Archive for the 'Ports of Call' Category

Ports of Call - Pgm 14

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Program 14 of the series looks at "Haiti".  Through drama we learn about the country's past with slavery and the conflict between superstition and voodo cults and how the country moved towards independence.

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The show was dubbed to digital direct from an original Philip J. Meaney Flexite transcription pressed by Columbia.

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Ports of Call - Pgm 49

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

I guess I have a soft spot for "Ports of Call", a mid-thirties syndicated show that gives you a dramatized tour and history of far-off exotic lands.

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Program 49 in the series looks at "Turkey".  The show was digitized from a set of original blue Flexite transcriptions pressed by Columbia, matrix numbers RR1411 and RR1412.

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Ports of Call - Pgm 13

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Finally this week, a bit of purple prose from far-off lands.

Although "Ports of Call" is in circulation dubbed from tape, I'm trying to upgrade the series when I can from original transcriptions.  Who can really resist tours of all these exotic places and those lovely blue Columbia Flexite discs?

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In this post, program 13 of the series, "Japan".  The program looks at stories of Japan's feudal past, including the famous story of the 47 Ronin, and the country's growing connections with the west after Commodore Perry's visit in the 19th century.  "Ports of Call" was syndicated in the early 30s - it's curious to hear this audio tour of the country, since we'd be at war with them just a few years later.

The show was transferred from an original Philip J. Meaney Flexite transcription pressed by Columbia

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Ports of Call - Persia

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

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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Ports of Call - Pgm 33, New Zealand

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Another entry in the series "Ports of Call" from 1935-36, where we visit the dramatized history and culture of exotic countries in a half-hour. The program was produced by Philip J. Meany Advertising of Los Angeles and mastered at Radio Recorders in Hollywood.

Episode 33 looks at New Zealand where we learn about the origin of the main island of New Zealand, which appeared during a fishing expedition by a local god; colonization of the islands by the British; and a protected whale. I'm not sure what native New Zealander's will think of Hawaiian music being associated with the country, by the way.

This episode is not in circulation and has been transferred directly from a set of blue Columbia Flexite transcription discs.

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Ports of Call - Pgm 32, Sweden

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

"Ports of Call" is a little-known syndicated series from 1935-36 that visits a different country each week and dramatizes a few hundred years of the country's history in a half hour. The show was produced by the Philip J. Meany Advertising in Los Angeles and mastered at Radio Recorders in Hollywood.

In program 32 in the series, we pay a visit to Sweden, learning about the origins of its culture of learning, leanings towards neutrality, and child-queens who like to hear canons go "boom". The show is transferred directly from a set of gorgeous blue Columbia Flexite pressings. This episode of the series is in circulation, but copies I've heard suffer from phasing problems caused by a bad tape transfer.

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