Archive for the 'commentary' Category

Curtis H. Springer for Acidine - Pgm 1

Sunday, 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.

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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".

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Interesting People in the News - Program 7

Saturday, 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".

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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.

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So You Think It’s New - Audition

Saturday, 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.

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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?

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Show Stoppers - Pgm 20

Sunday, 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.

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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.

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The Passing Parade - Pgm 24

Friday, 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.

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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.

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The Passing Parade, Pgm 23

Monday, 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.

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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.

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The Passing Parade, Pgm 18

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

This week, we finish up a two-part story of the unusual with program 18 in the series "The Passing Parade".

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John Nesbitt tells us about the later years of the infamous Typhoid Mary, a woman who spread a deadly disease and wound up becoming ... a tourist attraction.

The show was transferred from an original MGM Radio Attractions transcription, matrix number MGM JN 1618.

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The Passing Parade, Pgm 17

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Back by popular demand, here's another episode of John Nesbitt's tales of the ironic, "The Passing Parade", a program syndicated by MGM Radio Attractions in the late 40s or early 50s.

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This week, we present Program 17 in the series, part one of the story of Typhoid Mary.  If you think Mary's story is remarkable, wait until you hear what happened to her later in life in part two, next week in the blog.

The show was transferred from an original MGM Radio Attractions transcription, matrix number MGM JN 1617.

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The Passing Parade - Pgm 10

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

John Nesbitt was well-known as the announcer for MGM's series of theatrical "docu-drama" shorts, "The Passing Parade", that offered up odd and mysterious stories, often with a twist of irony.  Nesbitt was heard from the late 40s to the early 50s on all three radio networks at one time or another with a program that remind of a "Ripley's Believe It or Not" cartoon or later television and radio commentaries by Paul Harvey.  I recently obtained a few discs of a syndicated version of Nesbitt's show, distributed by MGM's radio syndication arm, probably in the late 40s and early 50s.  (In the 1950s, MGM also re-edited Nesbitt's film shorts for distribution on television during the rise of movie studio involvement in tv show production.)

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In program 10 of the series, Nesbitt tells the story of Elizabeth Woodcock, a woman who was caught in a sudden blizzard when she went out horseback riding and was buried alive for five days.  I thought it would be an appropriate show since many parts of the US are getting some snow this time of year.

The program was transferred from an original vinyl MGM radio syndication disc, matrix number MGM JN 1610.  I'll offer up a few of these on occasion from the collection over the coming months.

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