Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Supremely Irritating Jack Eigen

First and foremost, Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers out there, and to the fathers of everyone reading this!

It occurred to me a short time ago that I've neglected to post any of the tapes I have of Jack Eigen. This is a real oversight, because I know there are multiple people who visit this site who are particularly interested in radio recordings, and because I have a LOT of Jack Eigen.

The main reason it didn't occur to me is that I actually sold the reels on which these recordings were housed, several years ago. But before I did so, I made copies of all of them. And there were a lot of them.

Jack Eigen was an enormously popular late night radio talk show host on Chicago station WCFL for 20 years, 1951 to 1971. I'm actually not sure I understand why - I find him abrasive and, as indicated, supremely irritating. This is not based - as it would undoubtedly be today - on a political point of view or deliberate crassness. No, I just find his personality aggressively unappealing. When I first got these tapes, more than 20 years ago, I remember asking my mom about him, and she said that they would listen to him "all the time", and adding that his annoying qualities were one reason that people listened. It was a feature, not a bug.

You can read a few bits about Jack Eigen here and here.

Regardless, these tapes are fascinating in that they present a world of show business, talk show style and radio presentation which all ceased to exist a long time ago.

This is a LONG tape, containing excerpts from several of Eigen's broadcasts - I have not re-listened to this whole tape, this time around, or even 1/10th of it. I'm guessing that buried within are references that will tell you when it is from. Like most of the tapes I can share from the Eigen collection, this is well over three hours long. I've labeled this one "volume one", simply because it's the first one I prepared for posting here - I have no idea what order they truly belong in.

I'm going to guess that there are those of you who want to hear more of this, and if so, by all means, ask - let me know. I have upwards of 25 of these tapes, or if you prefer, somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 hours plus of Jack Eigen. Some of them are interspersed with latter day episodes of the Arthur Godfrey show (of the same vintage) and also episodes of "Theatre Five", which was an afternoon half-hour radio drama in the mid '60's, but most of them are pure Eigen - and yes, that means I have 75 plus hours of this stuff....

Download: Jack Eigen - The Jack Eigen Show, Volume One

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Three Different Types of Personal Recordings

I often label tapes that I'm sharing as "Home Recordings" - if that's what they are, or seem to be. But that covers a lot of ground. While I was looking for material to share today, I chose three tapes, and at that point, realized that they were all personal recordings of this type, but really had nothing else in common. 

The first is a tape I've labeled "Stargazing", which is from October of 1958. I know virtually nothing about astronomy, but perhaps people out there will find this interesting, or those inclined to ferret out the details from what is said (and what's on the tape box), can do so. And it seems at least possible to me, based on some of the things said here, that this is a tape made in conjunction with a school or a neighborhood, what with the woman in charge being so very much.... in charge. Just an interesting, sort of different, few minutes of tape. 


Oh, and here's that tape box. Two more tapes below. 

Next up, a very different home recording, featuring a curious little performance of a brief song. The introduction and explanation, in which the person speaking (then singing) indicates that she's written a new song - her first in a while - makes it sound like this is directed towards someone. But this short bit of tape comes in the middle of a solid 90 minute side of a reel, the rest of which is entirely filled up with the sorts of MOR and Jazz which were common in the 1950's, recorded off of records or the radio. It doesn't seem like something that she'd have sent to someone else, OR that she'd consider easy to find if she went back and looked for it.

Download: Unknown - When You're Dreamin'


And finally, one of the most common types of home recordings, the audio letter. Here's someone named Charles, sending Christmas greetings, in the form of an audio letter, interspersed with Christmas music, to a friend named Larry Ward:

Download: Charles - Audio Letter to Larry Ward

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Gaggle of Giggling Girls - The Sequel

When I started this project, nearly three years ago, it was on the occasion of the closing of WFMU's "Beware of the Blog", where I'd been posting, among other things, an item (or more) from my reel to reel tape collection once a month or so.

The very first thing I shared here was one I had been excited to post at WFMU, but never got the chance. I called it "A Gaggle of Giggling Twelve Year Olds". Between what I heard on the tape and (mostly) what others dug around and found out, we determined that the family lived on the far South Side of Chicago, in the Roseland area. I even had one person who not only determined the name of the family, but knew an extended family member, and got us in touch. However, further conversations (including what was potentially another batch of tapes) fizzled out quickly, with little more said.

Since then, I've found that my collection houses multiple further tapes from the same family, some identified largely by the presence of the same bird heard in the post linked above (as well as familiar voices), and a few which contain more recordings of the children in the family and, in this case, their friends.

And while I initially labeled the previous tape to having been from the 1950's, it's clear from this recording, which seems to be from a short while later (based on the similar ages of the girls to that first tape), that we're at least in the second half of 1961.

And this is another smorgasbord of fun. The clue to the year comes early, with some recreations of Bill Dana's character Jose Jimenez. There follows a litany of names and ages from the girls, including at least one home address in, yes, Roseland. Later, a rendition of Dick Biondi's "On Top of a Pizza", again places us in Chicago, and at least in 1961. And the same dad heard as on the first tape, takes part, from time to time, in the fun.

There are songs (a variation of "Tavern in the Town" and, at the end, the singing of "Tonight" directly over the Ferrente and Teicher version). There are MANY skits (a number of which, oddly enough, involve someone pretending to be a toddler wetting her pants), Donald Duck impressions, and several badly played piano solos by one of the participants (leading to multiple sketches pretending to be at a recital, or interviewing people afterwards). And there are, unfortunately, a few moments where the casual racial stereotypes common to the day and age crop up for a moment.

And, at one point (about 25:45), someone makes the odd threat, a phrase which I can find nowhere else in my memory (or on Google), saying, regarding some unnamed person, that she'd like to "Choke Him In the Heart".

This is another really fun, really special recording. I hope you enjoy it.

Download: Unknown - A Gaggle of Giggling Girls - The Sequel

Monday, April 30, 2018

Denver Radio, Australian Shortwave and TV Commercial Work


I remain far busier than I'd like to be, but wanted to get another post going here. Since there's not a lot to actually have to say here, I'll explain what I have in a few words and just let you listen. Since postings have been sort of few and far between, and since many of you seem to really like my media tapes, I'll feature three of them today.

First up is some vintage top 40 radio, from a very specific date - 12/11/64 - and place - the radio station at 710 AM in Denver, Colorado, KBTR - and an exciting time it must have been for Beatles fans. This date happens to have fallen between the English release of the "Beatles For Sale" album, one week earlier, and the US release of some of those same tracks on "Beatles '65", four days later.

The tape is rather choppy, and it will not be a favorite of those who collect DJ tapes - the person recording, as is often the case, cut much of the DJ chatter, trying to get the songs rather than the talking. But there's enough there to know (in the second half of the tape) that the DJ was featuring songs that no listener was likely to own yet, from a Beatles' album none of the listeners likely had a chance to own yet. And hey, there's even a newsbreak preserved for posterity.

Download: KBTR, 710 AM, Denver, Colorado, 12/11/64

Okay, here's the second clip - this is another segment of Shortwave recordings made from an Australian station which was specifically broadcasting to America. Two previously posted shortwave broadcasts from Australia can be found by clicking the "Australia" link at the bottom of this post.

Download: Even More Shortwave from Australia

Finally, here is about 15 minutes featuring a few folks trying to film a commercial for Lux soap.

Download: Filming a Lux Commercial


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