Monday, January 17, 2022

Bloopers in Iowa, Vacation in Germany, Natives in New Mexico, Women in Market Research & More

 Greetings!

The files for this week, and my overlong text (I'm sure) that will go with them will follow in a moment, just a few jumps down the post.. 

But first...I'm using the start of the new year to get caught up on some replies to comments that many of you have been kind enough to leave. First, please know that I don't usually respond in the comments, not knowing who might or might not see them, but if you use your actual e-mail address when you comment, I often will respond by e-mail. But I understand why many don't want to do this.

Anyway, here are a few of things that I thought were worth sharing (more will be shared with future posts). 

I want to start by thanking everyone who wrote (either in comments or via e-mail) about the post I wrote for my father's 100th birthday.  It was very rewarding, touching and at times overwhelming to read these comments, and I deeply appreciate it. 

Okay, on to other things. From the "Small World" file, I heard from two people with personal connections to the Christmas Day family recording I posted a few weeks ago. The first was from Eric, who reported that he grew up in the same town in which that tape was recorded, and knows the street the family lives on quite well. Not long after that, I heard from "Old Guy" who reported that he was born two days before that recording was made. Some coincidences! Thank you both for writing. 

Then there is a comment from Jeremy, which can be found at the end of this post. Jeremy figured out that the tape from the young man in Japan was recorded in November of 1967, and he explains how he determined that in the comment. Thanks, Jeremy!

For this post, from Halloween of last year, I got a couple of comments worth mentioning. One anonymous poster suggested that the Octet music sounds a lot like music that was used in certain NFL films of an earlier age, and wondered if anyone had those films on VHS (or otherwise) and might compare.  And Brother Herbert wrote, regarding the same post, suggesting that the last name of the narrator of the vacation tape (and also the narrator's son) is Glossnick, or something similar. Thanks to both of you!

"Oldradios90" is a reader who comments quite often, which I really appreciate. A couple of months ago, OldRadios left this comment: 

II recently digitized this tape of a 1960s comedian to archive.org can you possibly make out who it is? https://archive.org/details/01.-1960s-comic-monomix 

I do not recognize the comic. Anyone out there have any guesses, or even a definite answer? 

The same poster asked if I had any "blue" Friar's club material, and I direct that reader to this post, from nearly five years ago. 

And I shouldn't leave the top of poster "OldRadios" before quoting something I was asked in a comment several months ago: 

"Hello Bob! I was wondering if you ever kinda get this sad feeling when a tape ends? Especially on recordings of family and friends because you feel like you get to know these people for a short time and you wonder what happened to them and if they are still alive?"

What a wonderful and insightful question! Yes, this absolutely happens, in exactly the situation you describe. I don't know that I feel like I get to know them (with the exception of a few cases), but I often wish there was more, wish I knew more about them, and frequently wonder whatever happened to them. On occasion, I even get to find out, when they (or their relatives) write to me. Sometimes, the internet can be amazing and wonderful. 

Finally, before getting to today's tape-a-palooza, a big shout out to Timmy, who nearly always comments, often saying something about every last thing I share, at this blog and at the song-poem site. I appreciate your involvement in this little project of mine more than you could know. 

Okay, now I'll share some stuff. 

~~~

Here's an interesting compilation. I suppose it's possible this reel circulates out there, but this particular collection may have been unique to its previous owner, who was a family member of mine who was also a working actor in Iowa for many, many years. It's a compilation of radio bloopers, mistakes and other outtakes, which largely appear to have their origin in various spots in Iowa. 

I find this sort of thing very entertaining, and hope you do, too. 

Download: A Collection of Bloopers From Iowa Radio

Play:

~~

Next up, one of several tapes I bought, somewhere along the way, featuring an American family who lived in Germany, and who took frequent vacations into other parts of Europe. Sometimes it was just the couple on the vacations, and sometimes their two young daughters went with. 

What makes these tapes interesting, and often fascinating, to me, is that this couple recorded updates to their trips in real time, with an audio diary of each day's events recorded every evening. I've found four or five of these in my collection - all recorded on three inch reels at 1 7/8 inches per second - and it's possible there are a couple more. Today's entry is the shortest of those I've found thus far, and it sounds like this might have been the first of at least two tapes (many of these vacations seem to have had two or three tapes made) - if so, I don't have the other tape. It also sounds like this was the first vacation made after the family moved to Germany, based on the main speaker's introduction to the reel. 

The trip was to Berchtesgaden in Bavaria, and I only knew how to spell that, because it was written on the tape box, a box which I'd scan and share here, except I can't find it now. The starting date for the trip was June, 1967. Here's the tape:

Download: Our Trip to Berchtesgaden, June 4-10, 1967

Play:

~~~

On a wholly different subject, here is a documentary, produced around 1970, but something called "The Children's Foundation", titled "In Occupied Territory", and dealing with the problems and challenges faced by Native Americans and Chicanos in New Mexico at the time. I think this is pretty interesting stuff. 

Download: The Children's Foundation - In Occupied Territory (Radio Documentary)

Play:

Here's the tape box: 

~~

Here's a tape I wish I had in complete form. I've come across a few of these over the years, and I think I shared at least one here before. It's market research session. They get a bunch of people together with the goal of finding out more about how their product - or perhaps a product yet to be introduced - is thought of, and related issues. 

This recording exists on an otherwise erased tape - the material erasing it was far less interesting. So this is only the first 16 minutes or so. In it, we learn that the focus will be on the low-cost Steak Houses which used to be far more common than they are now - Ponderosa, Bonanza and the like. 

Of course, the company paying for this group session isn't mentioned to the participants, as that would surely skew the results. What we have here is the opening introductions - each participant is a housewife or an older woman whose kids have grown. We get a little bit into the actual conversion. As it continues, a baby begins having a fit in another room, as the conversation continues. One of the participants identifies that it's her child who is upset, after several minutes of wailing. They are just starting to discuss what to do about this when the available tape stops. 

Download: Market Research Session - Low Price Steakhouses (beginning only)

Play:

~~

At the end of October, I posted a tape labeled "Octet II", which a couple of commentators really enjoyed and found interesting. What I didn't recall, at all, at the time, was that I had another tape, labeled "Octet", featuring four more songs from the same group. I came across it during the holidays, while looking for something else. Here is it!

Download: Octet I - Four Songs

Play:

And here's that tape box: 

~~

And finally, here's our "Very Short Reel". Today, it's another voice actor demo reel, in this case for Julie Codlin - just over two minutes of her various commercial performances. 

Download: Julie Codlin - Voice Actor Demo Reel

Play:



Thursday, December 23, 2021

Christmastime Is Here

 Seasoned Gratings!!!!

For this last post of the year, I'm going to focus almost entirely on Christmas and New Years, with only an exception for my weekly "very short reel" - and a bizarre one of those, at that. 

First, as I've done every year on this blog, I have a recording of a family celebrating Christmas at home. In this case, it is among the earliest, if not the earliest, Christmas recording I have featured, as the box makes it clear that we are hearing "Christmas, 1954", at a house on "River Road, Chatham, New Jersey". See?: 

There is some wonderfully charming stuff here, mixed in amidst the general conversations, package opening, and (unfortunately, in this case) moments of poor recording quality. I particularly enjoy the music, although the final segment of singing in marred by someone who decided to add a vocal version of stand-up double bass accompaniment, and did so as loudly as the piano and singer, essentially ruining the entire segment. 

Travel back in time almost exactly 67 years, and enjoy a family Christmas celebration. 

Download: Christmas, 1954, at River Road, Chatham, New Jersey

Play:

~~

In a moment, I will have my usual "Acetate of the Month", but first, I have something of a mix between my usual posts and that feature - here is a reel of tape I found, in which someone made a tape of an acetate that he found.

The man who is speaking (Rex, in St. Louis) was almost certainly part of a "tape exchange" club of some sort, probably the type (which I've learned was quite a thing, in the '70's and '80's), in which members exchanged tapes of old time radio. What the speaker has found, as you'll hear, is an acetate someone made on Christmas of 1953, in the Philadelphia area. The person spun the radio dial and picked up nearly 20 minutes of Christmas programming on that day. An enjoyable little diversion from nearly 68 years ago. 

Download: Scanning the Radio Dial on Christmas, 1953

Play:

~~

And now here's that Acetate of the Month. And in this case, it's a lengthy one, recorded at 33 1/3 RPM on both sides of a ten inch acetate. And this one is from a Christmas party. Specifically, a Christmas party held by the employees of a local post office, in December of 1960: 


Aside from saying that there are moments here which are quite affecting, I believe I will let this recording, which is about 25 minutes long, total, speak for itself: 

Play:  

Play:

~~
Moving on from Christmas to New Year's Eve, what I have here are a few fragments from a top 40 radio New Year's Eve countdown, as 1964 became 1965. I deeply wish I could share the entire countdown with you, but our intrepid tape operator, whoever he or she was, was one of those people who desperately wanted to avoid getting the DJ's voice, so although the entire top 25 of the year (for this station), the DJ patter (and that of a supremely annoying sidekick named Bruno) is only audible before the # 1 song. The rest of the songs literally cut on after they start, and cut off before they end. 

It's an unusual top 25, too, at least when compared to where some of these songs charted nationally that year. # 25 is a version of "Shenandoah" that, as far as my chart books indicate, never hit the charts nationally at all. Other songs which seem to have been MUCH bigger locally than nationally were. The numbers in parenthesis are the songs' national peak - not year end, but just regular run - on the Billboard Hot 100: 

# 20 - No Particular Place to Go (10)
# 16 - In the Misty Moonlight (19)
# 13 - Haunted House (11)
# 12 - Chug-a-Lug (9)
and
# 3 - Nadine (Is It You?) (23)

Only two of the above made Billboard's Top 100 of the year ("Haunted House" and "Chug-a-Lug", and neither of those made the top 60. 

And I love Chuck Berry, and wish his comeback in 1964 had been big enough that he'd had two of the 20 biggest hits of the year nationally, but that was not close to being the case!

Anyway, the station is KXOK, in St. Louis (which helps explain the Chuck Berry songs placing so high). All I have here is the # 1 song (which should surprise no one), with part of its introduction, then a recap of then-recent presidential election. Then there is some talk about the new year ringing in around the world (and an atomic clock counting the seconds), followed by the final seconds of 1964, counting down to 1965 for St. Louis. This is followed by the first song played in the new year, a bit of DJ patter and the start of the next song - "Shake a Tail Feather" by the Du-Tones - a top 60 hit nationally in 1963, but probably a bigger hit on KXOK, as the group was from.... St. Louis. 

Play:

~~

And now it's time for that very bizarre, and "very short" reel. What you're about to hear is contained on perhaps 30 or 40 feet of tape - if that - which I found spliced to the end of a large reel of leader tape. 

The first half of its 82 seconds is mostly some sort of white noise. There is something going on faintly beneath the noise, but not much. But precisely halfway through, there is a great bit of vocal noise,  followed by a young person speaking in a foreign language. I believe it's French, but I don't speak that language, and with the white noise persisting throughout, so I'm not even sure I'm right about the language. Maybe someone out there can assist in identifying what's being said. 

Anyway, this little hunk of tape sure fascinates me. 

Play:

~~

And finally, those of you who have been reading my posts for the last few years know that my family uses the Christmas Card tradition to engage in a bit of performance art each year. Previous end-of-the-year posts have other examples, and now, here is the latest in the series: 


From the left, that's me, my wife with the marshmallow in her face, then our two adult kids, and on the right, the fellow who will soon be, variously, husband, son-in-law and brother-in-law to the rest of the individuals in the photo. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

A Post For My Father

Today’s post is a little different. Well, a lot different. There will only be a handful of (mostly very short) sound files offered – although all of them are still from reel-to-reel tape! – and mostly I will be telling a story. For those who will choose to indulge me, I thank you. I understand if others choose to pass this by, and hope you will return next time, when I'll return to the more typical focus of this blog.

This is the story of my father, and my life with him. Because today, December 7th, 2021, is the 100th anniversary of my dad’s birth.

Frank Purse was born in Tacoma on December 7th, 1921, and was the oldest of three children born to his parents in the next few years. The family – and the area – was very poor. In 1928, when he was six, his mother died. HIs siblings were about four and two. As his father worked many miles away, and was unable to care for his children day to day, they were moved to the home of their aunt and uncle, who had a child of their own and were in similar financial straits. They remained in this home for all of my father’s childhood. Around the time my dad graduated high school, his father remarried, and the entire family reunited and moved to the North Shore of Chicago. He began attending the nearby Northwestern University, pursuing an Engineering degree, and drove a cab to help pay the bills.

It was while the family was celebrating his 20th birthday, on December 7th, 1941, that the attack on Pearl Harbor was announced. Dad eventually went into the service. He flew the P-51 mustang, was Captain of a fighter squadron, and was stationed in King's Cross, England, making flights over Europe.

After the war, he returned to Illinois, and Northwestern, and at some point, the family moved to Evanston. Around 1948, he became friendly with the young woman whose apartment window faced his own, across a gangway.  This was Mary Frances Godwin, a classical soprano with a promising future, and the woman who would become my mother. One of Mary Fran's acquaintances commented that “Mr. Frank looks like a Movie Star”, and pictures from back then show him to have looked somewhat along the lines of Clark Gable or Errol Flynn. Maybe you'll agree:

In quick order, Frank and Mary Frances were dating, then married in 1949, then had my sister in July of 1950. My brother followed in June of 1954, and I finished the trio of children six years and two days after my brother, in June of 1960. Along the way, dad had long since gotten his Master’s Degree in Engineering, and had begun a career of what would turn out to be nearly 40 years at Universal Oil Products (UOP). When I was one year old, the family moved from a four flat in Skokie, IL to a large house in a wooded neighborhood in what was then the boondocks – a tiny town called Northfield - population about 4000, at the time. This is where I would grow up, and where he and my mom would live the rest of their lives. Our modernistic ranch house, complete with a flat roof, except for the living room, which had a ceiling that went from 10 feet to 12 feet on a diagonal angle, can be seen below, in a picture taken just before we moved in: 

Just about the first thing dad did after taking ownership was to cut those bushes on the left WAY back so that they weren't completing blocking bedroom windows. 

And here’s the family, not so long after we moved to Northfield. I bet you can figure out which one is me:

As I’ve written before, when my dad wanted something, he wanted the best. It’s more complicated than that, though. Having grown up poor before the depression, and no doubt even more severely after 1929, he was not one to spend his money loosely, or often at all. But when he did want something – most of the time something to do with audio – he didn’t go halfway. So it was that when reel to reel recording became an available “thing”, he bought the top of the line for that moment (1952), a Concertone behemoth which retailed for $400 at the time – roughly $4000 in today’s money, although he likely got a discount, as it was a recently retired studio model (from Columbia Records, I found out years later). That must have put quite the dent in the young couple's finances. He continued to buy the latest in reel to reel machines for the rest of his life – a more compact mono machine in 1963, a top of the line Ampex stereo model in 1966, and Teac machines in roughly 1976 and 1989.

So, I was afforded the possibility of falling in love with the reel-to-reel tape medium. I’ve written about that, before, as well, and won’t repeat myself here. But my dad’s interest in this medium made it possible for me to develop this obsession, so his interest in reel recording is as responsible as anything for the existence of this blog, as well as my previous reel posts at WFMU.

My dad was generally speaking a serious guy, but with a wonderful spark of dry humor when he felt like it. But I get the feeling from the few recordings I have of him that he was looser and more fun in the early days of my family, than he was by the time I was growing up. I ascribed that to the increasing demands of his job, as he moved up in ranks at work, as well as the demands of having three children, rather than one or two. He was also a more musically active person in the 1950's than he was by the time I have memories.   

The longest recording I have that involves my dad is one I shared many years ago at WFMU, made on Christmas morning, 1952, with my sister, then 2 ½, singing Christmas carols. He talks quite a bit and plays piano on at least one song. It was the first time they used the Concertone. I will not repost that here, but you can find the entire tape here. In that same post, I also included a somewhat later Christmas recording, with dad playing piano and my sister singing. He is a bit more vocal here than on the 1952 tape, so I will include that one here. Plus, it's December, and this tape is Christmassy, too. 

Download: Marcia with Daddy – Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Play:

When my sister was around three – probably on her birthday – dad taped her reciting a gory little poem - entirely inappropriate for a preschooler – called “Taffy”. I love the noises she makes as she leads up to the violent ending, as well as his rather gleeful encouragement at her performance. He then turned on the PA monitor speaker and had her sing Happy Birthday to herself, which she did not quite finish before the tape ran out.

Download: Marcia – Taffy & Happy Birthday

Play:

One more tape of my sister and my dad, first playing Chopsticks together, then duetting on the old folk song “I Love My Rooster”. That’s dad on the piano again. I love how he suggests that they're in a bad key for their voices, then moves the song almost completely out of his range.

Download: Daddy and Marcia – Chopsticks & I Love My Rooster

Play:

Sometime after we got our compact 1963 machine, my dad was playing his baritone ukulele and leading the family in a favorite of ours, “The Braggin’ Song” (aka “I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago”). This is a song we knew from the wonderful rendition by Odetta and Larry, which you can hear here, and which I was to sing with my mother, decades later, on many occasions. 

My brother started up the tape recorder to capture this moment. For whatever reason, this resulted in the performance stopping, and he was encouraged to record later. I’m not sure why, but it’s disappointing. But this little fragment – really three sections of performance – is very dear to me. 

Download: The Family Sings “The Braggin’ Song”

Play:

I don’t really recognize the father I knew in those tapes. By the time I was old enough to know what was going on, I never once saw him play his beautiful electric/acoustic Gibson sunburst guitar, and almost never saw him play the ukulele, although he did teach how to play that instrument. Despite his rudimentary piano skills, during my childhood, he would really only play two songs on the piano, and that was probably a few times a year. I think one was "Deep in a Dream", and I can play the other song, as he would play it, but can't remember what song it is. 

I do hear the man I knew, with his shy, dry humor in this next little bit of tape, made right after he bought our 1963 machine, as he and my brother Bill tested it for the first time. Here, they will quote a few lines from The Smothers Brothers, he makes a joking reference to a folk song about a train, and then he recites the first line of a particularly awful poem, one which we all knew from a self-published book of awful poetry that our family somehow had obtained. Bill then finishes the first verse. In case you can’t make out the words they are:

My paw held me up to the moo-cow moo, so close I could almost touch

And I fed him a couple of times or two, and I wasn’t a ‘fraid-cat much.

Download: Dad and Bill – A Few First Recordings

Play:

Dad’s taste in comedy leaned towards the intellectual and the offbeat, and comedy albums were played around our house seemingly all the time. For me, above all others was the man who made the best stand up (well, sit down) comedy albums in history, Shelley Berman. But I also can't say enough about Stan Freberg, Tom Lehrer, The Smothers Brothers, Victor Borge, and many more who filled my brain with a very specific and dry sense of humor. It helped that he was inclined to express his own humor in the same way.

~~

Person A: “Time Flies…”

Dad: You can’t. They go too quickly.

~~

Dad: Is it warmer in the country than it is in the summer?

~~

And the best one:

Dad: I feel more like I do now than I did ten minutes ago.

~~

I've been told that, in his early days at UOP, he would sit in a room, on a stool at a drafting table, with several other guys, all of them doing the same. In that setting, he lived for that moment when someone would come in looking for one of his peers, so that he could say "he sits two stools behind me". Ho ho. 

I also remember him just about losing it while we were watching a football game together. There was a field goal kick, and the camera was poorly centered, not showing the cross bar. The kick was low, and after it was over, he started laughing, pointing out that both he and I had gotten out of our seats to try to “look over the edge of the bottom of the TV screen” and see if the kick was good.

At some moment in 1968, he scraped his foot open on a rough spot or maybe a nail or something on the floor somewhere, and made up a little nonsense song about it.

“Scraped, Scraped, Scraped it on the floor

It don’t hurt no more, ‘cause the skin is tore”

No, that doesn’t make sense, but that was him. And, remarkably, there is an ever-so-brief tape of him singing the second line of this song. I am so glad to have this tape, because it captures of side of him that I saw far too rarely. My mother sings for a moment, and later comments on how awful this tape seems to be. The young child yelling "Talk Dad", and later having a laughing fit and otherwise being very loud, is me. The older child heard is my brother Bill, who encourages dad to sing, which he does, just a bit, after feigning having injured himself. It is Bill that is playing the piano, and who sings part of the first line of the song. 

It probably took you longer to read that section than it will take to listen to this 37 second piece of tape:

Download: Frank Purse – Scraped, Scraped!

Play:

(It’s worth noting that everyone in our family was in the habit of making up songs – often to existing tunes – about everything and anything they did, heard on the TV, or that came up in conversation. I still do that to this day.)

And that's really the last – meaning most recent – significant recording of any length that I can find of him, unfortunately. Anything more recent is along the lines of simply checking sound levels or making brief comments at group gatherings.  

~~

In addition to everything else, dad subsidized the musical education of my brother and sister (both of them exceptional musical talents), as well as nine years of both trombone and piano lessons for me (not an exceptional musical talent). And as I mentioned, when I was 15 or so, he taught me ukulele chords, which I later transposed for myself onto guitar, when I became a self-taught guitarist in the late 1970’s.

Still, in those years, I didn’t know him very well. He was an occasional world traveler (for work) by the time I was seven or eight - even before that, he made many trips to California, where he was on the team that was perfecting the catalytic converter. And from the time that I was 12 and into my early 20’s, he was very frequently off in exotic places like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and China (soon after Nixon opened up relations with that country), overseeing refinery construction and things like that, often for weeks at a time. He had the great stories about his experiences in those countries.  

There were wonderful things my dad did around the house. He designed and built by hand an enormous and complex model train set. The kids got to help a bit, but I was still little at that time. But if I’m ever in a hobby store, and get to the model train area, the smells of the various parts that permeates the area takes me right back to those wonderful days with the model trains.

And when I was in my early teens (and my siblings had long since moved out), he, my mom and I took a driving vacation across the country to Yellowstone, and many points on either side. It was joyous, I saw parts of this country everyone should visit, and I got to know both of my parents much better. This was a pivotal moment in my life, as I’d spent the previous two years increasingly depressed and anxious due to worsening bullying during 7th and 8th grade. Getting away like that, in a sort of cocoon with them, helped me prepare for massive changes that were coming my way, and that I would make in myself, as I entered a high school where almost no one knew me. A few weird memories stick out. I especially remember the day that, out of nowhere, he recited to me a couple of off-color poems featuring bathroom humor, which was so out of character for him as to leave me speechless. That was also the trip on which he allowed me to have a sip of his beer. I hated it, and 47 years later, it remains the only sip of beer I’ve ever had.

When I was in my later teens, dad designed and built a deck for our back yard, and put me to work with him, which was greatly enjoyable and a time of deep bonding. Again, if I’m ever around pieces of wood being carved up on circular saws and the like, there is a very distinctive smell that takes me right back to working with him on that deck. We also lived in a house with a relatively soft wood exterior, so every several years, we scraped off the old dirty paint and repainted it, and I treasure those memories of working and talking together, as well.

Here’s a picture of dad from 1977. Note the new Teac tape recorder behind him, and the various cabinets and shelves containing or holding recorded sound-related items. Dad built all of that cabinetry and shelving. I also love the good humor that radiates from this photo. This is how I remember him. 

My dad was definitely a man of his era. He didn’t talk about the war, and he didn’t talk about feelings – he was generally quite taciturn. He certainly had elements of “the organization man”, in the phrase of the day. He (and his peers) drank alcohol at meetings, at lunch, and at home, and he smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. As a child, I was diagnosed with fairly severe ADHD, and was put on Ritalin. I was bouncy and extremely loud and boisterous, and tended to quickly rub him the wrong way with my sheer energy level. Later, I was a heart-on-my-sleeve teenager who was an open book about my feelings, seemed to fall for every girl who was intelligent and cute, and got destroyed, emotionally, on a regular basis. And I couldn’t comprehend the need or desire to imbibe in mood altering (or addictive) substances. Dad and I were not at each other’s throats in any way, and we certainly got along and enjoyed each other, but at a certain, important level, each of us was a mystery to the other. And in retrospect, I’m sure it didn’t help that he seemed to be on business trips half the time.

Dad’s drinking never got out of control in the ways that we all known drinking can: he was not an angry drunk or someone who drove while intoxicated or anything like that. But by the early 1980's, the amount he drank had become very concerning. Some nights he would have five or more mixed drinks, and often got very quiet and withdrawn. Sometimes he would go to bed by 7:30 PM. And the amount he did ingest (including the cigarettes), combined, I’m sure, with the stress of his job (where he was eventually a Vice President) did have me planning some sort of intervention. I asked both of my siblings to come home for Christmas, 1983. But before either could arrive, two medical events took place, two days apart, just after his 63rd birthday. He was diagnosed with diabetes on a Wednesday, then had heart attack on the subsequent Friday. There was a hospital stay, and following that, he never again had a drink of anything stronger than wine, and never had another cigarette, quitting cigarettes and hard drink cold turkey. And that – and some great doctors - gave him just over another 11 years.

It strikes me with some degree of shock that I am less than two years younger, today, than he was at the time of his heart attack. He had long since seemed like an old man to me at that time, and aged rapidly over the rest of his life, although he was at all times vital and engaged and very physically active. I'm 61, and I don't feel old - I feel like I'm 25, and have felt that way, since I was...25. I wonder if dad felt old, then, at 63. 

I was still living at home – which I did until I got married a month before my 28th birthday, and as dad moved into retirement, I got a chance to know him much better. We spent a lot of time together, and I’m sure we enjoyed each other the most of any point in either of our lives. He welcomed my friends into the home, and when there was a chance for conversation, enjoyed interacting with them. He and I worked on projects together (painting the house… again, redesigning the yard, making repairs at a block of apartments that he owned), watched shows and movies, and developed a really nice, adult-to-adult relationship.

Here we are after he retired and grew a beard, and I had Chicken Pox (at age 25) and had no choice but to grow a beard:

Beyond the sort of personality mismatches between us when I was a child and adolescent, we had our differences as well, into my young adulthood. A few little ones, but primarily, one major area of difference.

Dad was a lifelong Republican. This was primarily due to his view of financial and military issues: he was generally socially moderate, but seemed to consider those areas to be personal views, not things to be addressed with tax dollars, and he absolutely did not consider social issues to be worthy of basing one’s vote on. By the mid 1980’s, he told one of my siblings he thought that Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of his lifetime – I'm sure Reagan's policies made him the wealthiest he was at any point in his life (if he was ever home on a weekday, no matter what else he was doing, the Chicago TV station that played real-time updates of the stock market was always on). 

I, meanwhile, had been spending time getting a degree in Human Services, taught largely by Psychologists and Social Workers, and between that and my burgeoning fascination with American Folk Music – and its leading purveyors – had turned me from someone who was disinterested in politics into the Socialist-leaning Democrat that I’ve been ever since. Our solution was that we barely ever spoke about politics (but, to be fair, I should add that we didn’t talk about politics before my awakening, either). Perhaps – no, probably – because of my privileged upbringing, I had little to no interest in finances. I liked money, and I worked – from about age 14 on, I would do whatever would bring in cash, mostly cutting lawns for several years, but later driving delivery, restaurant work, even driving a cab (just like he had). But I doubt he would say I had the right sense of the value of money, or the right respect or understanding of it. Today, where he here, he'd likely say I still don't. And once I got a Bachelor's Degree, it gave dad fits that the jobs I was interviewing for, jobs which required my new degree, would pay me little more than his employer paid for secretaries. 

In retirement, my parents got to enjoy each other's company more richly and consistently. They traveled quite a bit, and dad was one of the early adapters of the home computer revolution. He used his new computer to completely design the new kitchen they wanted to have built, to replace the very worn and not user friendly kitchen that had been in place since that house was built in 1952. Near the end of his life, he became absolutely fascinated with trying to beat every deal of the then-new FreeCell software. 

Dad welcomed my future wife into our lives, and once Gina and I were married, helped us out financially at first, and also with manual labor, helping to paint our first apartment, and, once we had moved to a house, helped argue our case to a lawyer who was giving us trouble. He assisted me financially, again, when I went to graduate school. He even helped me tear down a wall where we wanted to remove a closet and in doing so, enlarge a part of the basement. He loved my children deeply, and one of my favorite pictures shows him, in the yard, holding hands with the older of my two children, who was then three years old.

That work in the basement was actually the last time we worked together. A few weeks later, we got together to celebrate my mom’s birthday – it was the middle of April, 1996. That was the last time I saw him. I got paged at work on May 3rd, 1996, responded to the call, and learned that dad had died in his sleep. He was a bit more than six months away from his 75th birthday. Aside from his history of heart problems and other chronic issues, there had been no immediate worry that he would die soon. The previous day, he’d worked in the yard and gone on errands with my mom. I’ve always felt that he had so much more to do.

At his funeral, my siblings and I each spoke about him, giving very personalized and thus very different versions of his story, and ours. I took comfort in the words of the priest at the end of our speeches, something to the effect that he’d rarely heard such a level of tributes, and that Frank Purse (who he had not known – dad was not a churchgoer) must have been a very special man.

He was. He was a good, good man, and once I knew enough to admire him, maybe late grade school, I did admire him, and I never stopped admiring him. So many of my childhood and teen friends had combative relationships with one or both parents – deteriorating connections, angry outbursts by one or more person, even having to move out to escape an untenable situation. I do know that, being the youngest of three – and by many years – I got a more patient, experienced and relaxed father during my teen years than did either of my siblings, who each had at least moderate young-adult conflicts with him, and I know that I’m fortunate to have been parented by him later in life than they were. My dad and I had a few arguments, and I shouted it him on about a half-dozen occasions, and he at me perhaps three times, but that was about it. And I am forever thankful at my great luck at having been born into a prosperous family, where there was never material need, and where there was an abundance of love. 

Dad did what was right, especially when it was important to do so. (I learned long after his death that, on his first trip to China, he was offered a visit by a prostitute – he pointed at his wedding ring, and was told “that doesn’t matter here…” “It matters to me” was his response.) He was always ready to help a friend, neighbor or relative. He worked his way from a poverty-filled childhood to the vice presidency of a company building oil refineries. And he almost never, that I recall, told me I was wrong about something, preferring to let me know in more gentle ways, and to try and help me see another angle. He loved me through and through, even though he clearly didn’t fully understand me when I was a severely hyperactive eight-year-old, or a depressed 13-year-old, or a love sick 16-year-old, or a 25-year-old with a preference for socialism. And I loved him just as much, even if I couldn’t fully relate to how his poverty-stricken childhood, war experience, political views and job experiences had left their mark on him.

I'd like to add one more thing. There is an musical artist named M. Ward, who I believe to be the best recording artist of our new century. M. Ward and Bob Dylan are now the only people releasing music that I will purchase upon release, without hearing first. He has a song called "Requiem", in which some of the lyrics put me in the mind of my father. Not all of the lyrics match, but enough do that I'd like to share it. And musically, it ranks among the more powerful tracks I've ever heard, too. The video is great, too, and you can see it here

Download: M. Ward - Requiem

Play:  

Okay, I should stop now. I’m making myself cry.

Thanks for everything, dad. I love you, and I miss you.

I’ll close with mom and dad, photographed in 1993, an overwhelmingly happy and content older couple, still deeply in love, after 44 years of marriage. 


Oh, those wise eyes of his, and that wry smile...

A deep thanks to everyone who made it all the way to the end of my story. I hope you found it enjoyable and meaningful.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A Radio Station's Birthday, a Right Wing Meeting, More From Our Young Man in Japan, and Some Rye Sounds

I have another cornucopia today, with four disparate tapes, three of considerable length, and, of course, a "very short reel".

First is a tape I made myself, on the day that local (and legendary) Chicago Top 40 powerhouse broadcast an hour-long special in honor of their 25th anniversary, some time in the spring of 1985. The station had switched over to Top 40 on May 2nd, 1960, and was easily the best station of its genre for most of the following two and a half decades. 

It was certainly the station my older brother listened to all the time, in the bedroom we shared, when I was a little kid (six years his junior). It vied for my attention (along with the inferior WCFL) when I was a pre-teen, and it became my station again when I started driving my own car at age 17 in 1977. The 60's were the magic years, though, with deejay feuds, funny commercials, content created just for the station, and wonderful music. 

By 1985, I would hardly have called much of the music wonderful or magical, but a station retrospective was always worth hearing, and I'm sure I taped it with much enthusiasm. What you hear here is the entire contents of the tape - there is a gap at the end of side one where I turned the tape over, and the special ends about three minutes before the tape does, so we get to hear an oldie coming out of the show credits, and then the start of the then-current number one hit in town, before the second side runs out. 

Sadly, the station had barely four years to go as a music station. The switch by most listeners to FM (for music, anyway), meant the station started telling hosts to talk more and spin records less around 1988, and by the fall of 1989, music had been eliminated entirely. There was a mix of opinion among the station's hosts, at first, but before too long, it was all right wing talk, all the time. As a result, I haven't listened to WLS in at least 25 years.  

By the way, the glitch a few seconds in is on my original tape of this show. I probably restarted it after a few seconds or something. 

Download: The WLS 25th Birthday Special -1985

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~~

Speaking of Right-Wing Politics, here's a tape that at least some may find fascinating, especially if you like the sort of "fly-on-the-wall" listening in to things that appeals to me. Not that these folks didn't know they were being recorded, but just that they probably thought the number of people who would hear the recording would likely be in the single digits, or low tens, at most. 

This is a recording of a meeting of "We the People", and primarily, their special guest speaker. I'm dating this to early 1965. The Johnson/Goldwater election of November, 1964, seems to be in the relatively recent rear view mirror, and a few other references seem to confirm the time period, if not the date. 

This is a lengthy recording - just over 105 minutes, but it's worth a listen if you're a student of the period, interested in the way the political parties saw each other in 1965 (or perhaps more accurately, how the Goldwater faction, and those to the right of that group, saw most everyone else). 

Oh, and for those who like to play with sounds and make montages and the like, this is chock full of good source material. I've used parts of it myself. 

Download: A Meeting of "We the People", circa Early 1965

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~~

Last time around, I offered up part of a collection I have found, consisting of audio letters from a young man in Japan, to a family member back home. I remain confused as to whether this person was just a student or also a soldier, and if only the former, why he was in Japan, and why there are so many references to military things. Again, maybe someone out there has a better idea. 

In this one, he mentions that it is "Saturday, the fourth" but doesn't give a month. Given that it's also clear the year is 1967, I don't know what month we're in, as there were three months with a Saturday the Fourth that year. 

I hope these are interesting to folks, as I have well over a half-dozen of them, so let me know whether to continue with them. 

Download: Audio Letter from a Student-Soldier in Japan, Saturday the 4th (Month Unknown), 1967

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~~

Finally, this post's "Very Short Reel". This one is a bit longer than most, running just over six minutes, but it's still a small reel, containing what these short reels often do, a Demo Reel. In this case, a voice actor named Michael Rye offers up "The Rye Sounds". 

Download: Michael Rye - The Rye Sounds

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

A 1960's Student/Soldier, A Visceral Radio Play, Two Types of DJing, and More!

Hi, everyone, 

Before I go any further - and because I definitely won't be posting again before next Thursday - I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who will be celebrating it. 

To start today, the first of a whole batch of tapes that I have from the late 1960's, made by a young man living in Japan. They are audio letters to family (or at least to one family member) in the states. At some point in the last year I acquired more than a half-dozen of his tapes, and I'm still digitizing and listening to them. 

And I am more than a bit confused as to his status, and as to why he was in Japan. The content of the first several tapes led me to believe he was a soldier, who was also attending school in Japan, because he both mentions his schooling, at length at times, and also talks about the local army base, where he was living during the times captured on some - but not all - of the tapes. That led to my impression of what he was doing in Japan, when I labeled today's feature as "From and American Student-Soldier". 

More recently, in tapes I will feature going forward, it becomes more clear that he was a high school student during the times reflected in most or all of these recordings. So that made me think maybe he was living with a family member who was in the Army, yet those other tapes mention him having moved off-base. I find that aspect of these tapes very confusing. 

I intend to share one of these in each post until I run out of them, so maybe someone more familiar with the times, and/or who is better at picking out details which will explain things, can help. 

I don't have them in chronological order yet, mostly because some remain undigitized, so I just chose the first one that I listened to, to share with you. 

Download: Audio Letter From an American Student-Soldier in Japan, March, 1967

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~~

Next up, a fascinating reel that I bought at the old ALS Mammoth Music Mart, which I've written about many, many times. This is a remarkable production of a retelling of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", produced, no doubt for radio, by a conglomeration that called itself "Earwaves Productions". I cannot find anything about this company online, but then again, this does date to 1976. 

This is a pretty intense rendition of the story, visceral in its descriptions and even sound effects at times, and I find it very entertaining. The producers of the drama, who otherwise portray the lead characters as devout Muslims, made the odd choice of adding a scene of drinking to excess - which is not part of the original story, and which would be very much out of character for such people - and that seems weird to me. But otherwise, I really enjoyed this. It's in two parts, and I'm sure it aired that way.  

By the way, the two parts both start off identically, but then part two picks up where part one ended. 

Download: Earwaves Productions - Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Part One (1976)

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Download: Earwaves Productions - Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Part Two (1976)

Play:


~~

For several years, I had the great pleasure of listening to the radio show of Herb Kent, "The Cool Gent", on my way home from church on Sundays. He played great soul and R & B oldies, often with a good degree of comment and insight. It was his last gig in radio, and he worked right up until the Sunday before his death, at age 88, in 2016. 

I knew that Kent had been a DJ in Chicago for a good long time. In fact, he worked in radio for 72 years. 

Quite some time ago, I was lucky enough to find a reel featuring Herb Kent, a year into his 15 year stay at Chicago's WVON, in July of 1964. While this 27 minute recording is not a pristine aircheck at all (there are lots of edits, of the sort usually found on tapes made by people who mostly wanted the songs), it is, I'm guessing, a rare recording regardless, and does capture enough of Kent to make it worth sharing. 

Download: The Herb Kent Show, WVON, Chicago, July, 1964

Play:


~~

From the sublime to the ridiculous. I also recently digitized a tape containing three, back-to-back identical recordings of the same 11 minute aircheck, with the songs scooped out, done by someone named John Nelson at WXIV (The Big 14) in 1973. I believe this station was in Maine, based on some research I just did. 

Not only is this a far, far worse era for hit music than that found in the preceding 1964 recording - I could only stomach a couple of these hits (were they not excised anyway) - Mr. Nelson's hackneyed performance is as unlistenable as the tunes we are thankfully spared. I assume he was going to chop these up into three tapes and mail them off for a hoped for better job somewhere. He might have waited until he had a chance to do a show while he didn't have a cold. 

Download: John Nelson's Demo Reel - 8-27-73

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~~

As promised last time around, today I am returning to the "Acetate of the Month" feature. With Thanksgiving a week away, and certain radio stations having long since turned on the Christmas Music, I thought I'd share this eight inch home recorded acetate, of what sounds like an adolescent boy (named Bill Duke), playing a piano solo of "White Christmas", near the end of 1948. 

Download: Bill Duke - White Christmas (Duodisc 8 Inch Acetate)

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On the flip side, Bill Duke serenades us with "My Happiness"

Download: Bill Duke - My Happiness (Duodisc 8 Inch Acetate)

Play:


~~

And finally, it's time for our "Very Short Reel". This is among the very shortest of those short reels, 34 seconds of John Dancy, in which he introduces what he's going to do, does a four second promo for a news special, in three slightly different styles, and says "okay". 

Download: John Dancy - Foreign Policy Special Teaser

Play:

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Two Vastly Different Radio Shows, Film Narration, and More!

 Howdy, folks, 

I'll start with two lengthy radio recordings, representing vastly different eras and programing. The first, and by far the more interesting of the two, is a nearly complete recording of an episode of The Grand Ole Opry Radio Show. There are some huge stars of the day (and some huge country stars of all time) represented here: Marty Robbins (the "star" of this episode), Bill Monroe, Loretta Lynn, and Lonzo and Oscar, among others. 

Best of all - to me at least - are the commercials for Lava Soap, specifically the jingle. But I'm a sucker for jingles. 

Perhaps someone out there can date this better than me. It's certainly from late in the year, what with the repeated mentions of Christmas, and can't be from earlier than 1965, as that's when the religious album that Loretta Lynn mentions was released. I've dated it as being from December, 1965, but wouldn't mind being corrected. Also, I can't tell if this is from a broadcast on WSM in Nashville, or if that's simply where the broadcast originated. Regardless, this seems to be a line-in recording, perhaps from the station itself. The quality is excellent.

The tape concludes with a Christmas tree safety PSA, followed by the opening 90 seconds or so of "The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree", with an indication that maybe these actually ran on Christmas Eve. 

Download: The Grand Ole Opry Radio Show, December, Possibly 1965 

Play:

~~

Switching genres, eras and towns, here's nearly 45 minutes from the waning days of the Chicago Top 40 / Album Oriented Rock station WDAI. More than half of this recording is the final segment of the station's "Top 20 Album Rock Countdown" 

I find a couple of things interesting here. First, one of the promos mentions that they don't play too many commercials, yet the segment captured here is positively larded with commercials. Also - presumably because one of the hit albums of the day was the "Sgt. Pepper" film soundtrack - a track from the original "Sgt. Pepper" was played, and the choice was: "She's Leaving Home". Imagine an AOR station making that choice today. 

The countdown ends at about the 30 minute point, so for the rest of the segment, you get to hear the regular programming on WDAI. For me, the commercials are by far the most interesting part. A real time capsule. 

By the way, this is from my own collection - this is a tape I made, probably in August of 1978, but possibly September. My mother later erased the earlier portions of the countdown. 

WDAI was in it's last days as a rock station. On 1/1/79, they switched to an all disco format, leading directly to the later decision, by Steve Dahl (who lost his job due to the format switch) to host "Disco Demolition Night" at Comiskey Park. 

Download: WDAI, Chicago, Album Rock Countdown, circa August, 1978

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~~

Now, here's a peculiar tape which has been in my collection for over 30 years. It contains six pieces of music, all but the first instrumental (and that first track contains no lyrics - just a mixed group doing a variation of the sort of horrid scatting that "The Swingle Singers" polluted the airwaves with in the sixties).  

The tape is labeled "Octet II" on the side of the box. The back of the box looks like this: 


This is not my sort of music, but I'm guessing there are those out there who will find this interesting. So I'm sharing it. 


Play:

~~

Next up, yet another tape featuring narration of a presentation. But unlike the previous items I've shared of this type, this is not a slide show narration, but rather, narration of film - movies, filmed in 1963 - as can be seen in the sticker affixed to the tape: 
 

The "JWG" is the narrator, who is John W...... something. I cannot make out the last name. It sounds like this gentleman took his son and another boy, likely a close friend of his son, on a trip from Chicago to the American southwest. The label leaves no doubt anyway, but it's clear that this summer trip could have taken place no later than 1963. The story begins with a reference to the Northwest Expressway - which would be the Kennedy Expressway by the following summer.  

I'll let this play out for you, and won't spoil the story, but I will say that this is the most professional home recorded narration that I've ever heard, and this guy clearly worked to make it just about perfect. Oh, and there is one experience recounted here, in fairly gory detail, that I wouldn't wish on anyone, particularly not a teenager or pre-teen on vacation with his father or friend's father. 

I will say no more. 

Play:

~~

And finally, our very short reel. This five inch reel contains three 1968 commercials for "The Thunderbird Lounge", an "After midnight groovy place to go" in Las Vegas  - it was open all night! 

There is still a business by that name, but I have no idea if it's the same business that existed in 1968, or if it is, if their activities and offerings are still the same. 

These are all interesting, and definitely give up a vibe that there was something very interesting that went on at the Thunderbird Lounge, but it is the third ad, with great voice performances by Gary Owens and Stan Freberg, among others, that stands out. 

Play:

"Acetate of the Month" will return next time. 



Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Porter Heaps Collection of Rare Daytime Radio

Wow - well, it's been almost a month since I posted. Work is getting the best of me these days, and I haven't felt like I've had time to do much of anything. I've been "busy as a porcupine" to quote one of Shelley Berman's many great routines...

But I've got something today that I just love, and that, hopefully, some of you will, too. But there's a story, first. 

Since the 1930's, my family had attended St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Evanston, IL. Then, when my mom returned from college (and a subsequent adventure in New York City), in the mid 1940's, she was a full fledged professional singer. At that time, she was hired as the soprano soloist in St. Matthew's church choir (she would continue in that role for an astonishing 54 years). 

The organist and choir director was a man with one of the great names in history, Porter Heaps. Concurrent to his work at St. Matthew's, Porter was also the organist on several radio shows which were produced - most only transcription discs - out of various spots in and near Chicago. He was also the national spokesman for the Hammond Organ company. 

Reading over his obituaries, it becomes clear that he was the key person in "selling" the country and other musicians on the idea that a small console instrument could be called an "organ", and that the term was not just meant for pipe organs. St. Matthew's had, at the time, a Hammond Organ, of course. You can read about Porter here, including a fascinating paragraph on his use of citrus fruits during his Hammond Organ demonstrations. 

Along the way, he made a handful of albums of organ music, which pop up from time to time, at least in the Chicago area used record stores I've been known to frequent. 

Here is the man himself: 

Getting back to St. Matthew's: I grew up in that same church (indeed, I still attend it to this day), and as Porter and my mom were close friends, I got to know him, about as much as any grade schooler gets to know one's parents' friends. And I thought he was wonderful - a happy-go-lucky elf of a guy, with a great sense of humor and a gentle way with everyone. 

Porter announced his retirement and an upcoming move out west in 1970. But before he left, perhaps (probably) having been told of my love of tape recorders and recordings, he invited me and my mom over for an afternoon of copying some of his favorite tapes. 

But these were no ordinary tapes. They were paper reels, from the dawn of recording, they contained pristine (for the most part) recordings of otherwise long lost regional radio from the late 1940's and very early 1950's, nearly all of which were in his collection because he'd been the organist on those shows. While episodes of these shows exist elsewhere online, they are mostly in lesser sound quality, and they don't include these episodes. 

I quickly fell in love with the entire collection, and well before the end of 1970, the tape marked "Heaps Radio" was undoubtedly my most listened to tape of the year. I loved all the different shows, the very different world that they portrayed, and especially, the wonderful, corny commercial jingle for Quaker Oats, as well as the mystifying (for a ten year old boy) commercials about "certain specific days" that a woman might want to use Lydia Pinkham's products, as well as the brief Pinkham jingle. 

I'm going to share nearly the entire contents of that tape here, in the order that Porter shared them, leaving out only four novelty records that he included - presumably thinking they would appeal to me, which they did - all of which were rare at the time, but have since become easier to find, especially with youtube. 

For his first selection, Porter gave me a 22 minute segment of a show titled "Man on the Farm", which was a promotional program for Quaker Oats and Mother's Oats ("which ARE the same"), and which also promoted their "Full-O-Pep" Chick Starter and seed sales. I'm not sure this is all from the same episode - it starts midway through an episode, and then there is a short gap at the 9:15 mark.  

But following that gap is, no doubt, the reason Porter started with this reel. It contains what he called "The Heaps Wedding Bit". Unfortunately, Porter's voice is very hard to hear during this bit, as he describes how he played the wedding music for a variety of brides. I'm not sure why that is, but it's certainly the poorest recorded segment of the entire collection, with his tiny voice coming from seemingly two rooms away, followed by booming music on the organ. 

Download: "Man on the Farm" (Featuring the "Heaps Wedding" Bit)

Play:

This was followed by more "Man on the Farm", again, sounding as if perhaps this portion came from more than one episode, or simply had elements of one episode. The high point for me here is the "Meowing Contest".

Download: More "Man on the Farm" (Segments)

Play: 

The two longest portions of the Heaps collection are two complete daytime audience participation shows, heard back to back. The first is "Ladies Fair". This is not technically "complete", as the tape recorder had some problems midway through (commented on at the end), and this interrupts several short moments of the show. But the show is full of audience interviews, music, contests and ads and is endlessly entertaining to these ears. 

Download: "Ladies Fair"

Play:

The next track is a full episode of something called "Ladies Be Seated" (later satirized by Bob and Ray as "Ladies, Grab Your Seats"). The content of this show is pretty much interchangeable with "Ladies Fair", and is equally fascinating to me. 

Download: "Ladies Be Seated"

Play: 

The "Ladies Be Seated" reel also contained just the short opening moments of something called "Add-A-Line", really no more than an explanation of what the show was about. 

Download: "Add-A-Line" (Short Opening Segment)

Play

Barely longer than that is the next portion, and it has mystified me now for more than 50 years. Porter clearly wanted to share this moment of hilarity from a "Man on the Farm" broadcast, where the entire audience explodes with laughter at something a woman starts to say, and then they remain unable to stop laughing for two minutes. But what is the joke she is making? I suspect it has something to do with Bed Pans, which no doubt would have been the cause of nervous laughter and naughty chuckling at the time, but I'm not sure. 

Download: "Man on the Farm" (Short Segment - "Pot and Pan" Bit)

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Finally, with a bit more room left on my reel, Porter gave me one more short segment of "Man on the Farm". 

Download: A Final "Man on the Farm" Segment

Play:

I don't usually beg, or even ask, for comments, but as this is one of my favorite tapes ever, I'd love to hear what you think. 

A postscript: 

Porter lived nearly 30 more years after retirement, and well into the years when I was heavily into collecting reels, and he and my mom remained friends. Over the years, I have thought, many, many, many, many times that I should have reached out to Porter, via my mom, to ask if he would give me his tapes, or leave them to me - he had an in-the-wall bookcase that was a literal WALL of tapes, and the thought of what treasures were on the other ones - other than the four or five he shared with me - has haunted me ever since I start seriously collecting them. But I never asked, and who knows where all of those tapes are today. 

~~~

Finally, here is our "Very Short Reel" for this post. Here's the way the tape box for this reel looks: 

The contents of this reel are below - it's a demo reel for Pat Sheridan, who was, for quite a while, an AM radio personality in Chicago, at this time on WMAQ, which was an easy listening/soft rock station in the 1960's and 1970's. His samples here are all over the map, from innuendo and one-liners, to a brief, serious plug for the United Fund. 

Download: Pat Sheridan - Demo Reel, "Sheridanize"

Play: