Live Radio Dramas: "Communists: The Red Scare on the Air"


8 p.m., Friday, March 9, 2012
3 p.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 10, 2012
Wien Experimental Theatre
Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
Tickets: $25

Image: Radio DramaLive Radio Dramas revisits the bustling world of the golden age radio station with its latest production "Communists: The Red Scare on the Air" being performed at 8 p.m., on Friday, March 9, 2012, and 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., on Saturday, March 10, 2012. The show illustrates how the "red scare" made its way into all parts of radio at the time of the McCarthy era in the late '40s and early '50s, from news to childrens' shows, to adventure shows, to gossip column shows. The performances take place in the Wien Experimental Theatre, located at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, Fairfield, CT. General admission tickets are $25.

It's the late 1940s, after WWII cooled down and ceased to be the overwhelming focus of American radio broadcasting. As the frost of the developing Cold War appeared across the land, so did new characterizations of villains that were warned to be clandestinely among us, as instruments of the ever-spreading cancer of Communism. Senator Joe McCarthy and the hearings of the 'House Committee on Un-American Activities' (HCUA) he led were in full-swing, and the patriotism of routing out Communism in all its forms became daily front-page news, hitting the entertainment industry as hard as any other.

"After the blacklisting and imprisonment of the 'Hollywood Ten,' a group of writers and directors in the film industry who refused to cooperate with the committee, not only did all the major radio stations purge many who could be seen as sympathetic to Communist and socialist causes, but they appeared to fall over themselves in an effort to prove their commitment to anti-communism," explains Daniel Smith, director of Live Radio Dramas. "Themes of the 'red scare' made their way to all conceivable corners of radio, from drama, horror, sci-fi, news, and even children's programming."

The program for "Communists: The Red Scare on the Air" consists of 'Little Orphan Annie!,' the adventure serial that pits a wholesome child detective and patriotic scientist against evil foreign spies; 'Stand By For Crime,' a short-lived series which follows radio newscaster Chuck Morgan and his "blonde secretary" Carol Curtis as they flirt and wisecrack their way into various capers; 'Hedda Hopper,' the quintessential Hollywood gossip columnist; 'X-Minus 1,' a leading science-fiction series of the mid 1950s; and 'I Was A Communist For The FBI,' a strong example of the classic Communist stereotype in American radio, films and television of the 1950s featuring dramatizations based on the life of Matt Cvetic, who worked as an informant for the FBI as a member of the American Communist Party.

The Live Radio Dramas presentation style portrays the goings on of vintage radio broadcasts of the time, where under-rehearsed studio actors, technicians, and musicians worked very long hours, sometimes alongside movie stars who would breeze in for top billing on a particular program. Though some programs were recorded in front of a live audience, many were not. Quick Center Audiences get to be a fly on the wall at an old-time radio studio as a workplace at the end of radio's heyday, the early 1950s. 

Live Radio Dramas is presented by an ensemble of actors and actresses who have been involved with Radio Drama productions at the Quick Center since its debut in 2000. Some cast members were part of "The Old Time Radio Show," a weekly series broadcast from WYBC-AM in New Haven.

Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396  (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at www.fairfield.edu/quick.

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.fairfield.edu/quick.

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 2, 2012

Vol. 44, No. 219