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Entries Tagged as 'Christmas related'

World Program Service - Disc 325

December 10th, 2009 · Comments

Now, another entry in a series of Christmas-themed dramas from the World Program Service.  This series of discs was part of a package distributed to local stations as part of a station library package.  Usually, these discs contain music, jingles and the occasional dramatic reading.

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Disc 325 is "These The Humble", a fully produced half-hour Christmas drama starring Joe E. Brown.  The story concerns a nightclub performer that's down on his luck at Christmas.The show was transferred from a red vinyl World Program Service transcription, matrix numbers BB-51848-B1 and BB-58149-B1.  The original is rather scratchy, so I've run it through some noise reduction software to improve the sound.

Two more discs from this series will be posted on the blog as we approach Christmas.

Tags: drama · Christmas related

World Program Service - Pgm 275

December 4th, 2009 · Comments

This week, the second in a series of Christmas-themed old time radio shows you probably haven't heard before.  They're part of a station library package released by World Program Service in the 1940s and feature well-known actors and actresses in holiday related shows that could be run on a local station during the season.

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Disc 275 in the set is the drama "His Wonders to Perform".  Dorothy Lamour, taking a break from going "on the road" with Hope and Crosby, plays a woman who has to choose between her singing career and her family life.  With the holidays approaching and a child involved, I think I know what she'll decide...

The program was transferred from a red vinyl vertical cut World Program Service transcription, matrix numbers BB-50971-A1 and BB-50972-A1.

Again, my special thanks to listener Michael Utz for his donation of these World Program Service transcriptions to my collection.

Tags: Christmas related

World Program Service - Disc 174

November 26th, 2009 · Comments

Well, since Thanksgiving is behind us, I think I can safely start a bit of Christmas programming.  You're in for a treat over the next few weeks as I post some Christmas shows you've probably never heard before.

These half-hour dramas are part of a series put together by the World Program Service as part of their library transcription package for local stations.  Usually, these packages consisted mostly of music to use in shows or as filler or jingles for use on programs and commercials.

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However, they also included in the library package a series of Christmas dramas with famous stars that could be programmed by local stations during the holiday season.  Disc 174 is "Christmas Lane", an original Christmas season drama starring Pat O'Brien.  O'Brien plays a cop who saves a young man from a life of crime in the spirit of the holidays.  There's no intro for the show; it would have been provided by your local announcer, no doubt passing along holiday wishes from a department store or other local business.

The show was transferred from original red vinyl World Program Service vertical cut transcription, matrix numbers BB-50172-A1 and BB-50173-A1.  My apologies for the skip and groove damage in the last few minutes of the show.

A special tip of the hat to listener Michael Utz for his donation of this series of discs to my collection.

Tags: Christmas related

Christmas Seals 1951 - Fibber McGee and Molly

December 20th, 2008 · Comments

Note:  This program has been removed from my site, as of August 21, 2010.  Recently, Radio Spirits has issued take-down notices to archive.org and other sites concerning claims they have on particular series and shows.  These claims not only include exclusive license for particular series, but also claims on images, likenesses and recordings of particular personalities.  Since Radio Spirits doesn't publicly provide a list of shows they license or estates they represent, I'm taking preventive action and removing some programs from my site, based on forum posts and archived news articles I've seen on their claims and the estates they say they represent. - rand

Last week, we heard the Jack Smith-Margaret Whiting Show for Christmas Seals.  Now, let's flip over the disc and pay a visit to Wistful Vista with a Christmas themed "Fibber McGee and Molly".

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In this episode, Fibber tries to get out of shoveling snow and gets a visit from Doc Gamble, the Old Timer, and a traveling salesman.  In checking a log at otrsite.com, I found an episode called "Shoveling Snow" broadcast December 26, 1950 and the program is available at archive.org.  It sounds like the same recording, skillfully edited for a 15 minute format.  And you thought they didn't have reruns in the days of live radio.

As I mentioned in the Margaret Whiting post, the "Style A" on the label indicates this is a 15 minute show; I've seen Christmas Seals programs where "Style A" was a fifteen minute show and "Style B" was a thirty minute show by the same artist.  Anyone have a "Style B" version of this show?

The program was transferred from an original vinyl transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number NE1-MM-8137.

Tags: comedy · Fibber McGee and Molly · Christmas related · Radio Spirits removals

Favorite Story - Pgm 119 - A Christmas Carol

December 20th, 2008 · Comments

Christmas wouldn't be complete without someone doing their version of Dickens's "A Christmas Carol".  In keeping with the blog theme of offering the rare, esoteric and unusual, we give a listen to Ronald Coleman as host and Scrooge in "Favorite Story", program 119.

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According to Goldin, "Favorite Story", originated at NBC's Pacific network and was syndicated by Ziv, with this episode, the last in the series, first broadcast December 24, 1949.

The program was transferred from an original set of bright red vinyl Frederick W. Ziv syndication transcriptions.

Tags: drama · Ziv syndication · Christmas related

Kate Smith - Pgm 21

December 20th, 2008 · Comments

Originally heard on the CBS network, we offer in this post a special Christmas edition of the "Kate Smith Hour" as broadcast on AFRS, December 25, 1944.

In the show, Kate sings "When My Ship Comes In" and then we hear a sketch by the cast of "The Aldrich Family".  A highlight of the show is a stand-up routine by up and coming comic Jackie Gleason, who impersonates personalities such as Charles Laughton, Petter Lorre and Jimmy Durante and does a routine about falling in love with a jukebox.  Kate wraps things up with "Ave Maria".

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Goldin lists this as "possibly" an assembled show.  AFRS distributed programs to their stations on vinyl discs that had to be prepared weeks in advance, so this show may have been a mix of material from other Kate Smith programs or a previous Christmas program in the series or some type of rehearsal.

The show was transferred directly from an original AFRS vinyl transcription.

By the way, do you recognize our Santa Claus on the label?  He turns up on other AFRS Christmas issues and, more recently, on the label of one of the Uncle Remus discs featured in the blog last week.  It's an early example of "clip art", I suppose.

Tags: variety · AFRS · Christmas related

The Jack Smith-Margaret Whiting Show - Christmas Seals 1951

December 11th, 2008 · Comments

Jack and Margaret do a fast-paced review of music and patter, mostly dealing with the holidays.  Songs include Margaret's rendition of "Moonlight in Vermont" and "I Am Loved".  The program sounds as though it might have been assembled from another radio show.

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"Smilin'" Jack Smith hosted a radio show in the late 1940s and appeared in a couple of films - "Make Believe Ballroom" and "On Moonlight Bay".  Later, he was the host of "You Asked for It" on television.  Margaret Whiting's heydey was the 1950s, when she recorded for Capital Records.  When she was age 55, she married Jack Wrangler.  (The Wikipedia article on Wrangler has some curious tidbits about their relationship, if you're interested in some celebrity salaciousness.)

The mp3 was transferred from an original RCA pressing, matrix number NE1-MM-8142.  Incidentally, the "Style A" notation on the label, I believe, indicates this is a 15 minute version of the show. I've seen Christmas Seals sets with both styles "A" and "B" transcriptions, with the A version a 15 minute show and the B style a 30 minute program by the same artist.

Next week, we'll hear the flip side of the disc featuring Fibber McGee and Molly.

Tags: music · Christmas related

Salvation Army at Christmas 1949

December 11th, 2008 · Comments

This week on the blog, we're featuring a couple of Christmas-themed public service programs.  Back in the days when radio played a much larger role in the media landscape, charities didn't just send public service announcements to stations to promote their work - they'd send full, slickly produced special entertainment programs featuring top stars that stations could play from transcriptions.

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First up, a very nicely recorded program of light classical music with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and many well known opera stars.  Lawrence Tibbett reminisces about the first time he sang publicly for a Salvation Army event and Jean Hersholt, radio's "Dr. Christian", makes an appearance.  Other performers heard include Set Svanholm, James Wallington, Glenn Wheaton, Licia Albanese, Jussi Bjoerling, Kirsten Flagstad, and Winifred Heidt.

The show was transferred directly from a set of transcriptions pressed by RCA, matrix numbers RR 17174 and RR 17175.

Tags: classical music · Christmas related

Uncle Remus - Pgm 2

December 6th, 2008 · Comments

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

Continuing with our look at "Uncle Remus", here's program 2 in the series, "The Tar Baby".

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As we mentioned in the last post, this series was syndicated in late 1947 for the holidays and featured Jimmy Scribner, a Black-dialect actor and comedian, who played all the roles in the show (except the children, of course).  The story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby is probably the most well-known of the Uncle Remus folk tales, forming one of the major animated sequences in Disney's film adaptation of the stores, "Song of the South" released during the same time period as this radio series.

The show was transferred from an original Cardinal vinyl transcription, matrix number CAR-A-732.

Tags: kids and juvenile · African-Americans · Uncle Remus · Christmas related

Uncle Remus - Mud Pies

December 6th, 2008 · Comments

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

Today, we begin a series of posts devoted to holiday-themed old time radio programs that will go on the blog/podcast through the month of December.

First up, two very rare shows from the series "Uncle Remus".  The series was syndicated by Cardinal beginning with the 1947 Christmas season and was designed to be run five days a week through the holidays.

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The program features Jimmy Scribner, a well known actor who created, scripted and acted all the parts in the Black-dialect soap opera, "The Johnson Family".  (You can hear a sample episode of "The Johnson Family" here.)  Scribner even tried a trial run of the show on a Los Angeles television station in the 1940s.

In "Uncle Remus", Scribner tackles the classic African-American Uncle Remus folk tales, playing all the roles in the show.  Some programs in the series have a story with a holiday theme and others don't, but all featured a framing device of children getting ready for Christmas and hearing Uncle Remus tell stories.

Documentation on the show is a bit slim - R.R. King on the otr mailing list dug up several newspaper ads from around the country when the show was first run.  After the initial run, it appears that the show's titled was changed to "Sleepy Joe" and these later programs show up at sites like archive.org, sometimes under the "Uncle Remus" name.  The re-recording of the show and name change may have occurred because of Disney's "South of the South", which was playing in theaters in 1946-47, or due to other local or regional radio shows featuring the Remus stories, but that's simply conjecture on my part.  Scribner did a television version of "Sleepy Joe" around 1950.

"Mud Pies" was transferred from an acetate dub of one of the original transcription discs.  The origins of this dub are obscure - perhaps it was created as a replacement for a disc that was lost or damaged by one of the stations that purchased the "Uncle Remus" package.

Tags: kids and juvenile · African-Americans · Uncle Remus · Christmas related

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