2013-02-14 / Scene

Radio program to bring back wild west

LAPEER — The Lone Ranger and the crew from Gunsmoke are riding into town next week, and local residents may want to buy a ticket early for a show that is sure to be a blast from the past. Next Friday, the PIX Theatre in downtown Lapeer will host the second old time radio program, this time focusing on classic westerns.

“We looked and looked at scripts for this show,” said Craig Martin, executive director at the PIX. “There were so many great scripts to choose from.” What they finally settled on were original scripts of Gunsmoke and The Lone Ranger from the 1940s and 50s.

“We had to do The Lone Ranger,” Martin said. “It is a Detroit original. In fact we are doing the very first episode, complete with the old sign off tag for (radio station) WXYZ.”

The actors in the program will also perform the very first episode of Gunsmoke in the show. “In this episode people might notice that there is no Miss Kitty,” Martin said, “she hadn’t been written into the series yet. There were other episodes that we looked at with all the regular characters but we thought it would be fun to go back to where it began.”

Following those two scripts, the actors will perform Challenge of the Yukon, which many people may know as Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. The Yukon performance will include an episode from 1948 complete with original commercials. The final act of the show will be a 1956 script from the series Fort Larmie.

The actors in the western radio program will be doing both voices and sound effects during the performance, true to the original process used during radio’s heyday in the 1930s and 40s. Audience members will not only be able to listen to the old westerns as they are performed, they will also get to see exactly how all those sound effects are made.

“We will try to do these with as many live sound effects as possible, but of course we don’t have a live orchestra to play the music, so we will be doing that from a recording,” Martin said.

He added, “I hope people really enjoy the stories, that is the main thing about these shows. It is fun to see the old effects, but is really about the classic stories.”

The cast includes Richard Hingst, Bruce Stockman, Karissa Bombe, Faye Preston, James Alt, Mike Roberts, Kevin Hartzman, Marty Snarski, Robyn Parton, Ethan Parton and Don and Claudia Swindell.

The western radio show will take place next Friday (Feb. 22) starting at 7:30 p.m. at the PIX Theatre in downtown Lapeer. Tickets purchased in advance cost $12 for adults or $10 for students and seniors. At the door tickets will cost $16 for adults or $14 for students and seniors. For more information or tickets, call the PIX Box Office at 810-664-4824 or go online to www.pixlapeer.org/radiowestern.

— Jacob Hunsanger

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