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.

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