Saturday, September 17, 2022

Queen Elizabeth in Chicago, A Labor Day Address, A Demo Reel, Gynecology and "The Dong With the Luminous Nose"

First, I wanted to thank the several people who wrote, either via the comment box or via e-mail, to share their thoughts on last months "BLOWOUT" post. I appreciate the kind words, the thoughts on that format, and the general reactions and impressions of my site. They are all deeply appreciated. It was a small sample, but the general feeling seems to have been that such a post, in which I share a huge volume of material, about which I have relatively little to say, and therefore with minimal text, is a welcome offering. I may do such a post as often as once every other post, at least until I've used up a significant portion of the 400 or so items I have waiting for sharing. For my other posts, I think I will try to cut down on the amount of typing I do, unless there is really something specific I want to pass along.

And now, on with the countdown: 

When I heard the news about Queen Elizabeth, one of my first thoughts was "I should share that tape of the time she visited Chicago". I've owned this five inch reel for decades, digitized it over two years ago, and if I could find it, I would scan the tape box for you. 

Elizabeth visited Chicago for a 16 or so hour visit, after visiting multiple sites in Canada. She arrived, as you'll hear, on a boat in Lake Michigan, and crossed Lake Shore Drive into Grant Park. For decades, that crosswalk was known as "Queen's Crossing", until the city removed the crosswalk and the stop light, a few years ago. I'll let the tape tell the rest of the story. 

Download:  Coverage of Queen Elizabeth's Visit to Chicago, 7-6-59

Play:

As long as I'm sharing that tape, I thought I'd let you hear what was on the rest of that reel. Here's a short segment of WGN radio show called "Midnight Ticker", from the same day as the Queen's visit. 

Download: Peggy Cass on "Midnight Ticker", 7-6-59

Play:

And, as often happens, the remainder of the tape actually contains something which was recorded earlier, and then partially erased by the later material. Here is the tail end of the final episode of "The Gisele MacKenzie Show, a television show which ended its run on March 28th, 1958

Download: The Gisele MacKenzie Show (Final Episode) with Cameraman Lee Mossman and Miyoshi Umeki - 3-28-58

Play:

~~

We also just celebrated Labor Day, and in honor of that, here is a broadcast Labor Day speech by the Vice President of the AFL-CIO, just a short 58 years ago. 

Download: Albert J Hayes, Vice President of AFL-CIO - Labor Day Address, 9-7-64

Play:


~~~

For those of you who, like me, can't get enough of all things Top 40 Radio, I have just the thing for you. Here is a demo reel produced by (or on behalf of) Lee Sherwood, a journeyman DJ, Radio personality and radio executive. This sampling was put together in April of 1971, and is "scoped" - that is, the songs are cut out of the equation. Just listening to this, you can tell that he was that "journeyman", as I described him - still early in his career, this tape represents stops at several different stations. 

Play:


~~

Here's a performance of an old bit of nonsense verse with guitar. When I first spooled out this next tape, as soon as the person began reciting the poem, I thought, "I KNOW THOSE WORDS". When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was "The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear", a fantastic collection of prose, poetry and drawing which I still adore to this day. And for whatever reason, the performer here decided to do a little rendition of "The Dong With a Luminous Nose". The words aren't quite in the order here that they are in my book, but it's certainly the same Edward Lear poem. 

Play:

~~

And now for something aggressively esoteric. Somewhere along the way I obtained a batch of reels which contain medical lectures and symposiums, under the umbrella title "Audio Digest". These would be sent on a monthly basis to doctors in various specialties, addressing issues within those specialties, from various aspects. The example I have today - this was the tape on the top of the pile, and one of only two of these that I've listened to so far - is on Obstetrics and Gynecology. It is a mind-numbing 57 minutes long, but I am really trying to give a sample of everything in my collection so..... ENJOY!!!

Play:


~~

And finally, here is our "Very Short Reel" for the day. It is, simply, an ad for a local bank. Here 'tis: 

Play: 




Wednesday, August 31, 2022

AUGUST BLOWOUT POST - EVERYTHING MUST GO

 Greetings, my friends. 

I'll tell you a little secret: this site is a LOT of work. I have, at one point or another, listened to everything I post. And if it's been a while and I want to share something interesting, I listen a second time. And all that listening, and all that writing and all that linking takes a lot of time. 

I don't mind, and I'm certainly not complaining - I am overjoyed that I've found a way to share my lifelong fascination with reel to reel recording with those who appreciate my finds. But sometimes it's overwhelming to try and get out two posts a month in the style that I prefer. 

Plus, I did an inventory last month, and I found that, over the years (going back to the WFMU days), I have - in my file named "not yet used" - nearly 400 discrete sound files that I've made from reel tapes, all of which I at least considered for this site, and WFMU before that, which are, as you might guess, "not yet used" on this site. And that number continues to grow, as in a typical month I newly save more items than I share. 

So I'm thinking that when I'm short on time, I will just put up a big batch of files, with little text - perhaps those things that I don't have a lot of explanation to give, or just things I think are interesting enough to share, but perhaps not worth the time it takes to type out a bunch of words. Paradoxically, it will be easier to share 12 files without saying much of anything, than it is to write a bunch of words about five files. So that's what's going to happen here. 

Please let me know what you think of this format. If you like the idea of getting more content and less blather from me, my feelings won't be hurt. And if you find this to be just too much at once, let me know that, as well. 

But first, just a bit of housekeeping. I received a very interesting note from an anonymous poster, yesterday, with regard to what I labeled as "Walkie-Talkies" in my last post. Well, I stand corrected. Here's what was written to me: 

The "walkie talkies" are actually CB radios. The dutiful use of call signs (K- or W- followed by two letters and four digits, different syntax than amateur radio calls) would seem to date this well before the "Breaker Breaker" craze of the mid 1970s. If I was to guess, I'd say mid- to late-1960s.
Unfortunately all of the FCC's records of CB radio call signs were apparently destroyed in the 1980s once the nearly-always-ignored requirement to obtain a CB license was finally put to rest. Otherwise, you might be able to identify some of these talkers!
Even recordings from the 1970s craze are rare, so these pre-craze reels are especially rare and fascinating to hear as the original pre-internet "social media."

Thanks for that clarification and history lesson. Most interesting!

Oh, and I also added a really nice newspaper clipping to that same post, one that was in the box that contained the WRC 40th Anniversary highlights. 

~~

I'm going to do things upside down today, before I get to the main "blowout post" I described above, and share the three items which fit in with my regular features. 

First up, here's the contents of a neat, 12-inch acetate, in our "Acetate of the Month" feature. And with school starting for most children between last week and next week, what could be better than Miss Arlene greeting her room full of Kindergartener. On one side of the record, she greets them - and they greet her - in English, and on the other side, they greet each other in Spanish. 

Download: Kindergarten Class - Miss Arlene Greets Children in English

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Download: Kindergarten Class - Miss Arlene Greets Children in Spanish

Play:

~~

And let's get that "Very Short Reel" out of the way, too. It looks like, during the 1958-59 season, CBS TV ran various re-runs under the title "Stars In Action", or rather, "STARS..... IN.... ACTION!!!!". Here we have what I believe is the recording of various voiceovers being put onto the backing music. 

Download:  "Stars In Action" Main Title Voiceovers

Play:

~~

And now, nine more items, some of them quite lengthy, from my collection: 

By chance, a bunch of the files I chose are recordings of TV shows. So let's stay on the TV side of things to start. Here is the sound off of an entire TV special, a preview of ABC's fall, 1964 Prime Time programming, hosted by Bing Crosby. Crosby himself was the star of a new ABC sitcom that fall, one which didn't make it to the end of the season. 

Download: 1964 Preview of ABC's Fall Season, Starring Bing Crosby

Play:

~~

Now, did you ever wonder what a random woman speaker might have said, in 1970, about what the job of secretary of the future... say, 1980... would consist of and look like? Has that thought kept you up at night? I know it has for me. So I was relieved to find this 43 minute speech, on a tiny, three inch reel of desperately thin recording tape, recorded at 1 7/8 IPS. 

Download: Unknown - The Secretary of the Future, 1980, as Predicted in 1970

Play:

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Or perhaps 55 minutes of Fiddle Music, played by 90 year old Aunt Rose, with a much younger male relative on piano, recorded in Maine, among other spots, is more your speed today: 

Download: Fiddle Music with 90 Year Old Aunt Rose, from Maine and Elsewhere

Play:

Here's that tape box: 



~~

Returning to TV, here are some "wild track" recordings (Raw tapes, I think) from an ABC program about Japan, from the 1960's: 

Download: Wild Track Recordings for ABC program on Japan

Play:

And here's a portion of that tape box: 

~~

The next tape almost qualifies as a "Very Short Reel". The title pretty much explains this 5 1/2 minute segment: Robert Recites His Lines and Plays His Accordion, Spring, 1958

Download: Robert Recites His Lines and Plays His Accordion, Spring, 1958

Play:

And guess what, there's writing on this tape's box, too!

~~

Here's the tape I find the most interesting of all of those I'm sharing today. Your mileage may vary. I have in my collection several tapes recorded by an American couple living, I believe, in Germany, who made several trips to other parts of Europe during the late 1960's and early 1970's, and made recordings each night, while on those trips, summarizing their experiences from that day.In most cases, they used more than one reel - always three inch reels, with the thinnest, lengthiest tape available, and recorded at 1 7/8 IPS, as with the secretary speech, above. Here is their audio diary from 1969, capturing part one of a trip to Spain: 

Download: Audio Diary - Trip to Spain, September & October, 1969

Play:

Here's the tape, and the identification of its contents: 

~~

Last time around, I offered up some vintage country music television. This time around, it's more of the same, not from the 1950's, but from 1966, specifically, an episode of the Jimmy Dean show from January 16th of that year. 

Download: The Jimmy Dean Show, January 14, 1966

Play: \

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At some point, I came to own a few tapes connected to the Northrup Corporation, one of which you'll now have the chance to hear here. It's a rather odd compendium of various media reports and coverage of Northrup related stories. 

Download: Compilation of Northrup-Related Broadcasts, Summer, 1954

Play:

Here's what that tape box looks like: 

~~

And finally, the longest of all of the items I'm sharing here, which may be of some fascination to certain readers/listeners, and of absolutely no interest to the rest of you. This is an early 1950's revivalist-style church service, from a paper reel (that is, a reel made prior to 1952 featuring recording tape attached to paper backing). 

Download: An Early 50's Revivalist-Style Church Service

Play:

~~

Again, please let me know if you like, or dislike, this format. It is definitely a way to get more of what I have out there to you, the reader and listener, but it's also a ton of stuff to listen to. I'd also be interested in knowing which of the categories covered here are of interest, and not of interest, for future posts. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Some Rare Country Music Television, A 40th Anniversary, Walkie Talkies and THE ROCK RHYTHM SOUND!

 Hello!

My descriptions will be brief this time around. I really want to get a post out, but I usually have time on weekends to do most of my writing. But not this weekend - first Beatlefest in three years! Were you there, too? Maybe I saw you!

Anyway, I'm going to start off with what I found on either side of an ancient reel, which contains some exceptionally rare country music TV recordings. 

First up, I believe, based on the date on the tape, and on what's said during the actual broadcast, that this is literally the first television broadcast of The Grand Ole Opry. The date on the reel is June 11, 1955. Multiple online sources indicate that this show did not become a regular weekly broadcast until the fall of 1955, but that it aired once a month, prior to that, starting the previous summer. So this is the very first episode aired on television. Here it is: 

Download: The Grand Ole Opry Television Show - First Broadcast, June 11, 1955

Play:

The flip side of the tape appears to be something far more obscure, from five days later than the recording above. It is a broadcast, clearly local rather than natural, of something called "The Hillbilly Bob Newman Show". I say "clearly local" as the host of the show actually thanks the local advertiser in his opening comments. Also, and perhaps more importantly, I can find NO reference to the existence of this show online. There are plenty of sites which feature Bob Newman, and even "Hillbilly Bob Newman", but no hits for the name of his show. Unfortunately, nearly all host and/or guest chatter has been edited out of this recording, leaving just the performances, some of them incomplete. But still, this is real time capsule and contains some mighty fine music. 

Download: The Hillbilly Bob Newman Show, June 16, 1955

Play:

Here's a section of the tape box with the relevant information (note that it says "Grand Ole Opera"): 

~~~

And now, a completely different sort of programming. I have a tape which was used to capture several short episodes of a feature which ran on radio station WRC, in Washington, DC, during August of 1963. As it happened, that month was the 40th anniversary of that particular radio station, and, as radio stations are wont to do, WRC memorialized this event with multiple short retrospectives, during that month. My intrepid recorder, whoever he or she was, captured just over 90 minutes of that programming, on a reel of tape. 

It would appear that WRC was, for most of that 40 year period, an affiliate of the NBC network, so these highlights are decidedly LESS locally focused than I would have liked, and less than any other retrospective I think I've heard, being made up largely of "hey, do you remember this network broadcast/broadcaster". Still, it's a neat little bundle of nostalgic flashbacks, and it's worth noting that the there has now been a station in that town on that frequency (it's now WTEM) for 99 years, as of two weeks ago.

Download: WRC, Washington, DC, 40th Anniversary Features, August, 1963

Play:

Here's a really nice insert which was inside that tape box: 

~~~

Switching gears again, for those who are just wild for those walkie-talkie conversations, here is about eleven and a half minutes of walkie-talking conversations. 

Download: A Walkie-Talkie Conversation

Play:

~~

And now to a "Very Short Reel". This is, admittedly, more than a bit of a cheat. This comes from a full length, fully recorded reel of tape, but a two minute segment of it made me smile. The second side of the tape had a recording of a full presentation, on local Chicago television, of a Mae West movie, complete with the commercials. And this Longines advertisement was heard as one of the commercial breaks. A real time capsule, and, incidentally, not at ALL what I remember Longines promoting and selling, way back when: 

Download: TV Ad for 'The Rock Rhythm Sound' From Longines

Play:

Sunday, July 31, 2022

A Singularly Fascinating Don Kirshner / Bobby Darin Find and a Whole Lot More!

I have something today which I find utterly fascinating, and that I hope you will, too. 

But first, some housekeeping updates: 

My friend and frequent commenter Timmy has posted a nearly hour long blast of KRTH, and their tribute to Bobby Darin (who, coincidentally, figures strongly in my first feature, below), from December 20, 1973. It's on YouTube, and you can find it here

Two posts ago, I offered up a significant amount of Jack Paar material. Eric Paddon, a TV culture hawk who can almost always be counted on to pinpoint what it is I've shared, and some of the details, has identified these segments as having been from 8/4/59 and 9/3/59. Additionally, he's shared links to available video of the Debbie Reynolds segment here, and in better shape, here

And two weeks, ago, in my VERY SHORT REELS FESTIVAL, I finished with a bizarre tape built around "The Stars and Stripes Forever". A poster named Snoopy offered up that 

The "Weird Stars and Stripes" has a brief sample of "The Wild Bull" by Morton Subotnick, Side A, about 8:15-8:25. I'd like to hear more of what that person was trying to do (the tape sampler, not Subotnick).

Finally, with regard to that same posting, I made a comment about how sometimes three inch reels, particularly those that seem likely to have been recorded on those tiny dictation reel machines, tend to have anywhere from minor to severe speed variances. I did not know why. A poster named Scott explained it: 

A lot of those little 3 inch decks (like the ones on Mission Impossible) didn't have capstans and pinch rollers so the tape speed was subject to the small, unregulated take up motor. 

Thanks to all four of you, and to everyone who writes in. I really appreciate it. 

~~

And now, the most interesting thing I've found on a reel in a good long time: 


This box, seen above, had been sitting, waiting for me to discover it, for a good long time, in my basement archives. That the reel encased in it only had about three minutes of tape on it didn't encourage me to investigate sooner. But I'm glad I had a listen, just a few days ago. 

The story begins with two young songwriters from Las Vegas, Al Gemma, Lyricist and Frank Lendini, composer. Al Gemma had the surprising good fortune to get to play a few of their songs for Bobby Darin, during one of his tour stops in 1959, and was further encouraged to send the songs on to Don Kirshner. Or at least, that's what happened, according to the letter that Mr. Gemma send to Don Kirshner, which was in the box with the tape. Here is the letter in its entirety, dated July 19, 1959: 


That's quite a tale, especially the encouragement from Darin and the enthusiasm he is reported to have about one of the songs. 

So, what do the songs sound like? Well, first they are extremely short. totaling just under two minutes, 50 seconds between the two of them. They are competent, but very derivative - I don't sense what would have stood out to a performer of Darin's caliber and abilities, particularly just before he released his most successful single, "Mack the Knife".

Here's the first one, the one Darin is said to have been hot to record. It has the fairly clunky title, "You-The Girl I Love"

Play:

And the second song, which Al Gemma said the songwriters had reworked, at Darin's request. It's called "Vicky Knew"

Play:

Rather oddly, Al Gemma did not use a new piece of tape for this recording. He recorded in half-track mono over some other recordings, leaving on the remaining channel some recordings which had previously been recorded in whole-track. I would imagine that if Don Kirshner bothered to listen to this tape, it would have been on a stereo machine, and he'd have to have turned down the right channel. Here, for completeness sake, is what's on the remaining channel - two segments of piano led instrumentals, neither complete. I don't know the first tune, the second one is "And That Reminds Me".

Play:

Interestingly enough, the story does not end there. Both of this songwriters actually got past the starting gate in the business they were so interested in entering. While both of these songs were copyrighted by their authors by 1959, that's not really a sign of anything - anyone can do that. On the other hand, the two of them later copyrighted a song called "Girls Girls Girls", and that song, along with another one the two of them wrote, made it onto a 45 released on King Records in 1961

And Frank Lendini? He got even further, releasing a 45 under his own name in 1964, featuring the song "Give to Me", and its flip, with some lyrics that would likely not fly today, "So Young".

That's where the Gemma and Lendini story seems to end, but if there is more, I trust someone out there will bring it to my attention. The only question remaining in my mind - did this tape somehow come to me from a collection which once belonged to Don Kirshner? Without going into detail, I will say that other, less interesting tapes in my collection have led me to believe I did at some point pick up tapes that belonged to his company, so it's a distinct possibility. 

Incidentally, ALSO contained in the box were lead sheets for both "You-The Girl I Love" and "Vicky Knew". I don't really want to bog this page down with four more images, so here is just page one of "You-The Girl I Love"

And if that's not the find of the year from my collection, I don't know what is. 

~~

Here's another tape I just love, mostly because it comes from the dawn of reel tape recording, and captures people at home. 

For here we have a tape that I could have subtitled "Have You Heard 'John and Marsha' Yet"? And that's a title which could only have come from the late winter of 1951, when Stan Freberg's first single was turning heads across the country. There is another clue here which also dates this to the early years of the 1950's, and given that it's a home recording, that's an exceptionally rare thing. 

This is also a paper reel - that is, a reel of recording tape with paper backing, which I've written about before. This was phased out by 1953, if not sooner, and tapes with paper backing are almost as rare as home recordings from 1951. Not to get too technical, but the sounds on this tape were also recorded across the middle of the tape, not using the outside edges at all, and this, again, is a feature found on the earliest machines, one that seems to have been phased out even sooner, perhaps by 1950 or 1951. 

As you'll hear, the recordings have the sort of White Noise backing that I've come to associate with paper reels. I don't know if that was the fault of the tape itself or of the early recorders. I can't remember hearing it on any of the plastic backed reels from the same period, though. 

There is not anything amazing on this tape, except that it exists. These are people doing something 99.9% of the population had not done yet - recording their voices on tape. And I find that wondrous and quite worthy of sharing. The opening half of it is admittedly not very interesting, but I still can't get over the fact that I'm listening to people learning what tape recording is.

The tape, which runs about 14 1/2 minutes, starts quite softly, but gets louder after a few minutes. A man tests the machine and sings a few songs, including "Goodnight Irene" (the other clue to the time frame, "Irene" being the omnipresent hit of the previous fall). After a moment of another man talking, and some silence, we have conversations at home, a moment of a fake phone call and some more testing and silence. A man gives his name as Larry Ferrante and repeatedly gives a radio-styled introduction to music. 

At 5:45, things pick up (well, for me, anyway). "Have you ever had your voice recorded"? A short interview ensues, and then a recreation of "John and Marsha", and then some brief renditions of recent hits, by Larry's friend Lenny (who had never heard his voice recorded before). More "John and Marsha" and more songs. In what for me seemed an odd twist, the last three and a half minutes contain a man reading part of the play "A Streetcar Named Desire". 

Download: Larry Ferrante and Others - Very Early Home Recordings, Circa Winter, 1951

Play:

~~

Now, for those of you who like older music, or who like lengthy airchecks, or who just like well made radio programming, I have a 96 minute segment that, if it were described to me, I probably wouldn't choose to use on this site. You see, it's a broadcast from 1980, from a station called WFLM in Crown Point, Indiana, of a program featuring the pop music of the 1940's and early 1950's (along with one from 1958). While there are certainly pop records from that period that I like, and several that I adore, that description doesn't sound like something I'd particularly like to experience for over an hour and a half. 

But I have to say, this program is done exceptionally well - certainly the best I've ever heard for a program of such music. There is intelligent commentary about the music and the world of that time, a challenging  call-in question, and an absolutely relevant well done countdown of the top songs on the very first "Billboard Honor Roll of Hits", which happened to have started 35 years old that week (as of 1980), marking this program nicely to March of 1980. I enjoyed this very much, and maybe you will, too. 

Download:  WFLM, Crown Point, Indiana - A March, 1980 Program of Hits of the 1940's and 1950's

Play:

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And now to the "Acetate of the Month". Nothing much to say about this one - just yoyur average, everyday accordion/marimba duo playing "Fascination" and the same two, in a small combo with bass and trumpet, playing "I Got Rhythm", the latter far more effectively recorded than the rather wobbly "Fascination"

Download: Accordion and Marimba Duo - Fascination

Play:

Download: Small Combo - I Got Rhythm

Play:


~~

Finally, if you need something to help you sleep, I have today's "Very Short Reel". Here's a gentleman, recorded most likely in late 1961, who is giving some insight into the state of the then-current stock market, with a specific focus on the value of buying "Suburban Gas". 

Download: Stock Market Comments and Suburban Gas Promotion

Play:

Saturday, July 16, 2022

VERY SHORT REELS FESTIVAL!!!

 Today I have something a bit different. Every time I go to upload more stuff for this site or my other site, I can quickly get a bead on how interesting the most recent post, and its various parts, turned out to be to readers/listeners. And that's because I can see how many times each sound file has been accessed (whether played or downloaded - it doesn't distinguish). 

So it is that I have, for a long time, known that the most popular - or at least the most visited - part of each of my posts is the Very Short Reels feature. Those segments can get anywhere from two to five times as many listens/downloads as the average file. 

So today, I'm going to offer up nothing but tracks which are under five minutes long, a veritable VERY SHORT REELS FESTIVAL!!! Because this is sort of a massive undertaking (I have to attach each of the files, twice), I'm not going to have much to say about any of them. 

I have so many of these that this would probably be a good idea even if it didn't seem to be my most popular feature. This post features 25 files. I have nearly that many left of this length to share, going forward, and no doubt will be making more in the coming weeks and months. 

And overview: I am not claiming that all of these are from tiny tapes, which is what I usually feature in the segment titled "very short reels". Some of these are the sum and total of what was on a reel. Others constitute something I found interesting on an otherwise uninteresting reel - maybe two minutes from a 90 minute reel, or maybe five minutes from a ten minute reel, or anything in between those two extremes. I'm going to share them pretty much in no particular order. 

And now, let's get started!

1.) Let's kick things off with a recording of a fellow who had a few things to say about Juvenile Delinquency in Indiana: 

Download: Unknown - Speech on Addressing Juvenile Delinquency in Indiana

Play:

~~

2.) Here are two fellows who are working on an Alvin and the Chipmunks impression, one speed lower than he will play it back: 

Download: Chipmunks Impression

Play:

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3.) And for those of you who don't have the technology to speed that up 100% faster, here's what they sound like, as Alvin and his brother: 

Download: Chipmunks Impression (Sped Up)

Play:

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4.) Here's an ad for a Transmission Shop which no doubt dates from the days not long after Rap Music went mainstream. I find this ridiculous, and ridiculously entertaining. 

Download: Weber Transmission Ad

Play:

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5.) Here's one about about as from the one above as possible: Several takes at doing a promo for a then-upcoming Studs Terkel program. 

Download: Studs Terkel Promos

Play:

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6.) I've labeled this one "Brief, Difficult to Understand Phone Conversation", and that about covers it:

Download: Brief, Difficult to Understand Phone Conversation

Play:

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7.) This next one is heard, as are all the others, exactly as it spools off the reels. But this one is more than a bit chaotic. It would appear that a radio station had some sort of a treasure hunt going on, and someone, from the station or elsewhere, recorded bits and pieces of the daily "clues", back to back to back, sometimes not catching the entire segment. 

Download: Unknown - Treasure Hunt Clues

Play:

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8.) I have several tapes involving someone named Buddy Black, who was a radio personality.... somewhere, at some point. Here is an audio letter, from another Buddy, to Buddy Black, on his 50th birthday, in 1961: 

Download: Audio Letter to Buddy Black on His 50th Birthday

Play:

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9.) Here's are two young children, doing a math problem while recording a message to someone, or perhaps pretending they are on a radio station. I'm certain this was once a longer, and probably quite enjoyable segment, but all but the last 43 seconds of this recording were erased by some other material, and this is what was left. 

Download: "Working on All Kinds of Subjects"

Play:

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10.) All I'll say about this next one is Get Ready To Feel Hungry - YUM!

Download: Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs Recipe Ad

Play:

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11.) The title of this one pretty much says it all: "Almost Telling a Story and Singing Along with Sinatra":

Download: Almost Telling a Story and Singing Along with Sinatra

Play:

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12.) And say, weren't you just asking what bands were coming to the larger Chicago area for concerts? Do you want to spend our money on Peter, Paul and Mary or Ted Nugent? 

Download: WKQX and WDAI Concert Line

Play:

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13.) As I may have mentioned in the past, I was gifted with about a hundred tapes from a fellow in Kingsport, TN, about 20 years ago. Nearly all of these were recordings of local classical concerts, but here's a neat little segment of local radio, including part of a neat Pepsi ad, from one of those tapes. 

Download: Brief Segment of WKPT, Kingsport, TN, Newscast and Pepsi Ad

Play:

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14.) Here's something I greatly enjoyed: from an otherwise fairly faceless and dull tape of a live performance recording by a small combo, here's a moment where they start "Bye Bye Blues" with the sax player introducing the tune in a different key than the rest of the band. The goofy part is less than a minute long, but I've left in the entire performance, in order to give a flavor of the rest of the tape. There are also a few spots here where everyone is not quite on the same beat of the measure. Both the wrong key issue and the beat issue are mentioned in the comments at the end.

Download: Unknown Combo - Bye Bye Blues (In Different Keys)

Play:


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15.) Well, after that, perhaps you'd like a Rheingold Beer: 

Download: Rheingold Beer Ad

Play:

~~

16.) This one I labeled "Weird Short Tape". The speaker here appears to have been using a tape recorder which ran at a variable speed, based on how much tape was on each side of the three inch reel. I've come across this phenomenon on three inch reels many times. I think it was probably a small dictation style machine that only handled three inch reels. Usually, the voices seem to get closer and closer to what their actual voices sounded like as we get towards the end of the tape: 

Download: Weird Short Tape

Play:

~~

17.) I have previously shared short tapes of Firestone Tire ads. Here is another one, not previously shared, from May of 1969, featuring four ads, as detailed on the box: 

Download: Four Firestone Tire and Rubber Company Ads - To Start 5-5-69

Play:

~~

18.) Someone named Larry Ferrari had a program of organ music, somewhere on some TV station. His show was followed by "You Asked For It". Here is a tape with a short fragment of the end of Larry's show and the beginning of "You Asked For It": 

Download: The Larry Ferrari Show & You Asked For It (Fragment)

Play:

~~

19.) Here's a 1982 Dentyne Ad: 

Download: 1982 Dentyne Commercial

Play:

~~

20.) And a 156 second tape containing some unlabeled production music. This actually seems to be the same track, twice, and the tape box, indicating a length of 65 seconds, probably confirms that:

Download: Unknown Production Music

Play:

~~

21.) Aside from the sped-up Chipmunks recording, this next one is the shortest of the batch, at 22 seconds. Here, someone promos a foreign policy special, to be hosted by someone named Dancy. Or perhaps Dancy is doing the promoting. Maybe the tape box will make it more clear to one of you than it does for me: 

Download: Unknown - Three Takes on a News Headline

Play:

~~

22.) Here's all that's left of an audio letter. What's heard here is the end of the first side (the rest erased by something else), the very start of the second side, then the end of the second side (again, the majority of the second side having been erased. It's a little choppy, but I hope that makes sense. 

Download: Short Fragment of an Audio Letter

Play:

~~

23.) Another segment from those Kingsport, TN tapes. This is a fairly creative and interesting ad for a used car lot. Nothing in the first 40 seconds gives ANY indication as to what this ad is promoting. The tape continues for a moment with part of an ad for a pharmacy. Too bad we didn't get to hear any of that stomping Tex Beneke music. 

Download: Scott Motors Used Car Lot, Kingsport, TN

Play:

~~

24.) I made an exception for the randomness of this presentation, due to the just passed 4th of July Holiday. The last two items have patriotic themes. First is a Public Service Announcement for safe driving in Astoria, Oregon, another one of more than a dozen tapes from a station in that town, which I bought more than a decade ago, and which I have featured here multiple times. 

Download: House of Chan 4th of July Safety PSA, for KAST-AM

Play:

~~

25.) And finally, from the "What the Hell Was That, Man?" file, comes a reel I've named "Weird Stars and Stripes Forever Tape". If you don't listen to any of the other tapes here, I really encourage you to listen to this one. It's pretty out there, as out there as 53 seconds can get, anyway. 

Download: Weird Stars and Stripes Forever Tape

Play: 

~~

Well, that's my show for today. I hope you found something - and maybe even several somethings - to enjoy! Please let me know if you'd like to see this feature repeated. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A Lot of Jack Paar, A Letter from Korea, New Things with Bobby, Astoria Oregon, and Our Regular Features, Too!

Howdy, everyone!

I have another wide variety of recorded material for you today. I'll start with the one I suspect will be far and away the most popular of the six offerings. 

It's another recording of Jack Paar shows! These have been very well received before, so why not offer up some more. 

But I have to be up front here - I have not listened to this lately. It looks like I made this MP3 well over a year ago, and I don't really recall what's there. I have not re-listened since, but when I found that I hadn't offered up this compendium yet, I thought it would be an excellent idea to do so. I do recall that, as indicated, it's not a single show, at least not all the way through, but rather, there are segments, probably from more than one episode. 

So please enjoy another 77 minutes of vintage Jack Paar. 

Download: Jack Paar and Guests - Various Jack Paar Segments

Play:

~~

Okay, on to Korea. During the time I was posting at WFMU, I offered up four tapes featuring an army doctor who had worked in Korea, in a command role. Three of those postings featured tapes back home to his wife, while he was in Korea (all after the hostilities had ended). There were five tapes featured in those three posts. The fourth and final reel shared was an audio diary of a road trip he and his wife took, in retirement. They were well received at the time.

That last tape can be found here, and it also contains links to the three previous postings of tapes from Korea. Recently, I discovered that I have at least one more reel featuring an audio letter to his wife, from this doctor, whose name was Lt. Col. William Reiber. It is a longer tape than the other Korea tapes I have shared - a five inch reel rather than a three inch reel. He mentions running out of things to say due to having chosen a longer tape. And there are a few things that are fairly cringeworthy, when views from today, particularly the segments about his "houseboy". 

But overall, what's here is pretty magical - a slice of life in a time and place that precious few people today experienced. I'll let you experience its various fascinations yourself. Here it is: 

Download: Lt. Col. William Reiber - Audio Letter From an Army Doctor in Korea - 4-15-54

Play:

And here are both sides of the tape box!: 



~~~~

Okay, now let's switch gears so violently that we break the transmission. And this next segment is probably sort of self-indulgent, but I'm gonna share it anyway. I hope you'll listen, but understand if you don't. 

Because this is a tape of me, at age ten. When I recently posted several media recordings that I made at that age, including some rare game show recordings, I added that my early personal reels - those I was gifted with to use for my own recordings, thusly: 

Most of the recordings were pretty unlistenable by anyone who wasn't me, and wasn't me in grade school. I was a severely hyperactive child, prone to simply talking to myself, or pretending I was presenting a (usually very uninteresting) show, or even just banging on things with other things, like a reject from a Spike Jones cover band. 

There was, however, one recording in which I created a "fake show" that I was looking forward to finding, and last week, I found it. Maybe I like this because I remember this day, and this recording, as clear as I remember what I did this morning. Maybe I like it because it's goofily entertaining in its own way. Or maybe I'm the only one who will like it. 

Here, I am pretending I have my own radio channel (later identified on the tape as WREP - that is, W, followed by my initials), and I am demonstrating a home art project that anyone can do (and which I did a lot, around that age). You take a sheet of newspaper, preferably one which has a lot of different squares of stories, ads, or whatever, and your tempera paints, and you paint the different boxy areas different colors, so that no two boxes next to each other are the same color. An art project is probably not the best thing to do while pretending one is on the radio, but I still think this is adorable, and again, I know exactly where I was and what that space looked like, at that moment. 

A couple of things to note here. On two occasions, I say "makes the adjustment", in the voice and cadence of Shelley Berman, which is a lift from one of Berman's greatest bits, one I had long since memorized at age 10. You will also hear my mother and sister, briefly. And perhaps most fun of all, near the end, you will hear my sister playing (and briefly, singing along with) the Absolutely Free album, by The Mothers of Invention. 

Download: Bobby - The New Things Show

Play:

I will add that this artistic "show" was followed by two brief "radio" shows, each featuring an improvised song that the shows were named after, the "Buns Galore" show and the "Fannies Galore" show (butts were a constant source of humor in our household). The "Fannies Galore" show song was rather entertaining, but I will resist the urge to post it here unless there is a groundswell of support for me doing so.

~~~

Many years ago, I bought a bit batch of tapes which turned out to be from a radio station in Astoria, Oregon, circa 1990 or so. I've featured individual tapes from that collection in my "Very Short Reels" project over the years. But here is a 13 minute reel that collects PSA's sponsored by local business and a few local Astoria ads, interspersed for some reason with some ads for Stroh's. 

Download: A Collection of Ads for Stroh's and Local Astoria, Oregon Businesses

Play: 

~~

And now, the Acetate of the Month. This one features a small child named Gail along with a woman named Hattie. If I could find the disc, I'd post a picture here, and maybe it would have more information. 

It takes about 75 seconds to get going, but the last 2 1/2 minutes are deeply endearing. I particularly enjoy the snoring sound offered at the end of "Little Boy Blue", and the duo singing featured in the last minute or more. Let's suppose this is from the mid-1940's, and if so, Baby Gail would now be about 80 years old. 

Download: A Presto Acetate - Baby Gail and Hattie

Play:

~~

And finally, the ever-popular feature, the "Very Short Reel". 

I love this little scrap of tape: What we have is a couple of guys testing their machine, going through a variety of topics and accents. A radio announcer in the background seems to announce WSPL or WFPL, but I can find no definitive information about stations with either of those call letters at 104.3 anywhere, at any point. Maybe someone out there knows, or can find out. 

Download: "Testing" - An 88 Second Chat

Play:

Friday, June 17, 2022

Hoagy Carmichael, An Impatient Grandma, A 1976 Aircheck, and How to Bisect an Angle

Greetings, 

I have another nice cornucopia of sound for y'all today, but first, I wanted to give great thanks, yet again, to Eric Paddon, who has been of great help over the years getting to the bottom of the history behind things I've shared. His recent note to me is so great, and so essential to the site and the post it relates to, that rather than just link to that post, which is here, I'm also going to repeat his comment in its entirety in today's post. It relates to the series of game show recordings that were posted in the middle of my last entry. 

Here's what he wrote:

The index of Gil Fates book on the history of "What's My Line?" reveals this particular program was part of the August 21, 1969 taping session for the show's 1969-70 season originally. That said, even if this was recorded in 1971, it would not be a "rerun" per se because syndicated game shows (which WML was starting in the Fall of 1968) in those days were "bicycled" to different stations and thus no two stations would be showing the same episodes at the same time. And if a station signed up to air the program after it had been on for a year, it would have the option of running the previous year's shows first! This practice continued with syndicated game shows up through the end of the 1970s and it explains why some stations would sometimes be airing a syndicated game show more than a year or two after actual production had ceased (or why in the case of "What's My Line?" some stations would be airing episodes featuring Bennett Cerf on the panel more than a year or two after he died). Wally Bruner is the host, and the panelists are Gene Rayburn, Nancy Dussault, Jack Cassidy and Sue Oakland (who did the on-air editorials for WCBS-TV in this era). A rare week when Arlene Francis was off.

The "Beat The Clock" fragment is more rare and potentially from an episode that doesn't exist (in contrast to the WML which is accounted for). The 1969-70 season was the first year of the BTC revival with Jack Narz hosting. That first season it was taped in New York, but starting in its second year, production moved to Montreal to save costs. GSN and BUZZR have never aired any episodes from the first season in New York which suggests they don't exist.

"Words and Music" would be the rarest of the three as NBC did not keep any of their daytime game shows. No videos have ever surfaced and only one other audio recording in the past. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpIRFQTfjDU&t=39s

Many, many thanks, Eric. 

~~~

And now, here's a tape that came with a sheet of paper stuff into the box that looks like this: 

The contents of the tape are as marvelous as that sort of haphazard capturing of it might indicate. Because here we have nearly an entire broadcast of a short lived show titled "The Saturday Night Revue" which ran in 1953 and 1954. Fans of Hoagy Carmichael will particularly love this tape, as he hosts the show and performs several of his best known songs.

These are interspersed with a few very draggy and fairly unfunny comedic sketches and other material. I find it interesting that they chose to do what to modern ears will be a very offensive Asian caricature introduction at one point, yet Carmichael seemingly knew well enough to change the words to one of his songs, a moment later, which contained a far less offensive (in 1953) word, singing that the Hong Kong Blues was about an unfortunate "southern" man. 

Incidentally, it's clear that the note above was written decades after this program was recorded - just have a look at the zip code, area codes and fax number at the bottom of the page. The writer also identified the Asian bit as "racist". 

The show is not complete - or perhaps this is parts of more than one episode - anyway, the tape ran out during a comedy sketch. And the sound/tape quality is fairly bad at some points. But what's here is a pretty good snapshot of a variety show in the early Eisenhower years. 

Download: The Saturday Night Revue, Circa 1953

Play:  

The flip side of the tape is a different animal entirely. I suspect it's from the same time period, although I really don't know. Our note-taker has offered up a few comments on the flipside of the page (see below), mostly saying that "Grandma is Crazy", and indicating that there is later a phone call in which we mostly only hear our end. 

I went back and forth about whether to include this 30 minute recording, and finally decided it was worth preserving for its acute level of real "around the house" feel. Anyone who has dealt with a relative with dementia will find the "Grandma" section familiar and probably a difficult listen, and that's all I'll say. And the phone call is entertaining enough, if you like such things - it would be easy enough with sound software to get a good portion of the other person's conversation, too. 

Here's that tape. 

Download: Recordings Around the House, circa 1953: Grandma Wants to Go Upstairs, A Phone Call

Play: 

And here's the flip side of that piece of paper:


~~~

Next, I have a "scoped" aircheck. Many - perhaps most - of you might know that when a DJ wants to promote his talent, for a new opportunity or any other reason, he or she will record an airshift or two, and cut out all of the music, aside from the section where he or she is talking. 

That's essentially what we have here, with a few odd differences. The DJ's name might be Lan Shepard. I can't tell for sure, and a web search was no help. He was definitely doing overnights on WWCO in Waterbury Connecticut, and combined parts of at least two overnight shifts into this short (12 1/2 minute) tape. 

What I find odd is that this scoped aircheck contains the newscast - which Shepard did not do - and some commercials, which doesn't sound like the DJ either. 

This also served to remind me - not that I've ever forgotten - how wretched most top 40 hits were in 1976. Blech. Actually, my favorite thing here is the concert ad at around the ten minute mark. Fleetwood Mac opening for Jefferson Starship!! Can you believe it? I'm sure that 1976 was the last time that would have been possible. 

Play:  

~~~

Switching gears pretty dang aggressively, here's the contents of one of those three inch reels I've mentioned from time to time. Both sides of the tape total just under eight minutes. On side one, a young person explains her (while I'm guessing it's a "her") project, "How to Bisect an Angle". When she's done, we hear the last few seconds of someone playing the ukulele. 

On side two, it's "Joke Time", and I find this to be a massively entertaining little four or so minutes with a group of what I'm guessing are middle school aged kids. The presence (at the end) of one of the Beatles' first two US hit songs in the background, and their enthusiastic singing along, date this to at least the late winter of 1964, and I'm guessing that it's from just about that time, and not much later. 


Play: 

~~

And finally, it's time for our "Very Short Reel". And here's a very short reel about a very short lived Baseball team, The Rochester Aces. They only existed under that name for a year - and it was a very good year, too, ending up in a trip to the 1993 Northern League championship, which they lost. You can read about them here

Play:

And here's that tape box!: