Archive for the 'Pick and Pat' Category

Supper Club - Pgm 85

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

Now a fascinating little oddity that had me doing a double-take.

The "Chesterfield Supper Club" was originally broadcast on NBC and featured vocalist Perry Como.  I had seen listings for this show around for years and never really paid much attention to it until I ran into this episode.

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Program 85 of the series as it was broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Service as "Supper Club", was originally heard on NBC on May 23, 1945.  The program is done in the style of a minstrel show, with Como singing the opening tune, "Mammy", and trading jokes an Interlocutor with Blackface comedians "Pick and Pat", who we heard in a their own series on the blog a few months back.  The show also features Martin Block, The Satisfiers, Mary Ashworth and Ted Steel and His Orchestra.

Pick and Pat were regular guests on the series during a certain period, so this wasn't a "one off".  It's a little cringe-worthy to think about the cool smooth Como belting out minstrel tunes on a regular basis.

Oh, the things that tobacco companies would get performers doing on the radio.

I'm glad that Perry Como's career recovered from this series - he's a real pro to hang in there and pull it off.

It reminds me of Frank Sinatra, appearing as a guest on the "Fred Allen Show" in a hillbilly sketch where he does a duet with Fred in a parody of Zeke Manners - the recording is something like listening to an aural train wreck slowly unfolding, leaving you grasping for your lp copy of "Come Fly With Me".  (You can give a listen at this page at archive.org - look for the show of October 21, 1945.  Sinatra's bit is the sketch at the end.  There's some good Jack Benny appearances in the set as well, btw.)

The show was tranferred from an original AFRS vinyl transcription.  The date is in the disc matrix.

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Pick and Pat - circa 1938

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

We come to the end of a series of excerpts from the CBS series "Pick and Pat", featuring Blackface comedians Pick Padgett and Pat Malone.  The shows were recorded for the producer of the series and turned up from an estate sale a few months ago.

This excerpt, part of 2 of a program originally recorded in three sections, has Pick and Pat doing a routine about poetry.  "I Married an Angel" is played by saxophonist Benny Kruegar and the orchestra and tenor Edward Roecker sings "The Girl in the Bonnet of Blue".  The excerpt would appear to be from sometime in 1938, based on other discs in the series from this collection.

The show was transferred from original WABC aircheck lacquer recorded by Advertiser's Recording Service, New York and was previously lost.

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Pick and Pat - 1938

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

Here's the next to last excerpt of the CBS series "Pick and Pat" in my collection, drawn from a set of discs produced for the series producer, Frank Macmahon.

This is part two (of three parts) of an undated show from 1938.  Pick and Pat's routine is about appearing in court because one of the pair is accused of stealing chickens.  The band plays "There's a Far Away Look in Your Eyes" with a solo by Benny Krueger.  Edward Roecker sings "Did Your Mother Come from Ireland?".

The excerpt of this otherwise lost show was transferred from original WABC aircheck laquer recorded by Advertiser's Recording Service, New York.

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Pick and Pat - December 12, 1938

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

Here's another excerpt from "Pick and Pat", a program featuring blackface performers Pick Padgett and Pat Malone, two Irishmen who teamed up in 1929 as Molasses and January and had their own network show from the early 1930s through 1945.  The shows in this series I'm posting on the blog are from rare aircheck discs that were created for the shows producer, Frank Macmahon.  The programs from this group were heard on CBS and sponsored by Dill's Best and Model tobacco in 1937 and 1938.

This week, we hear part 1 (of three parts) of the program of December 12, 1938.  Unfortunately, the disc containing part 2 of the show is missing and the flipside of this disc, part 3, was damaged and I was unable to give it a transfer to digital.

The recording starts off with the end of the previous show on the network and the WABC id.  This particular episode, unlike the others I've posted on the blog, is billed as "Model's Minstrels" and is formatted more like a traditional minstrel show.  he male chorus sings "There's Gonna Be a Great Day".  Pick and Pat read letters they've received, including one from "Shorty" wanting advice about his farm.

The date on the label is obscured, but the flip side of the disc contains part 3 of the show.  Unfortunately, the disc has extensive cracking of the lacquer and I couldn't play it well enough to transfer, but I did hear the opening of the December 12, 1938 episode of "Lux Radio Theater" ("The Scarlet Pimpernel") to date this "Pick and Pat" episode.

The program was transferred from original WABC aircheck laquer recorded by Advertiser's Recording Service, New York.  This is a previously uncirculated episode of this rare series.

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Pick and Pat - May 23, 1938

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

In this excerpt from the program of May 23, 1938, Pick and Pat present a routine about golfing and we hear a commercial for Model tobacco and a number by the orchestra with a solo by Benny Krueger.  This episode is particularly interesting since the team briefly mentions television during their routine.  This is part 2 of the program only; the show was originally recorded in three parts and parts 1 and 3, unfortunately, are lost.

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This previously lost/uncirculated program was transferred from an original WABC aircheck laquer recorded by Advertiser's Recording Service, New York.  The reverse of the disc is blank.

We have three more excerpts of "Pick and Pat" in the coming weeks.

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Pick and Pat - June 28, 1937

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

Kicking off this week's posts, from June 28, 1937, we hear part of the rare comedy-variety minstrel show, "Pick and Pat", originally broadcast on CBS.  This disc is part of a set of airchecks I recently obtained that were produced for the producer of the show, Frank Macmahon.

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The disc opens with part of Stewart-Warner refrigerator commercial at the end of the Horace Heidt program, local announcement on how to get tickets for the Heidt program, and the WABC id.  The "Pick and Pat" program is dedicated to the Boy Scouts of America, potential future smokers of the sponsor's Model and Dill's Best tobacco.  The duo's opening routine is about swimming and going home to see "Mammy" on vacation.  Edward Roecker sings "I Love You Truly" and Benny Krueger and the band perform "Where or When?".  Pick and Pat's second routine is about Frank MacMahon's libel suit against them, a running gag in the show at the time.

This is only the first part of the program and the remainder of the show doesn't survive.  These discs were originally recorded on three sides and the other side of this disc is labeled and dated for part 3 of the show, but is blank -  this side of the disc runs almost 18 minutes, so the rest of the show may have been recorded on the missing second disc.

This previously lost/uncirculated program was transferred from original WABC aircheck laquer recorded by National Recording Company, New York.  The file has been run through click reduction software to improve the sound.

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Pick and Pat - June 14, 1937

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Note:  This program includes racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

In our continuing series of rare airchecks of "Pick and Pat", a 1930s comedy-variety show featuring blackface comedians Pick Padgett and Pat Malone we hear an excerpt of the episode of June 14, 1937.

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Pick and Pat talk about one of their short friends and a lawsuit they're involved with with their producer, Frank MacMahon, an ongoing gag on the show at this time. Tenor Edward Roecker sings an unidentified song.  The program originally aired on CBS and was sponsored by Dill's Best and Model tobacco.  The excerpt is the second of three parts of the program - parts one and three are, unfortunately, lost.

The show was transferred from original WABC aircheck lacquer recorded by National Recording Company, New York, and was previously lost.

Listen Now:


Pick and Pat - August 8, 1938

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

This week's look at the minstrel comedy show "Pick and Pat", from August 8, 1938, is curious for several reasons.

First off, this series of discs are actual airchecks and this week's show is marred by an electrical storm, reminding us that listeners to old time radio shows on AM radio didn't always hear the programs the way we do today through FM, satellite radio or the Internet.

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Also, as in other discs I obtained from this series, the disc cutters captured part of the shows on WABC/CBS before and after "Pick and Pat" - this week, after the minstrel hjinks of our comedy duo, you get to hear the opening of the "Mercury Theater".

Now that's going from low brow to high brow in short order, isn't it?

We hear parts 1 and 3 of the program only; the second disc for the episode is unfortunately lost.  In the opening routine, Pick plays his harmonica and Edward Roecker sings "Dust".   In the second half of the program, Pick and Pat do a routine about selling strawberries.  As usual, we get to hear plugs for their sponsor, Model and Dill's Best tobacco.

The show was transferred from an original WABC aircheck laquer recorded by Advertiser's Recording Service, New York for the series producer, Frank Mcmahon.  The program was previously lost.

Listen Now:


Pick and Pat - March 21, 1938

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

We continue our look this week at "Pick and Pat", a rare comedy variety show broadcast on CBS and featuring blackface comedians Pick Padgett and Pat Malone.  Despite a radio career on all the major networks that spanned from the early 1930s to the mid 40s, only a handful of their shows survive.  These shows, unheard since their original broadcast, are drawn from a set of airchecks recorded for the producer of the show, Frank Macmahon.

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Unfortunately, many of the shows in this set are missing sides.  In this post, we hear parts 1 and 3 of the show of March 21, 1938.  Pick and Pat do a short opening routine with one of them dissing the other for being so dumb.  Tenor Edward Roecker sings "There's a Goldmine In the Sky".  In part 3 of the program, Edward Roecker sings "I Got Plenty of Nothin'" and Pick and Pat's last segment has them staging a melodrama titled "Be a Gentleman" or "Never Hit a Lady With Your Hat On".  During the show, we get to hear commercials for the sponsor, Dill's Best and Model tobacco.  Also, the company that recorded the aircheck captured the last couple of minutes of the previous program on the station and the one following "Pick and Pat", "Lux Radio Theater".

The show was transferred from an original WABC aircheck laquer recorded by the Advertiser's Recording Service, New York.  The file has been run through click reduction software to improve the sound, but it's still a little rough in places - the lacquer on these one of a kind discs is deteriorating and cracking.

Another note of interest - this week's episode of Mad Men included a scene where the main character in the show donned blackface, creating some interesting discussion on the topic.  Also, a blogger at Slate discusses how we should look at the work of artists who worked in blackface at some point in their career.

Listen Now:


Pick and Pat - May 31, 1937

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

This week, I'm starting a series of posts of "Pick and Pat", a rare variety show featuring two blackface performers.  These programs, unheard since they were originally broadcast, come from a series of aircheck lacquers I recently obtained.  Except for one program, the shows are incomplete.  I'm still working on transferring and restoring the discs, so I'm not sure how many I will be able to offer here since the discs are in bad shape and starting to deteriorate.

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The episode of May 31, 1937 includes routines where Pat plays the harmonica and the pair do a sketch playing Indians selling the island of Manhattan.  The latter includes some jokes about the stock market crash and Depression and, with two Irish vaudeville comedians in Blackface playing Native Americans, considerable cognitive dissonance about race that might make your head explode if you try to analyze it too much.  The show features music by vocalist Edward Roecker and an orchestra led by Benny Krueger, including "That Old Gang of Mine" with a recitation.  The series was sponsored by the U.S. Tobacco Company to promote Model and Dill's Best pipe tobaccos.

According to Dunning's "Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio", Pick Padgett and Pat Malone were Irishmen who teamed up in 1929 as Molasses and January and worked regularly under that name on the "Maxell House Show Boat" program.  They were heard on radio in their own series on NBC from 1934-35, CBS from 1935-39, Mutual in 1944 and ABC in 1945.  You can see a picture of Pick and Pat and read an interview with Pick Padget from the St. Petersburg, Florida Evening Independent of June 16, 1933.

These discs were made for the producer of the program, Frank MacMahon, and each show was recorded on 16" lacquers in three parts.  In the case of this particular episode, the second disc is missing, so you'll hear a fade-out in the middle of the show before we continue with the third part.  The discs also preserved a bit of the shows on the air that evening before and after "Pick and Pat"; this set includes the last minute or so of the "Ted Weems" show, a special announcement by the WABC announcer on how to get tickets for the program, and, at the end, the WABC station id and opening of "Lux Radio Theater".

The show was transferred directly from an original WABC lacquer aircheck made by the National Recording Company, New York.  The file has been run through click reduction software to improve the sound.  Note that the sound levels vary during the show.

Listen Now: