April 15th, 2017
Kicking off our posts this week, here’s another show from a collection of “throwaway” working lacquers from WHBC in Canton, Ohio, I’ve been posting over the past few weeks.
This transcribed program, originally heard March 28, 1950, features the Ohio State University Symphonic Band. The first song played is “The Fairest of the Fair” composed by John Philip Sousa. Mary Bingham, a student at Ohio State and member of the band, is interviewed about her interest in music and introduced the next work, the “Summer Day Suite”, by Prokofiev.
Our mp3 was transferred from a single-sided sixteen inch Audiodisc lacquer.
If you would like to learn more about the history of Ohio State’s band program, you can read a master’s thesis on the subject from 2010.
Next week - the last in our series of previously lost local WHBC programs.
April 8th, 2017
Previously on the blog, I posted a fifteen minute show promoting the Federal Housing Administration, founded as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal policies during the Great Depression and designed to offer affordable, government-backed home loans through local banks. In this post, another disc from the agency.
This is a collection of shorter programming elements that could be used by a local station for spot announcements or short programming fillers. One side contains a collection of five minute programs that are little dramatized sketches about couples that could take advantage of FHA loans; the other side consists of one minute announcements in a similar style. The disc probably dates from early in the agency’s existence, around 1934 or ’35.
In the mp3 file, you’ll first hear the five minute shows and then the one minute announcements from the other side of the disc. The digital file was dubbed direct from an RCA-NBC Orthacoustic transcription disc, matrix numbers 047458-1 and 047454-1.
April 8th, 2017
We have a little mystery for our listeners to figure out on the blog this week.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been posting a collection of sixteen inch lacquers that originated from WHBC in Canton, Ohio. These included a few network shows recorded for time-shifting, but many local programs from the station dating from the 40s and early 50s.
This disc came in the same collection, but is different from the rest. It’s a single-sided twelve inch disc with a WHKK label and sounds like it was recorded off the air using a microphone in front of a radio. There’s no writing on the label to identify the contents.
The program on the disc is some type of afternoon call-in show, where people call in with advice and household problems. The host of the show talks about leaving WHKK in Canton and moving to a station in Akron. The callers tell the host how much they’ll miss him and give him best wishes on his new job - one refers to him as “Gary”. The host reads commercials for Yeager’s department store and Sparkle supermarkets. He refers to the program as “The Answer Line” show and “The Question Line”, but the actual title of the show isn’t clear. The host and callers also mention the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season.
WHKK was a leader in the Canton market in the 1950s with rock and roll and the station changed its call sign to WHLO in 1960, according to Wikipedia. So this excerpt would date from sometime in that decade. I don’t hear any internal topical references in the program that would help narrow down a year, but perhaps someone would recognize the host of the show and that might help determine when it was broadcast and what the proper title of the show would be.
Our little mystery show was transferred direct from a single-sided twelve inch 33 1/3 rpm lacquer with a blank WHKK label. It sounds as though the program was recorded with a microphone in front of a radio. However, the disc is cut quite well and doesn’t resemble something usually done on a home machine.
April 8th, 2017
Let’s drop in again on the “little German band”, with the WGN-Chicago Tribune early syndicated radio serial, “Louie’s Hungry Five”. You can read my original post about the series for more background and catch up with the episodes so far at this link.
In program 311 of the series, originally heard October 12, 1931, Emil is going to have dinner with his girlfriend and Louie is concerned that she may ask too many questions about why they have moved out of their rented room into a hotel as part of their plan to go to South America. You can download a jpeg of the original local announcer’s cue sheet for this episode here.
Our mp3 of was transferred direct from a set of two 12” shellac 78 rpm transcriptions recorded and pressed by Columbia’s Sound-On-Disc Division, matrix numbers 233286 and 233287.
April 8th, 2017
Here's the last program in my collection from the 1942 Civilian Defense series, “Yankee Doodle”.
Program 5 is titled “There’s a Guy on Your Block”. It’s a story about how a man volunteers and is trained for serving as an air raid warden in his community. The series was directed by Clinton Johnston.
Our mp3 was transferred from an original sixteen inch vinyl transcription pressed by Allied, matrix number G-6024.
In future weeks on the blog, I’ll be posting some further Civilian Defense shows from the same period that weren’t released as part of a series, but offered as “one off” special programs.
April 8th, 2017
Now another late era episode of the long-running program promoting US Savings Bonds, “Guest Star”. The times are changing, as some upstart teenage rock n’ roll invades this showcase for vocalists and big bands.
In program 682, we hear the popular fifties vocal group from Canada, the Crew Cuts. While we don’t get to hear their big hit, “Sh-Boom”, we get a reminder of how good they could be, turning in polished performances of less well-remembered tunes. The first song is the upbeat “Let’s Fall in Love” and they also perform “Aura Lee”, recorded by Elvis four years earlier as the title song for his film, “Love Me Tender”. As usual, the music is provided by Harry Sosnik’s Orchestra and the announcer is Del Sharbutt.
Our mp3 was transferred direct from a sixteen inch vinyl microgroove Treasury Department vinyl transcription.
April 8th, 2017
Now, back to “American Family Robinson”, the controversial propaganda 1930s serial sponsored by the National Industrial Council. Read more about this series on my original post about the program from a few years ago.
This week, we start hearing a few later programs in the series that are previously lost, skipping ahead in the storyline quite a bit.
As we join them in program 256, Luke and Myra’s airplane has crashed near Bleeckerstown because Windy Bill stowed away on the aircraft and broke the gas line. The town is hostile to strangers and Luke and the pilot find themselves held captive in the home of the town’s leader, Cy Bleecker. Somehow, this leads to a diatribe by Luke against high taxes.
Think about it - Luke is being held captive in a strange town by a bunch of mysterious hostile people, and all he can think about is being mad about indirect taxes. The writers must have really been running out of ways to work all that anti-FDR propaganda into the show by that point.
Our mp3 was transferred from an original sixteen inch World Broadcasting System, Inc. red acetate transcription, matrix number BB5552A.
April 8th, 2017
Believe it or not, I’ve actually gotten messages from folks wanting to hear more episodes of “Wade Lane’s Home Folks”.
Well, I guess if I could stand it enough to dub it to digital, you can stand it enough to listen to it.
In program 13, Wade Lane has just come from a tea party with a bunch of liftle girls playing in his front yard. (Today, that would get him on an FBI watch list.) That leads to the first song - I haven’t been able to identify it, but it starts out “Little women like you have made me realize what affection can do …”
By the way, a Google search on that phrase prompted the search engine to respond:
- “Did you mean: "little women like you make me realize what infection can do" song”
Oh, Google, you really don’t want to go there.
Our mp3 was transferred from an original sixteen inch shellac transcription, matrix number B5146. The show was recorded in the Hollywood studios of Recordings, Inc. and probably pressed by Allied. It was produced by Mertens and Price, 1240 South Main Street, Los Angeles.
April 2nd, 2017
Rounding out the blog entries this week, the first episode I have in a short run a pioneering radio actuality series from 1939, “American Radio Newsreel”. The series, produced and syndicated by Ayers-Prescott Inc, Radio City, New York, is much like an audio newsreel, interviewing various prominent figures of the day “on the spot”.
According to John Dunning’s “On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio”, the program was heard on about 300 stations and he describes it as one of the earliest attempts at “cut and edit” syndication, blending the announcer, interview clips, and music into a show that had to be produced, pressed on records, and sent to subscribing stations on a fairly short turnaround.
Program 4 in the series appears to be a previously lost episode and, according to a log of the show at Goldin, likely dates to November or December 1939.
Wyeth Williams, editor of the “Greenwich Time”, talks about his predictions on the political situation in Europe and how he comes to his conclusions. He predicts that the end of the War will come with the overthrow of Hitler from within Germany and that the US will never enter the conflict because of the dependence on other nations for our industrial might. A creationist, Rev. Dr. Harry Rimmer of the Central Baptist Church, who placed an ad offering rewards to anyone who could prove scientific inaccuracies in the Bible is interviewed, along with William Floyd, editor of “The Arbitrator”, who is suing him to claim the award.
George Jessel is interviewed, telling stories about working on stage with Sophie Tucker. Jessel tells a “cleaned up” version of the old joke about Tucker saying she was “up to my neck in midgets” in one show. Football great Tuffy Leemans is interviewed by sports reporter Mike Blair about the differences between college and pro football and other topics. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., attending the Bowl of Rice dinner to benefit refugees from the war in China is interviewed. The announcer is Bill Harding.
Our mp3 was transferred from an original sixteen inch one-sided shellac transcription.
April 2nd, 2017
Awhile back, I picked up around twenty sets of 78 rpm records from “All Aboard for Adventure”. It was a radio series distributed by the Joint Radio Committee of the Congregational Christian, Methodist and Presbyterian USA Churches.
I won’t be posting the entire series, but I’m offering up a sample to see what other researchers might make of it. I'm not sure if these are actual broadcasts or restagings of broadcasts or something else.
Each show is recorded on two sides of a 12” 78rpm record and runs anywhere from eight to ten minutes. There’s an opening to each show, but no closing.
I did some digging and did find a local New York radio series with this title from the time period when the records were released. As part of the set, there was an audition show that seemed more complete, spread over four 78 rpm sides and running around 15 minutes. That audition included a ten minute drama and a discussion with some children about it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dub the audition since all of the records in that set were broken, so I could only sample what they contained.
So, these records were either dubbed from broadcasts of the local New York show or restaged for these records. I’m guessing they were pressed and released in sets for use by churches in different parts of the country.
The dramas are competently done and deal with missionary work in various countries. Most of the discs are from Series III, which deals exclusively with stories about India.
The main problem with the series, at least for a listener today, are the depictions of racial and ethnic stereotypes of simple-minded and superstitious natives being “saved” by better educated (and more intelligent) white Christian missionaries. They’re a relic of their time.
Program 10 in Series III is about David, “The Boy Who Didn’t Belong”, where Red, the son of a missionary becomes friends with an outcast and sees the discrimination his friend goes through.
Honestly, this episode is just about the least offensive program in the set that I have.
Our mp3 was transferred from a two sided twelve-inch 78rpm vinyl disc, matrix numbers ND6-MC-224 and ND6-MC-225.