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Entries Tagged as 'WW II related'

Warren Atherton speech - November 1, 1944

January 18th, 2017 · Comments

In this post, an anti-FDR speech by Warren Atherton, a noted American lawyer who was Commander of the American Legion from 1943 to 1944 and who designed the so-called GI Bill.  The speech is sponsored by the Republican National Committee and was heard on WABC, New York - I haven’t seen listings that would indicate it was carried on the wider CBS network.  The announcer on the program is Ford Bond.

In his speech, Atherton blasts FDR and the Democrats for not preventing the War, appeasing the Axis powers, and not preparing for the build up of the military for the War.  He also emphasizes how FDR and the Democrats won’t support the widows of those who died in the War or create jobs and support for returning veterans.

The speech came in the aftermath of a bitter fight by the American Legion to pass the GI Bill, outlined in this NEH website article.

The Legion introduced the Serviceman’s Readjustment Ac in Congress as an omnibus bill in early 1944 to prevent consideration of the bills components by various committees.  FDR had asked Congress in October 1943 to fund educational and vocational training for returning GIs, with an eye towards integrating millions of servicemen back into the civilian economy.  Debate on the issue heated up all through the first half 1944, coming to a head as our servicemen were storming the beaches at Normandy for D-Day.

“To gain public support, the Legion conducted a national publicity campaign. Two-minute movies, which featured battle scenes and an appeal for support, were shown in movie theaters. Four hundred radio spots, some of which featured disabled veterans, explained the program. Hearst newspapers touted the bill in articles and editorials. Other newspapers ran the Legion’s editorials in full, even providing readers with coupons they could cut out and send to their congressmen to show support. In Washington, the Legion assembled a war room, with a chart listing where each member stood on the bill. Its team walked the halls of Congress, talking up senators, representatives, and their staffs. If a member needed persuading, Legion chapters located in the member’s district inundated them with telegrams and letters.”

An opposing bill was offered by four other veteran’s organizations - Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Regular Veterans Association.  They felt that wounded vets should be the first responsibility of the country and that the GI bill would detract from that focus.  After much back-room dealing and intrigue, the GI Bill was signed by FDR on June 12, 1944.

Just six months later, Atherton was slamming FDR and the Democrats in this speech for Dewey.  Reading the full story of how the GI Bill came to pass, the American Legion’s approach here is rather curious and almost petty - Atherton and the Legion got everything they wanted with the GI Bill in a bi-partisan effort, but offered no recognition to the work that FDR and the Democrats put into the effort.  Looking back at the speech today, it sounds more like a grab for raw political power by Warren Atherton, rather than a genuine interest in the affairs of servicemen.

Our program was transferred from an original one-sided 16” lacquer from Empire Broadcasting Corp, 480 Lexington Avenue, New York.



Tags: WW II related · politics

John L. Lewis speech - October 25, 1940

January 18th, 2017 · Comments

We’re going to skip ahead a few years from our previous post and look at a response to FDR’s New Deal and his two terms in office.

John L. Lewis served as president of the United Mine Workers for four decades and was one of the founders of the Congress of Industrial Organizations that organized other workers around the country.  Lewis backed FDR in 1936, but became an isolationist on the eve of World War II and supported Wendell Wilkie.

In this post, we hear a half-hour speech given by Lewis in support of Wilkie originally broadcast on all four networks on October 25, 1940, just a couple of weeks before the election.  The broadcast, sponsored by the National Committee of Democrats for Wilkie, originated from Washington, DC.

In the speech, Lewis slams FDR as not friend of labor by moving the US towards war.  The speech is notable because Lewis famously committed to resigning from his position with the CIO if labor disagreed with him.

Lewis resigned after the election when 85% of the CIO supported Roosevelt.

This speech appears to be previously lost.  I’ve only found one archives who has a copy (in Australia, of all places) and they only have one of the discs.

The speech, carried on all four networks, was slotted for thirty minutes, but this recording appears to run longer than that - almost 34 minutes.  The labels on the discs note that it is the “complete speech”, so Lewis may have been cut off the network when he ran long.

The program includes the introduction for Lewis and the outcue for the CBS network.  At the end of the program, you can hear other announcers in the background - it may be the other announcers for the other networks giving the network cues for their own stations.

Our mp3 was transferred from a set of three sides on two red vinyl 16” transcriptions pressed by Time Abroad, Inc., 79 West 57th Street, New York, matrix numbers TR-2802S, TR-2803S, and TR-2806S.  One disc in the set is cracked from the edge to the lable, so you’ll hear a regular “tick” on two of the parts.


Tags: WW II related · politics

Village Store - Pgm 87

July 10th, 2012 · Comments

Some comedy now with the "Sealtest Village Store", a series with a bit of a convoluted history.

Originally the series premiered in 1943 with Joan Davis as a followup to the "Rudy Vallee Show".  Davis got her own solo show in 1945, with her co-host, Jack Haley, taking over hosting dues until he departed in 1947.  Then, Eve Arden emerged from the cast to carry the program and she was later joined by Jack Carson.  Both Arden and Carson left the program in 1948, with Arden starring in her own sitcom, "Our Miss Brooks".


Program 87 of the series, heard on the Armed Forces Radio Service as "Village Store", was originally broadcast on NBC on May 17, 1945.  The episode has a wartime theme, with Jack trying to make up his mind whether he's going to buy a speedboat or a War Bond.

The mp3 was transferred from an original AFRS vinyl transcription and appears to be a previously lost episode of the series.

There's probably plenty more episodes of this series to emerge from AFRS discs.  Despite being on the air for a few years, Goldin only lists 23 programs existing in his database.


Tags: comedy · WW II related

Words with Music - Pgm 28

July 10th, 2012 · Comments

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.


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.


Tags: AFRS · WW II related · Words with Music

GI Jive and KGEI Shortwave sign-off - excerpts - circa 1946

May 3rd, 2012 · Comments

Continuing from our previous post, we hear a brief one minute mp3 from a home recorded 10" lacquer.  The other side of the disc contained a ten minute excerpt from a national Basketball League game.  This side contained very short test recordings.

This particular cut is curious because it's a shortwave aircheck of the opening of Armed Forces Radio's "GI Jive" and the closing of the show with KGEI, San Francisco giving their sign-off.  OTR era airchecks are rare and rarer still are sign-offs from shortwave stations of this period.

KGEI was owned and operated by General Electric, broadcasting to Latin America and Asia as a commercial venture.  By World War II, as one of the few privately owned shortwave stations on the air, KGEI was enrolled to help the US government get balanced views about the War to overseas audiences.  It's interesting that the announcer in this clip refers to KGEI as "The Voice of America" - this may have been from the period when VOA was using commercial facilities for its broadcasts.

Our mp3 was dubbed directly from a home recorded unlabeled 10" lacquer running at 33.3 rpm.


Tags: WW II related

Here’s Morgan - June 10, 1946

December 19th, 2010 · Comments

Here's my Christmas gift to you.  Or, at least some of you that are fans of the acerbic wit of Henry Morgan.

Henry Morgan was a bit ahead of his time with his cynical comedy that would later flower with comedians like Bob and Ray and publications such as Mad magazine.  Morgan got his start with a quarter hour stream of consciousness comedy show on Mutual where he was famous for skewering sponsors and poking fun at the conventions of radio.

There's only a few episodes floating around of Morgan's fifteen minute show, even though Goldin lists several as being in existence - many from the Mutual run from 1941-42 and only two when the show was carried on ABC in 1945-46.  Here's a previously lost episode of Morgan's work that I've not seen documented elsewhere, originally heard on June 10, 1946 on ABC and originating at WJZ, New York.

The show dates from just a few months before Morgan would start a half-hour comedy-variety series on ABC.  (You can hear several episodes from the run at archive.org and I posted an AFRS version of one episode a few months ago in the blog.)

In the show, Morgan pokes fun at Walter Winchell, takes us inside the mind of a landlord, referencing wartime rationing and shortages, and comments on the recent film "Cluny Brown" and Orson Welles's doomed Broadway musical version of "Around the World in 80 Days".  The commercials include Gallo Wine, Esquire boot polish and Topps chewing gum.

This episode of "Here's Morgan" appears to have survived because it was transcribed - the disc is part of a recent purchase I made of odd test discs and "throwaways" from various stations from a private collection.  So, it can pay off to carefully go through stacks of odd discs like this from local stations.

If you would like to know a bit more about Henry Morgan, WFMU has an extensive blog entry appreciation of Morgan's work.  And here's a profile of Morgan from the April 14, 1947 edition of Life magazine that includes some great photos, including the famous "praying to the razor" shot that got him in trouble with his sponsor, Eversharp.  (The ads interspersed with the article, by the way, are just a wonderfully funny as Morgan's parodies and include one featuring Senator Claghorn from the "Fred Allen Show".)

There's no scan on this transcription since there's no label - just a very light grease pencil notation on the label reading "Morgan" and "6-10-46" on the signle sided lacquer.


Tags: comedy · WW II related · rand's favorites

Coronation of King George VI - May 12, 1937

November 19th, 2010 · Comments

With the recent news about the announcement of a royal wedding, I thought it would be a good time to visit a curious disc set in my collection that featured another royal event in the news.

In the middle of the unrest in Europe, Great Britain faced an upheaval in the monarchy with George VI's ascension to the throne.  George's elder brother, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry the socialite Wallis Simpson.  The story received considerable coverage here in the US and the networks carried the BBC's coverage of the coronation of the new king.

transcription label

This disc set includes the ceremonies leading up to the coronation, the coronation itself, along with the new monarch's first speech and sounds as if it was recorded either direct from the shortwave feed or from a network line carrying the shortwave broadcast.  It's unclear to me if the coverage is continuous or represents various excerpts from the broadcast.

The origins of the disc set are obscure, but it appears to be produced by a small company as a souvenir of the event for US listeners.  It gives a good idea of what listeners heard stateside that tuned in to a royal event that only happens once a generation.

Our digital file was transferred from an original blue shellac 8-sided 12" 78 rpm set on the General Sound and Transcription Company label, matrix numbers AT1210 through AT1217.  The style of the pressing and matrix numbers indicates it may have been pressed by Columbia.

Update, 11/20/2010:  Date corrected.


Tags: WW II related · Depression-era · BBC

American Family Robinson - New Series - Pgm 143

August 12th, 2010 · Comments

And finally our last episode of "American Family Robinson - New Series".

Program 143 continues the story as the Robinsons go on a trip to Hollywood.  Mr. Robinson tries his hand at making hot dogs as Myra finds a woman who is contributing to War industry.  The show was broadcast the week of June 1, 1941.

transcription label

This uncirculated episode of the series was digitized from an Orthacoustic vinyl transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number MS 065463.

I'd like to offer my thanks again to the Old Time Radio Researchers Group that donated both the "American Family Robinson" and "New Series" discs to my collection a few months ago.


Tags: WW II related · American Family Robinson - New Series

American Family Robinson - New Series - Pgm 142

August 12th, 2010 · Comments

Well, we're up to the last two shows I have in the serial "American Family Robinson - New Series", released by the National Association of Manufacturers to promote conservative political polices for businesses.  This week I'm posting the last two shows together since they're a bit later in the series and in a different storyline that the episodes heard in weeks past.

The first "Family Robinson" series in the 1930s was created to combat Roosevelt's New Deal policies.  The "New Series" was written more to promote the idea that businesses could be on a war footing without any government intervention.

transcription label

These last two shows deal more directly with that theme, which was more obtuse in previous episodes.  In program 142, Luke and Myra are on their way to Hollywood and Mr. Robinson talks with a salesman who is being "loaned" to work a lathe to help the War effort.

This show was recorded for broadcast the week of June 1, 1941.  Keep in mind that this was six months before Pearl Harbor - it really demonstrates how the war in Europe had everyone preparing for the worst and realizing we probably couldn't stay out of conflict.

This previously lost episode of the series was transferred from original and Orthacoustic vinyl transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number MS 065462.


Tags: WW II related · American Family Robinson - New Series

Columbia Workshop - January 11, 1942

July 3rd, 2010 · Comments

In keeping with our Independence Holiday patriotic theme, we next offer up a seldom heard little broadcast from the "Columbia Workshop" series.  This one is circulating among collectors, but this copy offers a sound upgrade for the show.

transcription label

"Free Speech" was originally broadcast January 11, 1942.  It's a drama where different voices of the past, such as Churchill and Socrates, speak about the right to free speech.  The featured soloist is Lansing Hatfield, Metropolitan Opera Baritone and John Daly is your announcer.  The show was directed by Earle McGhill and music is from "The People, Yes" by Carl Sandburg, William C. White and Earl Robinson.

During the program, they announce that this is a rebroadcast of a program heard a few weeks earlier.  Goldin speculates it might have been heard on December 7, 1941; I would guess it was done as part of the larger Bill of Rights anniversary celebration that month that gave us Norman Corwin's "We Hold These Truths" heard earlier on the blog.

The show was digitized from an original Columbia vinyl transcription set, matrix numbers YTNY 996 and YTNY 999, probably pressed for educational institutions.  My apologies for the very slight groove damage in the first few minutes of the program.

Hats off to blog listener Michael Utz for donating this wonderful rare disc to my collection!


Tags: drama · WW II related