rand’s esoteric otr

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Uncle Remus - Mud Pies

December 6th, 2008

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

Today, we begin a series of posts devoted to holiday-themed old time radio programs that will go on the blog/podcast through the month of December.

First up, two very rare shows from the series "Uncle Remus".  The series was syndicated by Cardinal beginning with the 1947 Christmas season and was designed to be run five days a week through the holidays.

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The program features Jimmy Scribner, a well known actor who created, scripted and acted all the parts in the Black-dialect soap opera, "The Johnson Family".  (You can hear a sample episode of "The Johnson Family" here.)  Scribner even tried a trial run of the show on a Los Angeles television station in the 1940s.

In "Uncle Remus", Scribner tackles the classic African-American Uncle Remus folk tales, playing all the roles in the show.  Some programs in the series have a story with a holiday theme and others don't, but all featured a framing device of children getting ready for Christmas and hearing Uncle Remus tell stories.

Documentation on the show is a bit slim - R.R. King on the otr mailing list dug up several newspaper ads from around the country when the show was first run.  After the initial run, it appears that the show's titled was changed to "Sleepy Joe" and these later programs show up at sites like archive.org, sometimes under the "Uncle Remus" name.  The re-recording of the show and name change may have occurred because of Disney's "South of the South", which was playing in theaters in 1946-47, or due to other local or regional radio shows featuring the Remus stories, but that's simply conjecture on my part.  Scribner did a television version of "Sleepy Joe" around 1950.

"Mud Pies" was transferred from an acetate dub of one of the original transcription discs.  The origins of this dub are obscure - perhaps it was created as a replacement for a disc that was lost or damaged by one of the stations that purchased the "Uncle Remus" package.

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