(Above: The original Fibber McGee and Molly, played by married couple Jim and Marion Jordan; one of their plays is on the program at the February performances of Radio Redux.)

By Randi Bjornstad

In announcing the latest episode in Radio Redux’s season, founder and director Fred Crafts poses two questions: Who are Fibber McGee and Molly? And why are they important?

He goes on to answer those questions, talking about the real-live performers — the husband-and-wife comedy team of Jim and Marion Jordan — who played the roles of an unpretentious small-town couple who brought much-needed barrels of laughs to radio audiences from 1935 to 1959, through much of the Depression, all of World War II, and well into the Cold War.

Crafts goes on to mention that before each Radio Redux show, author-lecturer-historian Patrick Lucanio gives a talk for those who get there early, in this case to flesh out the background of the performing Jordans as well as the zany couple they created — Fibber McGee and Molly — who became household names throughout the nation.

This Radio Redux performance includes a classic episode, The Flying Saucer, from The Fibber McGee and Molly Show, in which master of malaprops Fibber, a determined skeptic of the reality of flying saucers, suddenly changes his tune when a strange object crashes into his yard.

Radio Redux has a decade-plus of experience bringing classic radio shows to the stage of the Soreng Theater at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, with members of its acting ensemble coming to the  microphones and playing one, two, or even more roles at a time, varying their voices to suit each part. The audience, of course, plays the part of the original studio audiences that attended the original radio show performances.

In addition to the Fibber McGee and Molly skit, the program for the Radio Redux shows on Feb. 25-27 also includes an adaptation of Take a Letter, Darling, released in 1942 in a film version starring Fred MacMurray and Rosalind Russell.

Its plot twist involves a struggling painter, Tom Verney, who takes a job as a secretary to someone named A.M. MacGregor, who turns out to be the female boss of a hard-hitting advertising agency and who hires him not only to take dictation and mail letters but also to accompany her and her friends to social events to ward off unwanted advances from men.

The casts of this show includes Sandy Silverthorne and Rebecca Nachison as Fibber McGee and Molly, with Shirley Andress and Paul Rhoden in the leads of Take a Letter, Darling. The cast also includes Jonathan Ward, Achilles Massahos, Steve Wehmeier and Crafts himself. Al Villanueva and Judy Sinnott create the sound effects.

Radio Redux

When: 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25, and 1:30 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 26-27 (preceded by free pre-show talks by Patrick Lucanio at 6 p.m. on Friday and 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)

Where: Soreng Theater, Hult Center for the Performing Arts, One Eugene Center (7th and Willamette streets), Eugene

Tickets: $25 general admission; $22 for ages 65+; $19 for college/youth; discounts also for groups of five or more, available online at radioreduxusa.com, or the Hult Center ticket office, 541-682-5000, in person from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, or online hultcenter.org

COVID Protocols: hultcenter.org