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Tandy MacKenzie and His Hawaiian Music - Pgm 1?

July 24th, 2010

An unusual little find on the blog this week - a disc I'm hoping you can give me some help on.

In this post, a quarter hour program of Hawaiin music featuring vocalist Tandy Mackenzie.  The disc is a bit of a mystery since the label is blank - the title, "Tandy MacKenzie and His Hawaiin Music", was provided by the seller and I don't know if it's accurate.  They also dated it to 1938.

transcription label

I've done several searches around the web, looking for program schedules, books and newspaper articles that might mention MacKenzie or this title, but haven't turned up anything.  Was this some kind of audition or was it actually syndicated?  The other side contains another program in the series, which I'll post later.

Tandy MacKenzie was a respected operatic tenor from Hawaii.  Throughout the 30s and 40s, he worked with opera companies in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Europe - he even had a couple of chances to join the Met, but those appear to have been sabotaged by his wife.  Sadly, he died in near poverty in the 1963.  In the 1930s, he had small roles in the films "San Francisco", "The Great Ziegfeld" and "A Night at the Opera".  A collection of his memorabilia and recordings are housed at the Kamehameha Schools Archive.  Dale E. Hall, from the University of Hawaii, wrote a bio of MacKenzie for the "Hawaiian Journal of History".

MacKenzie was a proponent of traditional Hawaiian music; the show features more pop-oriented selections with a Hawaiian theme and more traditional upbeat Hawaiian tunes done by a smaller group.  You might recognize the announcer on the program - he's the guy heard narrating episodes of "Ports of Call" and he does the same "as the sun sets in the west, illuminating the charming native village in delicate pink colors" schtick he was so good at in that series.  It was probably recorded about the same time as a larger popular interest in Hawaiian music was going on, with movies like Bing Crosby's "Waikiki Wedding" in theaters and the Hawaiian steel guitar gaining popularly.

The show was transferred from a shellac disc pressed by RCA, matrix number PMS-97685-1.  There's a notation of "#1" in the matrix - does that mean it was program 1 in the series?  (The other side doesn't have a notation like this.)

Any ideas on this one?

My thanks again to listener Michael Utz for providing the auction funds to snag this intriguing little disc

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