Blanket Fort Radio Theater

Thursdays

SIU Press and WSIU present Blanket Fort Radio Theater, a project highlighting works published by SIU Press. This series includes work from students in the SIUC Creative Writing Program, who have taken SIU Press books and brought them to life. Join us each Thursday for a new installment of Blanket Fort Radio Theater.

Looking for more? Check out Inside the Blanket Fort - a special peek behind the blanket, where you can meet the students creating our series, and learn more about the projects!

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

One of a string of burglaries south of Harrisburg in 1925 leads to the arrest and trial of one of Birger’s most notorious gangsters, a man known by the pseudonym “Steve George.” In 1926, Birger marries his new wife, Bernice.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

A shootout ensues when Earl Shelton’s bulldog kills Charlie Birger’s in a dogfight, one of the common forms of entertainment at the bootlegger’s hideout, Shady Rest.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

After escaping suspicion in the investigation of a bloody shootout, Charlie Birger serves a month in jail for possessing intoxicating liquor and then, a free man again, builds his most notorious entertainment complex, Shady Rest.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

As dangers mount, Beatrice Birger draws away from her husband, but Charlie is obsessively desperate to keep her.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

On March 26, 1924, Charlie Birger is found guilty on several bootlegging-related charges and sentenced to a year in prison. Meanwhile, Carl and Earl Shelton ambush S. Glenn Young and his wife and take part in a Herrin shootout.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

In December of 1923, a war sparks between bootleggers and law enforcement, many of whom are prominent Klan members. When Carl and Earl Shelton are indicted for the murder of one of these members, they seek out an alliance with Klan-connected Marion attorney Arlie O. Boswell.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

After escaping another murder conviction, Charlie Birger is injured in a fight but recovers in a hospital in Herrin, where his wife Beatrice encounters one of his mistresses for the first time.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

A complicated man to say the least, bootlegger and murderer Charlie Birger gains a reputation among locals for extreme acts of kindness. However, his deadly temper always lurks beneath the surface.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

After Charlie Birger establishes the profitable “Near Bar” in town, Beatrice recalls her husband’s ability to “operate with minimum of interference” due to his weekly payoffs of certain local law enforcement.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

In the summer of 1919, Charlie Birger meets and marries 18-year-old Beatrice Bainbridge in Harrisburg, much to the dismay of her parents. Beatrice becomes the reluctant stepmother of Charlie’s daughter Minnie, and the three of them take up residence in Harrisburg.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

When police raid a local saloon, Charlie Birger uses it as an opportunity to take down one of his competitors in the liquor business, but not everything goes to plan.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

In 1913, southern Illinois bootlegger and former cowboy Charlie Birger moves to the small mining community of Ledford, where he quickly ingratiates himself by selling liquor to the locals and providing them with employment.

However, not all the locals are fond of his breaking the law.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

Charles Birger has gone down in southern Illinois history as a bootlegger, enemy of the Ku Klux Klan, and even as the reigning "kingpin of the Saline County underworld" during the Prohibition Era.

In this episode, we meet Charlie as he emigrates from Russia to America, escapes a murder conviction, and settles in southern Illinois, his home for the rest of his life.

Inside The Blanket Fort
SIU Press

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU Press Interim Co-Director Amy Etcheson and SIU Senior Fiction Writer Pinckney Benedict about the new Blanket Fort Radio Theater - a new podcast collaboration between WSIU, SIU Press, and SIUC's Creative Writing Program.