Archive for the 'women's issues' Category

Sunkist Musical Cocktail - March 15, 1931 (excerpt)

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

It wasn't until the mid-1930s that instantaneous lacquers took off as a way to preserve live radio shows.  So recordings of radio's earliest years are quite rare.  "Sunkist Musical Cocktail" was a musical variety program that featured Hollywood stars as guests.  The sponsor, taking advantage of the Hollywood glamor, had some excerpts from the series recorded and released them as promotional items giving us a glimpse at this early radio effort.

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In this mp3, we hear an excerpt from the broadcast of March 15, 1931, originally broadcast on CBS.  Guest Ann Harding discusses her career with Louella Parsons, including references to a screen test arranged by Rudolph Valentino and Harding's stage work.  According to Elizabeth Mcleod, the recording was originally made by Hollywood Film Laboratories.

The disc includes an introduction with a brief sponsorship message for Sunkist recorded especially for this release of the recording.  Our mp3 was transferred from an original 6" Flexo pink celluloid plastic 78 disc, matrix numbers 6-59 and 6-60.

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I've put a fade out/in between side changes since I'm not sure if the sides are a continuous segment of the program.  It sounds a tad slow to me, but I double-checked the turntable speed with a strobe on this one; it may have been recorded slightly off speed.

Flexo may have recorded and released other interview excerpts in this series that aren't circulating.  I've seen references to recordings in existence of broadcasts of April 8, 1931 (Louella Parsons and Ruth Chatterton) and March 25, 1931 (Louella Parsons and Norma Shearer, matrix number 6-81/6-81).

Flexo, by the way, tried to promote their unusual new plastic records for a variety of purposes.  According to one online discography, they even released some 16" radio transcriptions pressed on green celluloid.  Anyone ever see one or have a label photo?

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The Mad Hatterfields - Audition

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

In this post, a half-hour audition for potential sponsors of the show "The Mad Hatterfields".  Previously broadcast as a quarter-hour serial on WLW-Mutual, this was an attempt to turn the show into something for an evening slot. Announcements during the show highlight different aspects of the talent involved in the series and the show's run as a fifteen minute feature.

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In the dramatic portion of the show, Edward arrives and is introduced to the different characters in the eccentric Hatterfield family.  A small group of strings and piano are used for the music, rather than the solo piano used in the fifteen minute version of the series.

The show, perhaps dating from circa 1939-40, was transferred from an original World Broadcasting two-sided lacquer.

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The Mad Hatterfields - January 11, 1938

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

The "Mad Hatterfields" is a rather obscure fifteen minute serial from the 1930s originating at WLW in Cincinnati.  The program was written by Pauline Hopkins, whose other credits include radio's "First Nighter" and "Grand Hotel" and who played Meg on "The Mad Hatterfields".  The show was directed by Owen Vinson, later the director-producer of "Let George Do It".

The show is a fun serial that looks at an eccentric theatrical family.  The matron of the clan, Mama Hatterfield, struggles with her "glory days" being in the past; her brother Rolly is a pompous, free-spending thespian; one daughter who is flighty and falls in love with any man coming along while the other level-headed daughter tries to keep everyone in line.

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I have eight episodes from the series on original WLW laquers from 1938 and 1939.  No other programs appear to survive in private collections or archives and it's never been circulated among old time radio collectors to my knowledge.  The discs came from the collection of Marty Halperin, the vice president of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters.

I think these transcriptions only survived because they were used to assemble an audition disc for the series as a half-hour situation comedy.  (You can hear that audition in the next post.)  The discs included a handwritten sheet of notes on the different shows and the discs have some groove wear, indicating they were played several times as they prepared the audition show.

The program of January 11, 1938 has Nicki calling off his engagement with Meg and sailing for Paris.  Meg and the whole Hatterfield clan have rushed to the boat to find him.  Can Meg convince Nicki to stay and marry her?  The show is sponsored by Nestle's Lion brand irradiated evaporated milk.  The aives WLW id and states "This is the WLW line to New York."

A helpful blog listener dug up some infomration from newspapers on the show.  Mutual sent out a press release on July 3, 1938, noting that the program would premiere on Monday, June 27 from 4:45 to 500 pm.  The release also noted that "Midstream", a more serious serial, would premiere on the same date and was also written by Pauline Hopkins.

Another pr release from Januaruary 1, 1939 offered up praise for Pauline Hopkins:

"A MILLION WORDS WRITTEN FOR ONE RADIO PROGRAM For her 370 episodes of the “Mad Hatterfields,” Pauline Hopkins, author of the popular Mutual network serial, has written approximately 1,036,000 words. At 2,800 words per script, which in itself is above the average for air-dramas, but which is the result of an unusually fast pace set by the comedy, Miss Hopkins’ wordage is believed to be a near record. The author of “Mad Hatterfields” began writing at the age of seven, but gave up all hope of ever becoming a writer when her first novel, “The Scarlet Goods,” written before she was ten, brought nothing but hilarity from her family. Gathering material for her radio-drama, Miss Hopkins turns an eye to the members of her own family, and writes a story of artistic and lovably erratic people. “The Mad Hatterfields” originates in the studios of Mutual’s Cincinnati affiliate,, WLW, and is heard Monday through Friday at 3:45 p. m. over KBST."

A newspaper publicity photo from June 6, 1939 identifies some of the cast - Rolly was played by William Green, Meg by Pauline Hopkins, Nicky was Duane Snodgrass and Rita was portrayed by Betty Arnold.

Before airing on Mutual, the show appears to have been heard locally in July 1937 on WLW and left the air around June 1939.

Our mp3 was transferred direct from an original WLW lacquer.  It is previously uncirculated among otr collectors.

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Skinner’s Romancers - Pgm 3

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

A couple of weeks back, we heard program 2 in this series of "hot jazz" done by an unidentified band and vocalists.  Sponsored by William Skinner & Sonds, a textile company specializing in silks, the show appears to have been syndicated around 1931.

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A astute listener noted in the comments for the show that two of the recordings featured on that program were actually commercial Columbia releases by Ben Selvin featuring Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey.  So this was one of those shows assembled for a sponsor - a way to play records on the radio without actually saying they were "pho-no-graph re-cords", as per FCC instructions.

Program 3 of the series includes "You Got to Bend Down Sister" from the movie "Palmy Days", "Penny for Your Thoughts", and "You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)".  And, as usual, our mellow-toned early 30's announcer tells us all about the advantages of making your own clothing with Skinner fabrics.

The show was transferred from original single-sided Columbia Sound-on-Disc Division shellac transcription, matrix number 305130.  There's a "W" in circle just before matrix number, probably indicating that it was recorded on Western Electric equipment.

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Skinner’s Romancers - Pgm 2

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

As my last post this week, I'd like to offer a selection that will have your toes tapping - a bit of "hot jazz" to get your weekend started.

I recently obtained two discs from the now-forgotten series "Skinner's Romancers", a music program sponsored by William Skinner & Sons.  Program 2 in the series includes "My Bluebird's Back Again", "As Time Goes By", "She Gives All Her Attention to Me" and "My Sweet Tooth Says I Wanna (But My Wisdom Tooth Says No)" (or, at least, I think those are the titles of the tunes).  The band isn't identified, but they're quite good - any jazz experts out there have a clue on who these guys might actually be?

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Skinner was a company specializing in silks, so we hear little short commercials in between the tunes encouraging women to make their own clothes with Skinner fabrics.  You can read a history of Skinner and see some photos of the factories at this online exhibit and also check out a vintage 1920s ad for their wares.

There were dozens, if not hundreds, of these little syndicated shows floating around in the early 1930s.  Everyone wanted to advertise on radio and syndicating shows to individual stations was a good way for a regional or second-tier national advertiser to promote their products.  This show sounds similar to some other 1931-era syndicated programs linked at otrcats (see the lower right sidebar), so I wonder if some of the same people worked on them.  The label of this disc notes that the "program was prepared by Lucia Hackley, New York City" - anyone know who Hackley was?

The show was transferred from an original single-sided Columbia Sound-on-Disc Division shellac transcription, matrix number 305130.  There's a "W" in a circle just before matrix number, probably indicating it was recorded on Western Electric equipment

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Ladies Be Seated - October 30, 1945 excerpt

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

"Ladies Be Seated" was an audience participation game show that also had a run on early television.  Hosted by Johnny Olson and sponsored by Aunt Jemima pancake mix, with Jemima portrayed by Amanda Randolph, the show has only survived in a handful of examples.

Here we have the second half of the show of October 30, 1945 as it was originally heard on ABC radio.  In the program, a young newlywed couple from Ohio on their honeymoon in New York are interviewed in the first segment and, of course, given some prizes including a year's supply of Aunt Jemima pancake mix.

This previously lost excerpt was transferred from an original line check lacquer recorded by WREN in Lawrence, Kansas, probably to time-shift the show.

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Rosemary - July 22, 1946

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

This week, I'm starting a run of three episodes of the soap opera "Rosemary".  This show might not sound that interesting, but, trust me  - we're leading up to a really fun little episode of this series in a couple of weeks and this will set up the story for you.

"Rosemary" was broadcast first on NBC and then on CBS from 1945 to 1955.  The show was created by Elaine Carrington, who also gave us "Pepper Young's Family".  The story centers on Rosemary Dawson, a young secretary that works to support her mother and younger sister.

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A major storyline in the series was Rosemary's marriage to Bill Roberts.  Bill has a slight problem - he's a War vet and has amnesia.  So, as you're probably guessing Bill forgot that he was married to another woman.  This series of three episodes comes from right in the middle of the story and gives us an interesting peek into how things developed.

In this first post, we hear the program of July 22, 1946 broadcast on CBS.  Rosemary and her friend Brad, an artist, have arrived in New York by train.  They stop for lunch before Mary boards the train for Meadville.  Rosemary is looking for the woman in New York who may have been married to Bill.  Will Rosemary find this other woman?  Will Rosemary see how her artist friend is coming on to her?  The program was sponsored by Ivory Snow and includes a commercial for saving used kitchen fat.

The show was transferred from original line check KNX-CBS Radio Recorders lacquer transcription.

Next week, we learn what happens to your job when you go galloping across the country in search of your husband's ex-wife.

By the way - I was going to link to something about the sponsor, but they discontinued manufacturing Ivory Snow Flakes a few years back.  They just sell that liquid and powder stuff now.

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Grand Marquee - January 23, 1947

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

"Grand Marquee" is a series I'd never heard of before getting a line check lacquer of one of the shows in the series.  It sounds like an anthology series directed at women and the show originated in Chicago.

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From January 23, 1947 broadcast on NBC, we hear Olan Soule, Beryl Vaughn and announcer Kleve Kirby in "Love is a Better Word", a comedy about a young woman who is surprised to find a stranger at her door who asks her to marry him.  (You might recall Beryl Vaughn from another series on the blog, "Choose a Song Partner".)  The program is sponsored by Rayve Shampoo and Yankee Clover Toilet Water and Perfume.

And a bit of trivia about Beryl Vaughn - she was a featured player on radio's "Sky King".  Oh, and her husband might sound familiar - Ken Nordine.

The show was transferred from an original line check lacquer transcription set from an unknown NBC station.  The recording includes the NBC id and chimes, but no system cue

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Five Star Matinee - Pgm 43

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

The "Historical Dictionary of Amercian radio soap operas" by Jim Cox notes that "Five Star Matinee" was broadcast from December 31, 1956 through December 1958 and was placed on NBC's daytime schedule after the magazine-style program "Weekday" went off the air.  It was a drama anthology designed to appeal to daytime listeners, primarily women.  According to a 2006 newsletter from the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group, only around twenty episodes of the series survive, something not uncommon with late era old time radio broadcasts that were often recorded on tape that was reused or discarded.  So, here on the blog, I'm offering up the only show I have in the series.

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Program 43, as broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service and dated September 19, 1958 in the disc matrix, is a drama called "The Man is Always Right" by Sophie Kerr.

The show was transferred from an original AFRTS vinyl microgroove transcription.

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The Hour of Charm - Announcements

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Continuing from our previous post, we now hear a collection of announcements by "Evelyn" to promote the local "Hour of Charm" program featuring Phil Spitalny's All-Girl "Hour of Charm" orchestra.

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The announcements were transferred from an original vinyl RCA Thesaurus transcription, matrix number E1-MM-1741.

Special thanks to listener Michael Utz for his donation of the disc to the blog!

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