactment group at the Oak Park Arms

Top performers of the day appeared on Command Performance including Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Fred Allen, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland and the Andrew Sisters.

Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, an all volunteer radio reenactment group, will present “Command Performance” at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6, at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave.

“Command Performance” is World War II entertainment at its finest. The radio show was sent overseas to support our troops. Begun in 1942, it became a weekly wartime 30 minutes of star-studded fun.

The program was broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Network (AFRS) with a direct shortwave transmission to the troops overseas. It was not broadcast over domestic U.S. radio stations.

Troops sent in requests for a particular performer or program to appear, and they also suggested unusual ideas for music and sketches on the program such as Ann Miller tap dancing in military boots. Top performers of the day appeared including Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Fred Allen, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland and the Andrew Sisters. All stars donated their time and talent.

The performers

Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear is composed of Chicagoland actors who share a common interest - to perform old time radio programs for the community. Each actor and technician donates talent and time for free.

The radio shows are very popular with residents and people from the community. Some bring their children and/or grandchildren to show what entertainment was like before television.

Group founders, Ben Dooley and Pam Turlow, husband and wife, established a connection with The Oak Park Arms in September of 2002, when Turlow’s father became a resident. They’ve been volunteering/performing at The Arms ever since.

To celebrate 10 years of performances at the Oak Park Arms, Dooley and Turlow, decided to present a show every month (instead of every other month) and tie in a charity with each performance. Audience members can give free will donation at the time of the show.

The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides senior independent living and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay - a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The radio show is free and open to the public. For more information, call Jill Wagner at 708-386-4040 or visit http://www.oakparkarms.com.

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Andy Richardson
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