Call it the Case of the Wayward Blogger. I am having a swell time here in sweltering Manhattan; and for once the eyes have it. Today, I vowed to make amends by returning to the aforementioned Partners & Crime bookstore in the West Village, where on the first Saturday of every month (July and August excepting) a capable group of players, musicians and sound effects artists recreate American radio thrillers of the 1940s and 1950s.
On tap this evening were Sam Spade’s muddled “SQP Caper” (originally broadcast on 7 November 1948) and the lively “Taps,” a comedy thriller involving a tap-dancing sister act catching crooks in a rather more sinister act. Outstanding in the cast were David Kester (below, far right and channelling Ned Sparks) and Karla Hendrick (center) who played both Spade’s secretary Effie and Edith “Candy” Kane in “Taps.”
If you count the balloons next to the sound effects table at which DeLisa White (pictured above) worked her earful magic by slamming doors, ringing bells, and keeping shoes a-tapping, you can figure out just how violent (and piercing) the offering for the evening was going to be, each popped rubber sac representing a gun just fired. Yet, to the delight of the audience—and without recourse to the willful misreading known as “camp”—the plays for the evening were light on heavy melodramatics.
Now, this is too hot a night for research and I’m off to enjoy a few ice-cold gin and tonics in a moment; but I am not sure just when “Taps” originally aired. Supposedly, its broadcast date coincided with the date of the reenactment (7 June), even though the program states 2008 as the obviously erroneous year of production. The notes also state that “Taps” was performed as part of the anthology series Suspense; but there is no such play in the program’s twenty-year spanning history. The Beech-Nut gum commercial so zestfully delivered might be a clue as to the date of the broadcast. I shall have to investigate . . .