Archive for the 'memorabilia' Category

Sunkist Musical Cocktail - March 15, 1931 (excerpt)

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

It wasn't until the mid-1930s that instantaneous lacquers took off as a way to preserve live radio shows.  So recordings of radio's earliest years are quite rare.  "Sunkist Musical Cocktail" was a musical variety program that featured Hollywood stars as guests.  The sponsor, taking advantage of the Hollywood glamor, had some excerpts from the series recorded and released them as promotional items giving us a glimpse at this early radio effort.

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In this mp3, we hear an excerpt from the broadcast of March 15, 1931, originally broadcast on CBS.  Guest Ann Harding discusses her career with Louella Parsons, including references to a screen test arranged by Rudolph Valentino and Harding's stage work.  According to Elizabeth Mcleod, the recording was originally made by Hollywood Film Laboratories.

The disc includes an introduction with a brief sponsorship message for Sunkist recorded especially for this release of the recording.  Our mp3 was transferred from an original 6" Flexo pink celluloid plastic 78 disc, matrix numbers 6-59 and 6-60.

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I've put a fade out/in between side changes since I'm not sure if the sides are a continuous segment of the program.  It sounds a tad slow to me, but I double-checked the turntable speed with a strobe on this one; it may have been recorded slightly off speed.

Flexo may have recorded and released other interview excerpts in this series that aren't circulating.  I've seen references to recordings in existence of broadcasts of April 8, 1931 (Louella Parsons and Ruth Chatterton) and March 25, 1931 (Louella Parsons and Norma Shearer, matrix number 6-81/6-81).

Flexo, by the way, tried to promote their unusual new plastic records for a variety of purposes.  According to one online discography, they even released some 16" radio transcriptions pressed on green celluloid.  Anyone ever see one or have a label photo?

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Monticello Party Line - 1936 Cookbook Premium

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

As you heard in our last post, you could, in 1938, send away to Dr. Caldwell to get a copy of a "Monticello Party Line" cookbook and a sample bottle of Syrup Pepsin.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate a copy of the cookbook given away in the 1938 season of "Monticello Party Line", but have located two others from 1936 and 1937.  In this post, "Sara and Aggie's Party Line Cookbook", the Second Edition, offered as a premium on the show in 1936.  In the booklet, you'll find recipes, household hints, pictures of the cast and the show and, of course, some good words about Syrup Pepsin.

Of course, some staff at an advertising agency put the thing together, but they try to maintain the illusion that it was written by Sara and Aggie themselves.

It was a much simpler time in advertising.

The PDF is 7 MB and runs 17 pages.  It also includes, at the end of the file, a letter from Sara and Aggie that was enclosed with the recipe book and Syrup Pepsin sample.

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1937 RCA-NBC Listen magazine supplement

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

A special tip of the hat goes out this week to listener Christopher McPherson.  He dug up the special supplement to "Life" magazine that RCA put together in September 1937 highlighting the NBC radio network.

In the supplement, you can get a look "behind the scenes" at NBC and take a gander at some of the big NBC stars of the time.  There's a great ad for an RCA radio on the back cover featuring W.C. Fields and Charlie McCarthy.  If you'll recall, we heard a special 78 sent out by NBC to advertisers to promote the supplement a few weeks back on the blog.

Just click the ebook link below to download the 2 mb pdf of the supplement.

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Answers to the 1937 radio stars quiz

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Last week, blog listener Christopher McPherson sent along a radio stars quiz where you could guess the identity of NBC's radio stars from 1937.  It originally appeared in a special supplement to "Life" magazine called "Listen" that was sponsored by RCA.

If you want to check up on your answers, here's a link to the original image that includes the names of the different stars.

Thanks Christopher!

1937 NBC Radio Stars Quiz

Friday, June 25th, 2010

It's time for a pop quiz!  No cheating by looking on Google!

If you'll recall, a few weeks ago I posted a special NBC 78 rpm record promoting "Listen", a special RCA advertising supplement in "Life" magazine.  Blog listener Christopher McPherson has dug up a copy of the supplement and sent me one part of it - a picture quiz where you can guess the identity of NBC's 1937 radio personalities.  Just click the image for a larger version.

1937 NBC radio stars

We'll offer up the answers next week and the full "Listen" supplement sometime in the future - in the mean time, put your guesses on the identity of these NBC radio stars in the comments below.

NBC - The Good New Summertime

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Since summer is upon us, it might be a good time to think about advertising on the radio?

What?  No one listens to radio in the summer?

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Of course they do!  At least that's the message from the National Broadcasting Company in this special 78 rpm disc sent out to ad agencies and potential advertisers.  In "The Good New Summertime", we hear a little comedy sketch where intrepid employee Ernest Truex saves the day by getting his company to advertise on the radio during the summer months.

Our mp3 was transferred from an original NBC 12" shellac 78 rpm disc pressed by RCA Victor, matrix number 07813-1.  The other side of the disc is the commercial release, "Summertime", from Porgy and Bess, performed by Helen Jepson, matrix number 11881-A from album C 25-7, and includes the original Red Seal Victor "scroll" label for that side of the disc.

Is it just me, or does Truex sound a little "light in the loafers"?

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Jacko, the Broadcasting Kookaburra

Friday, June 18th, 2010

I suppose you've thought you've heard just about everything on the blog.  Well, now you're going to hear a broadcasting bird.  No, it's not the "Hartz Radio Canaries".

In this post, a 78 rpm release from Australia, a children's record featuring the story of "Jacko, the Broadcasting Kookaburra".  This famous bird became an audio "call sign" for Australian broadcasters.  Yes, there really was a Jacko and he was rather famous, even making a tour of the country.

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Jacko was the subject of a children's book - you can read Jacko's story here and see sample pages scanned from the book.  I managed to dig up a nice copy of the book for my collection and highly recommend it as a charming and delightful piece of early radio memorabilia.

book cover

The disc was recorded August 29, 1933. Our mp3 was dubbed from an original copy of the Regal Zonophone/Columbia Graphophone 78 rpm 10" shellac record.  The matrix numbers are G21805 (WT1272 and WT1273).

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NBC - Introduction to Listen Magazine

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Network radio was really exciting stuff back in its heyday and nobody was better than building up excitement and ballyhoo than NBC.

From September 1937, we offer this special promotional 78 given away by the National Broadcasting Company to promote "Listen" magazine.  It was the "magazine within a magazine" - actually, a fancy advertising supplement in "Life" that was sponsored by RCA.

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The edition of "Listen" distributed with the September 20, 1937 issue of "Life" was devoted to a "behind the scenes" look at NBC.  See how sound effects are made!  See your favorite NBC stars!  The disc includes an excerpt of the King George VI coronation broadcast and a nice copy of the NBC chimes at the end.

Our mp3 was transferred from an original NBC 12" shellac 78 rpm disc pressed by RCA Victor, matrix number 013166-1.  The other side of the disc is the commercial release "Lohengrin-Prelude to Act 3" (Wagner) performed by Arturo Toscanani and the Philharmonic Symphony of New York, matrix number 14007-A from album M 308-3, and includes the original Red Seal Victor "scroll" label for the side.

I'm not sure who the "Bruce Robertson" is that's mentioned on the label - perhaps an ad agency executive or company president?  They must have spent some time and money to customize the labels for this issue like this.  This promo disc is similar to the promo 45 set issued by NBC to promote "Night Beat" to potential advertisers that I posted on the blog a couple of years back.

I have another NBC promo disc like this I'll be putting up in a couple of weeks.

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Breakfast in the Blue Ridge - Audition Sales Pitch

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Now let's take a look "behind the scenes" of old radio.

"Breakfast in the Blue Ridge" was a popular syndicated country music program featuring "National Barn Dance" performers Lulubelle and Scotty.  In this post and the next, we hear two sides of the Audition disc for the series, circulated to station programmers and advertisers.

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First off, we hear Lulu Belle and Scotty and their announcer Jack Stillwell giving us their pitch for the series, which is modeled on chat and talk morning shows like "Tex and Jinx".

Lulu Belle and Scotty were originally from Boone and Spruce Pine, North Carolina and were quite popular in the 30s and 40s in the early country music scene.  After their retirement from show business, Lulu Belle served two terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives and she was her memory was honored by a resolution of the NC legislature in 2001.

The program was digitized from original vinyl transcription from Brinkley Recording Company, 232 E. Erie Street, Chicago made for Attractions, Inc.

The disc label, by the way, spells her name as "Lulubelle", but references on the web show her proper name as "Lulu Belle"

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Breakfast in the Blue Ridge - Audition Sample Episode

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Now, following from the previous post, here's the sample episode of "Breakfast in the Blue Ridge" from the flip side of the audition disc. The first song is "The Charming Black Mustache".

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The show was digitized from original vinyl transcription from Brinkley Recording Company, 232 E. Erie Street, Chicago made for Attractions, Inc.

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