1940s Radio Hour A Trip Back in Time

Radio Hour

SOUND: WOV New York City, may I help you? Manhattan Variety Cavalcade. Of course it's a variety show, didn't I just say so, dummy? 9 o'clock.

That's just the beginning of the time warp know as 'The 1940's Radio Hour.' It's a trip back to the days when radio variety shows were performed in front of a live audience. For six shows, the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center will be transformed into the fictional WOV, a 5,000-watt New York City radio station. Abbott Morgan is the director.

MORGAN: When I was asked to direct something up here, this was the first thing to come to mind. It's fairly simple to do - not totally simple - but it's fairly simple. It's got songs everyone remembers - if they're old enough to remember - and even if they're not old enough, have heard them before at some point in time.

It's got bobby sox and 'Blue Moon,' live commercials, an actor in the wings doing live sound effects, and of course, no 1940's production would be complete without 'The Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.'

SOUND: 'The Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.'

Morgan plays the show's emcee, as well as being the director.

MORGAN: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for being here. There will be no regular bus service back to Jersey tonight because of the storm. However, there will be one bus that will leave 20 minutes after the show that will drop you off at any of the cities listed at the back of the house. And again, thank you for being here.

SOUND: Five, four, three. Live from the Algonquin Room of the beautiful Hotel Astor in lovely Times Square in New York. (music).... It's 9:00, and time for the Atlantic Coast Network to present WOV's Mutual of Manhattan Variety Cavalcade, we'll have a sparkling hour of music and song, comedy and drama...

The seven-piece orchestra is led by Stella Gaukshteyn, a classically-trained concert pianist. The performers come from other acting troupes around the Tampa Bay area.

Morgan, who helped found the amateur group 'West Coast Players,' says his biggest challenge is to keep the show moving at a fast clip.

MORGAN: You need the patience of the proverbial saint, to understate it a little bit. The sense of timing is something you learn over the years. It has to be developed. And we don't always have it. But it's getting the play to move, that's the biggest problem - especially with this one.

SOUND: WOV jingle, leading into commercial.

It's not all G-rated fun - thanks to 'Ginger.' She's got a voice out of deepest Brooklyn and a street-wise sashay. Her gum-snapping routine to 'My Mama Done to Me' is sure to rouse anyone who might be getting too comfortable in their seats.

GINGER: Ready, boys? 'My Mama Done Told Me.'

'The 1940's Radio Hour is at Tarpon Springs City hall for performances this weekend and next.

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