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Golden age of radio alive and well in central Utah

(Sam Penrod/Deseret News)

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SPRING CITY, Sanpete County — Nowadays, we consume media on HDTVs, via live-stream, on a tablet,or on our laptop computers.

But there was a time when radio was the only option, and families would gather together to hear live performances of their favorite programs. Central Utah has a small-town theater that is trying to revive the golden age of radio.

A Saturday evening in Spring City will take you back in time, especially when you step into the century-old Victory Hall theater. This is a town that time has forgotten, a place where the old west meets the new.

They call the show "Life Under the Horseshoe" and it’s performed live on stage with a new musical act every week.

Listeners look forward to a dramatic reading, some comedic relief and sound effects that are also produced live. Even the commercials are part of the show.

Mark and Vicki Allen came up with the idea and then took it to their neighbors, Lana and Lawrence Gardner.

“He came over one night and said I need a writer and a director. And I said, what for? And he said, because I want to start a radio show in your theater,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence is also the narrator and uses an old-fashioned clock to keep the live show on time.

Now in its third season, the show is gaining a loyal following.

But the show is not just for locals. People from all over are coming to Spring City on Saturday nights to hear what entertainment was really like in those early days of broadcasting.

We can provide the voices, the story, the sound effects, but you get to provide yourself with the picture.

–Mark Allen

“It gives your mind the opportunity to open up and expand and listen to what is happening,” Mark said. “We can provide the voices, the story, the sound effects, but you get to provide yourself with the picture of what you are looking at.”

That’s a picture that looks different to everyone as they imagine “Life Under the Horseshoe.”

There is a new show each week, and you can attend a live recording of “Life Under the Horseshoe” Saturdays at 7 p.m. for $10 a seat. A live stream of the show is also available on KMGR. The season runs through July 25.


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Sam Penrod


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