rand’s esoteric otr

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Sunkist Musical Cocktail - March 15, 1931 (excerpt)

March 5th, 2011

It wasn't until the mid-1930s that instantaneous lacquers took off as a way to preserve live radio shows.  So recordings of radio's earliest years are quite rare.  "Sunkist Musical Cocktail" was a musical variety program that featured Hollywood stars as guests.  The sponsor, taking advantage of the Hollywood glamor, had some excerpts from the series recorded and released them as promotional items giving us a glimpse at this early radio effort.

record label

In this mp3, we hear an excerpt from the broadcast of March 15, 1931, originally broadcast on CBS.  Guest Ann Harding discusses her career with Louella Parsons, including references to a screen test arranged by Rudolph Valentino and Harding's stage work.  According to Elizabeth Mcleod, the recording was originally made by Hollywood Film Laboratories.

The disc includes an introduction with a brief sponsorship message for Sunkist recorded especially for this release of the recording.  Our mp3 was transferred from an original 6" Flexo pink celluloid plastic 78 disc, matrix numbers 6-59 and 6-60.

record reverse

I've put a fade out/in between side changes since I'm not sure if the sides are a continuous segment of the program.  It sounds a tad slow to me, but I double-checked the turntable speed with a strobe on this one; it may have been recorded slightly off speed.

Flexo may have recorded and released other interview excerpts in this series that aren't circulating.  I've seen references to recordings in existence of broadcasts of April 8, 1931 (Louella Parsons and Ruth Chatterton) and March 25, 1931 (Louella Parsons and Norma Shearer, matrix number 6-81/6-81).

Flexo, by the way, tried to promote their unusual new plastic records for a variety of purposes.  According to one online discography, they even released some 16" radio transcriptions pressed on green celluloid.  Anyone ever see one or have a label photo?


  • Ravel

    I have a fascination for 78 rpm but more so when there was a use of «special» sizes or materials… Thanks for sharing this rare gem. :-) Ravel, from Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Mar 8, 2011 at 11:50 pm
  • Steve R

    Wow! This is a nice and interesting find! Really hope more of these turn up or at least a list of others in the series. Thanks so much for sharing, Rand.

    SteveR, Philadelphia

    Mar 17, 2011 at 11:42 pm
  • EricW

    I wonder how many flexis ones Sunkist offered as premiums? For a long time, all I ever heard about was the one in the McLeod article.

    Mar 18, 2011 at 9:25 pm
  • spinetinger

    OK, that’s a spectacular item. You have aroused my jealousy gene. :)

    Apr 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm
  • Kurt L in NYC

    There’s another sunkist disk here: http://wfmu.org/MACrec/flexo.html

    Click on the oval “Hear Here” at the bottom left. He says it was available by mail, so it was probably a radio premium.

    The main page for the “museum” is here: http://wfmu.org/MACrec/

    I knew I’d seen one somewhere before, but it took a while before I remembered where.

    Jan 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm
  • John Danko

    I have acquired three of the sunkist interviews with louella Parsons. Norma Shearer, Ann Harding, and ruth chatterdon

    All come with original mailing envelope and a 1 1/2 cent stamp. Did they produce more of these interviews? Anybody know

    Aug 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm