Cincinnati Convention 2011
By Karen Hughes
We arrived at the hotel at 9:00 on Friday morning. It is always so exciting to walk in and see other OTR people go by as we check in! Randy Larson was in the hotel restaurant when we went over to get our tickets, Bob Burchett came over and hugged us, and we chatted with Ken Piletic. So many wonderful people!
After depositing our luggage in the room, we went to the dealers’ room, where we talked to the delightful J.R. Cooprider, said hello to Bruce Raleigh and Geoff Brittingham, and saw Martin Grams at his fantastic book booth (where I bought a biography of Tim Kelly, “America’s most prolific playwright”).
In addition to the wonderful people, the dealers’ room was, as always, full of wonderful OTR. I ended up returning several times to look through the $1 discs of MP3s that one booth was selling and during the course of the weekend was able to find gifts to bring back to all of my studentlings and friends. I also bought a cool t-shirt from the Radio Researchers booth.
Figuring we better grab some food before the official festivities started, Mama and I headed over to Bob Evans and ordered some take-out food to keep in the room. When we came back to the hotel, we said hello to Don Ramlow and hugged the amazing Esther Geddes-McVey (who asked me, “Do you remember me?”). After greeting Esther, we saw Meredith Grainger! Meredith, who is brilliant and charming, gave me a few of his old t-shirts from previous conventions. OTR people are so sweet!
While Meredith explored the dealers’ room, Daddy and I talked to Dave Sorenson, who reminisced about time he and his wife had spent with Hal Stone. We took pictures with Bruce Raleigh, talked to a nice man named John who attended Illinois State when it was still Illinois State Normal University, and then got very excited when Steve and Rene Thompson arrived and Steve and Laura Jansen. Before we knew it, it was time for all of us to gather for auditions for the re-creations. Daddy got a role in Gunsmoke, and Mama and I both got roles in The Whistler.
We talked to some more magnificent people after the auditions, including Chad Rinne from Nebraska and Rick Keating, who brought me a t-shirt with a picture of my dog, Max (named after Jack Benny’s Maxwell) on the front. Soon it was time for Gunsmoke rehearsal—what a fun script!
The Friday evening festivities were wonderful. The Gunsmoke re-creation went beautifully, there were a couple of ventriloquist acts that were a lot of fun, and then Daddy hosted the OTR trivia contest (the best category was the Jack Benny one). Everyone should enter the trivia contest next year! This year’s winners were the Burchett Quartet (Ryan Ellett, Travis Conner, and two of their friends from Radio Researchers whose names, unfortunately, escape me).
When the trivia contest was over, Mama and Daddy and Meredith and Rick and Chad and I all went to Graeter’s for ice cream. It was a perfect way to end such a happy day.
Saturday was busy! First thing in the morning was rehearsal for The Green Hornet. The All Ears Theatre people are so nice! Immediately afterward was rehearsal for The Whistler. We spent more time in the treasure-filled dealers’ room, and I got a beautiful poster that had drawings of all of the radio stars who were a part of the CBS line-up in 1950.
Saturday afternoon was the raffle, The Whistler, and The Life of Riley. Everyone gave terrific performances and many people came away with lots of fun prizes. There was time to grab a quick dinner before the evening shows and awards, so we headed over to a mall with Steve and Rene, Rick, Meredith, and Chad to eat at the food court. It was a fun adventure. Before we knew it, though, it was time to head back.
The evening performances were The Green Hornet and Dragnet. Meredith was fantastic as Joe Friday! The awards were wonderful as well (congratulations to Randy Larson, Penny Swanberg, and all the other winners!), and Bob Burchett was presented with a special plaque to commemorate the convention’s 25th year.
It is always sad when the convention is over, but its end only means that it is time to start looking forward to next year. I can’t wait to see all of you again!