Archive for the 'Words with Music' Category

Words with Music - Pgm 28

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

If you were a GI on an island in the Pacific or fighting the War in Europe in the 1940s, wouldn't it have been nice to hear a romantic voice from home?  Well, that's the idea behind the series "Words with Music", produced by the Armed Forces Radio Network.

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Program 28 features love sonnets read by Jane Wyatt, accompanied by organist Milton Charles.

Poetry reading programs were quite common in old time radio and popular on the networks in the early 30s; they continued to be heard on many local stations around the country into the 1950s.  Ernie Kovack's did his own parody of the style with his famous Percy Dovetonsils character.

Our program was transferred direct from an undated original vinyl AFRS transcription.

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Words With Music - Pgm 1

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Here's a new series on the blog that's not particularly well known and likely for good reason. At one time, programs of poetry readings weren't uncommon on radio, but they seemed to fall by the wayside after War, at least on the national networks.  You'd still find them on local stations for several years.

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"Words With Music" was the Armed Forces Radio's attempt at the genre.  Organist Milton Charles provided the background music and various starlets would step up to the microphone to try their hand at Shakespeare, Keats and the works of other poets.  You might be surprised who turns up on some of the programs.

Program 1 of the series is a previously "lost" program in the series and features Merle Oberon.

Milton Charles had a long career starting in the silent movie days and later on records and radio.  According to a LA Times article, he passed away in 1991 at the age of 94.  Merle Oberon, of course, is best remembered for her work in classic films like "Wuthering Heights" and "The Private Life of Henry VIII".

The show was transferred from an original vinyl War Department Armed Forces Radio Service transcription that is undated, but is likely from the early War period.

I'll drop in a few of these rare shows on the blog in coming months featuring a few stars you might recognize.

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