Entries Tagged as 'commentary'
January 26th, 2017 ·
Now we continue our run of the first five episodes of “Curtis Springer”, a daily fifteen minute show featuring commentary by the “King of Quacks” with his advice on the “facts about life”. You can read more about Springer in my first post on the series.
In this episode talks about two “dizzy blondes” he overheard at a restaurant talking about doping up kids they were supposed to be babysitting when they went out for a hot night of dancing. He didn’t intervene or report the conversation because he would be wasting his time trying to give advice to someone who doesn’t want it. This syndicated series was sponsored by Acidine.
The mp3 you’re listening to was transferred direct from a translucent blue one-sided 16” celluloid Brunswick transcription, matrix number 9151, pressed by Flexo, a manufacturer of promotional and radio-related discs made with experimental plastics in the early 1930s.
Again, I think these may be the only surviving radio programs by Springer from the 1930s.
Tags: commentary · medical related · early radio
January 18th, 2017 ·
Finally on the blog this week, a rare mid-thirties political broadcast.
This was a special program carried on CBS from the Dayton Biltmore Hotel in Dayton, Ohio, where the Fraternal Order of Eagles was having its annual convention. George F. Douglas, from Philadelphia, the Grand Worthy President of the Eagles, introduces a speech by Frank. E. Hering, editor of the “Eagles” magazine.
The Eagles is a fraternity that was founded in 1898 by a group of theater owners and became known for consisting of individuals involved in the performing arts. They helped the establishment of Mother’s Day and were instrumental in organizing in support of Social Security.
Hering uses his time to outline the organization’s previous support for legislation to support widows, the poor and unemployed in times of economic crisis. He goes on to urge Congress to pass what he calls the “Ludlow Eagles” bill, which would allow workers to have a sufficient wage to save for their future.
Social Security was working its way through Congress at this time, but I’ve been unable to determine with certainty if Hering is calling for the passage of the Social Security Act or another piece of New Deal legislation. Anyone out there that’s more familiar with what was going on in Congress in August 1935 have an opinion on this?
This recording is an air check of WABC, New York. The transcription begins and ends with a time check and id from the station and includes the CBS network id. There's a short piano fill at the end of the broadcast that made me think I was listening to the "War of the Worlds" for a moment.
Our mp3 was transferred direct from four sides of two 12” Audio-Scriptions, Inc. uncoated aluminum discs running at 78 rpm. Hering's name is misspelled on the disc labels, by the way. The first part is in rough shape with a few skips - it was difficult to get it to play because it was scratched and heavily abused. The remaining parts sound much better. This appears to be a previously lost program.
Tags: commentary · politics · New Deal related
January 18th, 2017 ·
Here’s another anti-FDR speech from the 1944 Presidential campaign, this one originating on the West Coast.
This is the fourth program in a series of 15 minute commentaries by Rupert Hughes sponsored by the Republican Party of California and heard on KMPC, Los Angeles, California. The series was broadcast at 6:30 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Rupert Hughes was a writer who was the uncle of billionaire Howard Hughes; he served as president of the American Writers Association, a group of anti-Communist writers, and is most well-known for his biography of George Washington.
Hughes spends his quarter hour commentary raising fears about FDR’s death and what might happen if his inexperienced VP Truman took over the Oval Office. He’s suspicious of FDR’s dealings with Churchill and Stalin and the ability of Truman to serve as President, noting how he had been left out of the Tehran Conference. Hughes goes on to liken Roosevelt to a king or dictator - “Is he going to liquidate the American republic? He’s already liquidated the Democratic party … This is an election that’s coming up - not a coronation!”
Our mp3 was transferred from a single-sided 16” glass-based NBC Reference lacquer. I think this may be the only surviving episode of this series and it appears to not be currently in circulation among old time radio enthusiasts.
I had a very difficult time playing this program - it was cracked long ago from the edge to the label and, typical of glass-based discs, the lacquer coating was beginning to flake off and deform. I had to “ride the needle” to get it to track, especially in the first few minutes.
Please note that I did a “copy and paste” of one phrase from the end of the program to the beginning, where the announcer states that the program was paid for by the Republican Party of California - there was a nasty skip in the opening and I did the alternation since the announcer was saying the same phrase to preserve the continuity of the program content. I also saved a raw wav file of the full transfer.
By the way, the label fell off this disc. Here’s what was underneath it.
Tags: WW II related · commentary · politics
January 12th, 2017 ·
Once again, after a long break on the blog, we pick up again with an early radio broadcast by medical quack Curtis H. Springer. You can read more about him and the series in my first post in the series.
In program 2, Springer goes on rambling diatribe about gossip. The show recorded in studios in Chicago and was sponsored by Acidine. It was probably syndicated around 1934. The announcer is identified in program 4 as Hal Dean.
Our mp3 was transferred from a translucent blue one-sided 16” celluloid transcription with a Brunswick label, matrix number 9150-1. The disc was pressed by Flexo, which was producing various promotional and radio related discs from experimental plastics at the time. The surface noise you hear is the result of the deforming of the plastics as it has aged. These discs are rather unpleasant to work with - they have a strong smell of camphor.
Has anyone else run into any of these Flexo discs released by Brunswick? I posted an early “Front Page Drama” some time ago with the same red Brunswick label, but pressed on thick heavy shellac.
I have the first five episodes in this series and will be posting the rest in coming weeks. As far as I can tell, these are previously lost and uncirculated and probably the only broadcasts surviving from a man that was called the “King of Quacks”.
Tags: commentary · medical related · early radio
March 24th, 2013 ·
Curtis H. Springer was a unique American character. The self-described "last of the old-time medicine men", Springer got his start working with Billy Sunday's evangelical outfit and, in the 1930s, toured around the country and gave lectures, presenting himself as a member of the "National Academy", the "Springer School of Humanism", the American College of Doctors and Surgeons and other organizations, asking for donations.
Working out of Chicago, Springer appeared on radio hawking various patent medicines. He applied for airtime on WGN and the station contacted the American Medical Association to check out his credentials. The AMA was appalled and produced a journal article on Springer, calling him the "King of Quacks".
In this post, we hear Program 1 of a series Springer appeared in hawking Acidine, "Nature's Normalizer for Acid Stomachs", for United Remedies. It's one of five discs of the series I picked up in an auction a few months ago. In the shows, Springer takes questions from listeners that mix a homespun philosophies about religion and healthful living with colorful stories about his own life and the people he's met in his travels. In the first program of the series, Springer advises a listener about mortgaging their house to pay for their son's college education. Springer, of course, comes down on the side of experience and drive, rather than a college education, to get ahead in life. The commercial announcer is identified in program 4 as Hal Dean.
I've found a couple of listings for what I think is this program in "Radio Guide" and "Broadcasting" magazines from 1934, so that's the likely time frame they were originally heard.
Springer would go on to found the Zzyzx health spa in the Mojave Desert of California in 1944, continuing his syndicated radio programs. In 1974, Federal authorities shut down Springer's operation, convicting him of squatting on Federal lands and making false claims about the health foods and remedies he sold.
Our program was transferred from an original single-sided translucent blue celluloid Brunswick transcription, matrix number 9149. The disc was pressed by Flexo, which was producing various promotion and radio-related plastic and celluloid discs. Unfortunately, the transcription, like many Flexo pressings has distorted over time, so it was a little difficult to play - you'll hear some noise and "swoosh" sounds from the aging plastic surface.
The show was previously lost and uncirculated. I'll post the other discs I found from the series later - from what I can tell, these are the only surviving broadcasts by the "King of Quacks".
Tags: historical · Depression-era · commentary · medical related · early radio
June 9th, 2012 ·
"Interesting People in the News" was a program syndicated by Crowell Publishing Company in New York during the 1930s. Each program featured a talk about little-known people by Sumner Blossom, the editor of "American Magazine".
Here's an interesting article from Google News about the magazine and Blossom published when it was ceasing publication in 1956.
Program 7 looks at W.C. "Pop" Fuller, a coach of female tennis players and also at women in unusual occupations. The show was transferred from an original RCA Victrolac transcription, matrix number MS 92709.
My thanks to the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group for this addition to my transcription collection.
July 10th, 2010 ·
Here's a little audition program I haven't found documented anywhere. Wilfred J. Funk, of Funk and Wagnall's fame, published a popular book with this title in 1937. The concept was to explore new trends and fads and show that they're weren't really new at all. The current fad of painting your nails? Nudism? Been there, done that.
The audition gives an overview of the series with some quirky and interesting facts and a brief sketch about an ancient Egyptian inventor who came up with unbreakable glass. The series itself would focus on one story or theme. The recording includes ads for a Dallas jewelry store, likely to demonstrate how local continuity would work for the ads by the sposor, Gruen watches.
The show dates from 1938, which Funk mentions during the program. It was transferred from an original one-sided Transamerican Broadcasting and Television Victrolac transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number 023648-1A.
My thanks to listener Michael Utz for providing some funding towards the auction where I won this one.
Anyone ever see any other episodes of the series? Did it survive beyond an audition?
Tags: historical · commentary
June 13th, 2010 ·
Well, here's the only other show I have in the obscure little series, "Show Stoppers", syndicated by Koret of California. The show features guest stars who talk about turning points in their showbiz careers.
In program 20, host Knox Manning welcomes actress Constance Bennett. You might remember her from the films "Topper" or "What Price Hollywood?". The sister of Joan Bennett, she came from a showbiz family and sounds a bit reluctant to enter the business.
The show was transferred from an original NBC Orthacoustic transcription pressed for Textile Broadcasts, Los Angeles, California, matrix number HD6-MM-7307-1.
May 22nd, 2009 ·
Here's another colorful story in John Nesbitt's notebook of the strange, unusual and ironic, "The Passing Parade", syndicated by MGM Radio Attractions in the late 1940s and early 50s.
Program 24 in the series concerns a man who went in search of fairy tales, but wound up discovering ....
Well, I'll let John Nesbitt tell you the fascinating story of what he found.
The show was transferred to digital from an original MGM Radio Attractions vinyl transcription, matrix number MGM JN 1624.
Tags: Passing Parade · commentary
April 20th, 2009 ·
Let's drop in on Jim Nesbitt again this week to see what story of the unusual and strange he has in store for us in this series syndicated in the early 1950s by MGM.
In program 23 of the series, we hear the fascinating tale of Wild Jack Howard, the Man Who Searched for Death. It seems that Howard was an Earl with a longing for adventure and danger who made a contribution to the War effort. And then ... well, I'll let Jim Nesbitt finish the story.
Our mp3 was transferred from an original vinyl MGM Radio Attractions transcription, matrix number MGM JN 1623.
Tags: Passing Parade · commentary