Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A Compendium of Chet Huntley - David Brinkley Tag Stories

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

So here's a tape that is really something. For those who enjoy media recordings, in this case, specifically vintage news reporting, you will probably find this amazing. I know that there are others who will not listen at all, or who will bail out a few minutes into this two-hours-plus recording.

What I have here is someone's collection of the "tag" stories from the end of each night's broadcast of the legendary Huntley-Brinkley report. This was the NBC television news broadcast, from the mid-'50's through 1970, that first gave us the concept of the dual anchor newscast, and which was, along with CBS' Walter Cronkite broadcasts, where a large percentage of Americans got their nightly news during the 1960's.

Then, as now, most newscasts ended with a short "tag" story. With few exceptions, these were usually lighthearted, whimsical, odd or otherwise not as serious as the rest of the evening's news. Our mystery reel to reel enthusiast made it his or her job to record these stories - and only these stories - every night, for God knows how long (I'm guessing that this is not the only tape this person made - this particular tape is from 1962). There are a few other reporters filling in (on vacations and such) here and there, but mostly, the voices you will here, telling the stories and commenting, are those of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.

I really wonder just how amazing this is - it seems to me at least possible that this material does not exist - at least to this level of completeness - anywhere else.

Download: Chet Huntley and David Brinkley - A Compendium of Huntley-Brinkley Tag Stories
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Oh, and our intrepid documentarian also kept detailed written records of the shows he or she taped. Here is just one of THREE handwritten logs found inside this tape box:


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For those of you who like your sound clips shorter (32 minutes), and those who like Slide Show narrations, I have one of those narrations which is particularly unsuited to listening without the slides. Isn't that fun? This is a slide show meant to accompany a presentation of the winners of a photography contest! There's something I can't quite explain, that I enjoy about this tape - something in the detail that the narrator goes into, about the contest, the photographs and the photographers. I hope you enjoy it, too:

Download: Unknown - A Slide Show for a Photography Contest
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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Christmas, 1973

First of all, let me wish all of you a happy Christmas, and/or joyful whatever else you're having. I appreciate every visitor and every visit to this site, and I hope you find it worth your while every time you stop by.

As an appetizer for today's very long main course, here is a peculiar and, I think, very enjoyable tape. I don't know if this is a put-on, or if it's exactly what it appears to be. My guess is it's legitimate, although I'd be happy to hear from anyone who thinks there are clues that it was done in this fashion, from the start, to get laughs. The background noises on the recording, and the break halfway through, make me think this was recorded off of an acetate, which could be evidence both for and against the idea that this is a "bit".

What it seems to be is a woman whose first language is French, but who is also moderately fluent in English, being asked to read "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (aka "Twas the Night Before Christmas"), sight unseen prior to that moment, in English. I find it very entertaining. The sound at first is awful, but it gets more listenable quite quickly. The helpful people with her, and their attempts to explain words to her, sound too natural to be scripted or "canned".

Download: Unknown -  French Woman Reads "A Visit From St. Nicholas"
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Today's main feature, advertised in the name of this post, is simply a recording of a family's Christmas celebration, complete with stockings, gifts and greeting cards, recorded on Christmas, in 1973. For those with a sentimental side, there are multiple sweet moments here, and for those who simply enjoy the "Fly On the Wall" nature of some of the home recorded tapes I've provided over the years - this is a goldmine. It is, however, very lengthy, running the length of many major motion pictures (106 minutes). And there is more where this came from, for sharing next year, perhaps - the recording of the same event in 1974 is on the flip side of the same reel. So sit back, relax and enjoy the Christmas celebration of the Wessel family.

Download: The Wessel Family - Christmas, 1973
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Thursday, December 13, 2018

1960's/1970's Radio-Palooza!!

Howdy folks,

I have the distinct impression that one of the most favored types of posts I put up are those featuring airchecks and other top 40 and related radio. So today, with a minimum of blather from this end, I'm going to share the latest tapes that I've come across that fit this description, or at least come close to doing so. There is one from the '60's, two from the '70's, one from an ancient countdown show AND, as promised, another Christmas related tape.

First up, a set of (mostly) oldies from WBBY, Oldies Radio in Westerville, OH. This is a good, solid 23 minutes or so of broadcasting from that station, mostly featuring '60's music, with one exception. Oh, and somehow, the DJ believes that the absolutely wonderful "Corinna, Corinna", by Ray Peterson, was a pre-rock hit, missing it's actual release date by about six years, at least.

Download: WBBY, Oldies Radio, Westerville, Ohio
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Next up, a real mish-mash of radio from what appears to be late 1966, in the Washington D.C. area, in a 40 minute segment. There are at least two stations heard here, and I believe the call letters are WPGC and WEAM. Much of it is made up of a countdown show. This is a choppier tape, with a lot of edits and far too little of the DJ's. The varied volume levels heard throughout are also an issue, but it's better than nothing. This is actually what an awful lot of the radio tapes I own sound like. (There are also bits and pieces of a gathering of folks, which was previously recorded on the tape - the first ten seconds is the longest segment of this otherwise-erased material.)

Download: Mid '60s Radio on Two Washington DC Stations
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Switching gears a bit, here is an obnoxiously in-your-face newscaster, from 1974, on WCHO, from its ridiculously named hometown, Washington Courthouse, Ohio. I do sort of remember newscasters talking like this at the time, and am indescribably glad that this is no longer a saleable style. The news goes on for five minutes, and is followed by a couple of edited records played afterwards, starting with the always hideous REO Speedwagon. The DJ appears to be the same person who was reading the news. His name is Keith Allen, and this was probably one of his demo tapes. (a side note: I accidentally labeled the file here as 1973 - 1974 is clearly correct.)

Download: WCHO News, 1974
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Taking a step far into the past, here is a nearly complete episode of "Your Hit Parade", featuring (among others) the immortal Snooky Lanson. This episode dates from sometime around late spring or very early summer, 1953, and as usual for this rather bizarrely structured show, features the top seven songs of the week, the bottom six of which are heard in random order, as performed by the show's singers, with only #1 always placed at the end. Remarkably for such a flaccid period in American popular song, there are actually a couple of really good songs in there - I've always been particularly fond of "The Song from Moulin Rouge".

Download: Your Hit Parade, Late Spring, 1953
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Finally, in a complete change of direction dictated by the season at hand, here's a snippet of tape I was happy to find a few weeks ago, 14 minutes spent enjoying a rehearsal (I think it's a rehearsal) by a male A Capella group, with some barbershop-quartet-like arrangements of Christmas Carols and Songs.

Download: An A Capella Male Chorus Christmas
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Back soon!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Willis Shuey Tells His Life Story

Today, a tape I've been going back and forth about sharing. For those who like oral history, it's something of a gold mine, or at least a silver mine. Others will no doubt find it tedious, but I always risk that. The problem is that the sound quality is lousy.

Without going into too much detail, it's an interview with a man I believe is named Willis Shuey, telling about a good portion of his life story, in response to an interviewer's questions. It's not the most riveting story, but I think it's fairly compelling. Hopefully, some of you will find it the same.

Download: Willis Shuey - Willis Shuey Tells His Life Story
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Continuing my plan to share something having to do with Christmas within every post until December 25th, here is a short audio letter (incomplete on the front end), from some down home folks, likely to some other down home folks in another place. Oddly, the main speaker states that they're just about done, and suggests that the recipients should use the reverse side of the tape to record a letter back, but then on the other side of the tape they continued for several more minutes. There are some cute and sweet moments here among the esoterica.

Download: Unknown - A Merry Christmas Audio Letter
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And if you find yourself in Bristol, PA, and in need of some shoes, perhaps some "rugged handsome shoes", do pop over to Popkin's shoes. They're having a sale!

Download: Popkin's Shoes - Shoe Sale Ad
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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Terry-Thomas and His Teeth!

Happy Sunday, and for those who celebrated it, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving on Thursday. I have a bumper crop of four tapes for you today.

We'll start with a truly remarkable reel of tape. This comes from the same batch of "raw tapes" that I bought several years ago, and which I've mined at least a dozen times between this site and the WFMU blog.

What we have here is 22 minute tape featuring a series of attempts to get a commercial JUST right. The produced is a new toothpaste called "Stim-U-Dent" (introduced in 1969, so I'm guessing this is from around that time). The spokesman sounds to me like the late, great British character actor Terry-Thomas. I have no proof that it's him, and I can find no record of this commercial, featuring either Terry-Thomas or anyone else, but I can't imagine anyone sounding quite this much like Terry-Thomas without actually being him. And the fact that it's for toothpaste - given the prominent teeth of the man in question - just makes me hope it's true that much more.

There seem to be a number of decent takes here, and yet they keep trying and trying again. Other takes break down when nothing seems to have gone wrong. The actor becomes quite irritated and frustrated at a few points, but mostly in the most British of ways - but not always.

I only heard this for the first time last week, and couldn't wait to share it here - it immediately became one of my favorite things I've heard all year.

Download: Terry Thomas (?) - Stim-U-Dent Commercial (raw takes)
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I was trying to think of something else extra special to pass along, in Thanks for all of you who read and listen, and I don't know if this qualifies or not, but I've been shy about including excerpts from my own family's many, many tapes, and I thought I'd offer up a few moments from my own life.

On one of our tapes, there is a lengthy section where my brother Bill ("Billy", then), age 10, is home sick from school, very bored, and recording whatever he can think of. He tries to get the cat to make noise, tries to get the microphone to pick up the sump pump going on, and plays a few of his favorite children's records. Then I arrive home from somewhere (I'm four years old, here), and he engages me in the conversation you're about to hear, focused mostly on long words, most prominently the big one which had just been introduced, earlier that year, in the film "Mary Poppins".

Download: Billy and Bobby - Long Words
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Next up, some warnings to keep in mind when having outdoor winter fun. As I sit here, a few miles northwest of O'Hare airport, we are experiencing what is forecast to be the first major snowstorm of the year. And so, for your edification and enjoyment, I have the pride of Ishpeming, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula, those wacky folks from the humorous music group "Da Yoopers" with some snowmobiling safety messages:

Download: Da Yoopers - Snowmobile Safety PSAs
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And now, since it's officially the Christmas shopping season, and since I have so many Christmas oriented tapes to share, I thought I'd start with those now. On one tape I listened to, a man sent a lot of Christmas music to a friend, sort of an audio letter, except that there was virtually no talking, just introducing of tracks. That was true, at least until the tape was almost over, when the man recording the tape offered up some Christmas memories. This is a very sweet tape, and I wish this man had chosen to speak more, on the tape to his friend.

Download: Unknown - A Few Christmas Memories
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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Wonderful Audio Letter from Alaska, circa 1958

First, a big thank you - I am greatly indebted to Tony Hart, who filled in the blanks regarding some the items I posted last week. There is too much information to repeat here, but you can find it all here. Specifically, there is an explanation of why the commercials are most certainly from Canada and not France, as well as a mention of what the fragment of music is from, then there is an explanation and findings from a web digging expedition to find the source of "The Flabby American", and finally, a full translation of the French (Canadian) commercials. THANK YOU!!!!

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Today I have a lovely little audio letter, labeled "ROY'S TAPE" on the box, and featuring a young man reaching out to friends and family back home, from his Naval placement in Alaska. I will let the delights and idiosyncrasies of this tape reveal themselves to you, but I do want to add that I'm pretty sure that I own the tape he was responding to!!! That'd be a first, I think, and if I can find it, it'd be a wonderful bookend with this tape. Everything he mentions from "your tape" (i.e. the one he previously received) sounds familiar to me, so I just need to track it down. That said, and with no further ado, here is Roy, from Alaska, circa 1957 or 1958. 

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As an added bonus, here is a pompous little promo for KSYL, in Alexandria, LA. The station was founded in 1962, so presumably this promo is from not long after that, based on its contents. I wonder how they did with that "good music - no rock and roll" format as the decade wore on.

Download: KSYL Early 1960's Promo
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And finally - and I know this is very much overdue - sorry, teach' - here is Dan's final audio project, labeled just that way (plus his last name - available on the actual file name) on the tape box/ The first two minutes are achingly dull, but I'd have loved to hear more that sounded like the last minute or so:

Download: Dan - Final Audio Projects
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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Don't Hand Me That Jive!

Another trio of offerings today, dominated (in length, anyway) by the first of the three.

This 29 minute episode of an odd, well-written and -produced radio show, appears to have come out as part of a series called "The King's English", very likely from the 1950's, and I think it better if you discover its charms without me blabbing them all away. The episode is focused on the question that's been on everyone's lips, minds and souls for the last half-century, "Does 'Jive' Belong in the Dictionary".

ENJOY!!

Download: The King's English - Does "Jive" Belong in the Dictionary
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And now, a public service announcement, which appears to have been tied into the John F. Kennedy Administration. GET EXERCISING - LIKE THOSE DAMN ROOSKEES!!!

Download:  Unknown - The Flabby American
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And finally, if you're going to visiting 1950's France (or perhaps it was Quebec), near Christmastime, some time soon, you may very well hear these wonderful General Electric Ads. And if anyone who speaks fluent French would like to offer up a translation (no need to translate the words "General Electric"), I'd be much obliged.

(Please be sure to listen all the way to the end, as 17 seconds of an unrelated performance of some new lyrics to a well known song, survived on the closing feet of this tape.)

Download: Two French G.E. Commercials (Plus)
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