Prior to the invention of television people would rely on the radio to be entertained. They could follow along with the adventures of the Green Hornet, little orphan Annie, “Bonanza” and multiple other characters as the stories came alive through actors and practical sound effects.

People will have the opportunity to step back in time to hear a live radio-style broadcast of the seminal holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” on Saturday, Dec. 8, at the McFarland United Church of Christ. It’s also an opportunity for people to donate to the McFarland Community Food Pantry.

There is a suggested donation of $10 per person, and tickets for the 7 p.m. show will be sold only at the door; all proceeds will benefit the food pantry.

Patrick Fernan, one of six actors providing voices for the show, said the radio drama was last performed in McFarland four years ago.

“We wanted to offer it to the community again, since so many people enjoyed it – and the food pantry can use donations at this time of year,” he said.

Fernan would like to see the event raise more than $1,000 but said any amount raised for the pantry would be great.

“I was on the original pantry board when we established the pantry as a separate entity from the village about 10 years ago,” he said. “I’m always very happy when I get the opportunity to contribute to our community and help families in need.”

Part of the joy of an old-fashioned radio drama is the sound effects. Don’t expect to just see a computer loaded with audio files to bring the show to life; some of the effects will be created using practical methods such as a hand-cranked wind machine, tap shoes and car horns along with “other fun tricks” will be provided by Jeanne and Paul Cargill, said Fernan.

Lending their voices to the show will be Tim McNurlen, Brooke Hauser, Tony Ketterer Stephanie Robey, Angy Gagliano and Fernan.

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