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Entries Tagged as 'rand's favorites'

The Whistler, AFRS Pgm 211, Jan 27, 1952 - Borrowed Byline

July 18th, 2008 · Comments

"The Whistler" is a popular otr mystery anthology series that was on CBS for several years. Here we offer an Armed Forces Radio Service version of a show that's in circulation in its network version; this particular AFRS version of the program survives in remarkable condition and is near hi-fi in quality.

AFRS program 211, "Borrowed Byline", was originally broadcast January 27, 1952 on CBS. The story concerns a reporter who is drawn into a scheme involving deception and murder in Hong Kong. A small part of the show might sound familiar - if you listen closely around the six minute mark, they use a library sound effects recording of boat sounds in a harbor; it's the same record used in the Welles broadcast of "War of the Worlds" where the announcer is on top of the "broadcasting station" and the killer gas envelopes the city.

The show was transferred from an original Armed Forces Radio vinyl transcription.


Tags: drama · rand's favorites

Adventures of Dick Cole - Pgm 24, circa 1946

July 12th, 2008 · Comments

"The Adventures of Dick Cole" was a juvenile adventure program syndicated in the 1940s based on a feature in Blue Bolt Comics.  I've found references that indicate the show was initially recorded and distributed in 1942 and the RadioGOLDINdex dates a run to 1946.  The program stars Leon Janney as Dick Cole and features Paul Luther announcing and Lew White on organ.

Program 24, which deals with a gang of bank robbers using walkie-talkies to plan robberies, appears to be uncirculated and probably dates from circa 1946 since it references the portable radios being developed during the War.

"The Firesign Theater" did some wonderful parodies of this style of kids programming with their Porgie Tirebiter sketches in the late 1960s, inspired by "Archie" and "The Aldrich Family".  This is a wonderfully goofy, charming little show in its own way, a product of a very different time with it's "Golly, gee whiz" attitude and peppy little "rah rah" school song.  It sounds as thought Dick Cole and the policeman could use a lesson in police brutality and Miranda rights - the cop invites Dick to beat information out of one of the crooks at one point in the show.  And, at the end of the story, the boys turn down the reward and give it to Farr Academy for scholarships.  A very different time, indeed.

The show, produced by Batten Barton, Durstine and Osborne, has been transferred from two original red vinyl transcriptions with paste-over Muzak labels; Goldin notes the show as being originally syndicated by Charles Michelson.


Tags: kids and juvenile · rand's favorites

Rocky Jordan - AFRTS Pgm 7, The Nile Runs High

July 4th, 2008 · Comments

See an update at the end of this post on this puzzling disc ...

In this post, we take a look at an uncirculated episode of the adventure series "Rocky Jordan" which may be from a previously undocumented run of the series. Directly transferred from an AFRTS set of discs dating to June, 1956, it's the episode "The Nile Runs High", program 7 in the AFRTS run of "Rocky Jordan", series IED-557.

"Rocky Jordan" was a mystery-adventure series set in Cairo running on CBS's Pacific Network. The show started as a quarter hour serial broadcast five days a week in January, 1945 as "A Man Named Jordan". By July, the show took on a half-hour format and ran for two years. The show returned to CBS in October 1948 as "Rocky Jordan".

Jack Moyles played the title character for most of the run with George Raft taking over the part during the summer of 1951 through the end of the series run in June 1953. The First Generation Radio Archives offers a ten-cd set of "Rocky Jordan" shows transferred from original acetates and has an informative page about the series here and here.

This disc has me a bit puzzled. On the same AFRS discs is an episode of "X Minus One", "If You Was a Moklin", broadcast on June 12, 1956. (I'll be posting the "X Minus One" episode soon.) The 1956 broadcast date would put the origin of the discs three years after the end of "Rocky Jordan"'s run on CBS, according to logs of the series and lists of existing episodes I've researched.

"The Nile Runs High" was performed on the series on September 18, 1949 and survives in a copy that includes ads for Del Monte and an orchestral score. This AFRS disc uses the same script, but an organ is used for the music. (The September, 1949 version of the show is available at archive.org.)

What's really strange about the show is that there are no actor or other credits and it sounds like Rocky Jordan was being played by Jack Moyles (remember that George Raft was playing the part from 1951 through the end of the series in 1953). Also, sampling several episodes of the series at archives.org, I don't find any that use this sparse production style with minimal sound effects and organ accompaniment like this show.

So, was AFRS re-running episodes of "Rocky Jordan" after it left the network and did Moyles play the part in later episodes, which would make this show from the 1953 period? Was this taken from an undocumented version of the show recorded for syndication or broadcast locally in 1956 after its CBS run?

Martin Grams, Jr. from the OTR mailing list suggested it might be a rehearsal recording since it features organ accompaniment and minimal sounds effects. I'd be curious to hear other discs in the AFRTS series if they turn up to see what they might contain to see if they're similar in style.

Regardless of the origins, sit back and enjoy this uncirculated and rather mysterious episode of "Rocky Jordan" and please leave a comment on the blog if you have some ideas or information on where this episode may have came from.

Update, 7/6/08 --

Dee from the OTR mailing list notes that the "Directory of Armed Forces Radio Series" by Harry McKenzie lists the show as being broadcast in 1957; the series was a 22 episode run of shows previously broadcast on AFRS in 1949.

The Directory also lists the series with the correct number (557), but the disc I have has it as "IED-557". The series should have had a END prefix - END was used for entertainment shows and IED was for information and education. (The flip side label lists the "X Minus One" program correctly as "END-483".)

The show is still puzzling - it doesn't match the production style of any of the circulating 1949 "Rocky Jordan" shows, but the cast and script sound the same as the 1949 version of the episode. So, is this a rehearsal recording?

Update, 7/8/08 --

See the comments for an in-depth comparison of this show to the original 1949 CBS network version and some possibilities on the show's origins from Stewart Wright.


Tags: drama · AFRS · Rocky Jordan · rand's favorites

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.


Tags: memorabilia · rand's favorites

Lum N’ Abner, Accidentally Yours - July, 1947

June 12th, 2008 · Comments

As a special treat, here's an episode of "Lum N' Abner" that appears to be uncirculated among otr enthusiasts - "Accidentally Yours" from July 1947, created especially for National Farm Safety Week.

The program was transferred from an original RCA Orthacoustic vinyl transcription disc, matrix number ND7-MM-10097, and was used during the Farm Safety campaign run between July 20 and 26, 1947 by the National Safety Council, Chicago. The other side of the disc contains short segments by various political figures about farm safety that could be used in local farm and news programs.

In the show, Lum and Abner hang up a poster promoting Farm Safety Week and, of course, create many opportunities for accidents in the Jot'em Down Store. Cedric Wehunt and Ben Withers pay a visit.

Chester Lauck and Norris Goff began their run as Lum and Abner in 1932 and the series continued in one form or another until the mid-1950s, appearing on all four major networks during the run of the series. The characters inhabit the mythical small town of Pine Ridge, Arkansas, but Lauck and Goff based them on people they knew growing up in the state.

One of the fun things about the show is that you can hear Lauck starting to break up during one part, where he tosses out some figures on the number of accidents and deaths each year on farms, but he regains his composure and they go on with the recording session.


Tags: comedy · public service · Lum and Abner · rand's favorites

Ports of Call - Pgm 33, New Zealand

June 7th, 2008 · Comments

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.


Tags: drama · Ports of Call · rand's favorites

Night Beat - May 19, 1949 - Ted Carter Murder Case - Audition No. 1

May 6th, 2008 · Comments

Here's another program that should be an upgrade in sound quality for many otr enthusiasts. It's the first audition program created for the series "Night Beat", transferred directly from an original NBC reference acetate. My apologies for the skip on side two, but I couldn't figure out a way to play through that one.

This was the first pilot for the series. Rather than Frank Lovejoy playing a character named Randy Stone, the audition features Edmond O'Brien as Hank Mitchell. Episodic logs for "Night Beat" I've seen date this audition to September 15, 1949, but the label is dated May 19, 1949. (Was it recorded in May and aired in September?) In the show, titled "The Ted Carter Murder Case", an old friend of Mitchell's who is mixed up with a gangster is killed and Mitchell, feeling responsible, goes after the killer.

Many thanks to collector and otr fan Paul in Montreal who was kind enough to trade me this rare disc for another in my own collection.

Fans of "Night Beat" that are curious about the origins of the show can also see a special 45 rpm set that NBC created for potential advertisers that contains the episode "Zero" from the series in this older post from my personal blog. The blog entry contains a sound clip of the opening of the show from the set that includes a commercial announcement, inviting advertisers to sponsor the program.


Tags: drama · rand's favorites · Night Beat

Suspense - The Lost Special, Sept 30, 1943, AFRS Pgm 24

May 3rd, 2008 · Comments

Update, August 8, 2009: I've posted a new version of the mp3 file for this notable broadcast.  David Kiner graciously agreed to run CEDAR sound reduction software on the original .wav file of my transfer, so the original unaltered mp3 file has been retired.  In addition, a full quality version of the CEDAR restored mp3 has been made available through the Old Time Radio Researchers Group distribution of "Suspense" at archive.org.

On this blog and podcast, I've focused on presenting original transcription discs from my collection, most all of programs that are not in circulation among collectors or are very uncommon. Thanks to an estate auction on ebay, I'm pleased to offer a "world premiere" of sorts for the Web of an elusive and highly sought-after program.

Unheard publicly since September 30, 1943, we bring you Orson Welles starring in "The Lost Special" a "tale well calculated to keep you in ... Suspense!". Originally broadcast on the CBS radio network, but now lost, the version heard here was distributed by the Armed Forces Radio Service as program 24 in the "Suspense" series.

"The Lost Special" is based on a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story and concerns a train that mysteriously disappears. The story was also used on the series "Escape" on February 12, 1949, so it may seem familiar. (You can give it a listen here.) However, in the "Suspense" version, the story is told by the main character and framed as a broadcast by a condemned man that will reveal the identity of persons responsible for certain crimes.

The opening of the show is rather odd.  It sounds like Howard Duff, who was a staff announcer at AFRS at the time and would do custom openings and closings for some shows like this.  However, Duff sounds a bit "out of it", either bored after reading so many show openings one day or thinking this was a rehearsal instead of a real "take".*

On the disc itself, someone made grease pencil marks just after the opening and just before the close of the show and there's a typewritten note glued to the original sleeve:

29'30" Programme 24 Pt. 1 & 2 SUSPENSE The Lost Special Pt. 1 Open at mark on yellow line and play to end. Pt. 2 Fade quickly at line after words "... tale of Suspense." The Lost Special by Arthur Conan Doyle starring Orson Welles

The grease pencil mark near the opening is on the music cue just after the "Suspense" announcer says "... anything, however strange, that will hold our listeners in ... Suspense!" Strange, since this cuts out the entire opening that sets up the "show within the show" format.

Orson Welles appeared in the series "Suspense" eight times between 1942 and 1944 in such classics as "The Hitchiker and "Donovan's Brain". One of Welles's performances, "The Lost Special", was thought to be one of about thirty-five "Suspense" programs missing out of over 900 broadcast during the run of the series.

Welles appeared on "Suspense" in a run of four episodes during September and October 1943. The others, including "The Most Dangerous Game", "Philomel Cottage" and "Lazarus Walks" are available for download from archive.org, which has a collection of all of Welles's other existing appearances on the show. (Included in this collection is a funny parody Welles did of "Donovan's Brain" on his program "Orson Welles Radio Almanac".)

If you're a member of the otr mailing list, you've heard about my finding "The Lost Special" in an ebay auction a few days ago. If you're wondering if I'm going to be selling the disc, I'm not. I collect for the enjoyment of the shows and discovering something new. The disc is a unique find that needs to find its way to an archives someday.

I'm offering "The Lost Special" as part of my podcast in an unrestored medium-quality MP3 that's optimized for downloading or listening on the website. I'm investigating the best way to offer it to the OTR community on a CD or high quality .WAV file and to get the sound restored with more advanced tools than I have, so stayed tuned for more info.

Hope you enjoy the show. In the mean time, if you know of some old transcriptions scurried away somewhere, send me an email. You never know what might turn up in an old stack of records!

*Entry corrected, 6 May 08 - Inserted corrected info on Howard Duff.


Tags: drama · Suspense · AFRS · rand's favorites

America’s Famous Fathers - Pgm 24

April 20th, 2008 · Comments

Continuing from the previous post, here's program #24 of "America's Famous Fathers". In this episode, Col. Theodore Roosevelt and the wife of author John Phillips Marquand debate the role of fathers in the household.

Roosevelt relates some fun and interesting stories about his own father, President Roosevelt. Howard Lindsay, who normally was host of the show, was ill and unable to appear, so announcer Ray Green conducts the interview. The program was syndicated by the Kermit-Raymond Corporation and the commercials were added by a local announcer; the show appears to date from circa 1941.


Tags: historical · World Broadcasting · Kermit-Raymond Corp · rand's favorites

Vass Family - Pgm 57

April 16th, 2008 · Comments

Today we have a fun little five minute musical program featuring the Vass Family on the air for Alka Seltzer. This show and one in the next entry are taken from an original vinyl NBC syndication disc pressed by RCA, matrix number MS 03444. (The other side of the disc contains two five minute Alka Seltzer shows by the Hoosier Hot Shots that I'll post later.)

The Vass Family appeared on the National Barn Dance and a few other NBC programs in the late 1930s. According to the announcer, the group hails from South Carolina. In this show, the group sings "Romance Runs in the Family" and "When the White Azealeas Start Blooming" and help out with the Alka Seltzer ads.


Tags: music · comedy · Vass Family · NBC Syndication · rand's favorites