rand’s esoteric otr

rand’s esoteric otr header image 1

So long and thanks for listening

February 22nd, 2019

Well, that wraps up this season on the blog.  This will probably be the last round of posts I make here.

As I mentioned when I put the blog on hiatus before the round of current posts, I’m finding fewer discs “in the wild” of the type of unusual programs I collect, so I’m picking up relatively few new transcriptions.

I’m also refocusing my interests a little bit and concentrating on some non-Old Time Radio projects I’ve been working on for several years.  I’m in the middle of doing transfers and restoration work on about nine hours of recordings by an obscure vaudeville and nightclub performer, so there may be news on that front in a few months.  And I’m getting back to two of my long-time interests, screenwriting and vintage films.

I didn’t realize it, but the first posts went up on the blog in March 2008, more than a decade ago.  Since then, I’ve posted over a thousand shows.  So I think the blog has had a pretty good run.

Thanks again for listening and for all of your kind support and well wishes!

Columbia Demonstration Record

February 22nd, 2019

Finally, here’s a fascinating rare little find - an early to mid-30s demonstration disc for stations, advertising inexpensive syndicated series they could obtain on Columbia Royal Blue transcriptions.

An unidentified announcer is heard introducing each selection and reminding the listener of the high quality of the programs and the transcriptions.  On side one of the disc, we hear excerpts from “Pick & Pat Minstrels” and “Reminiscences of Victor Herbert”.  On side two are excerpts from “Viennese Nights” and “Omar, the Wizard of Persia”.

Our mp3 was transferred from an original 12” Royal Blue laminated Columbia pressing, matrix numbers 230610 and 230611, running at 33 1/3 rpm and playing inside-out.  This appears to be a previously lost little piece of radio memorabilia.  Unfortunately, the brochure that accompanied the disc is long gone.

Anyone know if the particular episodes of the series heard in the demo survive in their complete form?

20th Century International Radio Newsreel - February 24, 1939

February 22nd, 2019

Next on the blog this week, a rare example of an early attempt at “on the spot” news.

The “20th Century International Radio Newsreel” was a syndicated program.  Only one example is listed in Goldin’s database, an audition with a sales messages for radio stations.

The program of February 24, 1939 has reporter Michael Blair interviewing arriving passengers and celebrities from the Panama-Pacific Lines SS Washington at San Pedro harbor.

Our program was transferred from a single-sided 16” Presto lacquer transcription.  It appears to be a previously lost show.

The FBI in Peace and War - October 15, 1952

February 22nd, 2019

Now on the blog, one of my favorite police procedurals from the 1950s, “The FBI in Peace and War”.

The episode of October 15, 1952 is titled “The Solid Citizen”.  The story concerns a “solid citizen”, who is fraudster facing murder charges.  The show is sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes, Dentyn and Beeman’s Pepsin.

The show was transferred direct from an original 16” lacquer cut by Fulton Recording Company in New York.

This particular episode of the program is floating around among collectors and is taken, I think, from this same disc, but I was able to get a better transfer.

This is War - March 14, 1942

February 22nd, 2019

First on the blog this week, the last in my short run of episodes from “This is War”, a Norman Corwin production that helped explain various aspects of the War effort just a few weeks after Pearl Harbor.  The series was carried on all four of the radio networks.

Program 5 in the series was heard March 14, 1942.  “The United Nations” looks at our allies fighting the Axis powers.  The narrator this week is Thomas Mitchell.

Our show was transferred from an original 16” vinyl Orthacoustic NBC-RCA transcription, matrix number MS 086876 and MS 086877.  Note that that date is correct on the label, the program number is incorrect.

Coleman Cox - Pgm 12

February 15th, 2019

Following up on our previous post, here’s program 12 in the “Coleman Cox” series.  The announcer is probably Hal Dean and the first bit of philosophy is “If you need it, really want, have the money, and can spare it, go and buy it. It is not that which you deny yourself, but what you buy yourself.”

The show was dubbed to digital from a ten inch MacGregor & Sollie Recording Laboratories laminated disc pressed by Columbia, matrix number MS-1312.  The disc runs at 33 1/3 rpm and plays inside-out.

Coleman Cox - Pgm 11

February 15th, 2019

In this post and the next, two shows in an odd little series of syndicated five minute programs by “Coleman Cox”.

My research hasn’t turned up much about Cox, except that he was an author from California that published in the 1920s.  At JJ’s radio logs site, he pops up in the 1934-35 New York Times and Los Angeles radio listings.  On WJZ, he was listed as a “Philosopher”.

And that appears to be what Coleman Cox is doing here in program 11.  After the show introduction, describing Cox as “the kindly philosopher who smiles as he talks”, Cox offers little bits of wisdom, such as “You’re well dressed when no-one can remember anything you’re wearing”.  Each little bit is separated by a bell.  Oddly, the theme song is “Jingle Bells”.  The announcer sounds like Hal Dean, heard on the Curtis Springer transcriptions I posted on the blog awhile back.

Our mp3 was directly digitized from a ten inch MacGregor & Sollie Recording Laboratories laminated 33 1/3 rpm disc pressed by Columbia, matrix number MS-1311.  The disc plays from inside-out.

In the next post - the other side of the disc.

This is War - February 28, 1942

February 15th, 2019

Now, the third program in our brief run of “This is War”, a program written by Norman Corwin and carried on all four networks as an early contribution to the War effort a few months after Pearl Harbor.

Program 3 in the series was heard February 28, 1942 and is titled “Your Navy”, dealing with the Navy and Merchant Marine.  Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Frederick March are featured in the program.  The music was composed by Kurt Weill.

Our show was transferred from an original 16” vinyl Orthacoustic transcription pressed by RCA-NBC, matrix numbers MS 08691 and MS 08692.

Lanny Ross - May 23, 1949

February 15th, 2019

In this post, “The Lanny Ross Show”, originally broadcast May 23, 1949 on Mutual and heard here in a version broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Service as program 90 in the series.  The first song on the program is “It’s a Grand Night Night For Singing”.  Young vocalist Bobby White sings “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic”.

Our show was transferred from an original 16” vinyl Armed Forces Radio transcription.  The date is from the disc matrix.

Our thanks to blog listener William Harris for his donation of the disc to our collection.

Great Music - Pgm 144

February 15th, 2019

Kicking off our posts this week, some highbrow pop concert music.

Walter Huston hosts this series produced for Armed Forces Radio and drawing on various sources for the recorded music.  The first selection in program 144 is Rubenstein’s “Romance”, performed by an uncredited vocalist and orchestra.  William Primrose performs “Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair”.

The show was transferred from an original 16” vinyl Armed Forces Radio Service transcription.

Our thanks go out to blog listener William Harris for his donation to our collection.