JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — As television and Internet reign supreme in modern day, some people recall the time when families would gather around the radio for news and entertainment.
That’s how the KCAL Old Time Radio Shows came to be back in the winter of 2014.
“There was an organization called The Creative Art League of Jessamine County. We were approached by the lady that ran that, Ms. Grayson, to reproduce these radio programs from the 1940’s and 1950’s,” Doug Fain said.
Fain is one of the Old Time Radio Show originals, along with Norman and Denise Cline.
When looking back on that first show almost eight years ago, they remmeber loving it but not thinking it would last that long.
“Our first show in Christmas 2014 just took off. I remember the reception and the folks laughing. Just a very positive response and we were just hooked,” Norman Cline said. “I thought it would be one of maybe two or three.”
That first show has evolved into four weekends of shows every year, one production per season. Spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Everything from vintage props, to period costumes, even the act of reading straight from the scripts as they would on radio back in the day. This group does as much as they can to pay homage to what these shows were like 60 years ago.
“It has proved to me that we are never stopping in being creative. Our cast members age like wine. We’ve had some people come out of the show and progress and come into their own,” Fain said.
Practice and production has become second nature now in Fain’s words.
As this rotation of 20 cast members improves show after show, the audience is taking notice; viewers old and new.
“The last several shows, probably 40% of the audiences were newcomers. On the other side of that coin, there are folks who have never missed a show,” Cline said.
The development of this trip back in time was almost halted for good back in 2018, when The Creative Art League was set to shutdown, which left the building housing the Old Time Radio Show Theater unpaid for.
“As you can imagine when she said it my heart just dropped. I thought what are we going to do,” Fain said.
That’s when the community showed how much they care about these shows and the people who put them together.
The person who owned the building agreed to let the non-profit group rent the building out themselves.
So how did they come up with the money?
Fain took to Facebook to set up a fundraiser to help handle the rent costs.
Every year since, the donations from the community have kept the theater open and the shows alive.
In 2022, more than $6,500 came in, well above the requested $3,000.
The support came in from beyond Jessamine County as well.
Folks living in Texas and Colorado—people originally from Jessamine County—sent donations to support their home community.
“One guy in Texas went to school with my brother. He was raised here. He’s been gone probably 35 years but it’s still home and he gives every year. He’ll probably never see a show,” Fain said.
“It means that they believe in us. The fact that they would give their finances of any amount because they believe what we are doing is good for our community. It just makes you feel good.”
The next KCAL Old Time Radio Show is a comedy called “Mixed Nuts" set for September 16-18 at the Old Time Radio Show Theater located at 109 South Main Street in Nicholasville.
If you want to get tickets for one of their shows, click here.