Left without outside radio or TV since a meteorite strike in 1975, the tiny village of Icebox, Minnesota (pop. 199) has survived for 40 years on the broadcast stylings of 'Radio Icebox', a small, somewhat legal radio station beaming local songs, poems and yes - radio plays out to the townspeople from their studios in the basement of the town's historic opera house. As the rest of the world went from 3 channels to 30 and eventually 300, Icebox just kept on making do with their little station, and a lot of programming and plays created by the locals.
Of course, 40 years of isolation has made the people of Icebox...different. And that meteorite in the lake seems to have had an effect, too.
Dave the Sound Effects Man (Dave Erwin)
He arrived at Radio Icebox one day for some light plumbing, discovered the sound effects table, and never left. Such a practitioner of the Foley artists' craft, is Dave, that no one has ever heard him say a word. He says all he needs to say with his trusty effects table equipped with every manner of noisemaker.
Abby, the Manager (Aela Mackintosh)
A local girl who went away to Madison to study poetry, and write songs, Abby returned suddenly one bright day without explanation, and in need of a job. With a lovely voice, a lyric pen, and a ruthless sense of efficiency, Abby fit right in at Radio Icebox. Now the place would simply not function without her.
Cody, the Engineer (Cody Boyer)
All of 21 and the grandson of RI's founder, Major Redux, Cody is a self-taught genus who keeps the station's elderly transmitter going, as well as acting, singing, some script writing and light janitorial. Plus, he has brought Icebox, MN into the 21st Century with the town's first Internet connection which he only uses to stream Radio Icebox to the town's many expat listeners.
JJ, the Program Director (Jeff Adams)
The most recent immigrant to Icebox, JJ was once a high school journalism teacher in Minneapolis, left unemployed by budget cuts. After responding to an ad for a 'Broadcast Journalist with playwrighting ability, some light housekeeping required' JJ discovered himself 'in charge' as much as anyone could really be in charge of the lunatic asylum called Radio Icebox.
POINTS OF INTEREST IN ICEBOX, MN
The Opera House
Originally built in 1893, the Icebox Opera House was the vision of Mable Smith, wife of town founder and then-mayor Willard Smith. Mrs Smith envisioned the structure as a beacon for arts and culture for the entire region, and it was, for a time, a center of music, theater and other amusements for all who lived nearby. When industrialist EW Backus built his paper mills and dams at International Falls, the cultural focus of the region shifted West and the Opera House was reduced to more of a community center than a beacon.
In 1975, then Mayor William Butler Smith (grandson of the founder) attempted to revitalize the sagging downtown area by sprucing up the Opera House. Townspeople did the work, and Smith booked a new public radio show out of the Cities called 'A Prairie Home Companion' to provide the entertainment at the building's gala reopening. But the week of the opening, a meteorite crashed into the lake knocking out all wireless communication with the outside world. The group from St Paul canceled, claiming illness in the band. But since the Opera House had already been retrofitted for radio (including an army surplus transmitter with a range of about five miles) the townspeople began using it to entertain and inform themselves since they could no longer get outside radio or TV. The town's unofficial station 'Radio Icebox' has been operating out of the Opera House ever since.
Toujours Geles Resort (Old Pierre's Place)
Just a little ways up the lake shore from Icebox, Toujours Geles is a small, rustic resort for fishermen and those looking to REALLY get away. Old Pierre has run the place since time out of memory, and it was just off shore from his front porch that the famed meteorite of 1975 was said to have splashed down. Pierre himself staunchly maintains that the meteorite was actually a flying saucer, and that he can still hear the aliens down below the lake speaking in their alien tongue. Some of what he hears, Pierre writes into radio plays for Radio Icebox.
Originally built in 1924 by James Marion Graves, a local timber baron and investor. When Graves hanged himself in 1932 after losing everything in the stock market crash, the family opened a cemetery next door to their home because the local Christian cemetery would not allow a suicide to be buried on hallowed ground. Since that time, the cemetery Graves was rejected by has disappeared and 'Graves Manor' has become the burial plot of choice for the town's residents. James Marion's great-great-grandson Roger still lives in the house, delighted to be cohabiting with the many ghosts he claims haunt it. Roger writes some of the stories the ghosts tell him into radio plays for Radio Icebox.
Known as 'City Beach' until 1978, this lovely stretch of sand just off Lake Street is the center of recreation in the summer, and a reminder of summer's recreation the rest of the year. Alien Beach earned its name after the meteorite strike of 1975, and subsequent rumors that the meteorite was actually a space craft from another world. There have been several unconfirmed sightings of strange creatures swimming in the water just off the beach on warm summer nights.
Frozen Frights Ice Cream
Located on the corner of Beach and Main streets, just above Alien Beach, this local institution has been providing frozen treats year-round to the people of Icebox for over 50 years. Originally incorporated as part of the 'Dairy Jack' chain in 1960, the store was bought by the somewhat mysterious Mrs. Chaney in 2004 who converted it to the only-horror themed frozen treat stand in the world. Patrons can enjoy Crypt Cones, or Blood-Suckers, Creature Pops or the infamous Elder God Sundae which is rumored to cause insanity in anyone who cannot finish it. The ice cream stand specializes in hot chocolate and coffee during the winter months when folks skate on the lake just off the beach.