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Entries Tagged as 'Treasury Department'

Guest Star - Pgm 11

September 28th, 2010 · Comments

Here's another one of those very early programs in the long-running public service series "Guest Star", featuring famous guests giving us a bit of entertainment as they pitch US Savings Bonds.


Program 11 has Beatrice Kay with Kenny Delmar and Denes Agay and the Savings Bonds Orchestra.  Kay, doing her Gay 90s schtick, gives us "They Stuck Me with a Bustle" and reenacts a Gay 90's romance with announcer Kenny Delmar.  The flip side of the disc is the  Bob Hope-Bing Crosby episode with the atrocious laugh-track, posted on the blog earlier.

The show was digitized from an original Treasury Department vinyl transcription, matrix number ND7-MM-5426-1C.  The opening on the disc is slightly upcut.

A tip of the hat goes to George Brandon for donating the disc to my collection!


Tags: music · comedy · Treasury Department

Guest Star - Pgm 12

August 19th, 2010 · Comments

Finally this week, a hard to find early entry in the long running, star-studded Treasury Department public service series, "Guest Star". Program 12 in the series features Bob Hope and Bing Crosby along with host Kenny Delmar and Denes Agay and the Savings Bond Orchestra and Chorus.  Agay and the Orchestra kick off the show with "After You've Gone".  In the Hope and Crosby segment, the guys crack jokes about each other and savings bonds while Hope plugs his new movie, "My Favorite Brunette".  The side is dated April 10, 1947 in the matrix, so I'm assuming that's the date the master for the show was recorded.

transcription label

Episodes of "Guest Star" and programs featuring Hope or Crosby aren't unusual, but there's one thing about this show that makes it distinctive - it's an early (and likely the most atrocious) example I've run into of a canned laugh track.  If you listen closely, it's obvious that Hope and Crosby segment was recorded separately and some unseen engineer has layered in laughs and often inappropriate audience reaction to Hope and Crosby's banter.

I posted about the show's laugh track to the OTR mailing list.  Scholar Michael Biel sent in a helpful response, conjecturing the laugh track might be the work of Jack Mullin.  Mullin, of course, worked with Crosby to record his network radio show on a German tape machine and tape stock that Mullen brought back from Europe after the War.  Mullin says he saved snippets of laughs and audience reaction to "sweeten" Bing's show, "creating" the laugh track.

But I'm not sure this is Mullin's handiwork.  The show dates from April 1947 and Biel, in an earlier mailing list message archived on this site, noted that Bing's show on ABC was recorded and edited on laquers at this time - it was only mastered on tape starting October 7, 1947.  According to Wikipedia's article on Mullin, Bing saw a demonstration of the tape machines for the first time in June 1947, a couple of months after this "Guest Star" episode was mastered.

So, what do you think?  Is this an early attempt by Jack Mullin to show off what could be done with tape?  Or is it some anonymous radio engineer with some lacquers of laughs and audience twitters on a couple of turntables?  Perhaps if Bing heard this bad laugh track on the final version of this "Guest Star" episode, it might have made him even more excited about the possibilities of Mullin's tape recorder when he saw it a couple of months later.

The use of prerecorded laughs in radio isn't as well documented, but this show seems like an early and very primitive attempt at giving an impression of a "live" audience - I still wonder if it might be the earliest surviving example.   Certainly, some Armed Forces Radio programs had applause inserted, particularly when they were covering an edited commercial segment or were making a transition in the sides of the show.  But I'm hard pressed to think of an example where audience reaction for a whole segment is being simulated.  It's certainly worth more research on this show and other resources by someone to see how early use of canned laughs developed on radio before it became such an annoying presence on television sitcoms.

The program was transferred from an original vinyl Treasury Department transcription, matrix number ND7-MM-5430-1C.

Thanks to blog listener George Brandon for donating this intriguing disc to my collection!


Tags: comedy · variety · Treasury Department

Guest Star - Pgm 271

May 13th, 2010 · Comments

Let's pause for a bit of light music.  It's the long-running Treasury Department public service program, "Guest Star".

Program 271 is from June 1, 1952 and the guest is Jane Pickens.  Harry Sosnick kicks off the show with "Younger Than Springtime" and Jane sings "I'll Be Seeing You" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love".  The announcer is John Conte.

Transcription label

The program was transferred to digital from an original Allied Record vinyl transcription.

Many thanks to blog listener Michael Utz for contributing the disc to my collection!


Tags: music · Treasury Department

Guest Star - Pgm 108

January 10th, 2010 · Comments

"Guest Star" was a long-running series originally broadcast from the 1940s through the 1960s to promote the sale of US Savings Bonds.  It may be the most common transcriptions that you run into as a collector.

transcription label

Usually, the show concentrated on musical performances, but earlier shows in the series did feature short fifteen minute dramas on occasion.  Here's one of those unusual little compact dramas, "The Old Character" with guest star Edward Arnold, program 108 in the series originally heard April 17, 1949. In the show, "the old character" is hired to pan gold in exhibit for the centennial of the discovery of gold in California.  The program also features Roger Bowman and Harry Sosnik and the Savings Bond Orchestra.

Our mp3 originated from original Allied Record vinyl transcription.

Thanks again to blog listener Michael Utz for the disc


Tags: drama · Treasury Department

Guest Star - Pgm 272

September 18th, 2009 · Comments

Don't have time for a full, hour-long drama?  Well, try "Guest Star", a quarter-hour public Treasury Department service program promoting US Savings Bonds.  This long-running series usually featured musical performances, but many consisted of comedy or drama, such as program 272 in the series, distributed for broadcast June 8, 1952.

transcription label

Harry Sosnik and the Savings Bond Orchestra start things off with a peppy arrangement "Dizzy Fingers".  Then we hear the main feature, radio favorite and "Night Beat" star Frank Lovejoy in a short drama about a soldier in Korea called "Nothing Happens Here".

The show was transferred from an original Allied Record vinyl transcription.

Thanks again to Michael Utz for his donation of the disc to my collection.


Tags: drama · Treasury Department · Korean War

Guest Star, Pgm 18

March 21st, 2009 · Comments

We've heard the long-running public service series, "Guest Star", sponsored by the Treasury Department and promoting the sale of Savings Bonds, on the blog before.  This week, we investigate an early entry in the series when they would book more famous actors and comedians for the show.

transcription label

Program 18 of the series will be of interest to fans of the "Sherlock Holmes" radio series.  Guest Basil Rathbone and series announcer Kenny Delmar stage a comedy sketch about a famous detective and his not-too-bright assistant.  The show also features music by the Three Dollars with Denes Agay.  If the incomplete log of the series at otrsite is accurate, then this show would have dated from circa 1947.

The program was transferred from an original transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number ND7-MM-5435.


Tags: comedy · Treasury Department

Guest Star, Pgm 17

February 8th, 2009 · Comments

Up next on the blog is an early episode of the long-running Treasury Department public service series, "Guest Star" that promoted the sale of US savings bonds.

transcription label

In this show, Kenny Delmar plays host to Hildegarde who sings "Among My Souvenirs" and "My Belle Aime".  The Savings Bond Orchestra with Miklos Schwab as the piano soloist gives us a short piece based on themes by Paganini.

The mp3 was taken directly from a Treasury Department vinyl disc, matrix number ND7-MM-5434-1C, probably pressed by RCA/NBC.  The show is dated January 18, 1947 in the vinyl trail-off area, which likely indicates when it was recorded.


Tags: music · Treasury Department · gay and lesbian · Hildegarde

Guest Star - 444 - Sept 25, 1955

July 31st, 2008 · Comments

Here's another episode of the popular Treasury Department public service program that ran for many years.  Program 444, originally broadcast the week of September 25, 1955, features Eartha Kitt backed by John Conte and Harry Sosnick and the Savings Bond Orchestra.

In the show, "Grenada"  and "Thine Alone" are performed by Sosnick and the orchestra and Eartha Kitt lends her unique voice to "C'est Si Bon".  She also does another number that I won't reveal here - I'll just let you listen to the show and be surprised by it.  It's not something you'd associate with Kitt's exotic image.

The program was transferred from an original Treasury Department vinyl transcription.  There's great sound in the show - a true hi-fi recording in near mint condition.


Tags: music · Treasury Department · public service

Guest Star - Pgm 443, Sept 18, 1955, Portrait by Cupid with Vincent Price

July 23rd, 2008 · Comments

"Guest Star" was a series with hundreds of episodes released to radio stations in the 1940s and through the early 60s to promote the sales of US Savings Bonds.  The program is more well-known for musical guests, but, on occasion, an actor or comedian would be given a turn at the microphone.

In program 443, dated September 18, 1955, we hear Vincent Price in a short drama called "Portrait by Cupid" that involves a talented painter, counterfeiting and, of course, love.  It's not the best-known or best work in Price's long career, but it's fun to hear him in this setting.  The fifteen minute format didn't allow for much character or plot development, so the script is a little simplistic; that's probably why they didn't try this format often for the series.

The show, in near hi-fi quality, was transferred from an original Treasury Department transcription in almost mint condition.  This comes from a period when the discs were pressed extra-thin - if you saw it and you were a knowledgeable record collector, it might remind you of RCA's "dynaflex" albums from the 1970s.


Tags: drama · Treasury Department · public service

Treasury Star Parade - Pgm 254, Sept 11, 1943

May 23rd, 2008 · Comments

We heard another show in this series featuring Fibber McGee and Molly a few weeks ago on the blog. In this post, "Treasury Star Parade", program 254 from September 11, 1943. Produced by the Treasury Department to promote the sale of War Bonds during WWII, the series morphed into "Guest Star", which was used to promote US Savings Bonds well into the late 50s.

This episode features Freddy Martin and His Orchestra performing "Isn't It Love" with a vocal by Gene Walsh, "Holiday for Strings", and "In My Arms". The show also includes the radio premiere of a war-themed tune, "Bells of Victory", again with a vocal by Gene Walsh.


Tags: music · Treasury Department