Archive for the 'medical related' 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.

Curtis Springer - Pgm 1 - label

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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American Cancer Society - 1948 Fund Drive - Square Moon

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Michael Utz recently donated another curious little disc to my collection, this one from the American Cancer Society's 1948 Fund Drive.

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Cancer, along with mental illness, and several other health issues, used to be very taboo subjects - the disease could be so devastating that it wasn't something that was talked about in polite company.  This little drama "Square Moon", attempts to combat this attitude and the resulting fear and misinformation that can result.

In the show, a man goes to his doc with a sore on his lip and deals with the prospect that he might have cancer by trying to find out as much about the disease as he can.  The description of cancer he reads in a book at the library makes it sound like the disease is a Communist invasion.

Unintentional creepy moment in the program:  He visits a cancer research lab and the doc there offers him a cigarette to calm his nerves (and he thanks the doc for it on his way out of the lab).

The show was recorded by the American Broadcasting Company Recording Division.  It was digitized from a vinyl American Cancer Society transcription, matrix number ABC 562

Thanks again Mike for this unusual show!

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Doctors Then and Now - circa late 1940s

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

I've run into several shows over the past few months where only part of the program survives.  I've resisted posting them since they're incomplete, but I'll start putting up one now and then that's particularly unusual or rare.

I think the name of this series is "Doctors Then and Now", judging by the show opening.  However, I haven't found any listings to confirm the title.  The program was carried on NBC, probably in the late 1940s, and was sponsored by the American Medical Association.  The series dramatizes "the story of 100 years of American medicine".  This particular program tells the story of a country doctor, Dr. Albert Wagoner, and how becomes a trusted member of the community.

Unfortunately, only part one of the show survives on this unlabeled lacquer.  The other side of the disc contains part of an episode of "Candy Matson" with an NBC Reference Disc label.

Goldin, by the way, lists a few episodes of a series called "Doctors Today" that may be related to this program.

Update, 7/5/2009 - Sharp-eyed reader Jim B found a New York Times article noting the original date of this broadcast as February 22, 1947. See the comments for more information about the series.

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The Passing Parade - Pgm 20

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

We kick things off this week with a visit with John Nesbitt and his circa late 40s MGM syndicated series of stories of the unusual with a twist of irony, "The Passing Parade".

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In program 20, Nesbitt tells the story fo a woman who was in a coma for nine years and, after waking up, developed five distinct personalities.  Then, the story gets even more strange.

The show was digitized from an original vinyl MGM Radio Attractions transcription, matrix number MGM JN 1620.

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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 9

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Well, some folks reading the blog seemed to enjoy my posting of "The Passing Parade", a series syndicated by MGM Radio Attractions, so here's another program in John Nesbit'ts series of odd and unusual tales.  Episode 9 concerns the story of Franz Anton Mesmer, a man who was both a genius ... and a charlatan.

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The mp3 was transferred from an original MGM Radio Attractions vinyl transcription, matrix number MGM JN 1609.

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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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Laura Lawton – Sept. 3, 1947

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

What does it mean to be married to one of the richest and most attractive men in the world?

Well, we probably won’t be asking Melinda Gates about that, but we might get some insight from "Laura Lawton", a soap opera broadcast on NBC in the 1940s. The series looks at "the conflict between love and riches in a world everyone dreams of – but where so few dreams come true".

Sounds like a reality tv show on MTV, doesn’t it?

From September 3rd, 1947, we offer this episode, brought to you by Bab-O Cleanser, where Gail deals with her sister-in-law, who is putting a plan in motion that may mean Gail’s downfall. And, yes, all the scheming and high drama going on with these people does sound much like a modern day reality tv show. They should all be voted off the island.

The show was transferred from an original Audiodisc acetate recorded from the NBC network line by an unknown local station, probably for time-shifting purposes during Daylight Savings Time or a similar purpose. (There's no label to post a picture of this time around.)

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Man Against the Crippler, March of Dimes - 1953 Campaign

Friday, May 30th, 2008

In this part of the world, summertime is upon us.  At one time, that meant one thing to many parents - polio.

This post features "Man Against the Crippler", a half-hour program that dramatizes the story of polio research.  It was syndicated to local stations in the summer of 1953 by the March of Dimes as part of their fundraising efforts.  The show features Mercury Theater alumnus Everett Sloane narrating and Kenneth Banghart announcing.  The style of the show might remind you of "The March of Time".

The year after this program was broadcast, the first double-blind tests of the Salk polio vaccine would take place on a large scale around the country.

The discs were pressed by RCA.  Matrix numbers are E3-KM-5532 and E3-KM-5533.

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