January 18th, 2017
Finally on the blog this week, a rare mid-thirties political broadcast.
This was a special program carried on CBS from the Dayton Biltmore Hotel in Dayton, Ohio, where the Fraternal Order of Eagles was having its annual convention. George F. Douglas, from Philadelphia, the Grand Worthy President of the Eagles, introduces a speech by Frank. E. Hering, editor of the “Eagles” magazine.
The Eagles is a fraternity that was founded in 1898 by a group of theater owners and became known for consisting of individuals involved in the performing arts. They helped the establishment of Mother’s Day and were instrumental in organizing in support of Social Security.
Hering uses his time to outline the organization’s previous support for legislation to support widows, the poor and unemployed in times of economic crisis. He goes on to urge Congress to pass what he calls the “Ludlow Eagles” bill, which would allow workers to have a sufficient wage to save for their future.
Social Security was working its way through Congress at this time, but I’ve been unable to determine with certainty if Hering is calling for the passage of the Social Security Act or another piece of New Deal legislation. Anyone out there that’s more familiar with what was going on in Congress in August 1935 have an opinion on this?
This recording is an air check of WABC, New York. The transcription begins and ends with a time check and id from the station and includes the CBS network id. There's a short piano fill at the end of the broadcast that made me think I was listening to the "War of the Worlds" for a moment.
Our mp3 was transferred direct from four sides of two 12” Audio-Scriptions, Inc. uncoated aluminum discs running at 78 rpm. Hering's name is misspelled on the disc labels, by the way. The first part is in rough shape with a few skips - it was difficult to get it to play because it was scratched and heavily abused. The remaining parts sound much better. This appears to be a previously lost program.
January 18th, 2017
Here’s another anti-FDR speech from the 1944 Presidential campaign, this one originating on the West Coast.
This is the fourth program in a series of 15 minute commentaries by Rupert Hughes sponsored by the Republican Party of California and heard on KMPC, Los Angeles, California. The series was broadcast at 6:30 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Rupert Hughes was a writer who was the uncle of billionaire Howard Hughes; he served as president of the American Writers Association, a group of anti-Communist writers, and is most well-known for his biography of George Washington.
Hughes spends his quarter hour commentary raising fears about FDR’s death and what might happen if his inexperienced VP Truman took over the Oval Office. He’s suspicious of FDR’s dealings with Churchill and Stalin and the ability of Truman to serve as President, noting how he had been left out of the Tehran Conference. Hughes goes on to liken Roosevelt to a king or dictator - “Is he going to liquidate the American republic? He’s already liquidated the Democratic party … This is an election that’s coming up - not a coronation!”
Our mp3 was transferred from a single-sided 16” glass-based NBC Reference lacquer. I think this may be the only surviving episode of this series and it appears to not be currently in circulation among old time radio enthusiasts.
I had a very difficult time playing this program - it was cracked long ago from the edge to the label and, typical of glass-based discs, the lacquer coating was beginning to flake off and deform. I had to “ride the needle” to get it to track, especially in the first few minutes.
Please note that I did a “copy and paste” of one phrase from the end of the program to the beginning, where the announcer states that the program was paid for by the Republican Party of California - there was a nasty skip in the opening and I did the alternation since the announcer was saying the same phrase to preserve the continuity of the program content. I also saved a raw wav file of the full transfer.
By the way, the label fell off this disc. Here’s what was underneath it.
January 18th, 2017
In this post, an anti-FDR speech by Warren Atherton, a noted American lawyer who was Commander of the American Legion from 1943 to 1944 and who designed the so-called GI Bill. The speech is sponsored by the Republican National Committee and was heard on WABC, New York - I haven’t seen listings that would indicate it was carried on the wider CBS network. The announcer on the program is Ford Bond.
In his speech, Atherton blasts FDR and the Democrats for not preventing the War, appeasing the Axis powers, and not preparing for the build up of the military for the War. He also emphasizes how FDR and the Democrats won’t support the widows of those who died in the War or create jobs and support for returning veterans.
The speech came in the aftermath of a bitter fight by the American Legion to pass the GI Bill, outlined in this NEH website article.
The Legion introduced the Serviceman’s Readjustment Ac in Congress as an omnibus bill in early 1944 to prevent consideration of the bills components by various committees. FDR had asked Congress in October 1943 to fund educational and vocational training for returning GIs, with an eye towards integrating millions of servicemen back into the civilian economy. Debate on the issue heated up all through the first half 1944, coming to a head as our servicemen were storming the beaches at Normandy for D-Day.
“To gain public support, the Legion conducted a national publicity campaign. Two-minute movies, which featured battle scenes and an appeal for support, were shown in movie theaters. Four hundred radio spots, some of which featured disabled veterans, explained the program. Hearst newspapers touted the bill in articles and editorials. Other newspapers ran the Legion’s editorials in full, even providing readers with coupons they could cut out and send to their congressmen to show support. In Washington, the Legion assembled a war room, with a chart listing where each member stood on the bill. Its team walked the halls of Congress, talking up senators, representatives, and their staffs. If a member needed persuading, Legion chapters located in the member’s district inundated them with telegrams and letters.”
An opposing bill was offered by four other veteran’s organizations - Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Regular Veterans Association. They felt that wounded vets should be the first responsibility of the country and that the GI bill would detract from that focus. After much back-room dealing and intrigue, the GI Bill was signed by FDR on June 12, 1944.
Just six months later, Atherton was slamming FDR and the Democrats in this speech for Dewey. Reading the full story of how the GI Bill came to pass, the American Legion’s approach here is rather curious and almost petty - Atherton and the Legion got everything they wanted with the GI Bill in a bi-partisan effort, but offered no recognition to the work that FDR and the Democrats put into the effort. Looking back at the speech today, it sounds more like a grab for raw political power by Warren Atherton, rather than a genuine interest in the affairs of servicemen.
Our program was transferred from an original one-sided 16” lacquer from Empire Broadcasting Corp, 480 Lexington Avenue, New York.
January 18th, 2017
We’re going to skip ahead a few years from our previous post and look at a response to FDR’s New Deal and his two terms in office.
John L. Lewis served as president of the United Mine Workers for four decades and was one of the founders of the Congress of Industrial Organizations that organized other workers around the country. Lewis backed FDR in 1936, but became an isolationist on the eve of World War II and supported Wendell Wilkie.
In this post, we hear a half-hour speech given by Lewis in support of Wilkie originally broadcast on all four networks on October 25, 1940, just a couple of weeks before the election. The broadcast, sponsored by the National Committee of Democrats for Wilkie, originated from Washington, DC.
In the speech, Lewis slams FDR as not friend of labor by moving the US towards war. The speech is notable because Lewis famously committed to resigning from his position with the CIO if labor disagreed with him.
Lewis resigned after the election when 85% of the CIO supported Roosevelt.
This speech appears to be previously lost. I’ve only found one archives who has a copy (in Australia, of all places) and they only have one of the discs.
The speech, carried on all four networks, was slotted for thirty minutes, but this recording appears to run longer than that - almost 34 minutes. The labels on the discs note that it is the “complete speech”, so Lewis may have been cut off the network when he ran long.
The program includes the introduction for Lewis and the outcue for the CBS network. At the end of the program, you can hear other announcers in the background - it may be the other announcers for the other networks giving the network cues for their own stations.
Our mp3 was transferred from a set of three sides on two red vinyl 16” transcriptions pressed by Time Abroad, Inc., 79 West 57th Street, New York, matrix numbers TR-2802S, TR-2803S, and TR-2806S. One disc in the set is cracked from the edge to the lable, so you’ll hear a regular “tick” on two of the parts.
January 18th, 2017
With the swearing in of a new President (apparently) happening this week, I thought we’d get a little political on the blog with some different transcriptions in my collection dealing with various facets of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.
First up, an episode of a government radio series that appears to be previously lost promoting the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA was established as part of the National Housing Act of 1934; I’m guessing this show dates from 1934 or ’35 as the agency was trying to first promote their services. This was typical of the type of promotional radio work done by FDR’s New Deal agencies; many of the individual shows and series were simply discarded since they served a temporary purpose and don’t survive today.
The FHA has seen many changes over the years. The original idea of commercial banks making loans in their own community, with the loans being backed by the Federal government, was, in my opinion, a sound idea. The breakdown of regulations over commercial banking led to the 2007 sub-prime mortgage crisis, with banks taking on loans from unqualified borrowers, buying and selling these “junk” loans on the open market, and sticking the Federal taxpayer with the bill.
Wikipedia notes that, “The share of home purchases financed with FHA mortgages went from 2 percent to over one-third of mortgages in the United States, as conventional mortgage lending dried up in the credit crunch. Without the subprime market, many of the riskiest borrowers ended up borrowing from the Federal Housing Administration, and the FHA could suffer substantial losses. Joshua Zumbrun and Maurna Desmond of Forbes have written that eventual government losses from the FHA could reach $100 billion. … By November 2012, the FHA was essentially bankrupt.”
Despite this mix of Federal backing for loans by private local commercial banks to support affordable home ownership and stable home markets, the Republicans opposed the FHA, like many other of FDR’s New Deal programs. They got their wish to dismantle the FHA by simply passing de-regulation of banks over the years that ensured the agency would collapse with a tidy profit being earned by private commercial banks.
Our FHA radio show features the United States Marine Band, Captain Taylor Branson, conducting. They perform “The Gate City March” by Weldon, as well as works by Wagner and others. We also hear a little sketch about a family needing to do some updating to their home for a long-term family visitor. They discover how a loan through their local bank, guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, can help them. I have another FHA transcription I’ll post later that includes short dramatized sketches about young couples buying their first home and other common situations for taking out home loans.
There are no credits on the show, but the announcer sounds like the same guy who did the announcing work on 1930s episodes of “Jungle Jim”. He shows the same dramatic enthusiasm, whether he’s talking about the Marine Band and the FHA or the latest perils of Jungle Jim.
The mp3 was transferred directly from a 16” one-sided shellac transcription from Radio and Film Methods Corporation, 101 Park Avenue, New York, matrix number 206A. As far as I can tell, no other episodes of this series survives.
January 18th, 2017
First up in the blog this week, our next episode of the early 1930s radio comedy serial, “Louie’s Hungry Five”.
The show looks at the misadventures of the “Little German Band” and was developed by WGN after the success of “Amos n’ Andy”. The series features Henry “Hank” Moeller as the group’s leader, Herr Louie Hasenpfeffer, Harold “Hal” J. Giles as his sidekick, the Weasel and unknown actors portraying Emil, Yohannis and Fritz. You can see my first post about the show for more information about the series.
In program 301, originally broadcast September 30, 1931, the boys are preparing an auction to fund their trip to South America. However, they haven’t told their girlfriends and have to figure out how to hide the auction from them. As they say, complications ensue.
You can see the original cue sheet used by the local announcer for this episode by downloading this jpeg file.
This show was transferred from two 12” 78 rpm Columbia Sound-On-Disc shellac transcriptions, matrix numbers 233255 and 233256. I have a total of about twenty consecutive episodes of the series I’ll be posting over the coming weeks.
January 12th, 2017
Finally this week, we kick off a series of about twenty consecutive episodes of a previously uncirculated early radio series, “Louie’s Hungry Five”.
The series is a continuing comedy series, similar to “Amos n’ Andy”, about a “Little German Band”. After Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll left WGN because they wanted to syndicate “Sam and Henry” on records to stations and had such a success with their newly titled “Amos n’ Andy” series, WGN developed this program to jump on the lucrative syndication bandwagon.
After some WGN broadcasts, perhaps in 1929, the series was first distributed in 1930 and was initially pressed on the Marsh Laboratories Electra label and later on Columbia. At its peak, the show was heard on at least sixty-five stations in 17 states from coast to coast and even in Canada. Louie’s Hungry Five were making personal appearances around the Chicago area into the 1940s.
Doug Hopkinson and Ryan Ellett produced a detailed and illustrated article about the series that tells the story much better than I can. Briefly, the show looks at the misadventures of Herr Louie Hasenpfeffer (Henry “Hank” Moeller), the Weasel (Harold “Hal” J. Giles), and Emil, Yohannis and Fritz (all played by unknown actors).
The gimmick on the show, besides the funny continuing stories, were one or two numbers played by the band in each show, usually German “oompah” versions of songs by popular artists like Eddie Cantor. (I haven’t been able to identify most of the tunes - perhaps listeners here can figure out what they are.)
At its peak, the show was heard on at least sixty-five stations in 17 states from coast to coast and even in Canada.
In this first show in our collection, episode 300 broadcast Tuesday, September 29, 1931, the band is preparing to auction off their belongings to buy tickets for a trip to South America. The first song they perform is “Springtime in the Rockies”. You can see the original cue sheet used by the local announcer for the episode by downloading this jpeg. (And, while I don’t have the actual program, you can view the cue sheet for the previous episode here.)
This group of discs representing around twenty consecutive episodes turned up on eBay and appears to be a different stash of discs discovered by Hopkinson and Ellett a few years ago, even though the episode numbers overlap. All of my discs include the cue sheet for each episode.
This show was transferred from two 12” Columbia Sound-On-Disc shellac transcriptions, matrix numbers 233253 and 233254. The discs in my collection are in wonderful shape and were a pleasure to transfer.
We’ll hear what happens to the "Little German Band" next week as the story continues. I understand Michael Biel has some of the early Marsh Laboratories discs of early episodes in the series and can’t stand them - I enjoy the ones that I’ve got and think it has a certain “early radio” charm.
January 12th, 2017
Once again, after a long break on the blog, we pick up again with an early radio broadcast by medical quack Curtis H. Springer. You can read more about him and the series in my first post in the series.
In program 2, Springer goes on rambling diatribe about gossip. The show recorded in studios in Chicago and was sponsored by Acidine. It was probably syndicated around 1934. The announcer is identified in program 4 as Hal Dean.
Our mp3 was transferred from a translucent blue one-sided 16” celluloid transcription with a Brunswick label, matrix number 9150-1. The disc was pressed by Flexo, which was producing various promotional and radio related discs from experimental plastics at the time. The surface noise you hear is the result of the deforming of the plastics as it has aged. These discs are rather unpleasant to work with - they have a strong smell of camphor.
Has anyone else run into any of these Flexo discs released by Brunswick? I posted an early “Front Page Drama” some time ago with the same red Brunswick label, but pressed on thick heavy shellac.
I have the first five episodes in this series and will be posting the rest in coming weeks. As far as I can tell, these are previously lost and uncirculated and probably the only broadcasts surviving from a man that was called the “King of Quacks”.
January 12th, 2017
In this post, the first in a group of several network line checks from a radio station in Akron, Ohio, apparently recorded for time shifting purposes.
“Your Fishing and Hunting Club of the Air” is an obscure series that ran on Mutual in the late 40s and early 50s, sponsored by Mail Pouch tobacco. The idea behind the show is that listeners send in postcards with questions about hunting and fishing and, if they’re answered on the air by the panel of experts, the listener gets some prizes related to the sport.
This episode includes questions about casting fishing lines, the effect of wind on lead shot, and how large minnows grow. The panel includes Florida author Dave M. Newell, Jim Hurly of the "NY Daily Mirror", Gail(?) Borden, Jeff Bryant and the host, Bill Slater. The announcer for the show is Bud Collyer, apparently in between assignments from the “Daily Planet” in his role as radio’s Superman.
The show was transferred to mp3 direct from a 16” Audiodisc lacquer recorded at WHBC, Akron, Ohio.
I’ll have parts of more “Fishing and Hunting Club” episodes and other Mutual and ABC shows recorded by this station, as well as some local programming, in future posts.
January 12th, 2017
First up in the blog this week, excerpts from the April 3, 1950 episode of the NBC morning talk show “Tex and Jinx”.
There are not that many episodes that survive of the series and it’s a shame since the couple interviewed many celebrities during the run of the show.
This episode features an interview with Manie Sacks. Sacks, not generally known to the public, was the head of Columbia records, befriending and developing artists such as Frank Sinatra and Harry James. He was also instrumental, through his friendships in the business, with prompting Jack Benny, Burns and Allen and Edgar Bergen to switch from NBC to CBS. You can read about Manie Sacks at this website; oddly, for his prominence at Columbia and later RCA, you’d think he’d have a Wikipedia page.
There are two segments of this show - part three and six of what were originally six parts of a 78 rpm recording of the program. In the first, Sacks discusses working with Dinah Shore when she began working at Columbia and, in the second, “flubs” by recording artists, including one by Buddy Clark that he saved where Clark made a mistake and just finished the song by imitating other artists. (I wonder if that outtake survives.)
Our excerpts were transferred from a 12” NBC Reference lacquer recorded at 78 rpm. The excerpts are of parts three and six; the rest of the episode doesn’t survive. The network cue and NBC chimes are heard at the end.