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Entries Tagged as 'historical'

KGW - Stasson Interview

August 13th, 2009 · Comments

A few weeks back, I posted some local programming from radio station KGW, an apple picking contest and an excerpt from a local music program.

From the same set of discs, here's an interview with a Captain Stasson, who was an assistant for Fleet Admiral Halsey.  Stasson toured the country with the Admiral after the War and was interviewed on KGW about what they were seeing and the general mood; the topics include the housing shortage and concerns about preventing another war in Europe in the future.

The interview was transferred from an original KGW lacquer transcription and is undated.  It was likely recorded for use on one of KGW's programs so that the interview could be brought to listeners "transcribed".

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Tags: WW II related · historical

VE Plus 350 - April 23, 1946

August 13th, 2009 · Comments

This week's posts on the blog are devoted to the end of World War II.  August 15 marks the anniversary of VJ Day, the date when the Japanese surrender was announced, ending a long struggle by the Allies to overcome the Axis powers.  Our first post is a previously lost special program carried on NBC on April 23, 1946 to promote the United Jewish Appeal.  The program features reporter Quenton Reynolds hosting a dramatization of the plight of European Jews after the War.  Former Treasury of the Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. makes some brief remarks in the program.

Recently, the otr mailing list discussed Jews on radio, prompted by the recent release of a documentary about Gertrude Berg.  Outside of news or commentary programs, dramatic shows that address the dislocation and suffering of the Jews during the War seem to be relatively rare.  The Goldbergs, however, did include material about current events in Germany and Europe that impacted Jews.

"VE Plus 350" was transferred from an original unlabeled line-check laquer recorded at KGW, Portland and includes the NBC network id and chimes.  According to newspaper listings from the period, the program was broadcast at 7:45 pm Eastern on the some outlets on the network and at 10:15 pm Pacific on others.

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Tags: drama · WW II related · historical · Judaism

Dwight Eisenhower: The Grass Roots Boy - October 28, 1952

June 7th, 2009 · Comments

This week marks the anniversary of D-Day.  And there's probably no person more associated with the Normandy Invasion that marked the final stages of World War II than the Allied commander Dwight Eisenhower.

transcription label

From October 28, 1952, we're hearing in this blog post, "Dwight Eisenhower:  The Grass Roots Boy".  The program, sponsored by Youth for Eisenhower, is a dramatized biography prepared for the 1952 Presidential campaign.

I'm not sure if this was carried locally by WOR or carried on the wider Mutual net, but it's a fascinating bit of political broadcasting and Presidential history.  The show was transferred from an original WOR lacquer transcription set.

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Tags: historical · politics

Elmer Peterson and the News - August 13, 1947

November 22nd, 2008 · Comments

Lets take a pause to catch up on the news.

Newscasts are something that don't seem to get much attention from old time radio collectors and listeners except for network coverage of major events of World War II.  It's instructive to give a listen to an everyday newscast from the period to get an idea of how styles of delivering the news have changed and the types of concerns on the people's minds at the time.

In this August 13, 1947 newscast by Elmer Peterson, sponsored by Planter's Nuts, the news stories include a summit in Brazil that was being held to consider aid to Latin and South American countries after the War and conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.  There's also a short item on the World Boy Scout Jamboree and how it can help overcome political differences between countries.

The show was transferred from an original acetate line check recording from an unidentified NBC affiliate.

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Tags: historical · Cold War

Your Home Front Reporter - Pgm 96 - Sept 20, 1943

September 27th, 2008 · Comments

Another episode of “Your Home Front Reporter”, a series of discs I recently obtained of a program not heard since World War II.  A mix of music and hints and information about the War aimed primarily at women, the series was originally broadcast weekdays on CBS and sponsored by the Owens Illinois Glass Company.

In program 96 of the series, originally broadcast September 20, 1943,  Fletcher Wiley's commentary is on why service flags are a symbol of democracy.  Wiley also talks about making the most of clothes during wartime.  Phil Hanna and Diana Gayle sing "Tip Toe Through the Tulips" and "The West, A Nest, and You"; Phil Regan sings "Boy of Mine".  Wilbur Hatch conducts the orchestra.

Transferred from an original vinyl transcription, matrix numbers BB37016 and BB37017, pressed by World Broadcasting System, Inc. for the Owens Illinois Glass Company.

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Tags: WW II related · historical · classical music · Your Home Front Reporter

Your Home Front Reporter - Pgm 2 - May 11, 1943

August 27th, 2008 · Comments

Note: This program contains some World War II-era racial stereotyping slang that may be offensive to some listeners.

Continuing our look at "Your Home Front Reporter", a previously undocumented Wartime series, we hear program 2, broadcast May 11, 1943 on the CBS network.

Commentator Fletcher Wiley discusses why we shouldn't get too excited about good news from the battle fronts since the end of the war may be some time away. He also mentions that new shipments of alarm clocks are coming on the market.

Eleanor Steber sings "Just a Song at Twilight"; Frank Parker performs "The Night is Young, And You're So Wonderful"; Steber and Parker sing the duet "Why Do I Love You?". The show features announcer Hugh Conover and the David Brookman Orchestra.

The mp3 was transferred direct from a vinyl transcription, matrix numbers BB35330 and BB35331, pressed by World Broadcasting System, Inc. for the Owens Illinois Glass Company, the sponsor of the program.

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Tags: WW II related · historical · classical music · Your Home Front Reporter

Your Home Front Reporter - Pgm 1 - May 10, 1943

August 27th, 2008 · Comments

Note: This program contains some World War II-era racial stereotyping slang that may be offensive to some listeners.

We're starting a new series on the blog with "Your Home Front Reporter". This half-hour program was broadcast in the afternoons, Monday through Friday, on the CBS network. Sponsored by the Owens Illinois Glass Company and produced by the D'Arcy Advertising Company, Inc in cooperation with the Office of War Information and other government agencies. I haven't seen any shows in the series in otr listings or in circulation.

The program consists of light opera and popular music along with news and commentary about the War and ways that women and families could help with the War effort. Most programs in the series feature vocalists Frank Parker and Met Opera star Eleanor Steber. It's a curious snap-shot of the War World II home front mindset and an opportunity to hear a Steber very early in her career. (Read the Wikipedia entry on Steber's career for some interesting highlights; I have a copy of the ultra-rare RCA album of her concert at New York's Continental Baths.)

The series also features commentator Fletcher Wiley, whose folksy style first came to notice with listeners in Southern California in the 1930s. Wiley was a pioneer in talking on radio to women about issues they were interested in; his style is similar to Arthur Godfrey and Paul Harvey in some ways. You can read a 1940 article about Wiley at the Time magazine archives. (On some of the "Your Home Front Reporter" shows from Fall 1943 I'll be posting later, Wiley is replaced by Don Regan, who concentrated more on harder news stories. I'm not sure if Regan was a temporary replacement for part of the run of the series.)

In this first program of the series, originally broadcast May 10, 1943, Fletcher Wiley talks at the beginning of the show about the purpose of the series, then offers a commentary on politeness and another on the many uses of the soybean. Frank Parker performs "Begin the Beguine" and Eleanor Steber sings "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia"; they perform a duet, "Dearly Beloved". The announcer is Ben Grauer and the show features the David Brookman Orchestra.

The program was transferred from a vinyl transcription, matrix numbers BB34870 and BB34871, pressed by World Broadcasting System, Inc. for the Owens Illinois Glass Company. This may be a rehearsal recording since it runs over 30 minutes (others in the series run 25 minutes). Note that there's a nasty scratch on second side at beginning for first three minutes or so.

I have ten other shows in the series I'll be posting in coming months; I ran into a set of eleven discs in the series, still in their original shipping containers where they were mailed to a staff member at the Owens Illinois Glass Company.

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Tags: WW II related · historical · classical music · Your Home Front Reporter

Special Command Performance - AFRS Fourth Anniversary

August 20th, 2008 · Comments

Well, I've only got a couple of shows for you this week, but this one's a doozy.

Direct for a set of Armed Forces Radio Service transcriptions, here's a special ninety minute edition of "Command Performance" from May 29, 1946, celebrating the fourth anniversary of AFRS.

The show is a compilation of excerpts representing all of the major series produced especially for personnel in the Army, Navy and Marines during World War II.  The program, introduced by Bill Goodwin and hosted by Bob Hope is framed by a "letter" that is a kind of retrospective of major events in the War.

Hope opens the show with one his topical monologues.  Then, after setting up the show with the "letter", we hear the following excerpts:

  • "Downbeat" featuring a couple of tunes from drummer Ray Bauduc (who played with the Bob Crosby Orchestra)
  • "Melody Roundup" with the Riders of the Purple Sage doing "New San Antonio Rose" and Abigail and Buddy performing a "hillbilly" version of "Begin the Beguine"
  • "Showtime" with Janet Blair singing Cole Porter's "I Love You"
  • "Mail Call" where Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy do a routine on Dickins's "Oliver Twist", introduced by Bill Goodwin
  • "GI Jive" hosted by GI Jill with the King Sisters singing "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano"
  • "Jubilee" where the Slim Gaillard Trio perform the hit novelty tune, "Cement Mixer (Put-Ti Put-Ti)"
  • a religions program with "Ave Maria" performed by the Bob Mitchell Boys Choir
  • "GI Journal" with Kay Kyser joining Jerry Colonna as the Journal's "star reporter", then "copy girl" Linda Darnell and Mel Blanc in character as Private Sad Sack in an extended comedy sketch that includes "The Life of the Sad Sack"
  • Fred MacMurray hosting a program reminiscing about the year 1935 where the King Sisters sing "I've Had My Moments"
  • "Words With Music", with Donald Crisp reading Thomas Hood's "I Remember"
  • "Command Performance" with Bill Goodwin, Bob Hope and Janet Blair in a parody of radio soap operas, "The Ups and Downs of Brenda Scuttlebutt, Girl Yo-Yo"; Fred MacMurray joins them for a sketch about an annoying little boy on the set of a Hollywood movie
  • "Purple Heart Album" with Francis Langford singing "We'll Be Waltzing Again"

If you've never listened to AFRS programming, which was produced especially for military personnel and not broadcast stateside, the show gives you a good idea of the range of shows that were a part of AFRS's schedule alongside their rebroadcasts of material from the major networks.  It's a really entertaining ninety minutes and an intriguing immersion into the popular songs, topical jokes and military culture of World War II.

The program was transferred from an original three-disc AFRS transcription set in near-mint condition.

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Tags: music · comedy · AFRS · WW II related · historical · rand's favorites

Ports of Call - Persia

July 23rd, 2008 · Comments

With Presidential candidate Barack Obama visiting Europe and the Middle East, it seemed like a good time to once again delve into a program that highlights how media in the US depicted foreign countries in the past. “Ports of Call”, syndicated circa 1935-36, was produced by the Philip J. Meany Advertising in Los Angeles and mastered at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. The program is similar in style to the popular CBS radio network show "The March of Time" that dramatized current events in a magazine format.

In this episode, we visit the exotic land of Persia, and are treated to three thousand years of the country's history in a brisk half-hour. Highlights include the development of early religious philosophy of Zarathustra (and, yes, an announcer intones, "Thus spake Zarathustra!"), Mohammed, the story of Scheherazade and the Thousand and One Nights, and British conflicts over oil exploration as Persia sought to become more Western, but independent from European influence. Of course, Persia became Iran in 1935, so this show likely pre-dates that change.

"Persia" is a previously uncirculated episode of the series. The Old Time Radio Researchers group has episodes at archives.org of the show, certifying it as complete, but I believe other episodes may turn up since the series is rather obscure. (Program 33, "New Zealand", previously posted on the blog, is another not in the archives.org set.)

This program in the series uses a different theme than two other examples I previously posted in the blog; I suppose the excerpt of the "Nutcracker Suite" sounded more exotic. The show was transferred from an original blue Flexite pressing by Columbia, matrix numbers RR2328 and RR2329; the label doesn't indicate an episode number.

If you're interested in exploring more about how the US viewed other countries, check out my friend Sean Martin's blog, High School Musicals - The Origins, which looks at musicals written especially for performances in schools and local light opera companies.  His current entry, helpfully enough, is The Belle of Baghdad.

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Tags: drama · historical · Ports of Call

The American Legion Asks: How Good is American Air Power? - Pgm 4 - 1953

July 12th, 2008 · Comments

This program was syndicated by the American Legion as a public service during the Korean War.  Different shows in the series dealt with various aspects of America's readiness with air power.  The program is a curious relic of the Cold War - the changes in air fighting technology after World War II, such as the jet airplane and nuclear weapons, were fascinating to the public and the series seems to be an attempt to explain these changes in warfare in the face of Communist aggression.

Lt Gen Thomas D. White of the US Air Force and Rear Admiral Thomas Combs of the US Navy are the guests in episode 4 with moderator Bruce P. Henderson, Chairman, National Security Commission, the American Legion.  The show was transferred from an original RCA pressing, matrix number E2-KM-5229.

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Tags: historical · Cold War