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Lies My Father Told Me and Never Had it so Good
By Ted Allan and Charles Israel

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Lies My Father Told Me With/Never Had it so Good

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Lies My Father Told Me With/Never Had it so Good
Lies My Father Told Me
By Ted Allan, and
Never Had it so Good
By Charles Israel
Two vintage radio plays on two audio cassettes
Scenario Productions
ISBN: 1-894003-15-2

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - October 25, 2001

From the archives of CBC Radio comes two vintage radio plays that were originally broadcasted in 1954. This two-tape collection contains the plays Lies My Father Told Me by Ted Allan and Never had it So Good by Charles Israel.

Lies My Father Told Me was the sixth episode in the Stage 55 radio series, which originally aired on CBC Radio. Written by Ted Allan and produced and directed by Andrew Allan, this is a story of intergenerational conflict, and a young boy's coming of age. It is set in 1920's Montreal, an era when many streets where still dirt and horse drawn wagons still ply the streets, and where anti-Semitism is blatant.

The story focuses upon David and his Orthodox grandfather who collects bottles, rags and old clothes from the back of a horse drawn wagon. Davie's grandfather has infused the boy with a sense of wonder at the world around him, and has introduced him to the teaching of the Talmud and religious Jewish life.

While Davie's grandfather belongs to the 'old' school, Davie's father is a modern man, who is opposed to Davie's religious leanings. To survive in the modern world, Davie's father thinks that it is vital to be Canadian's first, and Jewish second, which is the complete opposite of the grandfather's viewpoint. As the tension among the three generations increases, Davie begins to feel that his father is lying to him. While the grandfather wants Davie to follow his path, he also doesn't want to come between Davie and his father. Within this whirlpool, Davie is forced to grow up, and to see the world for what it really is.

This is a humorous, yet sad tale. It fully captures the potential for pain and joy that can intersect when two opposing forces vie for the same goal - in this case, Davie's love. This full cast production stars Paul Kligman as the grown up David who narrates the tale and David Sniderman as Davie, the young boy. The cast also includes Isaac Swerdlow as the grandfather, as well as Claire Murray, William Shatner, Jean Keller, Sylvia Page, and many more... It also features an original musical score composed by Lucio Agostini.

Never Had it so Good was written by Charles Israel and produced and directed by Andrew Allan. It was number seven in the CBC's Stage 55 series, and like its predecessor, features an original musical score by Lucio Agostini.

In this tale, Colonel Watson, a U.S. army officer stationed in Germany after WWII has been charged with finding a location in which to set up a military school. He selects a site already occupied by a small Kibbutz made up of concentration camp survivors who hope to one day relocate to Israel. With callous disregard for military law and common decency, the Colonel orders the group dispossessed of their land.

The story is complicated when the Colonel's daughter, Dorothy, come to visit her father in Germany. After a chance meeting with Peter, the head of the Kibbutz, the two fall in love. Dorothy is sympathetic to the plight of the Jews, but her love of Peter is impeded by her own father's anti-Semitism. For his part, Peter is desperate to protect his group and to see them safely to Israel. A task which is made difficult by the British blockade of Israel and, the need to organize transport for the group. Transportation would be easily organized if the group would join an existing political organization, but they want to maintain their freedom, both physically and ideologically. Joining a political organization would jeopardize both.

While this story is, on the surface, a love story, it is really much more. It is pure political commentary. With innuendo and quiet resolve, it pinpoints many of the injustices imposed upon those so recently 'rescued' from the Nazi Death Camps. The least of which was the inherent anti-Semitism of many Western military leaders, the DP (Displaced Person) camps, and the British habit of sending the passengers from ships interdicted while trying to reach Israel, to concentration camps in Cyprus.

This is a thought-provoking tale, a tale that is just as relevant today as it was when the play first aired. This full cast production stars Howard Milson as Colonel Watson, Toby Robbins as Dorothy and Lloyd Bochner as Peter. The cast also includes Alan King, Paul Kligman, John Bethune, James Doohan and many more.


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