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Radio Thrills And Silent Comedy Chills Go To Church

By Joel Wicklund in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 16, 2014 7:00PM

2014_09_KeatonHaunted.jpg The movies started talking more than 80 years ago and the golden age of radio drama ended at the dawn of the 60s, but thanks to the Silent Film Society of Chicago and the Those Were the Days Radio Players, the past will come to life on Saturday, Sept. 27 at St. John Cantius Parish (825 N. Carpenter St.).

Even if you've never heard a classic radio drama in your life, you probably know the line, "The Shadow knows." It was the catchphrase of one of the medium's most successful series, The Shadow, which ran in different incarnations for over 20 years. The title character (a mysterious do-gooder with the ability to cloud men's minds so they could not see him) was played by many actors, but most notably by a young Orson Welles during the program's early years.

Those Were the Days Radio Players, an actor's group affiliated with WDCB's long-running Saturday afternoon broadcasts of old-time radio, recreate live shows as they were originally performed, complete with hand-made sound effects. They will perform "Sisters in Blood Only," an episode of The Shadow, on stage.

The evening also includes a screening of The Haunted House (1921), a very funny Buster Keaton short. The great Stone Face plays a hapless bank clerk who winds up in a criminal gang's hideout that appears to be haunted. For those who don't know Keaton's work, this is a good introduction to one of the giants of silent cinema. The film will be accompanied by Jay Warren on the organ.

The program begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. More information is available here.