Saturday, April 21, 2018

Slides and the Hit Parade

This has been another one of those ridiculously busy months at home and at work, and I can't believe I've not posted here in three weeks. I still don't have much time, so I'll be short in my comments, but I did want to thank two people who posted comments with better information about my last post - the 1958-59 cornucopia of TV sound.

First, thanks to Martinf, for identifying the man talking about Berlin as being Willy Brandt, the Governing Mayor of Berlin. Thanks also to Eric, for identifying that the Charlie Weaver segment was not from Weaver's own show, but from an episode of the Tennessee Ernie Ford show on 11/13/58.

As I said, I'll be brief with my comments. Very brief. To further answer the requests I received for more slide show narrations, here is another one. This one is incomplete at both ends - the beginning of it was erased by someone's record collection, and then, after about 25 seconds, more of it was erased by more music (which I have edited out). And then, the end has been lost over time with the deterioration of the end of the tape reel. The whole tape is just over 30 minutes long.

In this case, we're going to go to several tourist destinations in various parts of the country, in some cases quite a ways away from each other.

Download: Unknown - Slide Show Narration

On a completely different subject, and for those who enjoy vintage media recordings, here is an episode, complete with commercials (and as with the above tape, again, this is just over 30 minutes long - so this seems to be almost the entire episode), of an episode of "Your Hit Parade", which is, based on the songs here, from late 1958., which would place this episode near the final days of this venerable programs 25 years on the air (radio and TV). The tape extends into the start of the next show, "Trackdown", starring Robert Culp, as well as its first commercial.

Download: Various Artists - Your Hit Parade

Oh, and here's a picture of the tape recorder I was able to get, to replace my busted one. As you can see, my daughter's elderly cat Angel is already fond of it.

Friday, March 30, 2018

A 1959 Cornucopia.... Plus Many Thanks!

I have a really fun tape to share today, but first, a giant THANK YOU is in order. First, to those who took part in the fundraiser, I am hugely grateful and wonderfully amazed. I did not know what to expect, and the response exceeded anything I would have thought possible. I believe I've thanked each of you privately in e-mail, and if I've missed anyone, I sincerely apologize.

And second, I am forever thankful for and to a reader and fan of this site, who has a significant collection of reel to reel machines, and who made me a very generous offer on a machine that had everything I needed, specifically, a Revox A77 MK II. It arrived a week ago, and I spent most of last Sunday transferring tapes into my computer. No doubt you will soon be enjoying reels that I have played through this machine, here on this site.

And again, THANK YOU.


I listened to this tape about four months ago, digitized it, then sort of forgot about it. Last week, while still waiting for the new machine to arrive, I spent some time going through the "Not Yet Used" folder of my digitized reels, and came across it again. It's a bit of a time capsule, someone's recording of multiple moments from TV, as well as some conversations around the house, and even a bit of top 40 radio, from what can only be late 1958 and early 1959. The "part one" listed here is fairly clearly the original side two - the recordings are from just after those on the flip side - but that's the way the tape came loaded onto the reel when it got to me, so I labeled them that way...

Here's what you'll hear in part one:

1.) 0:00: 23 seconds of mood music
2.) 0:24: A preview of next week's "77 Sunset Strip" (episode "The Fifth Stair", to air on 3/6/59), and closing theme.
3.) 3:11: The opening of the same night's episode of "Maverick", followed by a preview of the episode, "The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick" (apparently a rerun, as this episode dates to 1958), and the closing theme. (And this is the least interesting part of the tape to me.)
4.) 11:40: A live, and elaborate, performance of "Fever".
5.) 14:52 A live comedy performance by Shelley Berman - for my money, the best comedian of the era, and maybe the best comedian ever to appear on records. That said, this, however, is not one of his better characters or routines.
6.) 16:44: A brief, live segment of another comedian, one I don't recognize.
7.) 17:48: A short bit of a staid piano led performance of "The Peanut Vendor".
8.) 18:18: "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", performed live by The Platters.
9.) 20:39: Closing moments of "The Ed Sullivan Show", from which, no doubt, the above performances came. The episode is from March 1, 1959, and you can read about it here.
10.) 20:56: This took a bit of research, but next up we hear two sections from an episode of the "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show", also from March 1st, 1959, which you can read about here. Included is the opening musical number, and a lengthy set piece, including music and skits, focusing on several comic strip characters, including a segment where they tie the Peanuts character of Charlie Brown in with the unrelated Coasters song of the same title. This takes us to the end of the first side of the tape.

Download: Various TV Recordings, Side One

Here's what you'll hear in part two:
1.) 0:00: Recordings not of TV, but radio. It's WING-AM, Dayton, Ohio, with a jingle, a time check, then part of "Stagger Lee", by Lloyd Price, and a segment of "Pink Shoelaces", by Dodie Stevens,
2.) 2:02: Likely back to Television, with a live rendition of of "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You".
3.) 3:50: A Segment of "Amos and Andy", live in front of an audience.
4.) 5:15: The "home recordings" section begins. It appears that this section was recorded first, with its opening portion erased by the 1959 recordings, because this is Christmas Day, 1958. There are some microphone and volume problems for the first two minutes, as well as bland background music which is too loud for the conversation. At 7:33, someone announces that he has fixed the problem, and from then on, aside from a brief soft section, the sound is decent from then on. By now, a news report is on the radio (WHIL?), leading off with the cheery Christmas news of fatal car accidents. Then there's the ad for Armour Canned Meats.
5.) 11:02: Continuing the home recordings. The radio background is gone, and the speaker attempts some meaningful thoughts about Christmas, and reads a Christmas card from a priest. He then attempts to get a woman (perhaps his mother?) to talk, without success, and mentions the address of the home, which you can look at here. Then he tells a tedious story about a classmate who called himself "Zorro", and shared some remarkably lame jokes. Even so, they are funnier than the belches which follow, with the assembled group seem to enjoy. Finally, the conversation starts picking up, and with perfectly bad timing, someone turns up the television just about the same volume as that of the conversation. Someone asks if this is being recorded, and someone else says "it better not be", and the home recordings end.
6.) 19:43: A recording of what I believe is "The Charlie Weaver Show", which ran (under that title) from November of 1958 until March of 1959,featuring stories of Charlie's mom and a brief song.
7.) 25:48: "That Old Rugged Cross", sung by (I'm pretty sure) Tennessee Ernie Cross.
8.) 28:24: Opening moments from an episode of "You Bet Your Life", with sponsorship, opening comments, and more advertising
9.) 29:23: Carl Sandburg talks about Lincoln, on his 150th birthday (2/12/59)
10.) 30:30: A man whose voice I don't recognize, talking about a Cold War issue involving Berlin (part of a news broadcast).
11.) 31:33: Some bland big band jazz to finish off the last 51 seconds of the tape. (Since I think this was really the end of side one, it's quite possible that this is the same combo heard playing a different song at the start of the flip side, above.)

I hope there are multiple things here for everyone out there to enjoy.

And yet again - THANKS!

Download: Various TV Recordings, Side Two

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Dastardly Tale, A Set of PSA's, and a Fundraiser

Hello again, everyone,

First, I want to thank everyone who replied to my outreach about the dead reel to reel machine and the possibility of a fundraiser. You can read that post here. I did hear from enough people - and again, THANK YOU - that I think it's worth doing this. Anyone who is interested in contributing can use paypal, under the e-mail address

I also heard from someone who is willing to sell me a used, working machine for a very reasonable price. and yet again, THANK YOU! We have yet to talk on the phone, but it looks like this will be another part of the solution.

Thank you in advance to anyone who chooses to donate. I hope to have the ability to make new sound files, from a working machine, within a month or so.

And now:


Here we have a very interesting 30 minutes of tape, presented some time in the early 1950's - or perhaps even late 1940's, as the ad at the end makes it clear it was recorded not long after World War Two - featuring an episode of "The Americans School of the Air", on CBS, as broadcast on KIMA, Yakima. This is obviously a recording from a transcription record, but I found it on a reel, so it still fits this site!

This episode is part of the "Opinion Please" series. If all episodes were built like this one, I can't say, but this one is about "Sex Education", and it starts with a somewhat long-winded vignette portraying a cad trying to take advantage of an innocent, clueless young woman. Pretty racy stuff for the pre-Rock-n-Roll era, huh? Then we switch over to a discussion with three college students, regarding the need for parents to proactively instruct their children, thoroughly, in appropriate sex education.

And I, for one, would love to be able to hear the show from the following week, which is teased, briefly, in the last minute of the tape. Enjoy!

Download: The American School of the Air - Opinion Please! - Sex Education

And here's a bonus - one of the things I have a LOT of in my basement are these five inch reels of tape, mostly containing only 1-5 minutes of tape on them, featuring ads, PSA's or demo reels from on-air hopefuls. I digitized a bunch of them some time ago, and will try to feature them regularly here. First up, a series of PSA's for the Arkansas Children's Hospital (well, I suppose if that was a for-profit business, then these are ads...), featuring EVERYONE's favorite Keeshan, Bob Keeshan. Take it away, Bob, or, should I say, Captain...

Download: Bob Keeshan - Arkansas Children's Hospital PSA's

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

In a Quandry

Hello everybody,

I want you to know that I truly, deeply appreciate those of you who read and listen to my posts. I know there is a good, consistent audience out there, because I see the comments, and also can see how many people read each post. I am deeply appreciative that people followed me here from WFMU or discovered my work later, and stuck around.

I've been putting this off since the end of last year, but I don't see another way to address the problem.  You see, my beloved Teac machine needs repairs that cost more than the machine is worth. What's more, it needs both motors replaced, and they can only be found on the used market, which the repair shop, understandably, won't guarantee (or even purchase - I would have to do that).

I have other machines, but they are also either in disrepair, or work poorly. My Teac has been failing for two years or more, and I've been nursing it along, but as of the middle of December,  it simply doesn't work. The posts you've enjoy since then have been one's I'd built up for future use. There are several more, but they won't last forever.

This is nothing I'd usually bring up, but my finances are not such that I can afford to remedy this. The days of buying large quantities of old reels because they looked amazing or intriguing ended many years ago. I don't have the extra money to spend on a luxury like a ten-inch reel playing four track stereo reel to reel machine in good working order. I don't even know enough about them to know if I was getting a decent one, based on whatever is in the ad. But I'm sure I could get a perfectly suitable one for less than the $700+ that it's going to cost to fix my machine (again, with no promises from the repair shop).

It goes against the grain for me to suggest this, but I know that other sites have done fundraisers, and that atl least a few do them yearly.

I guess I have a few questions. First, are there those of you who would contribute to such a request, and second, would anyone with more knowledge than me point me in the direction of a model which would likely be a good purchase?

In case you'd rather not answer this in a comment, you can e-mail me at

Again, thank you all for reading, listening, enjoying and commenting. I appreciate it more than you could possibly know.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Boy, That's a Hunk of the Ozark Jubilee!

Before getting today's two recordings, I wanted to share a question/request from a reader, which I received a few weeks ago. The writer found a stack of cassette tapes a few years ago, and mixed among recordings of lectures and of music off the radio, there were several family recordings. Nearly all of these, however, are in Japanese. The man who wrote me sounds like something of a kindred spirit to me, and he is very interested in learning about the conversations on these tapes. If anyone out there both speaks Japanese and is interested in helping out, please write me with an e-mail address in the comment sections, or contact me directly with the e-mail address which is found at the end of this WFMU post, and I will put you in touch with my correspondent.


I have two completely unrelated items for everyone, today.

The first is a rare recording of what Wikipedia describes as the first successful Country Music show on network television. It's The Ozark Jubilee, hosted by Red Foley. I'm not knowledgeable enough in this era/style of music to be able to nail down a date for this episode - and sadly, whoever recorded it cut out the commercials and nearly all between-song banter, so there are no clues in that area, either. That doesn't take away from the enjoyment of hearing the sounds of music and television from a very different time and place, however.

The sound in the opening few minutes is fairly ragged. And while the overall sound never approaches excellent, or even very good, after a bit of that poor sound, it settles down into a listenable quality.

Download: Various Artists - The Ozark Jubilee


Today's second feature is from the large pile of tapes in my basement (frequently featured here and at WFMU) which contain raw takes of various TV programs and commercials, In this case, it's 15 minutes worth, mostly made up of several repetitions of a small section of a Studebaker advertisement, apparently from the mid 1960's, near the end of that company's existence.

For most of the tape - ten minutes or so - we hear work on a single section of the ad, in which a young boy is supposed to excitedly state, "Boy, That's a Hunk o' Sumpin'!", followed by some voice over about the happy family and their new car. The reason why these two things had to be done as a single piece is a mystery to me, but that's not a surprise, as I know nothing about advertising. In the last three minutes, the voice-over man works on a short segment from elsewhere in the ad, including the Studebaker slogan, "Different By Design", a slogan which appears to date this ad from 1964.

Download: Unknown - Boy, That's a Hunk o' Sumpin'!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Purdue Glee Club Talent Show (And More!)

First, I want to thank the commenters who chimed in on a couple of recent posts. Tony suggested that the DJ reading about Paul McCartney might be Dick Clark, which seems at least possible, and Eric offered more information about the "Truman Capote" - Kennedy piece. Have a look at that posts' comments for more information.

And an anonymous correspondent explained that what I had labeled a conversation using walkie-talkies, in my last post, is actually a Ham Radio conversation. That explanation can also be found in the comments. Thanks, everyone!


Here's an interesting reel of tape, featuring, as advertised above, a Glee Club Talent Show recorded at Purdue University, and featuring students of that institution.

I think the tape (which is just over a half-hour long) largely speaks for itself, but I do want to make mention of the degree to which the emcee seems obsessed with where the various performers (and members of groups that perform) are from, and other ethnic and personal aspects to their existence. To my ears, it goes way beyond weird, and into something approaching obsession. Perhaps that was typical of the day and age, and perhaps they were touting something along the lines of equal opportunity, for those days. Absent some explanation, I find it creepy.

Download: Various Artists - A Purdue Glee Club Talent Show

And here, as an extra, is the contents of one of those tiny, 3 inch reels of tape. In this case, I think what we have is two separate recordings, one partly erased.

I have discovered, over the years, that sometimes people who exchanged audio letters would simply record over the letter they'd received, after listening to it, and send back their own audio letters back to the person who sent the tape.

So what I have here is a tape from a little girl named Marcia, recording an audio letter to her Aunt, with her dad, apparently at her request. They only used the first side of the tape, and the father indicates at just before the four minute mark. So then, the flip side is side two of a previous letter, presumably one from the Aunt in question, and apparently responding to an even earlier tape. The whole thing is really nice, and very sweet at times.

Download: Marcia and Her Family - Audio Letter

Monday, January 15, 2018

Life and Death - Conspiracy Theories of the 1960's!

Happy New Year, everyone,

First, I want to thank everyone who wrote with nice thoughts and positive feedback about my postings. I really appreciate it.

I want to address one comment to a poster named Bill, whose post did not contain a return e-mail address, and who asked a question about his potentially sharing with me selections from his own collection of reel tapes. Yes, Bill, I would love that. I don't like to share my e-mail address here, as it seems to end up causing me to receive an influx of spam, but you can find it at the end of this post, which I wrote about 15 years ago.


Today, I have two recordings having to do with rumors - one about a man who was quite clearly dead being alive, and one about a man who was quite clearly alive being dead. (I also have a bonus clip, since the first two are so short.)

First up is a remarkable - and remarkably tasteless - recording from either radio or TV, I can't tell which. In it, a man who sounds a lot like Mike Wallace to these ears reads a short piece which had apparently started circulating at the time, regarding the various clues indicating that John F. Kennedy was not dead. You have to hear this thing to believe it - it is seriously obnoxious, or, as Capote described it in denying its authorship, "Grotesque".

Download: Possibly Mike Wallace - "Dead or Alive", Possibly by Truman Capote

Next up, an inane little 95 seconds out of the middle of a badly (choppy) recorded set of Top 40 radio recordings. In this short clip, we hear a unique take on Paul' McCartney's mid-'60's accident, leading to another possible reason why The Beatles might have added clues to Paul's supposed "death". Sheesh.

Download: DJ Speculates on the Paul McCartney Story

And here, on an unrelated note, for those who might enjoy it, and without any real comment, is a recording someone, somewhere, on some date, made, of an 11-minute conversation between two people via walkie-talkies.

Download: Unknown - Walkie Talkie Conversation