Once in a while, you run into the most puzzling things in batches of “throwaway” transcription discs. This one had me asking “What the heck?”
This is an audition for a half-hour game show called “Tune Test”. Similar to “Stop the Music”, the host of the show would call random numbers and ask contestants to identify a song and answer a music-related question.
What’s odd about this disc is that I can’t really decide if it’s a real audition for an actual proposed program or some kind of elaborate gag or parody of these game shows.
You never hear the contestants on the other end of the line - just the host, Jack Fuller, hawking the fake product "Dimaxio", which does everything and is available everywhere, and creating the most elaborate reactions to the “callers”.
Is this Jack Fuller the same guy who was an announcer for “Vic and Sade”?
I have no idea if he was working from a script or improvising around some loose notes - regardless, it’s a remarkable acting performance.
Our mp3 was transferred from a 16” thin vinyl transcription produced by Radio Ventures, Inc, 75 E Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois and labeled “Tone Test Audition with Merchandise Awards”. The master numbers U-1629 and U-1630 and the numbers D-49034 and D-49035 are etched in the run-off.
My Google searching couldn’t turn up anything on Jack Fuller except listings at Goldin for his announcing work on “Vic and Sade” and absolutely nothing on “Radio Ventures, Inc”. Based on references to "The Jolson Story" and similarities to "Stop the Music", I'm guessing this dates from the late '40s.
What do you think? Is this a real audition or a satire made as some kind of joke?
I knew if I put out a call on some OTR related Facebook groups, someone could find info on this.
Yes, it was a real show that made it air for a brief period.
Martin Grams found a review of the September 12, 1949 premiere of the program. The show ran for 25 minutes, Monday through Friday, at 2:00 pm on WGN in Chicago. It was directed by Carlyle Stevens and a combo called the Tune Testers that worked under other names on WGN’s other programs - Sam Porfirio, Ben Carlton, Fred Kissing, and Al Barathy. Norman Kraeft was the announcer and Jack Fuller was the emcee.
The reviewer noted that there were four giveaway shows on WGN, “despite the recent FCC crackdown on phone gimmick lotteries”. It sounds as though the format was the same. “Fuller does a neat stint with the phones, but he has so many prizes to give away, with credit lines attached, that he has to race to stay with the schedule,” the reviewer said. “Considering the load of yak carried, the direction kept the tempo bubbling well. But less buzzing and fewer minor prizes could make the program a much catchier affair.”
Grams also found an article dated September 28, 1949 noting that Radio Features Inc was seeking a delay in Federal Court on it’s suit for a permanent injunction against the FCC’s ban on phone giveaway programs. The president of the company, Walt Schwimmer, had secured a temporary injunction, preventing FCC action against “Tune Test” and another program, “Tele-Test”. The company was pushing the case into what they thought would be a more favorable Federal court in New York, with a hearing scheduled for October.
Andrew Sternberg found a few references to the program host, Jack Fuller, in the June 28, 1947 edition of Billboard. He was a personality on Chicago radio and television and the Billboard article reviews the “Sachs Amateur Hour” on WENR and WCFL, Chicago, a program where Fuller acted as an announcer.
It would be curious to hear one of the actual programs. I wonder how Fuller could have kept up the pace on a five-day-a-week show like this with the kind of patter he was having to come up with.
Even though it's real, it still sounds like a parody of radio games shows to me.