Friday, February 5, 2016

It's 1952: Bob Bowfinger Leaves for the Army

Anytime I have the chance to buy a reel to reel tape with paper backing (as opposed to the various plastic backings which have been around since at least the early 1950's), I jump at the chance, and I am usually quick to see if the tape contains what such a backing suggests - a tape recorded during the dawn of the reel-to-reel era, more or less from just after World War II through the point that paper reels were phased out, in the early '50's. Presumably, this was due to the fact that they tore so easily, and perhaps because there tends to be white noise behind recordings made on paper reels. Why this is, I don't know. My guess is that people chose the winning format with their wallets, and that paper backing went away.

Anyway, that excitement was present with today's 3 inch reel of paper-backed reel, which contains a friend (and his mother) bidding farewell to one of their own, a fellow named Bob Bowfinger, on May 6th, 1952, as he prepares to leave for the army.

The tape is six minutes long, and simply captures a few moments in time. Bob's lost his voice a bit, but is able to talk about a movie they've just been to see, and chats with his friend's mother for a moment.

The last third of the tape contains someone singing "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen", for a small audience, followed by someone reciting a prayer. Whether or not this was recorded at the same gathering as the Bowfinger segment, or is in any way connected to it, I have no idea.

Please enjoy this tape, sounding remarkably fine for having been recorded nearly 64 years ago.

Download: 5/6/52: Bob Bowfinger Leaves for the Army

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Bob, you got another amazing time capsule.

    "Holy Voices-From-The-Past, Batman!"

    And what's with that name, Bowfinger? It sounds like some villain from the James Bond 007 series :)

    Of all the tapes you've uploaded here and @ WFMU, I wish there were some way of getting some updated info on whatever happened to some of these folks. Sort of like a "Where Are They Now?" type segment. Ah, if only...

    These recordings are like short stories in their own way: a real slice of Americana through the decades. Except, in a short story or novel, there's usually some sort of resolution by the last page.

    With these recordings, they're not unlike strangers you meet when traveling. Once you move on, those people are in your rearview mirror, quickly disappearing from view. Then, sometime you think about them but there's no way to find out "whatever happened to...", how they're doing, etc.

    These recordings mirror life itself, don't they?

    Thanks once again for your uploads, Bob!