rand’s esoteric otr

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Yankee Doodle - Pgm 1

February 22nd, 2017

Finally, this week, a forgotten little fifteen minute public service series from World War II.

When I first saw the US Office of Civilian Defense logo on these discs, I thought they might date from the Cold War period when so many government public service programs were distributed.  However, after listening to the shows on the discs, I discovered they were produced during World War II in the early days of the Office of Civilian Defense, promoting work with local and neighborhood coordinators on areas such as blackouts, recycling, and learning first aid and firefighting.  Based on internal references, the shows date from 1942.  The label credits Clinton Johnston as director, but I didn’t really turn up anything else on him.

Program 1 in the series is “What’s This Civilian Defense?” and uses dramatic vignettes to show how the listener can become involved in the War effort on the home front.

Our show was transferred from an original sixteen inch vinyl transcription pressed by Allied, matrix number G-6004.

I believe this series isn’t in circulation and might be previously lost.  One reason it might not have turned up before is the information printed at the bottom of the label:  “The vinylite in this pressing is a strategic material allocated by the WPB.  Help us conserve it.  As soon as the pressing has been used, please return it to Allied Record Mfg. Co, Hollywood, Calif., with the enclosed “frank”.”  I wonder how many of these were recycled and simply lost to modern old time radio researchers and collectors.



1952 Hudson Auto Show

February 22nd, 2017

Next up on the blog, a disc that isn’t a radio transcription, but still has some historical interest.  I thought it might be a radio show when I saw it in an online auction a few months ago, but it turned out to be something more rare.

The disc appears to have been prepared for a display at an automobile show.  The narrator highlights features of the new 1952 Hudson, presumably as one or more of the actual cars were shown off, including “Hudsonaire Hard-Top Styling”, Hudson “Step-Down Design”, and Hudson’s “Triple-Safe Brakes”.

This makes the second time I’ve run into transcriptions that were pressed up for playback at public exhibitions.  A few years ago, I found two Columbia transcriptions made for exhibits at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.  It’s likely the Hudson disc was played for audiences as the cars were shown, perhaps with some live models showing off some of the features talked about on the disc.

Our mp3 was transferred from an original sixteen inch vinyl transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number E2-CM-2740.  You can’t really read the label in the image, but it’s very lightly typewritten and only reads “1952 Hudson Auto Show”.



Louie’s Hungry Five - Pgm 305, October 5, 1931

February 22nd, 2017

Once again we drop in on the continuing story of the “little German Band” with “Louie’s Hungry Five”.  You can read background information on the program in my first post in this series.

In episode 305, originally broadcast October 5, 1931, the boys work to wrap up the auction of their household goods to fund their trip to South America, selling their stove.  Anyone recognize the popular tune they play a couple of minutes into the show?

You can download a jpeg of the original local announcer’s cue sheet for the program here.

Our mp3 was transferred directly from two twelve-inch shellac 78 rpm transcriptions, pressed by Columbia’s Sound-on-Disc division, matrix numbers 233263 and 233264.


Basketball - WHBC Lehman v Lincoln January 9, 1948 - excerpt

February 22nd, 2017

Here’s another rare local sports broadcast transferred from a set of “throw away” lacquers that originally came form WHBC in Canton, Ohio.

In this post, you’ll hear part one of a basketball game between Lehman and Lincoln High Schools in Canton, Ohio.  (Both high schools, by the way, were turned into junior high schools in the mid-70s because of low enrollments.)  Like the basketball game we heard in the blog last week, this broadcast is sponsored by Sugardale Meats.

This fifteen minute excerpt of the show was transferred direct from an original sixteen inch lacquer Audiodisc transcription.  That’s the last of the local sports events I have from WHBC.



American Family Robinson - Pgm 122

February 22nd, 2017

Once again, we drop in on the American Family Robinson for a previously lost episode of the controversial series.  You can read some background on the series in my original 2009 post about the show.

In program 122, Dobins, a local neighbor, decides to teach Windy Bill a lesson by leaving him in jail after Windy Bill hatches a plot about a fake murder to bring tourists to Centerville.

The show was transferred from an original sixteen inch acetate World Broadcasting System, Inc transcription, matrix number BB12490A.


Wade Lane’s Home Folks - Pgm 14

February 9th, 2017

I’m not sure whether to praise or curse collector David Lennick for selling me a half-dozen discs of this show.

“Wade Lane’s Home Folks” was a syndicated program, probably originating from the 1930s and produced by Mertens and Price, South Main Street, Los Angeles.  The discs I obtained date from the 1940s when it was still being run at least on some stations in Canada.  I did some Google searching and didn't turn up much about the series outside of US copyright entries for the show from 1938 and listings for it on local radio stations starting in that year and running through the mid-40s.

I found one reference to Wade Lane on page 7 of the January 30, 1943 edition of “Billboard” magazine in the Radio Talent - Hollywood column:

“WADE LANE, heard over KNX as Your Singing Neighbor, recently marked the 10th anniversary of his first KNX-CBS program.  First job on Columbia was with Raymond Paige’s California Melodies.”

The concept of "Wade Lane's Home Folks" is a bit like “Singin’ Sam”, if Singin’ Sam was on lithium and liked to invade your home with slightly creepy sentimental stories.  Wade starts off each show wandering into your house, uninvited, and proceeds to warble old songs in a deep bass voice that makes Vaughn Monroe sound like a boy soprano.  Then he rambles on about some experience he had with his neighbors related to the songs he’s singing.  He probably shows up in their dark living rooms univited, too.

Program 14 in the series starts off with Wade singing “Throw Another Log on the Fire” and deals with a story about a young couple, a knife, and domestic violence.  The shows don’t have titles, but I affectionally call this episode “The Cut Up”.

I told you it was creepy.  Listen to show late at night in the dark and it will give you more chills than “Lights Out!”

As you listen, just remember it’s only fifteen minutes of your life you’ll never get back.

Our mp3 was transferred from an original sixteen inch shellac transcription, matrix number B5147.  The show was recorded in the Hollywood studios of Recordings, Inc.  My guess is that it was pressed by Allied.

It’s too bad this show wasn’t more well-known.  Bob and Ray would have had a field day with it.

I’ve got around a dozen of these things.  Do you really want to hear more of them?


Basketball - Canton vs Central Catholic - January 1948 - excerpts

February 9th, 2017

 We continue our look at some rare local previously lost radio programming transferred from a set of “throw away” lacquers that originally came from WHBC in Canton, Ohio.

This post features a half-hour excerpt of a local high school basketball game between Canton Township Wildcats and Central Catholic.  You’ll hear the opening of the game - part one of the set - and then part five, near the very end of the game.  It was a very close match-up and, unfortunately, we don’t have part six with the last few minutes of the game to find out who won.  Jim Monte Jim Muzzy does the play by play and the game is sponsored by Sugardale meats, which still doing business in Ohio.

Programming of this type is quite rare - I can’t recall another local high school basketball game floating around among old time radio collectors, but there may be some other excerpts that exist.  I imagine that most local high school and college sports events were aired live - this one only survives because it was presented transcribed.

Our mp3 was transferred from two Audiodisc sixteen lacquers.  The grease pencil writing on the disc is a little obscured - the date looks like sometime January 1948.  Someone could probably track down the specific date and the final score in a local Canton newspaper archives.



American Family Robinson - Pgm 47

February 9th, 2017

And now another previously lost episode of “American Family Robinson”, a rare continuing propaganda serial, first broadcast in fall 1934, funded by the National Association of Manufacturers to combat FDR’s New Deal policies.  You can read background about this controversial series in my original 2009 post on the show.

In program 47 of the series, Windy Bill has to become “investor” to win Luticia’s hand in marriage.   Luke and his wife try to caution Luticia about her two suitors.  To compete with Windy Bill, Gus decides to become an investor, too, and goes to Luke for help.

Our mp3 was transferred from an original sixteen inch World Broadcasting System, Inc. vertical cut acetate, transcription, matrix number 8844-1.


This Is Your FBI - September 28, 1951 - syndication version

February 9th, 2017

Here’s another episode of “This Is Your FBI”, taken from a group of tape syndication masters I obtained a few months ago.  For more information on the series and this set of tapes, see my original post that started off this series of posts.

Our program this week is “The Harvest”, originally broadcast September 28, 1951 on ABC and sponsored by the Equitable Life Assurance Society.  Two drifters hold up a bank messenger and hide to among a group of migrant farm workers.  Your narrator is William Woodson and the cast features Stacy Harris, Alice Backes, Tony Barrett, Ted de Corsia, Sam Edwards, Wally Maher, Victor Rodman, and Harry Rosenthal, according to Goldin.  In this syndication version, the commercials are omitted.

Our mp3 was transferred from a 10” reel to reel tape dubbing master running at 15 inches per second.  The sound, as other shows in this group of tapes, is quite remarkable, dubbed from the original 50s tape masters of the series for this 1970s syndication run of the show.



Louie’s Hungry Five - Pgm 304 - October 3, 1931

February 9th, 2017

Now we continue our run of twenty episodes of this early obscure comedy serial, syndicated by WGN, and chronicling the adventures of the “little German band”.  You can read background about the series in my first post about the series.

In program 304, originally heard October 3, 1931, the guys get confused trying to increase bids in the auction for their household items they’re using to fund their trip to South America.  Meanwhile, Louie’s girlfriend calls, worrying about Louie’s broken leg.  You can read the original announcer cue sheet provided with the discs at this jpeg link.

The show was transferred directly from two twelve-inch shellac 78 rpm transcriptions, pressed by Columbia’s Sound-on-Disc division, matrix numbers 233261 and 233262.