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Christmas Seals 1951 - Fibber McGee and Molly

December 20th, 2008 · Comments

Note:  This program has been removed from my site, as of August 21, 2010.  Recently, Radio Spirits has issued take-down notices to archive.org and other sites concerning claims they have on particular series and shows.  These claims not only include exclusive license for particular series, but also claims on images, likenesses and recordings of particular personalities.  Since Radio Spirits doesn't publicly provide a list of shows they license or estates they represent, I'm taking preventive action and removing some programs from my site, based on forum posts and archived news articles I've seen on their claims and the estates they say they represent. - rand

Last week, we heard the Jack Smith-Margaret Whiting Show for Christmas Seals.  Now, let's flip over the disc and pay a visit to Wistful Vista with a Christmas themed "Fibber McGee and Molly".

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In this episode, Fibber tries to get out of shoveling snow and gets a visit from Doc Gamble, the Old Timer, and a traveling salesman.  In checking a log at otrsite.com, I found an episode called "Shoveling Snow" broadcast December 26, 1950 and the program is available at archive.org.  It sounds like the same recording, skillfully edited for a 15 minute format.  And you thought they didn't have reruns in the days of live radio.

As I mentioned in the Margaret Whiting post, the "Style A" on the label indicates this is a 15 minute show; I've seen Christmas Seals programs where "Style A" was a fifteen minute show and "Style B" was a thirty minute show by the same artist.  Anyone have a "Style B" version of this show?

The program was transferred from an original vinyl transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number NE1-MM-8137.

Tags: comedy · Fibber McGee and Molly · Christmas related · Radio Spirits removals

Favorite Story - Pgm 119 - A Christmas Carol

December 20th, 2008 · Comments

Christmas wouldn't be complete without someone doing their version of Dickens's "A Christmas Carol".  In keeping with the blog theme of offering the rare, esoteric and unusual, we give a listen to Ronald Coleman as host and Scrooge in "Favorite Story", program 119.

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According to Goldin, "Favorite Story", originated at NBC's Pacific network and was syndicated by Ziv, with this episode, the last in the series, first broadcast December 24, 1949.

The program was transferred from an original set of bright red vinyl Frederick W. Ziv syndication transcriptions.

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Tags: drama · Ziv syndication · Christmas related

Kate Smith - Pgm 21

December 20th, 2008 · Comments

Originally heard on the CBS network, we offer in this post a special Christmas edition of the "Kate Smith Hour" as broadcast on AFRS, December 25, 1944.

In the show, Kate sings "When My Ship Comes In" and then we hear a sketch by the cast of "The Aldrich Family".  A highlight of the show is a stand-up routine by up and coming comic Jackie Gleason, who impersonates personalities such as Charles Laughton, Petter Lorre and Jimmy Durante and does a routine about falling in love with a jukebox.  Kate wraps things up with "Ave Maria".

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Goldin lists this as "possibly" an assembled show.  AFRS distributed programs to their stations on vinyl discs that had to be prepared weeks in advance, so this show may have been a mix of material from other Kate Smith programs or a previous Christmas program in the series or some type of rehearsal.

The show was transferred directly from an original AFRS vinyl transcription.

By the way, do you recognize our Santa Claus on the label?  He turns up on other AFRS Christmas issues and, more recently, on the label of one of the Uncle Remus discs featured in the blog last week.  It's an early example of "clip art", I suppose.

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Tags: variety · AFRS · Christmas related

My Son Jeep - Pgm 6

December 20th, 2008 · Comments

Let's give another episode of "My Son Jeep" a spin.  This rare series was originally broadcast on NBC radio and television in the early 50s as a half-hour sitcom and would reappear in the mid-1950s on CBS in a 15 minute format.

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Program 6, probably originally heard on NBC in March 1953, deals with Jeep's sister, Peggy, going out on her first date.  This appears to be a previously lost program and was directly transferred from an original set of AFRS vinyl transcriptions.

I have a couple more shows in the series coming up in January.

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Tags: comedy · My Son Jeep

A special thank you…

December 20th, 2008 · Comments

Before we get to this week's shows, I'd like to say a very special "thank you" to a listener from Virginia who sent in a very generous contribution to the blog yesterday.  It will be a big help in getting some new transcriptions this month.

Hope you continue enjoying the shows!

Tags: updates

My Son Jeep - Pgm 4

December 11th, 2008 · Comments

This week, we offer another in our series of episodes of the rare sitcom, "My Son Jeep".

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As we drop in again on the Allison family this week, Jeep's worried because he's behind in all the good deeds he has to do in order to get his Cub Scout merit badge.  So, of course, he comes up with some schemes to get the good deads done post-haste!  The program was originally broadcast on NBC, probably in February or March, 1951 and repeated as program 4 in the series on the Armed Forces Radio Network.

The mp3 was transferred from a set of original AFRS vinyl transcriptions and appears to be a previously "lost" episode of the series.

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Tags: comedy · My Son Jeep

Falstaff’s Fables - Program 51

December 11th, 2008 · Comments

We come to the end of our collection of programs in the series "Falstaff's Fables", broadcast circa November 1950 on the ABC radio network and featuring Alan Reed.

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Program 51 of the series is "The Tale of The Engine and the Pullman Car" and, as usual, includes Alan Reed, Jr. to help with the story.  The show is sponsored by Milky Way candy bars.

The transfer was directly from an original ABC radio acetate.

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Tags: kids and juvenile · Falstaff's Fables

The Jack Smith-Margaret Whiting Show - Christmas Seals 1951

December 11th, 2008 · Comments

Jack and Margaret do a fast-paced review of music and patter, mostly dealing with the holidays.  Songs include Margaret's rendition of "Moonlight in Vermont" and "I Am Loved".  The program sounds as though it might have been assembled from another radio show.

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"Smilin'" Jack Smith hosted a radio show in the late 1940s and appeared in a couple of films - "Make Believe Ballroom" and "On Moonlight Bay".  Later, he was the host of "You Asked for It" on television.  Margaret Whiting's heydey was the 1950s, when she recorded for Capital Records.  When she was age 55, she married Jack Wrangler.  (The Wikipedia article on Wrangler has some curious tidbits about their relationship, if you're interested in some celebrity salaciousness.)

The mp3 was transferred from an original RCA pressing, matrix number NE1-MM-8142.  Incidentally, the "Style A" notation on the label, I believe, indicates this is a 15 minute version of the show. I've seen Christmas Seals sets with both styles "A" and "B" transcriptions, with the A version a 15 minute show and the B style a 30 minute program by the same artist.

Next week, we'll hear the flip side of the disc featuring Fibber McGee and Molly.

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Tags: music · Christmas related

Salvation Army at Christmas 1949

December 11th, 2008 · Comments

This week on the blog, we're featuring a couple of Christmas-themed public service programs.  Back in the days when radio played a much larger role in the media landscape, charities didn't just send public service announcements to stations to promote their work - they'd send full, slickly produced special entertainment programs featuring top stars that stations could play from transcriptions.

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First up, a very nicely recorded program of light classical music with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and many well known opera stars.  Lawrence Tibbett reminisces about the first time he sang publicly for a Salvation Army event and Jean Hersholt, radio's "Dr. Christian", makes an appearance.  Other performers heard include Set Svanholm, James Wallington, Glenn Wheaton, Licia Albanese, Jussi Bjoerling, Kirsten Flagstad, and Winifred Heidt.

The show was transferred directly from a set of transcriptions pressed by RCA, matrix numbers RR 17174 and RR 17175.

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Tags: classical music · Christmas related

Night Beat - February 6, 1950 (45 promo set version)

December 11th, 2008 · Comments

Note: The following post originally appeared on my general personal blog on December 28, 2007.  I'm posting it here to put all my OTR material in one place and to offer up a complete dub of the show.  Please note that I no longer own this 45 set, having traded it to a collector in Canada for the NBC acetate of the audition for Night Beat, previously posted here.  The MP3 attached to this post was dubbed directly from the 45 rpm set.

On a recent trip to Goodwill, I found a curious little 45 rpm record set.

After RCA developed the 45 rpm record, they promoted the format as a replacement for 78 rpm album sets and singles. In the late 40s and through the early 50s, they issued album sets in various genres and promoted RCA record changers for 45s that could be hooked up as auxiliary devices to radio sets.

At Goodwill, there were a few of these sets by artists like Wayne King and Vaughn Monroe, but one caught my eye. It was called "Night Beat" and featured an NBC record label. I've heard an old NBC radio drama series by that name, but had never seen a radio show issued on 45s like this. Curious, I picked up the set and checked it out.

The set consists of one complete episode of the show with an announcement aimed at advertisers inserted just after the opening, inviting potential sponsors to buy time on the program. So, this appears to be a promotional set put out by NBC.

record set labels record set box cover

I'm guessing that someone at NBC saw it as a chance to promote the series to advertisers in the face of competition from television. Indeed, "Night Beat" was sustained, without a sponsor, for the first few months of its run.

I posted about the set on the OTR mailing list and Michael Biel helpfully provided some additional information about the set. The label and matrix numbers are EO-CX-342 through 347 and the label runoff area includes an "I" notation near the matrix number. According to Biel, "EO" is a date code indicating 1950. The "C" indicates "Custom", pressed by RCA for a special purpose (a "K" would be used if the records were custom pressed for an outside customer). Biel estimates that the master numbers were done early in the year, perhaps mid-January to early February.

The "X" in the matrix number is a problem - usually a "W" was used in this position at the time. Biel thinks this might be a holdover from the "X" used in this position during secret development of the 45 rpm system between 1940 and 1948. The "I" indication is a code for pressings done in the Indianapolis plant.

The source of the recording sounds to my ears like a 16" transcription - halfway through the show, you can hear a side change where the audio quality changes, similar to what might be heard when going from the end of one side of a transcription to the beginning of a second side.

Despite no episode title in the program or on the label, the episode on the records appears to be "Zero", the first show of the series broadcast on February 6, 1950, according to a log of the series.

Anyone have any additional info on the set or seen others like it? Was there other material, like a press kit, also released? Was it sent to ad agencies or advertising departments at some companies?

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Tags: drama · memorabilia · Night Beat