Radio theater

Palestine Area Radio Theater ready for return | Community

Time travel to the “good old days” has a much different meaning today than it once did. At one time, looking back to a nicer time could have meant childhood. Some may dream of spending time with family or friends. A few of us may long for the days when prickly mules, parachute pants and the Aqua Net ruled the world.

These days, all that has changed. Most of the time when someone mentions “the good old days” they are probably referring to what we all thought was normal in the days before the world was shut down by COVID-19.

John Lamb and the Palestine Area Radio Theatre, PART for short, will make a grand return to better days in more ways than one. In July of this year, PART plans to power up the flux capacitor and reset its plans to pre-COVID status by finally moving forward with a production of “Tascosa Slim: Oldest Deputy West of the Mississippi.”

“In March 2020, we were ready to start production,” Lamb said. “We had invested a lot of time and money and we were supposed to play on March 21, 2020. On March 20, 2020 the governor shut down the state and that was it.”

But Tascosa Slim will live.

Radio theater is definitely a throwback to another era. Radio theatre, or radio drama, is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance. With no visual component, the radio soap opera relies on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story. Radio drama achieved great popularity less than a decade after its initial development in the 1920s. By the 1940s, it was prominent popular entertainment. With the advent of television in the 1950s, radio drama began to lose its audience. However, it remains popular in much of the world.

Lamb, along with his wife Kathy, owns and operates Nickel Manor in downtown Palestine. The Lambs rent out the beautiful historic building for events like parties, weddings, concerts and more, but sometimes use the incredible space themselves.

“We plan to perform the show here at Nickel Manor with a live audience, which we will encourage to react, laugh and applaud,” Lamb said.

‘Tascosa Slim: Oldest Deputy West of the Mississippi’ is a somewhat self-explanatory title. Tascosa Slim is a former deputy whose “old deputy ways” would normally get him in trouble, but usually end up helping him save the day. The production will be recorded and available on YouTube, but Lamb hopes to make sure the “radio” part of the “radio theatre” can move forward as well.

“Before the shutdown, we were going to broadcast on Smooth Rock, 93.5. Unfortunately the station closed, so we are looking for another station to air the show,” Lamb said.

In addition to the production of “Tascosa Slim”, Lamb announced the opening of auditions for the Nickel Players’ production of “Everybody Comes to Rick’s Place” in November. Loosely based on the characters and plot of Casablanca, the production should appeal to the masses.

“We plan to set up Nickel Manor as Rick’s Place. We will encourage attendees to come in costume and everyone will feel like they’re the center of the production,” Lamb said. “It’s going to be a lot of work, but we’re really looking forward to it.”

The return of ‘Tascosa Slim’ is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, July 9. Check Facebook or the Nickel Manor website for updates.

For more information on Palestine Area Radio Theatre, Nickel Manor or Nickel Players auditions, call John Lamb at 903-391-4367, visit their website at or follow Nickel Manor on Facebook.