Review: Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s The War of the Worlds

Book: H G Wells
Location: Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Director: Pam Turlow

Earlier this week, I decided to watch / listen to a group of volunteers recreate the radio program by H.G. Wells: The War of the Worlds. I have always been a fan of old-time radio programs ever since I started to learn how to drive… and as thus would listen to the radio often (particularly late late at night).

So when friends of mine told me about this production that they were all a part of… I figured “why not?” I have been listening to other radio program of a similar notion via 780 WBBM, but to see it live is something else.

But before I go on from the website of Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear:

[They] are a group of Chicagoland actors and performers who share a common interest—to perform old time radio programs for the community.


The entire company is made up of volunteers who donate their time to recreate these shows from the Golden Age of Radio for the Chicagoland community. It takes quite some effort to browse through the thousands of old time radio episodes, select a favorite, listen and type out the script—many of these are not available in print and have to be painstakingly transcribed—gather sound effects, then rehearse and mount the production.

Although we are only to give these historical programs a new life a few times a year, we strive to make sure that it’s well worth the wait.

It would appear that most (if not all) of their productions take place at the Oak Park Arms in Oak Park, Illinois… and have been doing so since September of 2002. The majority of their eclectic programming come from the Golden Age of Radio.

What is there to say about it?

It was well done, the voice actors (for technically this was what it was) were engaging and pulled the audience into their story. Everything was done exactly as if it was on the radio… it was rather fascinating.

In some ways it was just as entertaining / engaging to watch the director / conductor as she cued the various voice actors and the sound effects. Pam Turlow really put together a fantastic show… but after her performance as Desiree Armfeldt in VTG’s A Little Night Music what can this woman not do?

Also from that same production was Steve Schroeder who voiced not only Wells himself but the primary character: Dr Pearson. His vocal interpretation just stamps the need to hear him recite / sing the phonebook to me sometime soon… I mean seriously. This man is amazing vocally.

Another familiar face to me was one Rob Reinalda – husband to the portrayer of Madame Armfeldt, Teresa – who voiced two of the announcers within the production… whose voice is not only soothing… but pleasant to the ears even as his characters try to figure out what the world is coming to.

But seriously… what is there to say? The rise and fall of the crowds voices… the storytelling was well done. You could just sit there with your eyes closed and just listen to their voices and still be swept away.

My only gripe? Some of the missed cues for the voice actors, but since they all projected so well that one could not really noticed unless they were paying attention.

All in all, this was something I was very glad to have been able to see and experience live as opposed to sitting in my car listening to the radio.

Until their next production on December 23rd… (something about Cinnamon Bears) which is there Christmas Show, I suppose I will simply entertain myself in the meantime with the late night radio programming via When Radio Was.

Meanwhile… many thanks to Don Gingold for recording and uploading a video of the above production:

TTDY Radio – War of the Worlds from Time Travel 101 on Vimeo.