Review: Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s Cinnamon Bear

Produced by: Transco
Location: Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Director: Ben Dooley

Just around the holiday season “Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear“ does a radio show and this past year is no different. In fact what was on hand in the repetoire of 2012 was a condensed version of The Cinnamon Bear… from what I understand there were 26 episodes of programming (or approximately five hours) to wade through and trim into a 90 minute live radio show. And did they succeed… Although I am not familiar with the original programming I thoroughly enjoyed what I was able to listen to in what was available.

According to the website:

Since 1938, Chicago families have gathered around the radio and delighted in the holiday adventures of Judy, Jimmy and the lovable Paddy O’Cinnamon as they traveled through the weird and wonderful Maybeland in search of their missing silver star to adorn their Christmas tree–the clock ticking as Christmas Day comes closer and closer. On their magical journey they meet all sorts of exciting characters. Some of them are friendly, like Queen Melissa, while others are not so nice, like the Wintergreen Witch. But all of them are memorable.


So join us as Judy and Jimmy discover their silver start is missing and they embark on their wondrous journey into Maybeland to bring it back. Along the way, we’ll meet the Crazy Quilt Dragon, Nicky Frudle, Jack Frost, and we’ll even head up to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus himself.
Fun for the whole family (perfect for children of all ages) here’s your chance to see and hear this show come to new life, packed with delightful music, wonderful characters, and exciting adventures that every child will enjoy.

But really what is there to say about it?

Although I missed the first ten to fifteen minutes of the production due to the highly stressful traffic patterns around the Chicagoland area, it would appear that I have made it to see a major chunk of the radio show.

A quick standouts:

Rob Reinalda as the Crazy Quilt Dragon was deliciously funny and fantastically haughty in this role… there were times when I wanted to smack him upside the head only to realize that this is Rob and not the Dragon and his wife would not be happy with me if he had a bruise on his head.

Teresa Reinalda as Queen Melissa emulated the purity and elegance one would expect from her character, but also had a bit of intelligence and compassion that aided the heroes with their quest.

Ben Dooley did double duty as not only director for this particular production, but also voiced the role of The Cinnamon Bear with a bit of a high pitched accent… I first laughed in my seat and then later found myself drawn to his character bit by bit as the radio programming progressed.

Aimee Kennedy as the Wintergreen Witch was delightfully evil and funny in her vocal intonations… but I found myself thinking that she could be a sibling of the Wicked Witch of the West. 🙂 Not a bad thing mind you.

There were far more people involved than the above… unfortunately I do not know all of them by name. 🙁 Ah well… knowing that this is a volunteer group, there is a major part of me that wishes to be a participant, however another major part of me knows just how crazy my life is and knows that the most I can do is sit back and enjoy the show.

And enjoy I will… for there is apparently an mp3 available on the group’s website so one could listen for one’s enjoyment.

What I found to be interesting is that I found myself to be comparing the story of The Cinnamon Bear to that of the Wizard of Oz (at least the 1939 film adaptation starring Judy Garland). Look at the comparisons:
– Dorothy = Judy
– Toto = Jimmy
– The Scarecrow = Paddy O’Cinnamon
– The Cowardly Lion = Crazy Quilt Dragon
– Glinda the Good Witch of the North = Queen Melissa
– The Wicked Witch of the West = Wintergreen Witch
At least… I found myself comparing the two… I mean you have a story of someone in a totally different and unique world from their own on a quest to get what they need before they could go home. Only to find that perhaps it was all a dream. Maybe it would be more like Alice in Wonderland… but anyway I digress..

If there is one thing that came to mind while listening / watching this radio version of The Cinnamon Bear it would be just how entertaining it would be if there was an animated mini-television series… or even a stage adaptation, just based off of this groups condensed version of The Cinnamon Bear. I personally think that this would be a grand addition to the repertoire of holiday theatre productions.

Also take a glance at my previous review of “Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s War of the Worlds

Many thanks to “Time Travel 101“ on Vimeo for a video version of “The Cinnamon Bear”

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