Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"How About My Manufacturers Hanover Master Charge?"

Ah, what absolute tedium there is in shooting a movie or a TV show. I can't say I gave this a lot of thought for most of my life, actually. But that was before I delved into a stack of tapes I bought several years ago, most of which featured source tapes for a variety of TV and movie recordings, many of which involved the CBS TV network. I've shared a few of these before, including a sound effects reel and a Howard K. Smith interview.

Those, at least, had some sort of indication of what they were, and the sounds on those tapes were continually interesting throughout.

This tape, however, sort of amazes me. Those involved are clearly filming a TV show or movie (my guess is the former), but I can't believe the amount of sheer repetition the performers are made to go through here. Much of the tape is made up of multiple takes of an excited couple trying to get a marriage license, a scene which seemingly ends with the prospective groom running away. This is performed over and over and over again, with minimal differences between the takes - I can't believe that one of, say, the first ten attempts weren't good enough. We then move onto another scene which is repeated excessively, before returning to retakes of moments from within the first scene.

That scene does not appear to have been more than 40 seconds long, and I can't fathom how long it took to make a 30 minute show, let alone a 90 minute movie, if they spent that much time (including whatever time was not recorded, between takes) on a single conversation. Wow.

Maybe some sleuth out there can figure out what movie/show this recording was for, and perhaps we can all enjoy seeing the final cut of this masterwork.

Download: Unknown - Repeatedly Filming a Few Scenes

Now, if THAT wasn't enough torture, here is a glimpse into a very different life indeed. Here are my thoughts: if you're feeling inspired to record your phonograph record of Johnny Cash and June Carter singing "Jackson", while you are singing along with the record - DON'T. And if don't know all the words that well - REALLY, DON'T. And if you can't sing - SERIOUSLY, DON'T.

I have no idea what the purpose of this recording would have been. This is an excerpt from a much longer tape - the person involved recorded himself singing extremely badly along with about a half hour of country hits. Was he going to enjoy this later? Send it to someone as torture?

If you want to hear the entire tape, let me know, and I'll post it, otherwise, just enjoy this lovely sample.

Download: Unknown - Singing Along with "Jackson"


  1. As far as singing over previously released tracks, there was a guy named Steve Drake and a group called Frunk that did this and actually released the recordings on small vanity presses (who probably didn't know what they were counterfeiting). I think the explanation for it lies between megalomania and delusion.

  2. The first tape sounds more like a commercial (for "Manufacturers Hanover Master Charge"?) than a TV show or movie. Since the "Master Charge" name was used from 1966-1979, the commercial presumably dates from that time period. The actor playing the bridegroom sounds very familiar and probably starred in various TV commercials from that era, but I can't place his name.

  3. As far as the singing along with records and recording it, somewhere in my attic archives I have a reel to reel tape of myself, circa 1973, age early 20's, doing the same thing. On my own in my first apartment, drunk, 1 AM, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Doesn't seem so unusual to me at all.

  4. Maybe it would be cool to upload all this great reel to reel stuff on this blog and the WFMU blog to the Internet Archive, wouldn’t it? :)


  5. More amazing snippets of life's tedium! Thank you, Bob, once again for these slices of audio which keeps life interesting :)


  6. ps - Please, Bob, PLEASE, post the entire tape.

    I've been in a perverse humor lately, trying nearly everything to break out of this funk:
    Leonard Nimoy singing about Bilbo Baggins
    Leona Anderson's Music To Suffer By, etc.

    Nothing seems to work!

    Bob, I have a feeling that your sing-along tape might be just the tonic I need to snap me out of this downward musical spiral. And you're just the man to do it!

    Thank you in advance my good man :)