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Entries Tagged as 'music'

Guest Star - Pgm 679 - March 27, 1960

March 4th, 2017 · Comments

Here’s a program from late in the old time radio era, but the long-running series was well known during the era.

“Guest Star” was a program promoting US Savings Bonds.  It usually included musical guests that performed their latest tunes, but also included other types of performers hawking for the Treasury Department.

Program 679 for broadcast the week of March 27, 1960 features Warren Covington and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.  The first tune on the show is “The Tea for Two Cha-Cha”.  Del Sharbutt is the announcer.

At this point in the series, rock n’ roll had taken over AM radio and “Guest Star” was concentrating more on what we would think of today as “easy listening” or “adult contemporary” artists for their more adult audience.  This was from the microgroove era when four shows in hi-fi would be distributed on one 16” transcription.  It’s the type of show that might have popped up on the adult-oriented FM radio outlets of the period and gives us a glimpse of how the big bands and vocalists soldiered on through this new era of youth-oriented music that changed the industry.

Our show was transferred from an original 16” vinyl microgroove Treasury Department transcription.  My apologies for the skip that occurs during the opening tune.


Tags: music · Treasury Department

Sammy Kaye Showroom - Pgm 28

February 2nd, 2017 · Comments

“The Sammy Kaye Showroom” was a fifteen minute syndicated music program sponsored by Chrysler-Plymouth distributed around 1949.  Although at least seventy shows were produced in the series, only a handful circulate among collectors.  Sammy Kaye led one of the “sweet” bands, so the show hasn’t gotten as much attention as work by other big bands and jazz performers of the period that are of more interest to jazz collectors today.

The songs on program 28 include “Kiss Me Sweet”, “Louise”, “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now” and a new tune Kaye had just recorded, “Belmont Boogie”.  The vocals are by Laura Leslie and Tony Alamo.  The Presto-Magic Fluid Drive Transmission and Chrysler service are promoted in the commercials.

The show was transferred from an original sixteen inch vinyl transcription pressed by Columbia, matrix number YTNY 11372.


Tags: music · Sammy Kaye Showroom

Tune Test Audition

December 28th, 2016 · Comments

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?

update, 12.28.16

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.



Tags: music · quiz show

WCBS “Skin” tape - Feb 12, 1955

March 24th, 2013 · Comments

Update - click "Read the rest of this entry" at the bottom of the blog post to see an important update on the origins of this unusual tape.

In this post, a bit of a mystery.

Some months ago, I got some reel to reel tapes that came from someone that was connected with WCBS in New York.  In a previous post, I uploaded a lengthy excerpt from the October 30, 1957 edition of the "Lanny Ross Show" that came from one of the tapes in the group.

WCBS tape box cover

WCBS tape box - back

This tape is a 7" Scotch reel recorded in full-track mono at 7.5 ips.  The box is labeled "Skin/LB (piano) - Feb 12 55" on the back.

There's a slip of WCBS memo paper that was in the tape box with a handwritten list of songs.  I can't read the handwriting very well, but it looks like this.  (You can download a scan of the paper here.)

Act I -The Colder Day of the Year -Telegram! -The Whole Crooked Family -It's Cold

Act II -The Ancient Ordering Mermaids (?) -? (looks like "Kedel") -Sabrina -Evening (?) Senior Years -Two of Every Kid (Kind?)

Act III -Poor Before We Know It -Sweet Hong (?) -Hour of the Night/Magic -The Coldest Day/Frak (? - "Finale"?)

Also in the tape box was a standard postcard with the notation "Copy to SS" and someone's signature.  (Download a scan here.)

The tape itself contains different songs played on piano.  There's no announcements or other audio on the tape.  The mp3 in the post is the first song from the tape, or at least part of it - the tape is starting to curl and warp on the outer edges and doesn't have a leader at the beginning.  The reel seems to start in the middle of one of the songs.

I'm not sure if this is connected with some type of special show that was done for WCBS or maybe for CBS Television.  I did some searching on JJ's Radio Logs for 1955, Goldin's radio show database, and on Billboard magazine at Google Books, but didn't turn up any radio or tv show with "Skin" in the title.

Anyone know what this is?

Our mp3 was dubbed direct from a 7" full-track mono Scotch reel to reel tape running at 7.5 ips.



Tags: music · local radio

Rhapsody in Rhythm - Pgm 1

March 24th, 2013 · Comments

In this post, "Rhapsody in Rhythm", program 1, featuring Charles W. Hamp and the Rhythm Rascals.  One of several programs syndicated by Transco in the 1930s, many featuring jazz performers.  The songs include "I Have Built a Dream House", "Rhythm Saved the World" and "Chinatown My Chinatown".

Rhapsody in Rhythm - Pgm 1 label

Hamp played piano and saxophone and worked in Los Angeles radio in the late 1920s.  He recorded for Columbia Records and recorded this series for Transco in 1936-37, crooning and offering up "hot jazz" arrangements of popular tunes.

The show was transferred direct from a blue laminated Radio Transcription Company (Transco) transcription, matrix number A-2568.


Tags: music · Transco

Bobby Hammack - Pgm 213

July 10th, 2012 · Comments

Well, let's get this series of posts started with some nice up-tempo jazz from the Bobby Hammack Quartet, a quarter-hour of live, in-studio music originally heard on the ABC radio network.  Here's program 213 of the series as it was heard on the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.  The first tune is "Mountain Greenery".


As I mentioned in a previous post of this series, Hammack played in several bands over the years and worked for ABC-Parmount Records from 1958 to 1963 as a musical director.  Fans of lounge music will likely enjoy his original composition in the show, "Wind on the Dune".

The transfer of this previously lost show is from an original microgroove AFRTS transcription.  There's no date on the matrix, but I'm guessing it's from somewhere around 1958-1960, based on the contents of the other shows on the same disc.


Tags: music

Lanny Ross - October 30, 1957 - excerpt

June 9th, 2012 · Comments

Lanny Ross was a singer who had a long career on radio, nightclubs and in films.  His better known films include the 1939 animated feature "Gulliver's Travels" and "Stage Door Canteen" from 1943.  On radio, he appeared with Annette Hanshow on the "Maxell House Show Boat".  By the late 50s, Ross was hosting a morning program weekdays on WCBS in New York at 9:05 am each morning.  He would spin records and perform songs live in the studio.

In this 20 minute excerpt of his show from October 30, 1957, Lanny Ross is celebrating his 25th anniversary in radio and several song-pluggers from music publishers stop by and give him a cake and greetings on the anniversary.  The program includes live and recorded commercials for Bromo Quinine cold tablets, Pepperidge Farm (featuring Titus Moody), Libby's and Petrie Wine.

You can read a wire story about Ross's anniversary at the Google News archives.

The show was transferred from an original 10.5" full-track reel to reel tape running at 7.5 inches per second, probably recorded directly off the sound board in the studio.

This one was a mess to deal with - the tape, which came from the estate of a WCBS engineer, was covered in mold.  I had to discard the tape box and give the tape itself a thorough cleaning before attempting a transfer.  There's no picture, since the tape only included a brief handwritten notation of "Lanny Ross Anniversary".


Tags: music · local radio

Cocoanut Grove Ambassadors - Series C Pgm 3A

February 1st, 2011 · Comments

"The Cocoanut Grove Ambassadors" is one of those well-produced little shows from Transco that were making the rounds in the 1930s.  This particular series featured bands that performed at the famous Hollywood nightspot.

transcription label

Radio Archives has released a series of discs with shows from the series and, in this post, we highlight a program in the series that hasn't been released by them on cd so far.  Series C Program 3A features Jimmie Grier and his Orcheastra.  Songs include "September" with a vocal by the Three Ambassadors, "Time on My Hands" with a vocal by Dick Webster, and "Now's the Time to Fall in Love".  The show was recorded in 1932.

The program was dubbed direct from an original shellack Transco transcription.


Tags: music · Transco · early radio

Aladdin Lamp - Pgm 22

January 17th, 2011 · Comments

And here's another episode in the five-minute series "Aladdin Lamp" featuring Smilin' Ed McConnell.

transcription label

Program 22 has "Ain't She Sweet" as the first tune.  The series was sponsored by the Mantle Lamp Company of American in Chicago and produced by William Hart Adler, Inc.  It was transferred from an original  vinyl NBC Orthacoustic transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number HD7-MM-11335-1.

My thanks to the Old Time Radio Researchers Group for the disc!


Tags: music

Aladdin Lamp - Pgm 20

January 17th, 2011 · Comments

Here's a curious little five minute series I recently transferred from a set of discs contributed to my collection from the Old Time Radio Researchers Group.

"Aladdin Lamp" was a syndicated show sponsored by the Mantle Lamp Company of America in Chicago and was produced by William Hart Adler, Inc.  Featuring Smilin' Ed McConnell, the format is simple - Ed does two songs, an "oldie" from the past and a hymn, and gives us a few words about the wonderful Mantle lamps and shades you'll find at your local store.

transcription label

I'm not going to post the whole series on the blog, but wanted to give you a taste of the show, which will eventually be released by OTRR.  Program 20 has "I Never Knew I Could Love Anybody, Honey, Like I'm Lovin' You" as the first tune and some curious patter with Ed referring to his wife in the control booth talking to the show's engineer or producer.

The show was transferred direct from an original  vinyl NBC Orthacoustic transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number HD7-MM-11312-1.  There's a total of 36 shows on the discs in my collection.

There's a group of enthusiastic collectors of Alladin Lamps and memorabilia - they have an extensive page online about the history of the company and collecting activities.  They've got a brief excerpt of one of the shows, but it sounds like it's transferred off-speed.


Tags: music