OCTOBER IS BOO-TIFUL
PETER VAN DE GRAAFF
Murder and mayhem reign supreme in the Eugene theater company Radio Redux’s spooktacular Halloween production on Oct. 29-31 recreating all-time great horror tales from radio’s Golden Age—“The House in Cypress Canyon” and “To Find Help.”
“”The House in Cypress Canyon’ is perhaps the scariest radio program ever, while “To Find Help” frightens because it concerns an incident that could happen to anybody,” says Radio Redux producer-director Fred Crafts about the show that plays at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 and 1:30 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31 at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene.
"The House in Cypress Canyon" is a celebrated episode of the radio series Suspense, highly regarded for its chilling themes. Written by Robert L. Richards, produced and directed by William Spier, this episode (originally broadcast on Dec. 5, 1946) is consistently cited as one of the most terrifying programs broadcast during radio’s Golden Age. The plot is presented as a “story within a story,” beginning as a chance meeting between a detective and a real estate salesman who discovered a manuscript in a mysterious house. The narrative shifts to the story presented in the manuscript that details horrific occurrences.
“The House in Cypress Canyon” stars Peter van de Graaff as the new homeowner who narrates the story and Maggie Muellner as his wife, with Achilles Massahos as a detective, Steve Wehmeier as a Realtor, Al Villanueva as a policeman and Judi Weinkauf as The Beast.
“To Find Help,” written by Mel Dinelli and originally broadcast on Jan. 18, 1945, on the Suspense series, is a World War II-era tale about a woman who hires a man to do some handywork around her house. She doesn't know the man well, but help is hard to find because of the war. She doesn't see any reason to worry because he seems so meek. Or is he?
“To Find Help” stars Rebecca Nachison as the homeowner and Achilles Massahos as the hired man, with Judi Weinkauf as a friend, Steve Wehmeier as a telephone repairman and Peter van de Graaff as a milkman.
Providing imaginative, live sound effects for both shows is Judy Sinnott, with Al Villanueva creating electronic effects.
Hit tunes from the 1940s will be performed pre-show and at intermission by the Radio Redux Rhythm-aires band comprised of Michael Anderson on guitar, Georges Bouhey on piano, Dean Livelybrooks on bass, Rob Neidig on drums and Kirstin Parmeter on vocals.
A free, illustrated behind-the-show talk by radio-film historian Patrick Lucanio occurs 60 minutes before showtime in the Hult Center’s Soreng Theatre—at 6 p.m. Fridays and 12:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.