Entries Tagged as 'early radio'
January 26th, 2017 ·
Now the next installment in the early 1930s serial comedy about the “little German band”, “Louie’s Hungry Five”. Read more about the series in my original post kicking off the series on the blog.
In our last episode, the Louie and the band were preparing to auction their household items to use the money for a trip to South America and trying to hide the auction from their girlfriends. Julia called Louis on the phone and Emil tells her he has broken his leg. In program 302, they’re figuring out how to keep Julia away from the auction and dealing with her checking with all the hospitals about Louie. You can download the original cue sheet that was used by the local announcer here.
Our mp3 was transferred from two 12” Columbia Sound-On-Disc shellac transcriptions, matrix numbers 233257 and 233258. I have a total of about twenty consecutive episodes of the series I’ll be posting over the coming weeks.
Tags: early radio · Louie's Hungry Five
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 ·
With the swearing in of a new President (apparently) happening this week, I thought we’d get a little political on the blog with some different transcriptions in my collection dealing with various facets of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.
First up, an episode of a government radio series that appears to be previously lost promoting the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA was established as part of the National Housing Act of 1934; I’m guessing this show dates from 1934 or ’35 as the agency was trying to first promote their services. This was typical of the type of promotional radio work done by FDR’s New Deal agencies; many of the individual shows and series were simply discarded since they served a temporary purpose and don’t survive today.
The FHA has seen many changes over the years. The original idea of commercial banks making loans in their own community, with the loans being backed by the Federal government, was, in my opinion, a sound idea. The breakdown of regulations over commercial banking led to the 2007 sub-prime mortgage crisis, with banks taking on loans from unqualified borrowers, buying and selling these “junk” loans on the open market, and sticking the Federal taxpayer with the bill.
Wikipedia notes that, “The share of home purchases financed with FHA mortgages went from 2 percent to over one-third of mortgages in the United States, as conventional mortgage lending dried up in the credit crunch. Without the subprime market, many of the riskiest borrowers ended up borrowing from the Federal Housing Administration, and the FHA could suffer substantial losses. Joshua Zumbrun and Maurna Desmond of Forbes have written that eventual government losses from the FHA could reach $100 billion. … By November 2012, the FHA was essentially bankrupt.”
Despite this mix of Federal backing for loans by private local commercial banks to support affordable home ownership and stable home markets, the Republicans opposed the FHA, like many other of FDR’s New Deal programs. They got their wish to dismantle the FHA by simply passing de-regulation of banks over the years that ensured the agency would collapse with a tidy profit being earned by private commercial banks.
Our FHA radio show features the United States Marine Band, Captain Taylor Branson, conducting. They perform “The Gate City March” by Weldon, as well as works by Wagner and others. We also hear a little sketch about a family needing to do some updating to their home for a long-term family visitor. They discover how a loan through their local bank, guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, can help them. I have another FHA transcription I’ll post later that includes short dramatized sketches about young couples buying their first home and other common situations for taking out home loans.
There are no credits on the show, but the announcer sounds like the same guy who did the announcing work on 1930s episodes of “Jungle Jim”. He shows the same dramatic enthusiasm, whether he’s talking about the Marine Band and the FHA or the latest perils of Jungle Jim.
The mp3 was transferred directly from a 16” one-sided shellac transcription from Radio and Film Methods Corporation, 101 Park Avenue, New York, matrix number 206A. As far as I can tell, no other episodes of this series survives.
Tags: Depression-era · early radio · New Deal related
January 18th, 2017 ·
First up in the blog this week, our next episode of the early 1930s radio comedy serial, “Louie’s Hungry Five”.
The show looks at the misadventures of the “Little German Band” and was developed by WGN after the success of “Amos n’ Andy”. The series features Henry “Hank” Moeller as the group’s leader, Herr Louie Hasenpfeffer, Harold “Hal” J. Giles as his sidekick, the Weasel and unknown actors portraying Emil, Yohannis and Fritz. You can see my first post about the show for more information about the series.
In program 301, originally broadcast September 30, 1931, the boys are preparing an auction to fund their trip to South America. However, they haven’t told their girlfriends and have to figure out how to hide the auction from them. As they say, complications ensue.
You can see the original cue sheet used by the local announcer for this episode by downloading this jpeg file.
This show was transferred from two 12” 78 rpm Columbia Sound-On-Disc shellac transcriptions, matrix numbers 233255 and 233256. I have a total of about twenty consecutive episodes of the series I’ll be posting over the coming weeks.
Tags: early radio · Louie's Hungry Five
January 12th, 2017 ·
Finally this week, we kick off a series of about twenty consecutive episodes of a previously uncirculated early radio series, “Louie’s Hungry Five”.
The series is a continuing comedy series, similar to “Amos n’ Andy”, about a “Little German Band”. After Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll left WGN because they wanted to syndicate “Sam and Henry” on records to stations and had such a success with their newly titled “Amos n’ Andy” series, WGN developed this program to jump on the lucrative syndication bandwagon.
After some WGN broadcasts, perhaps in 1929, the series was first distributed in 1930 and was initially pressed on the Marsh Laboratories Electra label and later on Columbia. At its peak, the show was heard on at least sixty-five stations in 17 states from coast to coast and even in Canada. Louie’s Hungry Five were making personal appearances around the Chicago area into the 1940s.
Doug Hopkinson and Ryan Ellett produced a detailed and illustrated article about the series that tells the story much better than I can. Briefly, the show looks at the misadventures of Herr Louie Hasenpfeffer (Henry “Hank” Moeller), the Weasel (Harold “Hal” J. Giles), and Emil, Yohannis and Fritz (all played by unknown actors).
The gimmick on the show, besides the funny continuing stories, were one or two numbers played by the band in each show, usually German “oompah” versions of songs by popular artists like Eddie Cantor. (I haven’t been able to identify most of the tunes - perhaps listeners here can figure out what they are.)
At its peak, the show was heard on at least sixty-five stations in 17 states from coast to coast and even in Canada.
In this first show in our collection, episode 300 broadcast Tuesday, September 29, 1931, the band is preparing to auction off their belongings to buy tickets for a trip to South America. The first song they perform is “Springtime in the Rockies”. You can see the original cue sheet used by the local announcer for the episode by downloading this jpeg. (And, while I don’t have the actual program, you can view the cue sheet for the previous episode here.)
This group of discs representing around twenty consecutive episodes turned up on eBay and appears to be a different stash of discs discovered by Hopkinson and Ellett a few years ago, even though the episode numbers overlap. All of my discs include the cue sheet for each episode.
This show was transferred from two 12” Columbia Sound-On-Disc shellac transcriptions, matrix numbers 233253 and 233254. The discs in my collection are in wonderful shape and were a pleasure to transfer.
We’ll hear what happens to the "Little German Band" next week as the story continues. I understand Michael Biel has some of the early Marsh Laboratories discs of early episodes in the series and can’t stand them - I enjoy the ones that I’ve got and think it has a certain “early radio” charm.
Tags: comedy · early radio · Louie's Hungry Five
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
March 24th, 2013 ·
During the New Deal era, the Roosevelt administration used the new medium of radio to get the word out about new programs through syndicated shows. Some, like programs featuring WPA musicians, was more subtle in their advertising approach. Others were more direct in explaining New Deal programs to the public.
Program 3 in the "Resettlement Administration" series presents a drama about the plight of tenant farmers, taking the listener through the development of tenant farming after slavery was abolished in the South after the Civil War, how tenant farmers wound up in perpetual debt and poverty, and how the Resettlement Administration could help them.
Conservatives, of course, were outraged at this type of radio "propaganda" - this is the type of program that the National Industrial Council (aka the National Association of Manufacturers) was combatting when they developed the radio serial "American Family Robinson".
What's curious about this particular show is that it features an Old Time Radio and classic Hollywood film voice you might recognize - Joseph Cotten. The Resettlement Administration was only active in 1935-36, so the show probably from those years and Cotten, at this point in his career, was appearing on-stage in New York with the Federal Theatre Project. This is one of the earliest recording of Joseph Cotten on the air - the Goldin database lists a November 14, 1936 "Columbia Workshop" production of "Hamlet" with Cotten and he doesn't pop up on radio again until a September 1938 episode of CBS's "Mercury Theater". Welles and others involved in the Federal Theatre Project, of course, picked up odd jobs on radio, most famously with Orson Welles appearing in "The Shadow" and "The March of Time".
The show was transferred from an original one-sided shellac Radio and Film Methods Corporation transcription, matrix number 288-A. The label notes "Dyer Process Recording", "Use Filmmatic Needles" and address of company as 101 Park Avenue, New York City, CAledonia 5-7530-1. The company probably also produced 16" transcription discs for use with filmstrips. The show appears to be previously lost.
Tags: drama · Depression-era · early radio
March 24th, 2013 ·
Note: This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.
"Eno Crime Clues" is a rare 1930s radio series heard on the NBC Blue Network from 1933 to 1936. The program had different incarnations, heard on Columbia in the early 1930s and later on Mutual as "Crime Clues", with the series connected to detective and mystery novels put out by publishers like Doubleday.
Goldin only lists eight programs existing in the Blue Network series, so this is a nice find. What we have in this post is part 1 of the broadcast of March 28, 1934, Episode 2 of the story "The Talking Skull", a murder mystery that takes place on an island, with the detective grilling the assembled group of suspects to come to a solution to the crime. The program is sponsored by Emo Effervescent Salts.
Each story was broadcast in two half-hour installments, so we're hearing only 15 minutes of the second half of the story. Even without the solution to the mystery, it's a nice example of this early type of radio drama.
The show was transferred from an original one-sided Victrolac transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number 82259-1. The advertising agency is N.W. Ayer and Son, New York.
This show appears to be previously lost. Anyone have the other disc containing the other half of the show in their attic?
Tags: drama · early radio
July 10th, 2012 ·
Here's the only other episode in my collection of "Boulevard of Make Believe", a syndicated serial drama about Hollywood stars featuring Anna Q. Nelson and Viola Dana. In program 12, Wally talks to the police about how he might be mixed up in the kidnapping of his wife.
The end theme plays through and we hear a male vocalist crooning the lyrics to "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" - he sounds a bit like Bing Crosby. Anyone have an idea who it might be? It wasn't uncommon for these early 30s syndicated shows to use cues from commercial records, so it might be from a commercially released 78.
Dave Goldin, by the way, lists program 1 in the series in his database, a show which ran in my blog a few months ago. He conjectures that one of the performers playing a Mexican sounds like Bela Lugosi. What do you think?
The show was digitized direct from an original shellac Radio Release Productions transcription disc, matrix number A-1055. Radio Release Productions, you might recall, also produced the "Police Reporter" series I ran on the blog awhile back.
I wish I could run into the full run of the series, which I'm guessing was just 13 or 26 episodes - this sounds like a fun serial.
My special thanks to the Old Time Radio Researchers Group for adding this disc to my collection!
Tags: drama · soap opera · early radio