Archive for the 'sports' Category

Sheboygan Red Skins versus Oshkosh All-Stars - March 17, 1946 - excerpt

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Next up on the blog, an aircheck of a National Basketball League game between the Sheboygan Red Skins and the Oshkosh All-Stars heard on March 17, 1946.  The recording features the last ten minutes of the game recorded from WHBL, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and includes a commercial for Friendly Finance with various locations throughout Wisconsin.  You can read an article about the game from the Milwaukee Sentinel here.

The National Basketball League was formed in 1937 and would merge with the Basketball Association of America in 1949 to become the National Basketball Association.  The NBL was concentrated in the midwest and the league featured corporate sponsored teams.  The League is also notable for helping to break down racial barriers in sports, adding African-American players during the 1942-43 season.

I've not researched otr era sports recordings in depth, but have an impression that recordings of professional basketball are fairly rare.  This mp3 was dubbed directly from a home recorded 10" unlabeled lacquer that ran at 33.3 rpm.

In the next post, we hear a little something from the other side of the disc.

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The Sandlotters - January 21, 1948

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Periodically over the next few months, I'll be posting some curious local shows that came to me in a single group of laquers.  These all date from December, 1947 and January, 1948 from different stations around the country, so I think they may have been entries in some type of competition for an award or connected with some other event.  The first disc in this set, "Mystery Castle", a local kid's show from Ohio was posted last month on the blog.

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In this post, we hear a curious little sports program from WXYZ, Detroit, "The Sandlotters".  This episode was broadcast January 21, 1948; the show includes local scores and a short drama about a sportsman's unusual war experience.  The show includes commercials for a Detroit-area lumber company.

The show was transferred from an original American Broadcasting Company/WXYZ lacquer dub transcription.  It appears to be a previously lost/uncircualted show.

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Colgate Sports Newsreel - January 9, 1948

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

If you've ever seen the Woody Allen comedy "Radio Days", you've seen a great parody Bill Stern and his shtick - it's so great, in fact, that it's not far from the style of the actual Bill Stern.  If you've never heard Bill Stern before, you're in for an old time radio treat.

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Mixing pathos and ballyhoo in his nightly fifteen minute sports show, the "Colgate Sports Newsreel", Stern told dramatic sports-themed "Believe It or Not" stories dripping with irony and strange plot twists.  Stern was a unique personality with a long career that started with local radio in the 1920s and extended into the television era - probably half of the sports commentators out there today are trying to emulate Stern's sense of on-air drama.

In this post we hear the January 9, 1948 edition of the "Colgate Sports Newsreel" originally broadcast on NBC and sponsored by Colgate shaving cream.  Stern tells the story of the writing of "On the Sunny Side of the Street" that has a connection to a famous sportsman.  Composer Jimmy McHugh and entertainer Eddie Cantor drop by and talk about a Hollywood sports charity and the famous stars who have been athletes themselves.  The show that week was broadcast from Hollywood.

Our transcription is an original lacquer line check recorded by WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, and the master file was run through some click reduction software to improve the sound.

Isn't that a neato custom label that WHO had for their transcriptions?

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Grantland Rice Story - Pgm GRS-1

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Since it looks like "Grantland Rice Story" and "American Family Robinson" were fairly close in the poll, I'll be running episodes of both series each week in the blog.

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I hope you like "The Grantland Rice Story" because it's going to be a long haul - I have all 52 episodes of the series.  It might remind you a bit of "The Passing Parade", with its simple setup of a narrator guiding us through interesting personal and professional stories of the famous and not-so-famous.

The program was syndicated by Thesaurus, a division of RCA that initially produced music library discs for stations then later expanded into syndicated programming.  "The Grantland Rice Story" was one of eight series released for syndication the first week of May, 1955 by Thesaurus during their 20th anniversary (you can see a "Billboard" magazine article about the release here).  My particular set came from a station in the southwest that started broadcasting the program weekly on September 17, 1955, noting the date of each broadcast inside the album box cover.

Hosted by Jimmy Powers, the show focuses on the life of the "Dean of the Sportswriters", Grantland Rice, and was based on Rice's autobiography, "The Tumult and the Shouting".  Powers reads from the autobiography and, on some shows, major sports and newspaper figures drop by to comment on the story or offer memories of Rice, who knew just about every major sports figure during his long career that extended from the 1920s until his death a few months before this series was recorded.  Powers was a well-known sports writer in his own right, serving as the sports editor of the "Daily News".  He was also the announcer for NBC's Friday night fights all through the 1950s.

Program GRS-1 is titled "Beginning at the Beginning", where Jimmy tells us about the series and reads from sections of Granny Rice's autobiography on his early life and the start of his newspaper career.

The show was transferred from an original RCA Thesaurus 12" vinyl transcription, matrix number F7-MR-5048-1.  The matrix numbers used on the discs, beginning with "F" and "G" indicate the program was recorded and mastered in 1955 and 1956.

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My Son Jeep - Pgm 7

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

This week, our next to last episode of the rare 1950s radio sitcom, "My Son Jeep".

Program 7, as broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Service, deals with Jeep seeing an ad for a physique building course, sort of like one of those Charles Atlas ads in the comic books, and deciding he's going to become a bodybuilder.  The program was originally broadcast on NBC, probably around March, 1953; it appears to be a "lost" episode of the series.

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The show is interesting for a look at the popular stereotypes of bodybuilders at the time, which associated them more with circus strongmen than the modern conception we have today of someone like Steve Reeves or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Our mp3 was transferred directly from an original set of vinyl AFRS transcriptions.  I've got one more show in the series due up next week from an original NBC reference acetate.

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The Adventures of Frank Farrell - Pgm 2

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

For completists only, we continue our look at vapid children's programming, circa the 1940s, with uncirculated program 2 of "The Adventures of Frank Farrell", syndicated by the Russell C. Comer Company of Kansas City.  Frank's altercation with the school's bully Tony in the previous program is the talk of the town in episode 2.  We also learn that Jim, the son of the town banker, is mixed up with some of Tony's "bad" friends from the big city.

Transferred from an original Russell C. Comer vinyl transcription with no matrix number, this is the last program in the series in my collection.

One interesting note about the discs from this series.  Usually, if a program was syndicated and had space for a commercial at the beginning, they would play a music bed for the announcer to talk over or begin the next segment of the program in a new band on the disc.  Not so with this one - they recorded the brief opening and a long passage of silence for the commercial.  In episode one, the commercial break is about 1:15; in program two, it's more or less 1:30.  If I were a staff announcer or engineer, I'd be annoyed to no end, since it doesn't give you a good way to time or pace your commercial.

Enough with this dreadful series - let's move on to something more interesting.

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The Adventures of Frank Farrell - Pgm 1B

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Proving that not all of Golden Age radio is classic, here's the premiere episode of "The Adventures of Frank Farrell", a low-budget rip-off of "Archie", albeit without humor or decent acting.  The show was syndicated, probably in the 1940s, by the Russell C. Comer Company, Kansas City.  We heard the audition program in a previous post.

In this uncirculated episode, program 1B, Farrell, ever the perfect athlete, wins the big football game and the coach jumps on the team for not being the shining example that Frank is.  And, to really get things going, there's a budding romance between Farrell and the new female cheerleader for the team.

The program was transferred from a Russell C. Comer vinyl transcription with no matrix number.  And, by the way, I have no idea if there was a program 1A (and really don't want to find out).  Thankfully, there's only one more episode of this series in my collection.

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The Adventures of Frank Farrell - Audition Program

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Here's another rare old time radio series, "The Adventures of Frank Farrell", syndicated by the Russell C. Comer Company, Kansas City and probably dating from the 1940s.

In this Audition program, which isn't in circulation among otr enthusiasts, the local commercials are replaced by a pitch to potential advertisers about the great increase in sales that can happen when you sponsor "Frank Farrell".  The pitch also emphasizes the good, clean "all American" characters and notes that the show is "free from horror, shock, the supernatural and the abnormal".  But it's still exciting! (At least that's what the announcer tells us.)

The program itself is from later in the series; the plot involves Frank getting held up from playing in the big basketball game by the coach's arch-nemisis who hired goons to kidnap him and move all of his furniture out of his house! (Don't ask.)

I have a big tolerance for a wide range of old time radio programming and can find something entertaining and interesting about everything I've posted on the blog, even the "Sports Answer Man".  However, "Frank Farrell" has to be some of the worst scripting and acting I've run into.

The show reminds me a great deal of kids shows on PBS and Nickelodeon that are heavy on life lessons, role models and one dimensional characters.  "Farrell" seems to have been written by adults "talking down" to kids, thinking they knew how students talk or act.  I swear, if Spud, the goofy sidekick in the show, were in my high school, I'd be very suspicious - how sounds like he's in his mid-thirties and suffering from arrested development.  I feel sorry for kids exposed to this kind of non-entertainment.

Well, enough of my editorializing.  The show was transferred from an original vinyl transcription from the Russell C. Comer Company, matrix number C-9537.  Unfortunately (for me) or perhaps fortunately (for you, if you're interested in this show), I've got two other non-circulating episodes going up on the blog in a couple of weeks.

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Sports Answer Man - Pgm 25

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Another entry in the series "The Sports Answer Man", syndicated by Sherman Productions circa 1945-46.  The show features sports announcer France Laux and was transferred from an original red vinyl pressing done by Disco Recordings, St. Louis.

The questions include topics such as the origins of baseball's spring training, whether a player can own a major league ball club, systems for beating the horses and others.  In the feature story, Laux gives the highlights of that memorable year in sports, 1906.

This is the last show I have from this series in my collection.

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Sports Answer Man - Pgm 18

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Another show in the series, "The Sports Answer Man", produced by Sherman Productions from 1945-46.

In this program, the Sports Answer Man, France Laux, tackles questions on the chances of a ball player getting five for five, measuring fresh water game fish, all time high scores for bowling teams and more topics.  The show has been transferred from an original red vinyl pressing by Disco Recordings, St. Louis.

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