rand’s esoteric otr

rand’s esoteric otr header image 1

Canary Pet Show - Pgm 10D

June 10th, 2017

Back again on the blog this week are the charming singing birds in the “Canary Pet Show”, sponsored by Hartz Mountain pet foods.

The first song on episode 10D is “Shine On, Harvest Moon.”  The organ accompaniment is by Porter Heath and David Baum on violin.  We hear short dramatic commercials for the Hartz Mountain Balanced Diet for Birds and Doggie Yummies treats.  Your announcer is Harry Birch.

Our show was transferred from an original sixteen inch red vinyl United Broadcasting Company, Chicago, transcription.  The program appears to be previously lost.

I want to again give my deepest thanks to Jerry Heandiges and David Lennick for their gift of these previously lost discs to my collection.  I’ve been looking for original transcriptions of the “Canary Pet Show” ever since I started collecting.

Next week, we’ll hear two very special episodes of the series.  Stay tuned!


Drew Pearson - January 4, 1948

June 10th, 2017

And here’s a final disc of time-shifted network programming from a collection of “throwaway” discs from WHBC in Akron, Ohio, a news broadcast from columnist Drew Pearson.

In the program of January 4, 1948, Drew Pearson is heard via shortwave transcription from Milan, Italy, where he is traveling with the Friendship Train.  The show was broadcast on ABC and is sponsored by Lee Hats.

Pearson reports that Russia has sent fighter planes to Albania to help the Communist army in Greece and is concentrating more former Nazi POWs in Belgrade to help with the effort in Greece.  The Italian crew of the Friendship Train has threatened to go on strike at Bologna because they didn’t want to switch crews.  Franco is concerned about trouble in Spain this winter.  Pearson describes the reception of the Friendship Train in Rome, Florence, and Bologna.  The Communist mayor of Bologna refused to meet the train because of reports about him by Pearson.

In the last segment of the program, Pearson gives some of his famous predictions.  The first is that a bill requiring Senators and Congressmen to register their securities with the SEC will be introduced in the next session of Congress and will be killed in committee by two Republicans.  Pearson predicts revolution in Italy, due to the presence of Tito’s Communist forces poised on the Italian border, but that it will not succeed.  Pearson encourages Americans to help the fight against Communism by writing to their relatives abroad to dispel the lies being spread about America in Europe.

The Friendship Train was an unusual project that Drew Pearson advocated.  The Train was packed with food and supplies from different states as a gift to war-torn Europe.  In return, the Europeans sent gifts back to the states.  There are still some museums in different states that display these gifts.  You can see a short Pathe newsreel clip of the Freedom Train in Italy, taken during the period when our radio broadcast was originally recorded.

This appears to be a previously lost episode of Drew Pearson’s series; Goldin lists thirty that surive from his long-running series.

The program was transferred from an original sixteen inch Audiodisc lacquer recorded at WHBC, Akron.



Adventure Parade - January 8, 1948

June 10th, 2017

Here’s another disc of a time-shifted radio program that came in a collection of discs from WHBC, Akron, Ohio.

Adventure Parade” was a kids show that adapted famous stories as a serial in five episodes over one week.

This episode of “Adventure Parade” was originally heard Thursday, January 8, 1948 on Mutual and consists of the fourth chapter of “The White Company” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The announcer is John Griggs and the program originated in New York.

Unfortunately, the first minute and a half of the show is missing - I guess the engineer didn’t catch it for some reason.

Our program was transferred from an original sixteen inch Audiodisc lacquer cut at WHBC.


American Radio Newsreel - Pgm 7

June 10th, 2017

We continue our look at the obscure pre-War syndicated series “American Radio Newsreel” with a previously lost episode.

Program 7 probably dates to January or February 1940.  Delores Laurell recounts her harrowing escape from Poland as it fell to the Nazis.  Jack Dempsy discusses fighters, past and present.  Edith Rogers Dahl fights for her release of her husband from a Spanish prison.  Then we go to Hollywood for short interviews with actors and actresses, including Claire Trevor, Adrian Aimes, Eddie Lowe, and Beverly Roberts.  Finally, the editor of the Pathe News is interviewed about how he gets his war pictures.

Our program was transferred from an original sixteen inch Ayers-Prescott shellac transcription.



Canary Pet Show - Pgm 9D

June 2nd, 2017

Finally this week, we kick off a short run of four programs of this rare series sponsored by the Hartz Mountain Products Company.

I want to give my deepest thanks to Jerry Heandiges and David Lennick for gifting me the two discs you’ll be hearing on the blog - I’ve been looking for original transcriptions of the series ever since I started collecting.  They’re a kind of “holy grail” for me - you’ll be surprised by what you hear on them in a couple of weeks, so be patient.

The “Canary Pet Show”, also known as the “Master Radio Canaries”, was an unusual program that ran from the late 30s through the early 50s on Mutual.  The concept is simple - as we hear music performed on violin and organ, “live” canaries in the studio sing along.  Despite being on the air for so long, as far as I know, there’s only one episode of the Mutual version of the program circulating among collectors. Goldin lists a half-dozen that exist.

Records of the Hartz Mountain Canaries on 78 rpm and 45 rpm discs offered for sale at pet shops are fairly common and turn up often on eBay, but the original transcriptions of the show remain elusive.

Why wasn’t there more of an effort to preserve this important part of radio history?

Program number 9-B starts off with “Be True to Me” and “Love Nest”.  The commercials, done as little dramatic sketches, are for Hartz Mountain Balanced Diet for Birds and Dog Yummies treats.  They also plug the Master Radio Canaries phonograph records.  The program features announcer Harry Birch, Porter Heath on the organ, and, of course, the canaries. This appears to be a syndicated version of the program or one used for extension spotting by Hartz.  I think the disc dates from the early 1940s, based on the content of the other disc I obtained in the set.

Our show was transferred from an original sixteen inch red vinyl United Broadcasting Company, Chicago, transcription.

By the way, my cat hates this series and leaves the room whenever I play it.





Philco Radio Time - October 1, 1947

June 2nd, 2017

Bing Crosby shows are so well known that they’re usually out of my collecting specialty of obscure programs.  But I’ll make an exception if I run into some favorite popular series from time to time.  And, besides, I feel like I owe you something for putting up with “Wade Lane’s Home Folks” for several weeks.

In this post, we hear the “Philco Radio Time” program of October 1, 1947.  Bing has just returned from his vacation in Canada for the first show of the season.  After the first song, “My Heart is a Hobo”, we get music from Peggy Lee and a fun sketch with guest Gary Cooper.  The show features announcer Ken Carpenter, John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra and backup vocals by the Rhythmaires.

The show was transferred from three sides of two sixteen vinyl American Broadcasting Company/Crosby Enterprise transcriptions, matrix numbers HD7-MM-11081-10, HD7-MM-11099-10, and HD7-MM-11134-10.

It’s interesting the program is spread across three sides - US half hour shows are usually on two sides, but I worked with a large group of BBC discs that all used three sides for a thirty-minute show.  I imagine it was done to release the show with the highest sound quality.  The “dead” side of the set includes a strobe and empty groove that could be used by the engineer to make sure the turntable was running at the correct speed.



Louie’s Hungry Five - Pgm 319 - October 21, 1931

June 2nd, 2017

Now we reach the end of our twenty episode run of “Louie’s Hungry Five”, an early radio comedy serial about the “little German band” syndicated by WGN-The Tribune Company.  It’s been a pleasure to offer this programs on the blog with the rarely seen original cue sheets - the 78 rpm transcriptions are in excellent shape for this seldom heard program.

Program 319 was originally heard on October 21, 1931.  Louie and the band are on the train and have almost arrived in New York.  You can look at the original local announcer’s cue sheet for the program as a jpeg here.

Our mp3 was transferred from a set of two 12” laminated shellac 78 rpm transcriptions pressed by the Columbia Sound-On-Disc Division, matrix numbers 233302 and 233303.

I really enjoyed transferring the shows - I hope you found it interesting to have this brief glimpse into early radio.



Coronation Week - Pgm 2

June 2nd, 2017

Here’s the second of two episodes of an obscure special series syndicated by London Records as part of the celebrations surrounding the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

In program 2, reporter Josephine Hunter interviews Lord Donegal and James Farley at the lower level of the Rockefeller Center about the State Coach that will be used by the Queen to ride to and from the Coronation.  London Records paid for a replica of the Coach to be transported to Rockefeller Center for a Coronation Week display.  Farley briefly talks about his travels to Europe and Israel as part of work on the board of the Coca-Cola Corporation.  Music from London FFRR Records is interspersed through the interviews. Goldin dates the program to June 2, 1952.

The show was transferred from a sixteen vinyl transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number E3-KM-3553.


American Radio Newsreel - Pgm 5

June 2nd, 2017

Now, let’s hear another episode of the unusual series, “American Radio Newsreel”.  The program was recorded on location each week and quickly edited and pressed up for syndication to local stations by Ayer-Prescott.

Program 5 in the series is dated to December 1939 by Goldin.  Stories include an interview with the captain and radio operator of a US vessel sailing for Norway to test neutrality law and another with the “only white rani in the world”, Viner Brooke.  Then we hear Otis Skinner and Martha Raye.  The announcers are James Cleminger and Alan Barnes.

The show was transferred from a sixteen inch one-sided shellac transcription.  There is no matrix number.


Coronation Week - Pgm 1

May 27th, 2017

This week, we offer the first of two episodes of the obscure special radio series “Coronation Week”, produced by London Records, and syndicated to stations as part of the celebrations around the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

In Program 1 in this special series, reporter Josephine Hunter interviews Lord Donegal about the special carriage that the Queen will use to ride to and from the Coronation ceremony, a replica of the State Coach is being exhibited in lower level of Rockefeller Center and London Records paid for transporting the replica for the exhibit.  Interspersed with the interview with Lord Donegal, we hear excerpts of London FFRR recordings that can help you get in the spirt of the Coronation. Goldin dates the program to June 1, 1952.

Although this is a show produced by London Records, it appears the discs were pressed by RCA.  I suppose London didn’t have a pressing facility capable of producing 16” transcriptions in the US market at the time.  Our mp3 has been transferred from an original vinyl transcription, matrix number E3-KM-3552.

We’ll have one more show in the series from the other side of the disc next week.