Archive for the 'comedy' Category

Village Store - Pgm 87

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Some comedy now with the "Sealtest Village Store", a series with a bit of a convoluted history.

Originally the series premiered in 1943 with Joan Davis as a followup to the "Rudy Vallee Show".  Davis got her own solo show in 1945, with her co-host, Jack Haley, taking over hosting dues until he departed in 1947.  Then, Eve Arden emerged from the cast to carry the program and she was later joined by Jack Carson.  Both Arden and Carson left the program in 1948, with Arden starring in her own sitcom, "Our Miss Brooks".

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Program 87 of the series, heard on the Armed Forces Radio Service as "Village Store", was originally broadcast on NBC on May 17, 1945.  The episode has a wartime theme, with Jack trying to make up his mind whether he's going to buy a speedboat or a War Bond.

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

There's probably plenty more episodes of this series to emerge from AFRS discs.  Despite being on the air for a few years, Goldin only lists 23 programs existing in his database.

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Fun at Breakfast with Ford Bond - February 28 1946

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

If you were getting ready for work on February 28, 1946 and listening to a local morning show of light patter and music with parts originating from "transcriptions and phonograph records", you might have heard this five minute syndicated feature.

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"Fun at Breakfast with Ford Bond" features Bond announcing and comedians Tom Howard and George Shelton cracking jokes - the first routine on the show is about starting a telegraph company.  Howard and Shelton, of course, were heard  on "It Pays to Be Ignorant".

A highlight of the show, is the commercial content for Mennon shaving cream featuring a sultry female announcer to lull you into your day.  Who says sex doesn't sell?

The concept - a short recorded comedy routine for a local morning show - isn't unlike the comedy features syndicated to radio stations today.  Think of it as a 1940s version of "Larry the Cable Guy".

The program was transferred from an original Duane Jones Company vinyl NBC Orthacoustic transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number ND6-MM-3560.

Thanks to the Old Time Radio Researchers Group for adding this one to my collection.  You can hear another episode in the series here.

http://randsesotericotr.podbean.com/2011/02/01/fun-at-breakfast-with-ford-bond-february-27-1946/

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Fun at Breakfast with Ford Bond - February 27 1946

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Here's a fun little five-minute show, "Fun at Breakfast with Ford Bond".  Sponsored by Mennon and featuring some great little commercials with a sultry female announcer, the program featured Tom Howard and George Shelton doing a short routine.  The series was produced by the Duane Jones Company.

transcription label

The show of February 27, 1946 starts out with a joke about "a case of son".  The program was transferred from an original single-sided vinyl NBC Orthacoustic transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number ND6-MM-3560.

Thanks to the Old Time Radio Researchers Group for this addition to my collection.

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Here’s Morgan - June 10, 1946

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Here's my Christmas gift to you.  Or, at least some of you that are fans of the acerbic wit of Henry Morgan.

Henry Morgan was a bit ahead of his time with his cynical comedy that would later flower with comedians like Bob and Ray and publications such as Mad magazine.  Morgan got his start with a quarter hour stream of consciousness comedy show on Mutual where he was famous for skewering sponsors and poking fun at the conventions of radio.

There's only a few episodes floating around of Morgan's fifteen minute show, even though Goldin lists several as being in existence - many from the Mutual run from 1941-42 and only two when the show was carried on ABC in 1945-46.  Here's a previously lost episode of Morgan's work that I've not seen documented elsewhere, originally heard on June 10, 1946 on ABC and originating at WJZ, New York.

The show dates from just a few months before Morgan would start a half-hour comedy-variety series on ABC.  (You can hear several episodes from the run at archive.org and I posted an AFRS version of one episode a few months ago in the blog.)

In the show, Morgan pokes fun at Walter Winchell, takes us inside the mind of a landlord, referencing wartime rationing and shortages, and comments on the recent film "Cluny Brown" and Orson Welles's doomed Broadway musical version of "Around the World in 80 Days".  The commercials include Gallo Wine, Esquire boot polish and Topps chewing gum.

This episode of "Here's Morgan" appears to have survived because it was transcribed - the disc is part of a recent purchase I made of odd test discs and "throwaways" from various stations from a private collection.  So, it can pay off to carefully go through stacks of odd discs like this from local stations.

If you would like to know a bit more about Henry Morgan, WFMU has an extensive blog entry appreciation of Morgan's work.  And here's a profile of Morgan from the April 14, 1947 edition of Life magazine that includes some great photos, including the famous "praying to the razor" shot that got him in trouble with his sponsor, Eversharp.  (The ads interspersed with the article, by the way, are just a wonderfully funny as Morgan's parodies and include one featuring Senator Claghorn from the "Fred Allen Show".)

There's no scan on this transcription since there's no label - just a very light grease pencil notation on the label reading "Morgan" and "6-10-46" on the signle sided lacquer.

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Eddie Cantor Show - February 20, 1946

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Here's a fun little episode of "The Eddie Cantor Show", originally broadcast on NBC on February 20, 1946.  The first tune on the show is Eddie's rendition of "Onesy, Twosey" and, in the main comedy sketch, Eddie inherits a South American plantation from his grandfather.

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The show originated on an Armed Forces Radio Service transcription from the "Music Hall" series where the show was heard as a replacement for program 173 in the series.  The date is from the disc matrix.

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Bob and Ray Show - circa January 1952

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

In this post, another program from the same 70s era reel to reel that gave us "The Jack Webb Show".  It's an episode of "The Bob and Ray Show" carried on the NBC radio network after their successful late 40s series on WHDH in Boston.

I think, based on internal references in the program, that the show originally aired around January 1951 1952.  It includes Bob and Ray's Christmas tree warehouse sale and "Mr. Trace, Keener Than Most Persons" solving "The Broken Sweep Second Hand on the Wristwatch Murder Clue".

Perhaps a Bob and Ray expert out there could say if it's in circulation in digital form - I wasn't able to find a copy of it online from the usual suspects.

Update:  A comment from Dr. OTR (click the "Comments" link below) convinces me this is probably from January 1952.  My mistake ... Please update the name of the file after you download it from the site.

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Jack Webb Show - April 17, 1946

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Well, some of you seemed to be amused and curious about "The Jack Webb Show" that I posted a couple of weeks ago and want to hear more of the "Dragnet" star's little known comedy series he did for ABC before hitting it big with his crime drama.

The program of April 17, 1946 includes the winner of the "How to Get 'The Jack Webb Show' Off The Air" contest.  The show is sustained and originated in San Francisco.  This was the fifth program in the series.

Only this episode and the one I posted earlier exist in the series.  They're currently in circulation, but this is a fresh dub from a 70's era reel to reel tape in excellent condition, so it should be a bit of a sound upgrade.

Wish I had more - it's fascinating to hear Webb is such a free-form sketch comedy show.

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The Jack Web Show - April 10, 1946

Monday, October 4th, 2010

This show is floating around in mp3 format, but I've made a fresh transfer of it from an original 70s era early generation reel to reel tape of the program.

If you've not heard it before, you're in for a surprise.  It's a sketch comedy show.  And, yes, it features _that_ Jack Webb.  Originating in San Francisco and possibly carried on ABC's Pacific network, "The Jack Web Show" from April 10, 1946 includes sketches such as "Facts on Parade" and a private-eye spoof called "The Razor".

If you like this transfer, let me know and I can post the other existing episode of the series in the blog dubbed from the same tape.

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Guest Star - Pgm 11

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Here's another one of those very early programs in the long-running public service series "Guest Star", featuring famous guests giving us a bit of entertainment as they pitch US Savings Bonds.

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Program 11 has Beatrice Kay with Kenny Delmar and Denes Agay and the Savings Bonds Orchestra.  Kay, doing her Gay 90s schtick, gives us "They Stuck Me with a Bustle" and reenacts a Gay 90's romance with announcer Kenny Delmar.  The flip side of the disc is the  Bob Hope-Bing Crosby episode with the atrocious laugh-track, posted on the blog earlier.

The show was digitized from an original Treasury Department vinyl transcription, matrix number ND7-MM-5426-1C.  The opening on the disc is slightly upcut.

A tip of the hat goes to George Brandon for donating the disc to my collection!

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Guest Star - Pgm 12

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Finally this week, a hard to find early entry in the long running, star-studded Treasury Department public service series, "Guest Star". Program 12 in the series features Bob Hope and Bing Crosby along with host Kenny Delmar and Denes Agay and the Savings Bond Orchestra and Chorus.  Agay and the Orchestra kick off the show with "After You've Gone".  In the Hope and Crosby segment, the guys crack jokes about each other and savings bonds while Hope plugs his new movie, "My Favorite Brunette".  The side is dated April 10, 1947 in the matrix, so I'm assuming that's the date the master for the show was recorded.

transcription label

Episodes of "Guest Star" and programs featuring Hope or Crosby aren't unusual, but there's one thing about this show that makes it distinctive - it's an early (and likely the most atrocious) example I've run into of a canned laugh track.  If you listen closely, it's obvious that Hope and Crosby segment was recorded separately and some unseen engineer has layered in laughs and often inappropriate audience reaction to Hope and Crosby's banter.

I posted about the show's laugh track to the OTR mailing list.  Scholar Michael Biel sent in a helpful response, conjecturing the laugh track might be the work of Jack Mullin.  Mullin, of course, worked with Crosby to record his network radio show on a German tape machine and tape stock that Mullen brought back from Europe after the War.  Mullin says he saved snippets of laughs and audience reaction to "sweeten" Bing's show, "creating" the laugh track.

But I'm not sure this is Mullin's handiwork.  The show dates from April 1947 and Biel, in an earlier mailing list message archived on this site, noted that Bing's show on ABC was recorded and edited on laquers at this time - it was only mastered on tape starting October 7, 1947.  According to Wikipedia's article on Mullin, Bing saw a demonstration of the tape machines for the first time in June 1947, a couple of months after this "Guest Star" episode was mastered.

So, what do you think?  Is this an early attempt by Jack Mullin to show off what could be done with tape?  Or is it some anonymous radio engineer with some lacquers of laughs and audience twitters on a couple of turntables?  Perhaps if Bing heard this bad laugh track on the final version of this "Guest Star" episode, it might have made him even more excited about the possibilities of Mullin's tape recorder when he saw it a couple of months later.

The use of prerecorded laughs in radio isn't as well documented, but this show seems like an early and very primitive attempt at giving an impression of a "live" audience - I still wonder if it might be the earliest surviving example.   Certainly, some Armed Forces Radio programs had applause inserted, particularly when they were covering an edited commercial segment or were making a transition in the sides of the show.  But I'm hard pressed to think of an example where audience reaction for a whole segment is being simulated.  It's certainly worth more research on this show and other resources by someone to see how early use of canned laughs developed on radio before it became such an annoying presence on television sitcoms.

The program was transferred from an original vinyl Treasury Department transcription, matrix number ND7-MM-5430-1C.

Thanks to blog listener George Brandon for donating this intriguing disc to my collection!

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