Performers recreate 1930s radio show
By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Enfield, East Haddam - posted Mon., Nov. 18, 2013
Members of the East Haddam Stage Company just can’t get enough of Sherlock Holmes. On Nov. 13, the company reenacted the 1930 radio script for “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Speckled Band” at the Enfield Public Library.
Enfield Public Library’s Lisa Sprague greeted the audience and thanked the EHSCO for coming to perform for everyone. “I really wanted to see the performance at the Gillette Castle State Park this past summer, but I was just too lazy to go out in the extreme heat,” joked Sprague. “I thought to myself, ‘Why not have them come to my library?’ so when I asked [director] Kandie [Carle] to perform and she said yes, I was so excited.”
William Gillette was a famous actor from Connecticut who played the role of Sherlock Holmes for 30 years. Though Gillette wanted to be done with the character, he just couldn’t seem to walk away from it. He was quoted as saying, “I don’t care what you do with him. Marry him off. Kill him, for all I care. I just want to be done with him.” The actor in him apparently didn’t chose to follow through with those requests. There were three radio broadcasts of Sherlock Holmes. The first one was in 1930, the second in 1933 and the last one in 1935. After Carle did a great deal of digging, she finally got a copy of the 1930 script at the Harriett Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford. Edith Meiser was the writer for the radio programs. If Gillette didn’t care about the character, it didn’t show on the script. Gillette did a great deal of corrections to Meiser’s original script. It was said that she didn’t mind having Gillette make the adjustments because she admired his work.
“I called the curator and asked if they happened to have the script,” said Carle. “I was shocked when she came back and said that not only did they have the script, but I could make a copy of it for our company. That was amazing.”
Carle is a classic radio fan. “I love all the old time favorites such as ‘Dragnet,’ ‘Gunsmoke’ and obviously, Sherlock Holmes,” said Carle. “That is why I love what I do so much.” Carle gave a brief overview of what it was like to do a radio show in the 1930s. The actors were not always the age of the characters. For instance, Joe Friday’s mother was in her 70s, however, the actor was actually only in her 20s. The character Marshal Matt Dillon of ‘Gunsmoke’ was extremely tall and slender. The actor that read the part on the radio was William Conrad, who was actually the complete opposite.
The EHSCO began the Sherlock Holmes quest approximately five years ago. “I went to the Gillette Castle State Park and I asked why there was no theater at the park,” said Carle. “The park allowed us to perform in an empty small stone building. By the third year, they built us a stage. The forth year, we got seating, and this year, we were given even more seating. They treat us really well.” The EHSCO doesn’t feel the need to look in New York or Boston for talent. According to Carle, “There is plenty of talent right here in Connecticut.”