Archive for the 'Transco' Category

Rhapsody in Rhythm - Pgm 1

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

In this post, "Rhapsody in Rhythm", program 1, featuring Charles W. Hamp and the Rhythm Rascals.  One of several programs syndicated by Transco in the 1930s, many featuring jazz performers.  The songs include "I Have Built a Dream House", "Rhythm Saved the World" and "Chinatown My Chinatown".

Rhapsody in Rhythm - Pgm 1 label

Hamp played piano and saxophone and worked in Los Angeles radio in the late 1920s.  He recorded for Columbia Records and recorded this series for Transco in 1936-37, crooning and offering up "hot jazz" arrangements of popular tunes.

The show was transferred direct from a blue laminated Radio Transcription Company (Transco) transcription, matrix number A-2568.

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Cocoanut Grove Ambassadors - Series C Pgm 3A

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

"The Cocoanut Grove Ambassadors" is one of those well-produced little shows from Transco that were making the rounds in the 1930s.  This particular series featured bands that performed at the famous Hollywood nightspot.

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Radio Archives has released a series of discs with shows from the series and, in this post, we highlight a program in the series that hasn't been released by them on cd so far.  Series C Program 3A features Jimmie Grier and his Orcheastra.  Songs include "September" with a vocal by the Three Ambassadors, "Time on My Hands" with a vocal by Dick Webster, and "Now's the Time to Fall in Love".  The show was recorded in 1932.

The program was dubbed direct from an original shellack Transco transcription.

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Komedy Kingdom - Pgm 7

Friday, June 4th, 2010

"Komedy Kingdom", syndicated in 1937 by Transco, returns to the blog this week.  The series uses many of the same performers as “The Blue Monday Jamboree”, a program running locally on KFRC in San Francisco, and later on CBS and Mutual-Don Lee, from 1927 to the mid-1930s.  So it's a neat little glimpse into early radio styles.

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Program 7 of the series is titled "Etiquette".  It was transferred from original Transco Radio Transcription Company shellac transcription, matrix number A2683.  The episode title from the disc matrix.

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Nonsense and Melody - Pgm 28

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Let's drop in again on the gang of "Nonsense and Melody", a quarter-hour of comedy and music syndicated by Transco, recorded in the Freeman-Lang Studios in late 1934.

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Program 28 in the series kicks off with Johnny Kiado, the "Accordion Wizard", performing his composition, "Accordion Rhythm".  Bernadine Miller sings "A Needle in a Haystack" and the band performs a "Blue" medley.  Hosts Frank Gill, Jr. and Bill Doemling perform in a sketch called "The Steamship Murder Case".  The Three Jack Tars perform "Or Were You Fooling?"

The show was digitized from an original red vinyl Bruce Eells and Associates - Broadcasters Program Syndicate transcription pressed in the 1940s.

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Plantation Echoes - Pgm 9

Monday, April 5th, 2010

This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be disturbing to some listeners.

Technical note:  If this file sounds "off speed" in the on-screen player, try the Download option and listen to it directly on your computer.  This is a bug with Flash in playing some mp3 files encoded at particular rates and only affects some browsers and versions of Flash.

I've debated about putting up this program.  However, it is historically significant and should be available to old time radio researchers and historians.  If you decide to give it a listen, keep in mind that it's a difficult half-hour due to the sound quality and the content.

"Plantation Echoes" was an early syndicated program from Transco.  Goldin lists one other episode in the series (program 13) and dates the series to 1932, but I'm not sure of the source of his information.  The show features a Black cast performing spirituals and popular songs that are framed by an ongoing story set on an "Old South" plantation.  Program 9 in the series picks up the story from the previous week where Liza has gone missing. The slaves, through a series of misunderstandings, think she's been murdered.

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Several Transco series from the 1930s were repackaged and syndicated by Bruce Eells and Associates when they bought the Transco library in the 1940s.  "Plantation Echoes" hasn't appeared on any of these later vinyl repressings, so it perhaps it shelved because it would have sounded pretty dated a decade later.  Or perhaps it didn't do that well in its initial run.

I took a look through several sources - newspaper archives in ProQuest and Google Books and JJ's Radio logs - but only turned up one definate program with that title from 1932, a fifteen minute program on KMTR running 15 minutes.  There was a program titled "Plantation Echoes" that featured Ethel Waters on NBC in 1934 according to several sources, but I don't think the two shows are related.  The NBC effort would have originated in New York where Ethel Waters was having considerable success on the theater stage; as a syndicated Transco program, our "Plantation Echoes" program would have likely been recorded in Hollywood.  The style of the disc pressing - laminated shellac - leads me to think it dates from as early as 1929 or maybe as late as 1933 or '34.

Unfortunately, when the disc was shipped to me, it was broken into three pieces.  So I reassembled the disc and tried my best to do a transfer and edit it into something listenable.  I played the disc in sections, constantly shifting the tonearm weight and anti-skating and replaying sections to get it to track as best as I could.  However, there are still several skips in the show opening, at the end of side one and the beginning of side two.  The edited file was run through some heavy click reduction to minimize the pops and clicks as much as possible.  At least, it can give you an overall idea of the program contents even if it is difficult to listen to at times.

The previous owner of the disc, who had it in his collection since 1977, never played the transcription or had a transfer made, so this is likely all we have left of this particular show unless a 1960s or early 70s tape of the disc pops up somewhere.

I'll leave it to others more familiar with African-American history to remark on the cultural content of the program.  As far as my knowledge of old time radio goes, it's rare to hear all all-Black or mostly-Black cast featured on a series from this time period. I can't recall any other series where African-Americans were playing stereotypes like these for comedy - whites playing Blacks in character, like Amos n' Andy, or recreating minstrel routines, like Pick and Pat, were much more common on radio at the time.

One odd thing that perhaps a listener can confirm or comment on - at around 16:30, in the number "Ain't It a Shame", it sounds like the bass singer keeps singing the line as "A G*****n shame" after the first chorus or two.  Am I hearing that right?

The program was transferred from an original laminated shellac Radio Transcription Company of American transcription, matrix numbers R-214 and R-215.

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Nonsense and Melody - Pgm 27

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Here's another fun quarter hour of "Nonsense and Melody", a series syndicated by Transco starting in circa 1935.  The series was recorded in the Freeman Lang Studios in late 1934.

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Program 27 is one of my favorites in the series.  Hosts Frank Gill, Jr. and Bill Doemling, who were comedians at KHJ, do an intro to the show that quickly seques into a hot jazz number, "It's Wonderful Weather for Love", sung by Jean Cowan.  The Three Jack Tars do a great novelty tune called "An Animal Trainer Am I".  The framing device for the series is a cruise and this week they're in Vienna, so Gill and Doemling do an opera sketch, "Babes in the Hollywoods".

The show was digitized from an original red vinyl Bruce Eells and Associates - Broadcasters Program Syndicate transcription pressed in the 1940s.

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Nonsense and Melody - Pgm 26

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

We haven't heard episodes of "Nonsense and Melody" in quite some time, so I'll start putting up the remaining episodes in my collection of this syndicated comedy variety show produced by Transco in 1935-36.

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The show takes the form of a kind of world cruise and the troop has just left Switzerland.  Featured comedians Gill and Doemling kick off the program, introducing a number by a crack banjo player giving us a jazzed up version of "Oh Susanna".  Fifi sings a sexy little French number then Gill and Doemling doing a sketch where a drunk man visits a real estate agent.  The Jack Tars close out the show with an unidentified song.

The program was transferred from an original red vinyl Bruce Eells and Associates vinyl transcription that dates from a later reissue of the show in the 1940s.

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Komedy Kingdom - Pgm 2

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Here's another episode of the charming 1937 Transco syndicated series, "Komedy Kingdom", which evolved from a local show on KRFC, San Francisco.

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In program 2, titled "Marriage", vaudeville veteran Al K. Hall talks about his marriage and Morey Amsterdam (later of "Dick Van Dyke Show" fame) compares a typical marriage to a prize fight.  Music includes "The Girl in the Garden (and the Boy at the Gate) from the chorus and Mabel Todd singing "You're Not the Kind of a Boy (For a Girl Like Me)".

The show was transferred from an original shellac Transco transcription disc.  The First Generation Radio Archives has released a cd set comprising the entire series transferred from unplayed file copies of the shows.

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Nonsense and Melody - Pgm 25

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Once again we spend another quarter hour with comedians Gill and Doemling as they play host to "Nonsense and Melody", a syndicated Transco program from 1935-36.

In program 25 of the series, the ship's tour is in the Alps, so we get some comedy about yodeling, avalanches and skiing, including a yodeling number by a couple of Swiss kids.

The Jack Tars do a really nice arrangement of "The Object of My Affection" and Jean sings "Your Guess is Just as Good As Mine".

The transfer was made directly from an original red vinyl Bruce Eeels and Associates transcription, probably pressed for re-release of the series in the 1940s.

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Komedy Kingdom, Pgm 1

Friday, October 10th, 2008

"Komedy Kingdom" was produced by Transco in 1937 using many of the performers and material used on "The Blue Monday Jamboree", a program running locally on KFRC in San Francisco, and later on CBS and Mutual-Don Lee, from 1927 to the mid-1930s.

In Program 1 in the series, titled "Royalty", comedian Joe Blow tries out for the position of Court Jester.  The Rhythmettes perform "The Queen Was in the Parlor,"  Broader and MacDonald sing "The India Rubber Man," and  "Love is King" is sung by Tony Romano.

The First Generation Radio Archives has assembled a wonderful restored collection of the programs and has a detailed web page about the series.  This MP3 was transferred directly from a blue shellac Transco disc from my collection.  It hasn't gone through the CEDAR audio restoration process done on the First Generation Radio Archives set - so, if you enjoy the series, I encourage you to buy the CD set they're offering of the series.

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