rand’s esoteric otr

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Entries Tagged as 'women's issues'

Grand Marquee - January 23, 1947

April 3rd, 2010 · Comments

"Grand Marquee" is a series I'd never heard of before getting a line check lacquer of one of the shows in the series.  It sounds like an anthology series directed at women and the show originated in Chicago.

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From January 23, 1947 broadcast on NBC, we hear Olan Soule, Beryl Vaughn and announcer Kleve Kirby in "Love is a Better Word", a comedy about a young woman who is surprised to find a stranger at her door who asks her to marry him.  (You might recall Beryl Vaughn from another series on the blog, "Choose a Song Partner".)  The program is sponsored by Rayve Shampoo and Yankee Clover Toilet Water and Perfume.

And a bit of trivia about Beryl Vaughn - she was a featured player on radio's "Sky King".  Oh, and her husband might sound familiar - Ken Nordine.

The show was transferred from an original line check lacquer transcription set from an unknown NBC station.  The recording includes the NBC id and chimes, but no system cue

Tags: drama · comedy · women's issues

Five Star Matinee - Pgm 43

October 23rd, 2009 · Comments

The "Historical Dictionary of Amercian radio soap operas" by Jim Cox notes that "Five Star Matinee" was broadcast from December 31, 1956 through December 1958 and was placed on NBC's daytime schedule after the magazine-style program "Weekday" went off the air.  It was a drama anthology designed to appeal to daytime listeners, primarily women.  According to a 2006 newsletter from the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group, only around twenty episodes of the series survive, something not uncommon with late era old time radio broadcasts that were often recorded on tape that was reused or discarded.  So, here on the blog, I'm offering up the only show I have in the series.

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Program 43, as broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service and dated September 19, 1958 in the disc matrix, is a drama called "The Man is Always Right" by Sophie Kerr.

The show was transferred from an original AFRTS vinyl microgroove transcription.

Tags: drama · women's issues

The Hour of Charm - Announcements

September 18th, 2009 · Comments

Continuing from our previous post, we now hear a collection of announcements by "Evelyn" to promote the local "Hour of Charm" program featuring Phil Spitalny's All-Girl "Hour of Charm" orchestra.

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The announcements were transferred from an original vinyl RCA Thesaurus transcription, matrix number E1-MM-1741.

Special thanks to listener Michael Utz for his donation of the disc to the blog!

Tags: music · memorabilia · women's issues

The Hour of Charm - Thesaurus Audition Program 5

September 18th, 2009 · Comments

In this post and next, we step "behind the mike" for a piece of memorabilia that demonstrates how local stations could carry inexpensive, quality programming.

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You may have heard of RCA's Thesaurus discs.  First released in the 1930s and continuing well into the fifties and sixties, stations could subscribe to a music library that included songs, generic singing commercials and other material recorded especially for broadcast.  Collectors of jazz and country music have mined music library transcriptions for years for recordings by well-known artists that were never released in any other form.  Stations would use music from the discs for several purposes - theme songs or background music on local shows, filler when programs turned up short, or even to assemble a custom program of music.

In this mp3, we hear "The Hour of Charm - Audition Program #5", a fifteen minute demonstration program aimed at local potential sponsors for a program based on a Thesaurus-based music series that demonstrates how the show could be assembled from the recordings.  The demo features, as hostess, "Evelyn and Her Magic Violin" and we hear the music of Phil Spitalny's All-Girl "Hour of Charm" Orchestra.

The next post is the flip side of the disc - a set of announcements by Evelyn promoting the show.

The program was transferred from an original vinyl RCA Thesaurus transcription, matrix number E1-MM-1730.

Many thanks to listener Michael Utz for donating the disc to my collection.

update, 9/20/2009

A listener asked for some more information on the show in the comments, so here's some additional background on the disc and "The Hour of Charm".

RCA's matrix numbers at the time used a code, with the first two figures indicating the date. So, I'd make a guess that the "E1" would date this disc to 1951. There's a "Night Beat" 45 rpm promo set I posted on the blog a few months ago with the matrix code "E0" from 1950.

Dunning's "Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio" has a fascinating entry on Spitalny's All-Girl Orchestra. "The Hour of Charm" ran on CBS and NBC from 1934 to 1948. "Evelyn" later described life in the group as being in a kind of very strict sorority - Spitalny enforced a code of behavior and the girls even had to get approval to go on dates from a committee. The girls had to weigh less than 122 pounds when they auditioned and their costumes and hairstyles were very carefully planned.

But, all of the women in the group were immensely talented musicians; many had to play multiple instruments and sing - one played 24 instruments and took up tuba when Spitalny couldn't find a suitable tuba player in a nationwide search.

Evelyn must have been pretty happy in the group. Dunning notes that she married Spitalny in June 1946 and they lived together in Miami until Spitalny's death in 1970.

Tags: music · memorabilia · women's issues

Ma Perkins - Pgm 424

September 3rd, 2009 · Comments

A few months ago, I posted episode 423 of "Ma Perkins", a rare early entry in this long-running radio soap opera.  The program was transferred from an uncoated aluminum disc.

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In this post, the flip side - program 424, where Ma continues to fret about Faye, who wants to go to the big city to seek her fortune.  She turns to her friends at the lumber yard for advice - will Ma let her go or encourage her daughter to stay?  Goldin dates the previous episode to August 1935, so this one comes from the same time period.

The transfer is from an uncoated aluminum transcription by Mercury Recording Studios in Chicago.  You can check the previous "Ma Perkins" post for some conjecture on my part that the disc might have been created for extension spotting the series to Canadian radio stations.

Unfortunately, the original sound levels in the recording are a little low, so it's difficult to understand the dialogue sometimes through the distinctive aluminum disc hiss.  However, I'm posting it since it appears to be a previously lost episode of the series.  I tried five different styli on the disc - ranging from a 2.0 mil to a 4.0 mil and, oddly, the 2.0 mil produced the least amount of surface noise and best tracking.  Usually, uncoated aluminum discs take a larger stylus.

Tags: drama · Depression-era · women's issues · Ma Perkins

Home Is What You Make It - April 20, 1946

August 13th, 2009 · Comments

Continuing our examination of the end of World War II, we turn to "Home Is What You Make It", a sustained NBC public service series focused on issues related to the War and the home front.  Only a couple of examples of the show are listed at Goldin.

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In this post, we'll hear the first half of the episode of April 20, 1946, "Promised and On the Way", the 74th program in the series.  Ben Grauer hosts a dramatized tour through the amazing new conveniences on the way for American home makers in the post-War period.

Mixing bowls in Technicolor!  Washing machines that make your wearables clothesline fresh!  Streamlined kitchen cabinets and ovens with timers that cook for you!  It's all coming, courtesy of the millions of dollars of industrial research and development!  Of course, the post-War period would also bring us the Cold War, McCarthyism, sprawling suburbs and rock n' roll, but that's a different story...

The show was transferred from an original line check lacquer from John Keating Studios, Portland, Oregon, probably at KGW, and includes the NBC opening system cue.  The program was previously lost and the second half, unfortunately, doesn't survive.

Tags: WW II related · historical · women's issues · rand's favorites

Phyl Coe Radio Mysteries - Pgm 8

July 24th, 2009 · Comments

Here's the only other episode I have of "Phyl Coe Radio Mysteries", a program syndicated by Philco Radio and Television Corp circa 1936 to about 250 radio stations.  The series is notable for including the first female detective on radio and for it's unusual format - the solution to the mystery isn't revealed and you were supposed to head down to your local Philco dealer to get a book to write down clues and your solution to enter a contest for prizes.

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Program 8 in the series is "The Case of the Stolen Sables".  This one's particularly fun since it works in some talk about a witness listening to their wonderful Philco radio as part of the plot.  You can listen to the episode, try to guess the mystery, then click for one listener's possible solution.

Special thanks go to David Kiner for this week’s mp3 transfer.  I traded for a couple of transcriptions with him and he generously threw in a digital transfer of the discs, complete with CEDAR processing.  Kiner sells high quality discs of old time radio material and you can find his cds at his ebay store.

The show was transferred from a World Broadcasting System, Inc vinyl transcription, matrix number BB14924C2.

Tags: drama · women's issues · Phyl Coe Radio Mysteries

Ladies Be Seated - September 14, 1945

July 11th, 2009 · Comments

Continuing from our previous post, here's another half-episode of the rare audience participation program "Ladies Be Seated, hosted by Johnny Olson and carried on the ABC radio network.  This is the first half of the program of September 14, 1945 has a woman doing a stunt where she has to engage in a conversation with host Johnny Olson and, at the same time, sing a song.  Then we hear a contestant play out a "puppy love" scene as a puppy.  The next stunt involves couples having to play out a scene where they're being completely honest about their spouses.

Our mp3 is a direct transfer from an original line-check lacquer from WREN in Lawrence, Kansas.  The file has been run through click reduction software.

Tags: women's issues · Ladies Be Seated

Ladies Be Seated - December 21, 1944

July 11th, 2009 · Comments

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

This past week, I spent time transferring a group of "throw away" discs from station WREN in Lawrence, Kansas.  We heard one show from this set of discs a few weeks back, a local country music program by Ted West and His Range Riders.  The discs contained snippets and parts of local and network programming that were recorded for time-shifted broadcast or to test equipment.  Several contained half-episodes of a rare, seldom heard game show called "Ladies Be Seated", originally carried on ABC in the 1940s.

"Ladies Be Seated" was a "stunt" show, similar to "Truth or Consequences", hosted by Johnny Olson.  It was sponsored by Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix and Aunt Jemima herself shows up to engage in banter with Johnny about the product.  Not well remembered today, there was also an "Aunt Jemima" minstrel-type program that was carried on network radio from 1929 to 1951.  According to John Dunning's "On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio", the character was played by Black actress Amanda Randolph for part of the run and it sounds like it may be Randolph in the role here.  (Amanda Randolph also appeared on the television version of "Amos N' Andy" and many other programs of the time such as the "Danny Thomas Show".)

In the listing for "Ladies Be Seated" in Dunning, he notes that the show grew out of another program that lampooned household hints shows and was originally carried on NBC's Blue Network, starting in 1944 and, after the network was sold to create ABC, "Ladies Be Seated" was carried there until 1950.  "Ladies Be Seated" was also one of the first game shows broadcast on the ABC television network, starting in 1949.

In the previously lost program of December 21, 1944, we hear Aunt Jemima doing a commercial with Johnny Olson, then one of the contestants in the "Ladies Be Seated" singing contest, some talk about the rarity of nylons during the War when the contestant gets her prizes, and a stunt that has a man from the audience playing "Spin the Bottle".  This is part two of the program only; the first half of the show doesn't survive.

The show was transferred from an original lacquer from WREN in Lawrence, Kansas.  It's been run through some click-reduction software to eliminate as much surface noise as possible.

Tags: African-Americans · women's issues · Ladies Be Seated

Ma Perkins, Pgm 423

March 21st, 2009 · Comments

I'm sure all of you have heard of the long-running soap opera of the classic otr era, "Ma Perkins".  Running on NBC and later CBS between 1933 and 1960, the show followed the trials and tribulations of Ma as she ran a lumber yard in Rushville Center and tried to keep up with her kids, Evy, Fay, and John.  Virginia Payne played Ma Perkins for 27 years, starting in the role at age 23.

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In this blog entry, we offer a very rare early episode of the series, dated by the radioGOLDINdex to August 1935.  Faye and John have an argument at dinner and Faye announces her intention to seek her fortune in the big city.  The show at this point in the run was sponsored by Oxydol and the long organ intro and outro were probably for the local announcer to insert the commercial.

The show is of special interest to those looking at the changing role of women over the years - Faye is representative of an increasing number young women at the time were looking at having careers and a life outside of being a homemaker.  Ma Perkins herself was thrust into that role, managing her husband's business after his death.

This is also the first metal base disc I've offered up on the blog.  These were used for a period in the early 1930s before instantaneous lacquers became common - the cutting head actually embossed the groove into a thin sheet of bare aluminum.  You can read something about the early days of recording radio broadcasts in two articles by otr experts Elizabeth Mcleod and Michael Biel here and here.

The origins of this disc are obscure.  I think it may have been made for extension-spotting the show in Canada in conjunction with it's broadcast in the US.  According to this site, Proctor and Gamble was one of the biggest advertisers in Canada in the early 30s, buying up time on stations to broadcast "Ma Perkins" and other soaps, much to the annoyance of Canadian officials who wanted more home-grown content on the radio.  This led to restrictions on the use of transcriptions and gave the CBC power to selectively run series live from American radio networks.  So, this disc may have been used to broadcast "Ma Perkins" over one of those privately-owned Canadian stations.

Our show was transferred directly from an original uncoated aluminum transcription made by Mercury Recording Studios, Chicago.

Tags: soap opera · women's issues · Ma Perkins

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