Column: IU’s drama on Ohio River offered summer fun

“Showboat’s a-comin!”

Tall plumes of steam puffed from calliope pipes as the tune of “Oh, Susannah” announced the arrival of the showboat Majestic in Madison. Decked in brilliant crimson and cream, there was no mistaking the fact that the floating theater was operated by Indiana University.

It was just another reason to love a river city in those wonderful summer days 50 years ago. What fun it must have been for IU drama students to spend warm days churning up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, entertaining audiences in a style river towns had known a century before.

How lucky for me, too, to get to spend a year in Madison. Just out of my teens, I was working at the local radio station and had a furnished room in an old Victorian home just across the street from the J.F.D. Lanier Mansion. Surrounded by the history and charm of the old city, I made the most of it.

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