Monday, January 23, 2017

Old Time Media: MOR Jingles and A Newsman's Promo

Howdy,

So today I have two bits of tape from many, many years ago, both of them professional reels featuring a bit of "inside media" material. Neither needs a great deal of explanation, and both are fun in their own ways.

First up are a bunch of jingles for what I'm guessing was an MOR station, in Sioux Falls, SD, at some point, KRSD. Their slogan seems to have been "The Music Montage", and there's a moderate degree of variety between the various jingles, but all are solidly within the MOR style, with a few veering dangerously close to the vapidity of the Beautiful Music format.

Download: KRSD, Sioux Falls, SD - Music Montage Jingles
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At the other end of the media field - and on the other dial - were the newsmen of the day, and near the top of that field was CBS journalist Charles Collingsworth. Here's a neat reel of tape (aside from the occasional piercing whine) in which Collingsworth spends about eight minutes recording and re-recording parts of a few promos. These are the audio recordings from what were clearly filmed promos.

Download: Charles Collingsworth Records a Promo
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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Party Like It's Almost 1968

Just 364 days ago, I wrote a post about, and included the sounds from, a tape recording of the countdown of the hits of the year, for 1968, recorded by someone in Columbus, Ohio, from radio station WCOL, AM 1230, on December 31st, 1968 and into January 1st, 1969. That post can be found here!

Today, here's another tape from that same collection, and again, just in time for you to enjoy while you count down to 2017. In this case, it's the top 50 hits, again from WCOL, as heard on December 31st, 1967 and into January 1st, 1968.

As with the 1968 recording, you will hear some selective editing. This means that unfortunately, much of the DJ chatter and almost all evidence of commercials have been cut out. The person recording the show also had far different tastes than me in at least some areas, as he or she kept some all time lameness-in-song, while fading out/skipping recording some really good stuff. But perhaps he or she already had those songs on another tape. There is also the unfortunately habit of the DJ of playing with a squeaky toy and talking over the songs.

Information about the individual charts from this station (and many other stations) can be found in this marvelous spot. I have copied the year-end survey (for the show you're hearing) below, but you can find virtually every survey from 1967, and many many others, from WCOL, at that site, and that's where some of my information in the paragraphs below comes from.

As with the previously shared tape, there are some interesting differences between this station's local hit ranking and the national charts. The number one song is not a surprise - it was also the number one hit on Billboard's Hot 100 that year. But how did "Hello Goodbye" - a record released in mid-November of that year - make the top 50 for the year, and "Let it Out" by the Hombres, which was a two-week number one hit on the station, earlier that year, miss the countdown entirely.

Otherwise, there aren't as many left-field items on this list as there were on the 1968 list. The standouts for me are the cover version of "King of a Hush" by Gary and the Hornets, which did not chart on Billboard's Hot 100, and the # 11 song, "Thousand Devils" by Fifth Order, a group which never made the Billboard hot 100 at all. (Unfortunately, our taper friend chose to fade and cut the latter song.)

Sit back with family and friends, some New Year's Eve snacks, and whatever you choose to drink, and pretend it's 1967, going on 1968. Save me some Lard and Scrapple from Teeters!

Download: WCOL, Columbus, Ohio: The Top Hits of 1967
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Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas in Northern New England, 1961

Here's a Christmas treat for everyone. This tape, and another one from the same family, came up for sale recently on ebay. Helpfully, there were scans of the back of the tape boxes, so I knew that, if the tapes matched the boxes, there was something pretty special on these reels. I was very happy to win that auction. And the tapes and boxes did match, and they are special.
 
The other tape (the one I'm not sharing today) is fun, and probably worth sharing here some day. But the one marked "Christmas, 1961", is quite a joy. A mishmash, to be sure, and at a few moments borderline unlistenable, but for most of the tape, including those hard-to-listen-to segments, it's still pure magic. We are dropping in on a family, or perhaps a family and some friends, on a very special day. These are happy, celebratory people, who are enjoying being together and making good use of what was apparently a brand new tape recorder.
 
I have identified this tape as being from northern New England - I'm guessing Maine, or, possibly, New Hampshire. I'm not that good with accents, but I think I recognize the ones heard here. More to the point, there are more than a half-dozen references to the classic "Bert & I" series of comedy albums. While these did become fairly well known in later years, across the country (I own three or four of them), in 1961, they were definitely a regional phenomenon, and a very small region at that. Anyone who was able to quote "Bert & I" routines in 1961 was from that immediate area - again, most likely Maine. There may be other clues here for you to pick out, as well.
 
The fact that the family members also trade off telling jokes and stories which they seem to find uproariously funny - but which seem like nearly pointless anecdotes to me - also fits into my understanding of the sense of humor which dominates in that area.
 
Also heard periodically on this tape are snippets of current and recent hit songs off the radio.
 
There is also a LOT of music heard here, and in a way, this sort of mystifies me. There is enough amateur-level guitar and piano playing here to indicate that some members of this group knew their way around music. And yet, when most of them sing, they seem nearly tone deaf - the rendition of Jingle Bells is virtually tuneless in places. What's more, how does one learn to play the guitar half-decently, but not know when it is painfully out of tune. And finally, does the Jew's Harp actually qualify as an instrument at all? I've heard it used well, in very limited and well placed arrangements, but here, it dominates a few otherwise pretty sweet homespun amateur musical performances, rendering them into the "unlistenable" moments I mentioned earlier.
 
I've written a lot here, without actually specifying very much. That was on purpose. I'll let you discover the sweet moments and enthusiastic fun of this tape for yourself.
 
 
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A note about the order of the sides here. A scan of the tape box is seen, below, indicating what is on each side. I would put money on it that the sides, as listed there, are reversed. The side indicated there as "# 2", is the side that starts with microphone tests and references to the new machine. That side ends with references to a recent hit comedy record by Bill Dana ("The Astronaut - Jose Jimenez"), and more references continue (followed by the record itself) at the start of the side described on the box as "# 1". That side also ends with a goodbye. That seems clear enough to me.  
  

Monday, December 5, 2016

FLY THIS POST TO CUBA! NOW!

With the death of Fidel Castro, I thought it would a perfect moment to bring out this tape, which dates to the height of the "Take This Plane to Cuba!" string of hijackings.

It's a recording of an NBC news special, from 8/3/61. On that date, such a hijacking was foiled, as you'll hear in the report. They then cover other recent episodes in this trend. The show is anchored by the legendary Edwin Newman.

Just a neat little piece of history, captured by a dedicated audio collector, and now offered up by another such collector, shared with anyone who'd like to hear it.

Download: NBC News Special On Hijackings, 1961
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Thursday, November 24, 2016

A 1965 Thanksgiving Day Tribute to Kaolin!

So, where have I been - I won't duplicate the post, but I did write a bit about my last few weeks at my other blog, within this post. As I said there, I hope to be back on a regular schedule (which, for this site, is about every two weeks), starting immediately.

Today, I have a tape I find to be barely steps away from being totally bizarre, but then again, maybe you had to be there. You see, a significant amount of the wheels of industry and gears of income in central Georgia, at least at a point some 50 years ago, seems to have been all wrapped up in the clay known as Kaolinite, better known as Kaolin. Its uses have run from making glossy magazine pages shiny to being the key (original) ingredient in Kaopectate, and many other uses in between.

So important was it to the region, that for at least two years, radio station WCRY in Macon broadcast tributes lasting over an hour, about, and in honor of, Kaolin. My best guess is that the money brought in by Kaolin played a significant role in the life of this station, hence the "tribute". Without that supposition, as I said, this program strikes me is fairly odd, to say the least.

For this year's Thanksgiving, here is the first of the two shows titled "A Tribute to Kaolin", from 1965. If you're really clambering for the 1966 version, maybe I can share it with you next Thanksgiving.

Download: WCRY, Macon, Georgia: A Tribute to Kaolin, 1965
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On this Thanksgiving, I offer up my thanks to everyone who reads this site, with a special thanks to those who chime in with comments. I really appreciate it.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Raw Tapes from a "Man On The Street" Type TV Show

 
 
Well, it's been a busy few weeks, with a couple more to come in advance of a big event I'm part of. And that's meant less posting here. It will pick up after the middle of the month, and I have a lot more to share.
 
For today, here's an interesting reel, one which captures the raw tapes for a show - I believe a local PBS show from the Maryland area - called "People In Process". I can find no references to this show, but admittedly haven't looked that hard.
 
The investigation here (such as it is) is into how people in a small town view life in a small town. That they chose the city of Annapolis, Maryland, which is the capital of the state, strikes me as weird, especially given that the town had 30,000 residents in the late '60's and early '70's, which is when I'm guessing this is from. Perhaps it's because I was raised in a town of 4000 people, but 30,000 people isn't a "small town" to me.
 
The questions the interviewer chooses to ask, particularly the different things he asks different people, are quite interesting, and deserve their own sociological study. There's also the woman who doesn't want to be on camera. And there's the way he tries so hard to feed several interviewees questions, asking them to answer in complete sentences, even telling them how to start the sentences, and the way that NONE of them seem to understand what he wants them to do. Beyond that, to my ears, he just isn't much of an interviewer, and that's being generous.
 
The entire tape runs about 56 minutes.
 
Play:
 
 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Greetings to a Soldier in Korea

Here's a tape which is a lot of fun, as well as touching at times, and just generally a snapshot of its time and place.

It seems to be a group of family and friends sending good wishes to a man (named John)who is stationed in Korea. As there's no date anywhere on the box or within the contents of the recording, it's not clear if this is during the "police action", or after it, but it does sound like the revelers had expected their friend John to be home by the date of this recording, and that this hadn't happened.

Reading between the lines, it seems at least possible that some of those involved thought John would be present at this gathering, and when John couldn't be there, they made a tape for him instead, even though it also sounds like he was still due back in a matter of days - at one point it sounds like he's only coming back on a brief leave.

The tape is boisterous at times - particularly the first several minutes, during which some reveling adults interact while, I'm guessing, enjoying some adult beverages. That's fun, but the most interesting part for me comes when some children start to talk to John at about 16:30, starting (briefly) with a very excited small child, and then an older child who talks for a few minutes.

After too few minutes of that, a more sedate adult follows with more narration about life and times. If the earlier speakers were a bit too sloshy, this guy is so dry as to appear to be reading his report, something he acknowledges and tries to correct at one point. Then there's about five sweet minutes of talk before and after a meal, with the kids chiming in here and there. I love the one kid trying to mimic everything that is said.

A couple of more serious (and older sounding) relatives follow - this section of the tape is marred by some damaged tape and a section which seems to have been edited out, via a splice (perhaps more damaged tape). And then, just as yet another person is coming in to speak, the tape runs out (although again, it's certainly possible that there was originally more tape here.

Please enjoy this little moment in time.

Download: Family and Friends: A Tape for a Soldier in Korea
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