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Entries Tagged as 'memorabilia'

Night Beat - February 6, 1950 (45 promo set version)

December 11th, 2008 · Comments

Note: The following post originally appeared on my general personal blog on December 28, 2007.  I'm posting it here to put all my OTR material in one place and to offer up a complete dub of the show.  Please note that I no longer own this 45 set, having traded it to a collector in Canada for the NBC acetate of the audition for Night Beat, previously posted here.  The MP3 attached to this post was dubbed directly from the 45 rpm set.

On a recent trip to Goodwill, I found a curious little 45 rpm record set.

After RCA developed the 45 rpm record, they promoted the format as a replacement for 78 rpm album sets and singles. In the late 40s and through the early 50s, they issued album sets in various genres and promoted RCA record changers for 45s that could be hooked up as auxiliary devices to radio sets.

At Goodwill, there were a few of these sets by artists like Wayne King and Vaughn Monroe, but one caught my eye. It was called "Night Beat" and featured an NBC record label. I've heard an old NBC radio drama series by that name, but had never seen a radio show issued on 45s like this. Curious, I picked up the set and checked it out.

The set consists of one complete episode of the show with an announcement aimed at advertisers inserted just after the opening, inviting potential sponsors to buy time on the program. So, this appears to be a promotional set put out by NBC.

record set labels record set box cover

I'm guessing that someone at NBC saw it as a chance to promote the series to advertisers in the face of competition from television. Indeed, "Night Beat" was sustained, without a sponsor, for the first few months of its run.

I posted about the set on the OTR mailing list and Michael Biel helpfully provided some additional information about the set. The label and matrix numbers are EO-CX-342 through 347 and the label runoff area includes an "I" notation near the matrix number. According to Biel, "EO" is a date code indicating 1950. The "C" indicates "Custom", pressed by RCA for a special purpose (a "K" would be used if the records were custom pressed for an outside customer). Biel estimates that the master numbers were done early in the year, perhaps mid-January to early February.

The "X" in the matrix number is a problem - usually a "W" was used in this position at the time. Biel thinks this might be a holdover from the "X" used in this position during secret development of the 45 rpm system between 1940 and 1948. The "I" indication is a code for pressings done in the Indianapolis plant.

The source of the recording sounds to my ears like a 16" transcription - halfway through the show, you can hear a side change where the audio quality changes, similar to what might be heard when going from the end of one side of a transcription to the beginning of a second side.

Despite no episode title in the program or on the label, the episode on the records appears to be "Zero", the first show of the series broadcast on February 6, 1950, according to a log of the series.

Anyone have any additional info on the set or seen others like it? Was there other material, like a press kit, also released? Was it sent to ad agencies or advertising departments at some companies?

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Tags: drama · memorabilia · Night Beat

Hearts in Harmony - Confidential Prevue, circa 1941?

July 3rd, 2008 · Comments

"Hearts in Harmony" was a five day a week soap opera syndicated in the mid-West from 1941 into the 1950s.  The show was sponsored by grocery store chain, Kroger.  The story of the series is as old as drama itself - a young man from "the wrong side of the tracks" aspires to be a composer and falls in love with a young singer from "the right side of the tracks".  Drama, heartbreak and lots of music ensue.

This disc appears to be aimed at Kroger store managers or sales staff, introducing them to the show as it began it's run.  It includes an overview of the concept of the series, information on the personnel on the show, and a short excerpt of a program.  Don't miss one of the young composer's songs, "Let's Incorporate", sure to be a hit someday.

Our MP3 was transferred directly from a copy of the original 10" double-sided shellac disc.

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Tags: memorabilia · rand's favorites

Anniversary program - WLAV, Grand Rapids, Michigan - 1950

May 25th, 2008 · Comments

This program was originally posted on my personal blog a few months ago before this podcast and blog were started. To gather all my radio shows in one location, I'm transferring the program here.

Here's another local radio rarity from my collection of wires. This is a program that appears to have been created for a private party by the staff of radio station WLAV on the occaision of the stations tenth anniversary. The program is a dramatized version of the story of the station that pokes fun at WLAV's founder and owner, Leonard Allen Versluis.

WLAV was located in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is now WBBL, which broadcasts a sports-talk format. The show references the American Broadcasting Company, so I'm assuming they were an affiliate at the time of the anniversary.

I contacted the station about the recording, but, with the changes in management over the past fifty-plus years, they didn't know anything about it. They wanted a copy for their collection and I sent it to them; they sent back some WBBM memorabilia, such as a frisbee and t-shirt.

As you listen to the show, not that the sound levels vary - it gets louder as the show progresses. Also note that, at about the 1:45 mark, part of the audio is missing. You hear some scratch and pops, so I think this may have been directly dubbed from a long-lost acetate of the show.

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Tags: memorabilia · local radio

The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946

May 14th, 2008 · Comments

Note: This recording contains material that may be offensive to some listeners.

For those of you who collect such ephemera, here's an unusual bit of radio memorabilia that should be an upgrade from copies that have been floating around on lps and the web.

In this post, "The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946", the granddaddy of all "party records" and a recording surrounded by much rumor and misinformation. Apparently, this was originally produced as an in-house joke by CBC sports announcer Sidney S. Brown assisted by CBC producer Jules Lipton. Some sources indicate the recording was done in Toronto in late 1940 at "Red" Foster's Studios on Alcorn Avenue. There have also been rumors for many years that it found its way to some in the US military who released it as a V-disc, although a V-disc or AFRS copy has never surfaced to my knowledge.

What we do know is that someone at Columbia Records in 1947 dubbed the program to a set of 78 rpm masters and pressed the recording on two 12" 78's, matrix numbers xxx1-4. The resulting set, with cover art by influential in-house graphic artist Alex Steinweiss (crediting himself as "Joe Blow" on the cover) and bright yellow Trillblow Records labels, was given to Columbia Records distributors as a premium. CBS president Ted Wallerstein nixed the release, but some copies did circulate.

I've never seen anyone on the web claiming to have an original Columbia pressing of "The Great Crepitation Contest", even though copies of the 78s were dubbed many times and released on various party lps over the years. But, here's proof that Columbia actually pressed and released the records - the discs are Columbia's laminated pressings of the period and the cover art is most definitely by Steinweiss. It's also an opportunity to hear the recording in a first-generation copy from the original Columbia 78 release.

You can read more about Steinweiss and see examples of his work at the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame and this site about Remington Records.

I obtained my copy of the "Great Crepitation Contest" in the mid 1990s, not really knowing what it was, from a man at a Winston-Salem flea market who owned a record store in the area for many years. I never had an opportunity to ask him where he got it.

Anyone seen another copy of this set? Any ideas on who the guys are in the photo in the inside front cover?

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Tags: comedy · memorabilia · sports

Selling the Smiths of Hollywood

April 16th, 2008 · Comments

You'll mostly be hearing my transcription discs and the actual shows that radio stations were putting on the air, but once in a while we'll also delve into some other aspects of the business or technical side of old time radio.

In this post, a promotional flyer distributed to stations to drum up business for the early 1950s syndicated sitcom, "The Smiths of Hollywood". "Smiths" is competent and seemed to get some wide distribution, but didn't compare to the big name shows on the networks even if "Smiths" cost $10,000 per episode to produce.

The advertising is a little deceptive - Lucille Ball, William Holden and some of the other stars depicted appeared as guests on the shows and weren't regulars in the series.

Large versions: page one - two - three - four

Tags: memorabilia · Finley Transcriptions