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Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

CS Players to perform “Radio Classics” in March

On March 14, the Kent Theatre stage will be the scene of the latest offering from The Cedar Springs Community Players—a performance of a series of entertaining old-time radio and TV skits that includes Abbott and Costello, George and Gracie Burns and Nick Danger: Third Eye, from the popular TV show Fireside Theater. 

Many folks remember the quirky Gracie Allen, who was married to comedian George Burns. Together they became an iconic American comedy duo that successfully worked together for over 40 years. They spanned the gamut of entertainment venues of the time including vaudeville, film, radio and television. Their 30-minute radio show aired weekly from 1934 to 1950. They then had their own television sitcom that debuted in 1950 and ran until 1958. Their TV show garnered a total of 11 Primetime Emmy Awards and TV Guide ranked it number 56 on its 1997 list of the 100 greatest shows. They were inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1988 and inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.

Some may not recall the early TV show Fireside Theater (also known as Jane Wyman Presents). It was the first successful filmed series on American television, airing on NBC from 1949 to 1958. It was panned by critics at the time but remained in the top 10 most popular shows for most of its run. Guest stars included the likes of Gene Barry, Claude Akins, Imogene Coca, Hans Conried, Joseph Cotton, Peter Lawford, Lee Marvin, Vincent Price, Fay Wray and Jack Elam. It had a run of seven years with a total of 268 episodes. 

Former burlesque performers Bud Abbott and Lou Costello comprised the comedy team of Abbott and Costello and first worked together in 1935 after Abbott’s regular partner became ill and unable to perform. The duo quickly became a permanent pair at the urging of Abbott’s wife. They became the most popular comedy team of the 1940s and early 1950s. Their “patter” routine “Who’s on First?” is one of their best-known comedy bits. Due to a series of hit films, the duo was voted the third biggest box office attraction in America in 1941. 

Performances of “Radio Classics” will be held at the Kent Theatre in downtown Cedar Springs from March 14-16, starting at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are available at the Cedar Springs Public Library for $10 for adults; $8 for students 18 and under. You may purchase tickets before each performance at the Kent Box Office for $12 for adults and same admission of $8 for students. The house opens at 7 p.m. and tickets may be purchased at that time. Please check the website for the Library for their operating hours. 

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