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Man Against the Crippler, March of Dimes - 1953 Campaign

May 30th, 2008 · Comments

In this part of the world, summertime is upon us.  At one time, that meant one thing to many parents - polio.

This post features "Man Against the Crippler", a half-hour program that dramatizes the story of polio research.  It was syndicated to local stations in the summer of 1953 by the March of Dimes as part of their fundraising efforts.  The show features Mercury Theater alumnus Everett Sloane narrating and Kenneth Banghart announcing.  The style of the show might remind you of "The March of Time".

The year after this program was broadcast, the first double-blind tests of the Salk polio vaccine would take place on a large scale around the country.

The discs were pressed by RCA.  Matrix numbers are E3-KM-5532 and E3-KM-5533.

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Tags: drama · historical · public service · medical related

Summer Concert, March of Dimes - 1953 Campaign

May 30th, 2008 · Comments

Syndicated by the March of Dimes in the summer of 1953, this program was used for fundraising for the organization and for reminding parents of ways to help prevent the spread of polio during the summer months.

But, it's also some great musical entertainment featuring Kostelanetz conducting the Stadium Concerts Orchestra with pianist Alec Templeton.

The discs are RCA pressings, matrix numbers E3-KM-5529 and E3-KM-5530.

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Tags: music · public service

The Big Story, Dec 14, 1949 - Three Gold Coins Spell Death - AFRS Pgm 22

May 30th, 2008 · Comments

"The Big Story" was a top rated crime drama that ran on NBC from 1947 to 1955 and was sponsored by first by Pall Mall cigarettes, then by Lucky Strike in the last two years of its run.  The style is reminiscent of "Dragnet", "Tales of the Texas Rangers" and other police procedurals of the day.  In this case, however, the focus is on a reporter following a true crime story.

Taken from an original AFRS transcription disc where it was played as program 22 in the series is "Three Gold Coins Spell Death", originally broadcast December 14, 1949 and featuring the story of Tulsa Tribune reporter Nolan Bulloch tracking down the story of a mysterious roadside death connected with a big time bootlegger.  I've done a bit of digging and haven't seen this particular episode circulating; I've only seen around thirty or so shows from the series available.

"The Big Story" also had a healthy run on television, by the way, appearing on NBC from 1949 through 1957.  In the television incarnation, it was nominated for an Emmy award in 1953.

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Tags: drama

Hoosier Hot Shots - AFRS Program 13, circa 1950

May 30th, 2008 · Comments

While the Hoosier Hot Shots are most well known for their recordings and radio activity of the 1930s and 40s, they did do a little known one season radio program in 1949-1950 for the Mutual network.  I've only run into references to a couple of shows from the series in circulation.

In program 13 in the series as it was distributed by AFRS, the Hot Shots perform "Wait at the Gate for Me Katie", "Meet Me by the Icehouse Lizzie", and "The Nuts Think They're the Berries".  Ken and Alan do "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby" on banjos; Helen Gordon sings "But None Like You" and Gil Taylor sings "September in the Rain".  For comedy, there's a sketch with a father telling a "big fish" story to his daughter and a routine about shopping performed by Gabe.  The show features Ford Pearson announcing.

The sketches were really cornpone, even for 1950, and it's odd to hear some "straight" pop musical numbers in the mix, but the Hoosier Hot Shots were still turning out some fun novelty numbers even at this late date.

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Tags: music · comedy · variety · Hoosier Hot Shots

Anniversary program - WLAV, Grand Rapids, Michigan - 1950

May 25th, 2008 · Comments

This program was originally posted on my personal blog a few months ago before this podcast and blog were started. To gather all my radio shows in one location, I'm transferring the program here.

Here's another local radio rarity from my collection of wires. This is a program that appears to have been created for a private party by the staff of radio station WLAV on the occaision of the stations tenth anniversary. The program is a dramatized version of the story of the station that pokes fun at WLAV's founder and owner, Leonard Allen Versluis.

WLAV was located in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is now WBBL, which broadcasts a sports-talk format. The show references the American Broadcasting Company, so I'm assuming they were an affiliate at the time of the anniversary.

I contacted the station about the recording, but, with the changes in management over the past fifty-plus years, they didn't know anything about it. They wanted a copy for their collection and I sent it to them; they sent back some WBBM memorabilia, such as a frisbee and t-shirt.

As you listen to the show, not that the sound levels vary - it gets louder as the show progresses. Also note that, at about the 1:45 mark, part of the audio is missing. You hear some scratch and pops, so I think this may have been directly dubbed from a long-lost acetate of the show.

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Tags: memorabilia · local radio

Smile-A-While, Aug 3, 1951, WLS aircheck

May 25th, 2008 · Comments

In this post, a local early morning country music radio show, "Smile-A-While", originally broadcast on WLS, Chicago, on August 3rd, 1951. This is an incomplete recording of the program, preserved on a Chicago-Webster recording wire by an amateur that captured it directly off the air. I'm basing the dating of the show on the program contents, which mentions an upcoming WLS Barn Dance show at the Illinois State Fair and the relationship of Frank Sinatra and Eva Gardner.

The show features as performers the Sage Riders, with Dolph Hewitt and Don White taking solo duties. Announcer Bill Dwayne is also heard in the program. You can read more about the Sage Riders at hillbilly-music.com.

Songs include "On Top of Old Smokey", "When the Chapel Bells Are Ringing", "Fisher's Hornpipe", "My Rocky Mountain Sweetheart", "I Only Want a Buddy, Not a Sweetheart", "Old Skyball Paint", "When Jesus Beckons Me Home" and part of an unidentified fiddle instrumental.

This wire is part of a set that was given to me with a vintage 1947 Lear wire recorder. The owner used it mainly to record family events and individual songs off of the radio; this is one of few times it was used to simply record a major part of a radio program. (You can read more about the wire recorder at my personal home page here.) Amateur wires and tapes from the 1950s may be one of the "last frontiers" in finding previously lost radio shows. I've found some recordings of television programs and radio shows scattered on amateur tapes and they're worth looking through - you never know what you might find.

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Tags: music · local radio

Treasury Star Parade - Pgm 254, Sept 11, 1943

May 23rd, 2008 · Comments

We heard another show in this series featuring Fibber McGee and Molly a few weeks ago on the blog. In this post, "Treasury Star Parade", program 254 from September 11, 1943. Produced by the Treasury Department to promote the sale of War Bonds during WWII, the series morphed into "Guest Star", which was used to promote US Savings Bonds well into the late 50s.

This episode features Freddy Martin and His Orchestra performing "Isn't It Love" with a vocal by Gene Walsh, "Holiday for Strings", and "In My Arms". The show also includes the radio premiere of a war-themed tune, "Bells of Victory", again with a vocal by Gene Walsh.

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Tags: music · Treasury Department

Yank Bandstand - Pgm 48

May 23rd, 2008 · Comments

Another fifteen minutes of great big band music by service bands from an original AFRS transcription disc. In this entry, Sgt Tommy Enos and his Orchestra present music by Marines from Camp Pendleton, California.

Songs in the show include "What is This Thing Called Love?", "Dream", "Piccolo Pete", and "She's Funny That Way". Vocals are from Shorty Prior and Joan Estrata.

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Tags: music · AFRS

Yank Bandstand - Pgm 47

May 23rd, 2008 · Comments

"Yank Bandstand" was an AFRS series devoted to music service bands; well recorded and upbeat, they give a glimpse of lesser known bands and songs enjoyed by service men and women during World War II. In this episode, number 47 in the series, we hear Al Taylor and His Orchestra from the Army Grounds, Santa Barbara, California; the host is Shirley Musters.

Songs in the show include "I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me", "She's My Pretty" with a vocal by Eddie Robinson, "The One I Love" with vocals by Jean Osborne, "Together", and "The Trolly Song".

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Tags: music · AFRS

Gilbert and Sullivan - Yeoman of the Guard, Sept 16, 1944

May 23rd, 2008 · Comments

As if this blog weren't esoteric enough, here's a show that's a bit different from the material I've usually posted here. It's the Sept 16, 1944 episode of the series "Gilbert and Sullivan" with a presentation of "Yoeman of the Guard". In the cast are Florence Aims, Mureal Wilson, Fred Hufsmith, Paul Reed, Celia Branz, Hugh Thompson, Veronica Wiggins. The orchestra is conducted by Joseph Stopak.

This show actually comes from an AFRS disc set from their series "Metropolitan Opera" and is program number 43 in their series of that title. The AFRS used the "Metropolitan Opera" series as a kind of "catch all" for opera performances and they would use broadcast recordings by other companies or from other opera radio series; I've run into another example in the series that is a broadcast recording by the San Francisco Opera.

"Gilbert and Sullivan" was a series broadcast on the Blue Network of operas by the duo. There are two other surviving shows from the series I've been able to find references for; one of "Iolanthe" and another of "The Gondoliers", both broadcast in September 1944 and from AFRS transcriptions.

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Tags: AFRS · classical music