Archive for the 'Christmas related' Category

Uncle Remus - Pgm 11

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

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

Here's the last disc I have in the syndicated Christmas series, "Uncle Remus".  Jimmie Scribner tells Remus stories to a group of children getting ready for the holidays in this series designed to run a few weeks leading up to Christmas.

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Program 11 of the series is a story about Brer Fox plotting to capture Brer Rabbit with a singing bird.  The show was digitized from an original Cardinal vinyl transcription, matrix number CAR-A-741.

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VA Hospital Christmas Show 1955

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Did you know that VA hospitals were a part of the Armed Forces Radio Service?  Those with AFRS referred to it as "The Bedpan Network" and the facilities received the full AFRS distribution of music library and radio show discs - many of the AFRS discs we have today were salvaged after being thrown away by VA hospitals.

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In this post, we have a program that was distributed just to VA hospitals for Christmas Eve, 1955.  The show features holiday greetings from  Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dinah Shore, along with the director of the Veteran's Administration.  It's not a radio broadcast, per se, since it was probably played over a closed circuit pa system, but it's close enough to include on the blog.

The show was transferred from an original one-sided Allied Record vinyl transcription, matrix number 57533.

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Christmas Seals - 1950 Campaign - Thunder in the Valley

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Since it's the holiday season, I'm starting a short run of a few Christmas-themed shows on the blog.

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First up this week is "Thunder in the Valley", a special drama produced as part of the 1950 Christmas Seal Campaign.  Ralph Bellamy stars in this short drama about a rural doctor that needs an x-ray machine to detect TB in his patients.  The show is marked "Style E" - I'm still not sure what that designation means and it shows up on some other Christmas Seals discs I've run into.

The show was transferred from an original National Tuberculosis Association, New York, vinyl transcription pressed by RCA Victor, matrix number NE0-MM-3229-4.  My thanks to Michael Utz, who donated the disc to my collection.

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Comedy Caravan - Pgm 19

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

For your holiday enjoyment, we now offer some Christmas comedy, courtesy of the "Jimmy Durante and Garry Moore Show".

Broadcast as "Comedy Caravan" on Armed Forces Radio and marked as program 19 in the network's Christmas series, the show was probably originally broadcast on CBS on December 21, 1945.  The main sketch has Durante and Moore operating a zoo and looking for a six-legged octopus.  Moore also does his version of "White Christmas".

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This appears to be a previously lost episode of the series and finding it was a treat for me since I've always enjoyed Durante and Moore's program.  However, it can be hard to tell sometimes with AFRS shows of this period - it could have been assembled from other Durante-Moore shows just for the AFRS holiday programming schedule.

The show was transferred from an original AFRS vinyl transcription; the date is from the transcription matrix.  The original is the worse for wear and has gone through click reduction to make it more listenable.

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World Program Service - Disc 474

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

We now come to the last in a series of previously uncirculated Christmas dramas from the World Program Service.  The company offered discs of music libraries, jingles and the like to local stations.  One of their offerings was a group of holiday themed dramas featuring prominent Hollywood stars.

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Disc 474 is "Christmas, with Love" is a drama starring James Gleason.  Gleason was a familiar face in films as a character actor for many years, but he also was a writer and director.  He was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for his work in "Here Comes Mr. Jordan".

In "Christmas, with Love", Gleason tries out his best Western drawl, playing a ranch foreman in this drama about a young boy's parents who reunite and learn the true meaning of the holiday season.  Or, at least, why they should be afraid of the wild outdoors.

The show was transferred from a vinyl World Program Service transcription, matrix numbers BB-53547-B1 and BB-53548-B1.

My sincerest thanks go out to blog listener Michael Utz for this interesting set of discs.

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Virginia War Memorial Carillon - December 25, 1949

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Here's a rather unusual transcription produced by WRVA, Roanoke, Virginia.  The disc features a quarter-hour program of holiday music played on the Virginia War Memorial Carillon, constructed as a memorial to Virginians that served in World War I.

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The program appears to have been distributed to stations in Virginia for broadcast December 25, 1949.  The flip side of the disc features a program of music for broadcast on November 11, 1949 for Veteran's Day.

The show was transferred from an original WRVA red vinyl transcription.  The sound has been run through click reduction software to improve the sound since the disc had been stored without a sleeve for many years.

Thanks to Michael Utz for his donation of this unusual disc to my collection.

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World Program Service - Disc 425

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Here's another in a series of obscure Christmas-themed radio dramas, sold to individual radio stations as part of a station library package by World Program Service in the 1940s.  Blog listener Micheal Utz donated this set of discs to my collection.

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Disc 425 is a drama titled "Christmas for Eve" that stars Lorraine Day and it's a bit of a doozey, if you like melodrama.  A woman, scarred from a childhood fire that happened on Christmas finds new hope during the holiday season after much emotional angst.  This one's such a downer, it makes "Mildred Pierce" seem like an Abbott and Costello movie in comparison.  (I could see Joan Crawford in this thing if she had an opportunity to slap someone during the show.)

The show was transferred from a vinyl World Program Service transcription, matrix numbers BB-53319-B1 and BB-53320-B1.  There's no open and close to the program; those would have been covered by your local announcer giving Christmas greetings from one of your area businesses.

There's one more disc in this set that will go up just before Christmas.

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Mystery Castle - Pgm 9

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

And now a special piece of local old time radio history, previously unheard since it was originally broadcast. I posted to a couple of mailing lists about the show, but couldn't turn up any more info on it, so what I have here is based on the disc itself.

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"Mystery Castle" was a local serial adventure show from WKBN in Youngstown, Ohio. Run during the holiday season, and probably inspired by the success of "The Cinnamon Bear", the program follows the adventures of a boy and girl in an enchanted forest as they try to figure out "mystery packages" hidden around the forest.

The show was sponsored by a local department store, Stambaugh Thompsons, and if you were a young listener you were encouraged to have mom and dad take you down to the store to buy your own "Mystery Package" (for only 25 cents!) that you can open as you follow the program. The store also had displays featuring characters from the show.

Episode 9 of the series has Happy and Ronny stealing a special key from Santa that they hope will open one of the mystery packages in the castle. It includes the original Stambaugh Thompsons commercials at the beginning and end of the program. The show was written by Ellamae Casteel, produced and directed by Chick Lynn and the sound effects were by Howard Rampus.

There's no date on the label, but a sharp-eyed listener to the blog spotted entries for the show in the WKBN schedule listings in the Massilon, Ohio Evening Independent showing that the series ran in December 1947. Jay Hickerson noted that Clay Cole, host of an influential New York rock and roll tv show in the late 50s and early 60s, mentions in his autobiography being part of the cast of the program when he was a child.

WKBN, according to Wikipedia, was founded in 1926 by Warren P. Williamson, Jr. and was Youngstown's first radio station. Early on, the station became an affiliate of the CBS radio network and remained so until the station was sold by the Williamson family in 1999. Currently, WKBN is one of many stations owned by Clear Channel Communications.

Our program was transferred from an original lacquer transcription from WKBN, Youngstown, Ohio. The show is previously uncirculated among otr collectors and appears to be the only surviving episode of the series.

Update: See the comments for detailed info on the show from readers of the blog.  The local paper in Youngstown, the Vindicator, has made a post on their blog seeing if any locals remember the show and looking for more info.

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World Program Service - Disc 325

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Now, another entry in a series of Christmas-themed dramas from the World Program Service.  This series of discs was part of a package distributed to local stations as part of a station library package.  Usually, these discs contain music, jingles and the occasional dramatic reading.

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Disc 325 is "These The Humble", a fully produced half-hour Christmas drama starring Joe E. Brown.  The story concerns a nightclub performer that's down on his luck at Christmas.The show was transferred from a red vinyl World Program Service transcription, matrix numbers BB-51848-B1 and BB-58149-B1.  The original is rather scratchy, so I've run it through some noise reduction software to improve the sound.

Two more discs from this series will be posted on the blog as we approach Christmas.

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World Program Service - Pgm 275

Friday, December 4th, 2009

This week, the second in a series of Christmas-themed old time radio shows you probably haven't heard before.  They're part of a station library package released by World Program Service in the 1940s and feature well-known actors and actresses in holiday related shows that could be run on a local station during the season.

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Disc 275 in the set is the drama "His Wonders to Perform".  Dorothy Lamour, taking a break from going "on the road" with Hope and Crosby, plays a woman who has to choose between her singing career and her family life.  With the holidays approaching and a child involved, I think I know what she'll decide...

The program was transferred from a red vinyl vertical cut World Program Service transcription, matrix numbers BB-50971-A1 and BB-50972-A1.

Again, my special thanks to listener Michael Utz for his donation of these World Program Service transcriptions to my collection.

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