Sandy Silverthorne: writer, illustrator, actor 

Sandy Silverthorne plays Teddy Roosevelt (left) leading the charge up San Juan Hill in Radio Redux's Arsenic and Old Lace. Silverthorne was an actor in Los Angeles before moving to Eugene. Photos by Paul Carter.

Sandy Silverthorne’s role as the Scarecrow in Radio Redux’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz wasn’t his first opportunity to take on the literally thoughtless character.

 

 “I played him in high school, and it wasn’t a radio production, it was a regular play for kids and it occurred to me that was the last time I played the Scarecrow,” said Silverthorne. “The character, I really like him a lot. Even though he’s an adult he’s got this kind of childlike innocence and trust and is really loyal to Dorothy.”

 

Silverthorne had another opportunity to be a scarecrow earlier in his career, when he auditioned for a role in a commercial for Quaker Oats cereal.

 

“They wanted a scarecrow and it got down to me and one other guy,” said Silverthorne. “I really thought I was going to get it … but it went to the other guy. So the scarecrow thing has really carried with me.”

 

While acting for Radio Redux is his first experience with radio theater, Silverthorne is a seasoned actor. Before moving to Oregon in 1987, he lived in Los Angeles, where he performed in numerous commercials (including for Plymouth, Burger Chef and Universal Television), small Hollywood roles, and otherwise made his living as a professional actor. He has a bachelor’s degree in theater from San Diego State University.

 

After Silverthorne and his wife, Vicki, had a child, they decided to move to Oregon, where the rest of their family was. Since landing in Eugene, he’s appeared in broadcast commercials playing everything from a talking horse to a nervous radio caller.

 

But he’s also expanded his other professional interest: cartooning and writing.

Silverthorne is such a prolific author that he has his own webpage on the Barnes & Noble website. His latest book is Amazing Tips to Make You Smarter.

“We got hooked up with Harvest House Publishers, a Christian publishing firm here,” he said. “They started having me do small illustrations for them, and soon I was illustrating a whole book and then they had an idea for a book that I would do … and I’ve since gotten into the whole publishing thing.”

 

Silverthorne recently received the initial copy of his latest book, Amazing Tips to Make You Smarter. He usually does children’s books, but this newest one is more for adults. 

 

Silverthorne has written and illustrated more than 30 books including Graham Kerr's Creative Cooking (Doubleday), The Awesome Book of Bible Facts (Harvest House), The Kirkland Street Kids series (David C. Cook), The Surviving Middle School series (Standard Publishing), The Edge Devotional Bible for Kids (Zondervan), One Minute Mysteries (Harvest House), and The Awesome Book of Unusual Bible Heroes (Harvest House). He is such a prolific author that he even has his own webpage on the Barnes & Noble website.

 

He’s also created artwork for Universal Studios Tour, the Los Angeles Times, The Charlotte Hornets, Focus on the Family, The University of Oregon, Taco Time International, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Emmy magazine and Leadership magazine.

 

He speaks at writers’ workshops, sharing his expertise in particular with other children’s book authors and about the picture-book publishing process.

 

Among all that, Silverthorne still makes a point to carve out time for his work in Radio Redux productions, usually doing two or three of the five productions staged each season.

 

One aspect he likes about radio theater is playing many characters in each show. In My Man Godfrey, he played five different characters, and in The Thin Man he voiced four characters — a “fun challenge to make them all sound interesting and different,” he says. For Radio Redux he’s also played Teddy in Arsenic and Old Lace and Walter in Our Miss Brooks.

 

He enjoys the sense of family that forms with every new Radio Redux show. He says he gets excited whenever a new cast list email is sent out, seeing who of his friends from past shows will be returning to work with him again, and looking forward to meeting new talent that he can add to his Radio Redux family.

 

As for what he likes best about Radio Redux, he couldn’t name just one thing.

 

“It’s the selection of the shows, and it’s definitely the cast, just being with the people… the family feel that we have, and finally, the excitement of performance and having the audience there,” said Silverthorne.

 

“It just keeps you coming back.”

 

— By Jordyn Brown. Jordyn is a student in the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. She also writes for the Daily Emerald and Ethos Magazine on campus.

A self-portrait by Sandy Silverthorne.