Saturday, December 22, 2018

Christmas, 1973

First of all, let me wish all of you a happy Christmas, and/or joyful whatever else you're having. I appreciate every visitor and every visit to this site, and I hope you find it worth your while every time you stop by.

As an appetizer for today's very long main course, here is a peculiar and, I think, very enjoyable tape. I don't know if this is a put-on, or if it's exactly what it appears to be. My guess is it's legitimate, although I'd be happy to hear from anyone who thinks there are clues that it was done in this fashion, from the start, to get laughs. The background noises on the recording, and the break halfway through, make me think this was recorded off of an acetate, which could be evidence both for and against the idea that this is a "bit".

What it seems to be is a woman whose first language is French, but who is also moderately fluent in English, being asked to read "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (aka "Twas the Night Before Christmas"), sight unseen prior to that moment, in English. I find it very entertaining. The sound at first is awful, but it gets more listenable quite quickly. The helpful people with her, and their attempts to explain words to her, sound too natural to be scripted or "canned".

Download: Unknown -  French Woman Reads "A Visit From St. Nicholas"


Today's main feature, advertised in the name of this post, is simply a recording of a family's Christmas celebration, complete with stockings, gifts and greeting cards, recorded on Christmas, in 1973. For those with a sentimental side, there are multiple sweet moments here, and for those who simply enjoy the "Fly On the Wall" nature of some of the home recorded tapes I've provided over the years - this is a goldmine. It is, however, very lengthy, running the length of many major motion pictures (106 minutes). And there is more where this came from, for sharing next year, perhaps - the recording of the same event in 1974 is on the flip side of the same reel. So sit back, relax and enjoy the Christmas celebration of the Wessel family.

Download: The Wessel Family - Christmas, 1973

Thursday, December 13, 2018

1960's/1970's Radio-Palooza!!

Howdy folks,

I have the distinct impression that one of the most favored types of posts I put up are those featuring airchecks and other top 40 and related radio. So today, with a minimum of blather from this end, I'm going to share the latest tapes that I've come across that fit this description, or at least come close to doing so. There is one from the '60's, two from the '70's, one from an ancient countdown show AND, as promised, another Christmas related tape.

First up, a set of (mostly) oldies from WBBY, Oldies Radio in Westerville, OH. This is a good, solid 23 minutes or so of broadcasting from that station, mostly featuring '60's music, with one exception. Oh, and somehow, the DJ believes that the absolutely wonderful "Corinna, Corinna", by Ray Peterson, was a pre-rock hit, missing it's actual release date by about six years, at least.

Download: WBBY, Oldies Radio, Westerville, Ohio


Next up, a real mish-mash of radio from what appears to be late 1966, in the Washington D.C. area, in a 40 minute segment. There are at least two stations heard here, and I believe the call letters are WPGC and WEAM. Much of it is made up of a countdown show. This is a choppier tape, with a lot of edits and far too little of the DJ's. The varied volume levels heard throughout are also an issue, but it's better than nothing. This is actually what an awful lot of the radio tapes I own sound like. (There are also bits and pieces of a gathering of folks, which was previously recorded on the tape - the first ten seconds is the longest segment of this otherwise-erased material.)

Download: Mid '60s Radio on Two Washington DC Stations


Switching gears a bit, here is an obnoxiously in-your-face newscaster, from 1974, on WCHO, from its ridiculously named hometown, Washington Courthouse, Ohio. I do sort of remember newscasters talking like this at the time, and am indescribably glad that this is no longer a saleable style. The news goes on for five minutes, and is followed by a couple of edited records played afterwards, starting with the always hideous REO Speedwagon. The DJ appears to be the same person who was reading the news. His name is Keith Allen, and this was probably one of his demo tapes. (a side note: I accidentally labeled the file here as 1973 - 1974 is clearly correct.)

Download: WCHO News, 1974


Taking a step far into the past, here is a nearly complete episode of "Your Hit Parade", featuring (among others) the immortal Snooky Lanson. This episode dates from sometime around late spring or very early summer, 1953, and as usual for this rather bizarrely structured show, features the top seven songs of the week, the bottom six of which are heard in random order, as performed by the show's singers, with only #1 always placed at the end. Remarkably for such a flaccid period in American popular song, there are actually a couple of really good songs in there - I've always been particularly fond of "The Song from Moulin Rouge".

Download: Your Hit Parade, Late Spring, 1953


Finally, in a complete change of direction dictated by the season at hand, here's a snippet of tape I was happy to find a few weeks ago, 14 minutes spent enjoying a rehearsal (I think it's a rehearsal) by a male A Capella group, with some barbershop-quartet-like arrangements of Christmas Carols and Songs.

Download: An A Capella Male Chorus Christmas

Back soon!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Willis Shuey Tells His Life Story

Today, a tape I've been going back and forth about sharing. For those who like oral history, it's something of a gold mine, or at least a silver mine. Others will no doubt find it tedious, but I always risk that. The problem is that the sound quality is lousy.

Without going into too much detail, it's an interview with a man I believe is named Willis Shuey, telling about a good portion of his life story, in response to an interviewer's questions. It's not the most riveting story, but I think it's fairly compelling. Hopefully, some of you will find it the same.

Download: Willis Shuey - Willis Shuey Tells His Life Story


Continuing my plan to share something having to do with Christmas within every post until December 25th, here is a short audio letter (incomplete on the front end), from some down home folks, likely to some other down home folks in another place. Oddly, the main speaker states that they're just about done, and suggests that the recipients should use the reverse side of the tape to record a letter back, but then on the other side of the tape they continued for several more minutes. There are some cute and sweet moments here among the esoterica.

Download: Unknown - A Merry Christmas Audio Letter


And if you find yourself in Bristol, PA, and in need of some shoes, perhaps some "rugged handsome shoes", do pop over to Popkin's shoes. They're having a sale!

Download: Popkin's Shoes - Shoe Sale Ad

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Terry-Thomas and His Teeth!

Happy Sunday, and for those who celebrated it, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving on Thursday. I have a bumper crop of four tapes for you today.

We'll start with a truly remarkable reel of tape. This comes from the same batch of "raw tapes" that I bought several years ago, and which I've mined at least a dozen times between this site and the WFMU blog.

What we have here is 22 minute tape featuring a series of attempts to get a commercial JUST right. The produced is a new toothpaste called "Stim-U-Dent" (introduced in 1969, so I'm guessing this is from around that time). The spokesman sounds to me like the late, great British character actor Terry-Thomas. I have no proof that it's him, and I can find no record of this commercial, featuring either Terry-Thomas or anyone else, but I can't imagine anyone sounding quite this much like Terry-Thomas without actually being him. And the fact that it's for toothpaste - given the prominent teeth of the man in question - just makes me hope it's true that much more.

There seem to be a number of decent takes here, and yet they keep trying and trying again. Other takes break down when nothing seems to have gone wrong. The actor becomes quite irritated and frustrated at a few points, but mostly in the most British of ways - but not always.

I only heard this for the first time last week, and couldn't wait to share it here - it immediately became one of my favorite things I've heard all year.

Download: Terry Thomas (?) - Stim-U-Dent Commercial (raw takes)


I was trying to think of something else extra special to pass along, in Thanks for all of you who read and listen, and I don't know if this qualifies or not, but I've been shy about including excerpts from my own family's many, many tapes, and I thought I'd offer up a few moments from my own life.

On one of our tapes, there is a lengthy section where my brother Bill ("Billy", then), age 10, is home sick from school, very bored, and recording whatever he can think of. He tries to get the cat to make noise, tries to get the microphone to pick up the sump pump going on, and plays a few of his favorite children's records. Then I arrive home from somewhere (I'm four years old, here), and he engages me in the conversation you're about to hear, focused mostly on long words, most prominently the big one which had just been introduced, earlier that year, in the film "Mary Poppins".

Download: Billy and Bobby - Long Words


Next up, some warnings to keep in mind when having outdoor winter fun. As I sit here, a few miles northwest of O'Hare airport, we are experiencing what is forecast to be the first major snowstorm of the year. And so, for your edification and enjoyment, I have the pride of Ishpeming, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula, those wacky folks from the humorous music group "Da Yoopers" with some snowmobiling safety messages:

Download: Da Yoopers - Snowmobile Safety PSAs


And now, since it's officially the Christmas shopping season, and since I have so many Christmas oriented tapes to share, I thought I'd start with those now. On one tape I listened to, a man sent a lot of Christmas music to a friend, sort of an audio letter, except that there was virtually no talking, just introducing of tracks. That was true, at least until the tape was almost over, when the man recording the tape offered up some Christmas memories. This is a very sweet tape, and I wish this man had chosen to speak more, on the tape to his friend.

Download: Unknown - A Few Christmas Memories

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Wonderful Audio Letter from Alaska, circa 1958

First, a big thank you - I am greatly indebted to Tony Hart, who filled in the blanks regarding some the items I posted last week. There is too much information to repeat here, but you can find it all here. Specifically, there is an explanation of why the commercials are most certainly from Canada and not France, as well as a mention of what the fragment of music is from, then there is an explanation and findings from a web digging expedition to find the source of "The Flabby American", and finally, a full translation of the French (Canadian) commercials. THANK YOU!!!!


Today I have a lovely little audio letter, labeled "ROY'S TAPE" on the box, and featuring a young man reaching out to friends and family back home, from his Naval placement in Alaska. I will let the delights and idiosyncrasies of this tape reveal themselves to you, but I do want to add that I'm pretty sure that I own the tape he was responding to!!! That'd be a first, I think, and if I can find it, it'd be a wonderful bookend with this tape. Everything he mentions from "your tape" (i.e. the one he previously received) sounds familiar to me, so I just need to track it down. That said, and with no further ado, here is Roy, from Alaska, circa 1957 or 1958. 



As an added bonus, here is a pompous little promo for KSYL, in Alexandria, LA. The station was founded in 1962, so presumably this promo is from not long after that, based on its contents. I wonder how they did with that "good music - no rock and roll" format as the decade wore on.

Download: KSYL Early 1960's Promo


And finally - and I know this is very much overdue - sorry, teach' - here is Dan's final audio project, labeled just that way (plus his last name - available on the actual file name) on the tape box/ The first two minutes are achingly dull, but I'd have loved to hear more that sounded like the last minute or so:

Download: Dan - Final Audio Projects

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Don't Hand Me That Jive!

Another trio of offerings today, dominated (in length, anyway) by the first of the three.

This 29 minute episode of an odd, well-written and -produced radio show, appears to have come out as part of a series called "The King's English", very likely from the 1950's, and I think it better if you discover its charms without me blabbing them all away. The episode is focused on the question that's been on everyone's lips, minds and souls for the last half-century, "Does 'Jive' Belong in the Dictionary".


Download: The King's English - Does "Jive" Belong in the Dictionary

And now, a public service announcement, which appears to have been tied into the John F. Kennedy Administration. GET EXERCISING - LIKE THOSE DAMN ROOSKEES!!!

Download:  Unknown - The Flabby American

And finally, if you're going to visiting 1950's France (or perhaps it was Quebec), near Christmastime, some time soon, you may very well hear these wonderful General Electric Ads. And if anyone who speaks fluent French would like to offer up a translation (no need to translate the words "General Electric"), I'd be much obliged.

(Please be sure to listen all the way to the end, as 17 seconds of an unrelated performance of some new lyrics to a well known song, survived on the closing feet of this tape.)

Download: Two French G.E. Commercials (Plus)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Time? 1966. The Place? Arizona. The Event? Slide Show

My posts have been few and far between around here lately, so I'm going to continue to triple up on my offerings, this week with three completely unrelated items, and a minimum of commentary.

First up, another tape for those of you who have asked for more slide shows. In this case, it's a woman documenting a trip to Arizona in 1966, for 35 minutes. Makes you want to go back in time and visit the state yourself, doesn't it?

Download: Unknown - Arizona Travelogue Slide Show, 1966


Then I have this oddity, which is admittedly fairly hard to listen to. It is a short tape, and badly recorded, featuring some sort of comedic dialogue. It involves someone portraying a shrill old woman named Muriel, and a man with a dumb-guy voice. Perhaps you can make out more of this than I can - I have the feeling if someone takes the time to decipher this, it might be worthwhile, although you should also know, in advance, that it's incomplete, stopping mid-sentence after just over 2 1/2 minutes. .

Download: Unknown - Comedic Dialogue


Finally, I wanted to make sure you knew that there's still time to go to to RIVERFEST, '97!!!

Download: Riverfest, '97

Personally, I cannot wait to see Uncle Knucklefunk.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Adventures in Sounds!

Before getting to today's triple feature, I received this nice note from Ken, regarding the second tape featuring Bob Hopp, which I shared a short time ago. The note contains a link to a Youtube video which, given its nature, will probably not be up for very long: 

I downloaded this just after you posted it but just got around to listening to it, hence the late comment. Fascinating. He gave his address as 830 High street, and on the earlier tape he mentions he lives in Aurora IL. Putting two and two together, I found this:

I also received the following about the tape with the banjo music and the older woman talking, from frequent correspondent Timmy: 

The old gal dictating to her tape for whoever, sounds like she got a Cajun accent. And I would think SHE is the banjist, as well. She mentions 1969 a couple times, so there's the date of recording.

Thanks to both of you, and to everyone who offers up comments!


For today, three different types of Adventures in Sound. I'm naming them such because the first of them is literally labeled "Adventure in Sound", on the tape box. The tape came in set of boxes of tapes, many of which had some relation to the phone company. While there were several there which had no apparent connection (recordings of a community house-type production of a play, high quality recordings of live TV from the '50's), they all have notes on them in the same handwriting. I've featured several of them here and at WFMU. 

Here is the sheet of paper which comes in the "Adventure in Sound" box, and it gives you a good road map to the many short bits of sound - some only in one channel, others in both - which are going to come at your rapid-fire. The sheet indicates 15 different bits in just over six and a half minutes. 

And here is the tape. Clearly, this has something to do with the continual changes and improvement in the way sound is transmitted, but I wonder for what purpose. If you have an idea, please offer your thoughts!

Download: "Adventure in Sound"


The next adventure is from a sound stage. From another batch of tapes that I've dived into here several times - the group of tapes that feature raw tapes and promotional items from various TV productions of the late '50's through the mid '60's, here is yet another twelve or so minutes of raw takes, from a production of something apparently called "Greenwich Village", according to the tape box.

It sounds to me like these people are REALLY not getting a lot done. The number of shouts of "CUT" while people are still talking, and the occasional curse make it sound like a rough day. Or maybe I just don't know how life on a sound stage works. These takes average about three seconds each! Maybe they were just fixing specific shots.

Download: Raw Takes from "Greenwich Village"


And finally, a place where people once went to have a few adventures. Here's a commercial for the Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey, the same classic park that Chuck Barris wrote a song about and Freddie Cannon sang that song about.

The whole thing isn't technically here. What I have here is an entire, very entertaining jingle for the park, with spoken details afterwards, which are cut off by whoever was recording the bland "beautiful music" programming that day on WOR-FM. This was the only thing worth salvaging in that entire 30 minute tape, and it's sort of wonderful, if more than a little moronic, too.

Download: Palisades Amusicement Park Ad

Thursday, August 30, 2018

An Unusual Audio Letter, Some Ads, and Seven Minutes of Wasted Time

Okay, so I promised another post right away (I probably won't get the three in five days that I was hoping for, but I hope a triple dose of interesting reels will help you get over that).

First up, here's an audio letter, with a few differences than most. In particular, it starts with, and then is interrupted by, some banjo music. In between the folky numbers, a feisty sounding older woman has a few things to say, and then, after more music, she settles down and addresses herself to Ginkee (sp?) and Jessie. I found this woman fairly interesting, and wish there was more to this tape.

Download: Audio Letter to Ginkee and Jessie (with Banjo Music)
Next up, a full reel of eleven ads for Crystal Light, I'm guessing from the late '80's or early '90's. I've no doubt the listener was meant to identify with these voice actors, but I kept hoping someone would punch them. And that brief jingle - ugh.

Download: Eleven Crystal Light Ads

Finally, here's a guy with seven minutes too many on his hands.

Download: A Guy with Seven Minutes to Kill

Monday, August 27, 2018

Something Special from the Very Start of American Beatlemania

I know I haven't posted in nearly a month, and so I'm going to try to get three in before the end of the month, with the best going first - right now!:

So I recently acquired a small collection of reels containing someone's obsessive capturing or Top 40 radio through the early to mid '60's. The real gold to be found in these sorts of reels today is in finding those where the listener left the recorder on and captured all the DJ banter, commercials, phone calls, bits, etc. So I was disappointed to find out that this person made a point (as so many did) of editing out EVERYTHING that wasn't the records being played. There are barely any split seconds of DJ chatter, let along anything more. That's particularly sad because several of these tapes contain broadcasts from the mighty WINS, 1010 on your dial, in New York City.

One tape in particular, at least, captured that moment in 1964 when The Beatles were becoming the hottest thing ever in pop music in the States. The broadcasts are full of Beatles music, including tracks from both of their British albums and multiple singles. Near the beginning of the tape is an airing of "Love Me Do" (available - briefly, on the first version of Vee-Jay's "Introducing the Beatles", but not a hit single until months later), with a surviving DJ comment (one of the few) that makes it clear that that song hadn't been aired much, if at all - the DJ makes mention of John Lennon's harmonica style, indicating that it's a brand new record to him. Other elements of the tape place it just before or just after the Beatles arrived in the US that February, although I could be off by a week or two.

My frustration with the tape turned to joy - and then back to frustration - halfway through the second side. Because I was suddenly in the midst of what had to have been a hastily constructed special on the Beatles, complete with reports from England, analysis of their music and their appeal, and lots of little factual errors of the type you'll get when you're trying to glom onto something that's been wildly popular for three weeks.

But then, after about 21 minutes (of what promised to be a 55 minute show) the tape runs out. The other tapes I've checked from this collection do not appear to have the rest of the show. But what's there is GOLD. I'm not sure this has survived anywhere else, at least not in this form, so this may be a rare treat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Download: WINS 1010 - Beatles Special, Winter, 1964

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Return of Bob Hopp - The Retired Mailman - And His Audio Diary (Plus: An Odd Demonstration)

Ten months ago, I presented a fairly fascinating and esoteric reel of tape, recorded by a retired mailman. I speculated at his name, based on what he said, but had no definitive answer to that, as there was nothing written on the tape or box.

Last weekend, though, while rearranging some of my thousands of un-listened to tapes, I came across one which had the name "Bob Hopp" on it, as well as some extraneous information (above). Sure enough, it contained another in what may be a series of audio diaries (I did not find any others yet).

In this case, the tape dates from December, 1975 through May, 1977, and the contents are more varied than the first, giving a better picture of this Aurora man's life.

As to those variations: For one thing, there are multiple moments, during the holiday sections of the tape, where he is joined by his grandchildren, and he seems to enjoy them mightily. There are also some religious thoughts, points of view on life, and, near the beginning, some music recorded off the radio (All in the first portion of the tape).

I think I would have liked to have met Bob Hopp.

Download: Bob Hopp - Bob Hopp's Audio Diary, 1975-1977

And now, to something nearly undefinable. The following little snippet of tape - less than four minutes long - came housed on a large reel in a box full of tapes which (mostly) involved some branch(es) of the telephone company, way back when. I've shared parts of this collection before, including the training tape of handling difficult calls.

This tape is labeled "TASI Demonstration", and I'm guessing it has something to do with this definition of "TASI" You will hear two phone calls, twice each, first with both ends of the call, then one of the speakers, isolated. After those four items, there is a fifth call, which I'll let you experience without further comment.

THEN, for the last 45 seconds, there is an even odder little montage of sound, which I'll also let you experience without further comment.

Download: Unknown - TASI Demonstration

Here are two images for this tape, one of the label on the tape, and the other of the list inside the container:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WDAF-AM, Kansas City, Very Early 1970 (And an Added Bonus)

Today I have a prime slab of MOR-leaning Top 40 radio, from right near the beginning of 1970. The station is WDAF-AM in Kansas City (now known as KCSP).

This is, admittedly, not the most scintillating tape of music radio that you're ever going to hear. The person recording it focused on the music, so there is not a ton of between song chatter/phone calls/jingles/ads/news and weather, etc. But there are moments of that stuff, which is the gold of such a tape, and enough of it that I decided to share the material. I hope you agree that it was worth it.

In addition, the tape captures an era in radio that is utterly gone, and which has been since at least the mid-'80's, an era where pop, rock, jazz, funk (although I suppose the jazzy tune, and the ten seconds of Sly and the Family Stone could be from another channel), country, show tunes and novelty records all existed within the same bandwidth.

The date of this recording is fairly well nailed down by the presence of what is described as a brand new hit, the thoroughly awful and indefensible "Welfare Cadillac" by Guy Drake. The juxtaposition of this song, at one point, with "Blowing in the Wind" is particularly jarring.

Whoever made these recordings was quite taken with Guy Drake's spoken word record - I never understand the multiple recordings of a song, when I come across it, but in the course of recording just over an hour's worth of songs off of this station (and maybe a bit from others), he or she taped "Welfare Cadillac" four times within this hour of tape. Even leaving out the hideousness of this particular track, one would think that once one has taped something, one doesn't need another copy. Other songs, including a truly ridiculous novelty record about a chicken, are also taped multiple times.

Download: Various Artists - WDAF-AM, Kansas City, Very Early 1970

And here, for those with a voyeuristic bent, is a short phone call from a very excited young college woman, to her parents - specifically, her mom. She seemingly has no interest in telling her dad her big news.

Download: Unknown - Art Contest Phone Call

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Life Under Castro, A Leadership Slide Show, and An Odd Tape

First, thanks to the good folks at Blogger, the problem with pop-up ads has, I'm told, been addressed. Please let me know if that's the case, or, especially, if that's NOT the case. 

I have another triple feature today, leading off with the tape whose box looks like this:

A large purchase of tapes many years ago contained several reels of Howard K. Smith interviews, most of them raw tapes meant to be edited down later. This is from that collection, and interview with a former resident of Cuba, Ernesto Aguiar (the name on the box is likely a misspelling), talking about life under Castro's regime on January 30, 1963 (the date is elsewhere on the box. I'll let the tape speak for itself:

Download: Howard K. Smith and Ernesto Aguiar: Life Under Castro


Next up, here's a slide show for your mind - picture the images that were being shown to schoolchildren while the following tape - undated, but labeled "Leading and Following" - was being heard:

Download: Unknown - Leading and Following


Finally, here is a tape, heard in its entirety, which simply baffles me. I'd welcome comments from anyone who thinks he or she knows what it might have been made for. The 13 minute tape starts with some slow, atmospheric music on a flute-type instrument, for the first 6 1/2 minutes, but the meat of the weirdness comes in the 6 1/2 minutes that make up the second half. None of the things record are odd in and of themselves, but their placement together seems random, and may have been so. But then again, maybe not.

Download: Weird Compendium of Music, Talking and Sounds

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Supremely Irritating Jack Eigen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Three Different Types of Personal Recordings

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

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


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

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

Download: Unknown - When You're Dreamin'


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

Download: Charles - Audio Letter to Larry Ward

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Gaggle of Giggling Girls - The Sequel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 30, 2018

Denver Radio, Australian Shortwave and TV Commercial Work


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

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

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

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

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

Download: Even More Shortwave from Australia

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

Download: Filming a Lux Commercial


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Slides and the Hit Parade

This has been another one of those ridiculously busy months at home and at work, and I can't believe I've not posted here in three weeks. I still don't have much time, so I'll be short in my comments, but I did want to thank two people who posted comments with better information about my last post - the 1958-59 cornucopia of TV sound.

First, thanks to Martinf, for identifying the man talking about Berlin as being Willy Brandt, the Governing Mayor of Berlin. Thanks also to Eric, for identifying that the Charlie Weaver segment was not from Weaver's own show, but from an episode of the Tennessee Ernie Ford show on 11/13/58.

As I said, I'll be brief with my comments. Very brief. To further answer the requests I received for more slide show narrations, here is another one. This one is incomplete at both ends - the beginning of it was erased by someone's record collection, and then, after about 25 seconds, more of it was erased by more music (which I have edited out). And then, the end has been lost over time with the deterioration of the end of the tape reel. The whole tape is just over 30 minutes long.

In this case, we're going to go to several tourist destinations in various parts of the country, in some cases quite a ways away from each other.

Download: Unknown - Slide Show Narration

On a completely different subject, and for those who enjoy vintage media recordings, here is an episode, complete with commercials (and as with the above tape, again, this is just over 30 minutes long - so this seems to be almost the entire episode), of an episode of "Your Hit Parade", which is, based on the songs here, from late 1958., which would place this episode near the final days of this venerable programs 25 years on the air (radio and TV). The tape extends into the start of the next show, "Trackdown", starring Robert Culp, as well as its first commercial.

Download: Various Artists - Your Hit Parade

Oh, and here's a picture of the tape recorder I was able to get, to replace my busted one. As you can see, my daughter's elderly cat Angel is already fond of it.

Friday, March 30, 2018

A 1959 Cornucopia.... Plus Many Thanks!

I have a really fun tape to share today, but first, a giant THANK YOU is in order. First, to those who took part in the fundraiser, I am hugely grateful and wonderfully amazed. I did not know what to expect, and the response exceeded anything I would have thought possible. I believe I've thanked each of you privately in e-mail, and if I've missed anyone, I sincerely apologize.

And second, I am forever thankful for and to a reader and fan of this site, who has a significant collection of reel to reel machines, and who made me a very generous offer on a machine that had everything I needed, specifically, a Revox A77 MK II. It arrived a week ago, and I spent most of last Sunday transferring tapes into my computer. No doubt you will soon be enjoying reels that I have played through this machine, here on this site.

And again, THANK YOU.


I listened to this tape about four months ago, digitized it, then sort of forgot about it. Last week, while still waiting for the new machine to arrive, I spent some time going through the "Not Yet Used" folder of my digitized reels, and came across it again. It's a bit of a time capsule, someone's recording of multiple moments from TV, as well as some conversations around the house, and even a bit of top 40 radio, from what can only be late 1958 and early 1959. The "part one" listed here is fairly clearly the original side two - the recordings are from just after those on the flip side - but that's the way the tape came loaded onto the reel when it got to me, so I labeled them that way...

Here's what you'll hear in part one:

1.) 0:00: 23 seconds of mood music
2.) 0:24: A preview of next week's "77 Sunset Strip" (episode "The Fifth Stair", to air on 3/6/59), and closing theme.
3.) 3:11: The opening of the same night's episode of "Maverick", followed by a preview of the episode, "The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick" (apparently a rerun, as this episode dates to 1958), and the closing theme. (And this is the least interesting part of the tape to me.)
4.) 11:40: A live, and elaborate, performance of "Fever".
5.) 14:52 A live comedy performance by Shelley Berman - for my money, the best comedian of the era, and maybe the best comedian ever to appear on records. That said, this, however, is not one of his better characters or routines.
6.) 16:44: A brief, live segment of another comedian, one I don't recognize.
7.) 17:48: A short bit of a staid piano led performance of "The Peanut Vendor".
8.) 18:18: "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", performed live by The Platters.
9.) 20:39: Closing moments of "The Ed Sullivan Show", from which, no doubt, the above performances came. The episode is from March 1, 1959, and you can read about it here.
10.) 20:56: This took a bit of research, but next up we hear two sections from an episode of the "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show", also from March 1st, 1959, which you can read about here. Included is the opening musical number, and a lengthy set piece, including music and skits, focusing on several comic strip characters, including a segment where they tie the Peanuts character of Charlie Brown in with the unrelated Coasters song of the same title. This takes us to the end of the first side of the tape.

Download: Various TV Recordings, Side One

Here's what you'll hear in part two:
1.) 0:00: Recordings not of TV, but radio. It's WING-AM, Dayton, Ohio, with a jingle, a time check, then part of "Stagger Lee", by Lloyd Price, and a segment of "Pink Shoelaces", by Dodie Stevens,
2.) 2:02: Likely back to Television, with a live rendition of of "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You".
3.) 3:50: A Segment of "Amos and Andy", live in front of an audience.
4.) 5:15: The "home recordings" section begins. It appears that this section was recorded first, with its opening portion erased by the 1959 recordings, because this is Christmas Day, 1958. There are some microphone and volume problems for the first two minutes, as well as bland background music which is too loud for the conversation. At 7:33, someone announces that he has fixed the problem, and from then on, aside from a brief soft section, the sound is decent from then on. By now, a news report is on the radio (WHIL?), leading off with the cheery Christmas news of fatal car accidents. Then there's the ad for Armour Canned Meats.
5.) 11:02: Continuing the home recordings. The radio background is gone, and the speaker attempts some meaningful thoughts about Christmas, and reads a Christmas card from a priest. He then attempts to get a woman (perhaps his mother?) to talk, without success, and mentions the address of the home, which you can look at here. Then he tells a tedious story about a classmate who called himself "Zorro", and shared some remarkably lame jokes. Even so, they are funnier than the belches which follow, with the assembled group seem to enjoy. Finally, the conversation starts picking up, and with perfectly bad timing, someone turns up the television just about the same volume as that of the conversation. Someone asks if this is being recorded, and someone else says "it better not be", and the home recordings end.
6.) 19:43: A recording of what I believe is "The Charlie Weaver Show", which ran (under that title) from November of 1958 until March of 1959,featuring stories of Charlie's mom and a brief song.
7.) 25:48: "That Old Rugged Cross", sung by (I'm pretty sure) Tennessee Ernie Cross.
8.) 28:24: Opening moments from an episode of "You Bet Your Life", with sponsorship, opening comments, and more advertising
9.) 29:23: Carl Sandburg talks about Lincoln, on his 150th birthday (2/12/59)
10.) 30:30: A man whose voice I don't recognize, talking about a Cold War issue involving Berlin (part of a news broadcast).
11.) 31:33: Some bland big band jazz to finish off the last 51 seconds of the tape. (Since I think this was really the end of side one, it's quite possible that this is the same combo heard playing a different song at the start of the flip side, above.)

I hope there are multiple things here for everyone out there to enjoy.

And yet again - THANKS!

Download: Various TV Recordings, Side Two

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Dastardly Tale, A Set of PSA's, and a Fundraiser

Hello again, everyone,

First, I want to thank everyone who replied to my outreach about the dead reel to reel machine and the possibility of a fundraiser. You can read that post here. I did hear from enough people - and again, THANK YOU - that I think it's worth doing this. Anyone who is interested in contributing can use paypal, under the e-mail address

I also heard from someone who is willing to sell me a used, working machine for a very reasonable price. and yet again, THANK YOU! We have yet to talk on the phone, but it looks like this will be another part of the solution.

Thank you in advance to anyone who chooses to donate. I hope to have the ability to make new sound files, from a working machine, within a month or so.

And now:


Here we have a very interesting 30 minutes of tape, presented some time in the early 1950's - or perhaps even late 1940's, as the ad at the end makes it clear it was recorded not long after World War Two - featuring an episode of "The Americans School of the Air", on CBS, as broadcast on KIMA, Yakima. This is obviously a recording from a transcription record, but I found it on a reel, so it still fits this site!

This episode is part of the "Opinion Please" series. If all episodes were built like this one, I can't say, but this one is about "Sex Education", and it starts with a somewhat long-winded vignette portraying a cad trying to take advantage of an innocent, clueless young woman. Pretty racy stuff for the pre-Rock-n-Roll era, huh? Then we switch over to a discussion with three college students, regarding the need for parents to proactively instruct their children, thoroughly, in appropriate sex education.

And I, for one, would love to be able to hear the show from the following week, which is teased, briefly, in the last minute of the tape. Enjoy!

Download: The American School of the Air - Opinion Please! - Sex Education

And here's a bonus - one of the things I have a LOT of in my basement are these five inch reels of tape, mostly containing only 1-5 minutes of tape on them, featuring ads, PSA's or demo reels from on-air hopefuls. I digitized a bunch of them some time ago, and will try to feature them regularly here. First up, a series of PSA's for the Arkansas Children's Hospital (well, I suppose if that was a for-profit business, then these are ads...), featuring EVERYONE's favorite Keeshan, Bob Keeshan. Take it away, Bob, or, should I say, Captain...

Download: Bob Keeshan - Arkansas Children's Hospital PSA's

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

In a Quandry

Hello everybody,

I want you to know that I truly, deeply appreciate those of you who read and listen to my posts. I know there is a good, consistent audience out there, because I see the comments, and also can see how many people read each post. I am deeply appreciative that people followed me here from WFMU or discovered my work later, and stuck around.

I've been putting this off since the end of last year, but I don't see another way to address the problem.  You see, my beloved Teac machine needs repairs that cost more than the machine is worth. What's more, it needs both motors replaced, and they can only be found on the used market, which the repair shop, understandably, won't guarantee (or even purchase - I would have to do that).

I have other machines, but they are also either in disrepair, or work poorly. My Teac has been failing for two years or more, and I've been nursing it along, but as of the middle of December,  it simply doesn't work. The posts you've enjoy since then have been one's I'd built up for future use. There are several more, but they won't last forever.

This is nothing I'd usually bring up, but my finances are not such that I can afford to remedy this. The days of buying large quantities of old reels because they looked amazing or intriguing ended many years ago. I don't have the extra money to spend on a luxury like a ten-inch reel playing four track stereo reel to reel machine in good working order. I don't even know enough about them to know if I was getting a decent one, based on whatever is in the ad. But I'm sure I could get a perfectly suitable one for less than the $700+ that it's going to cost to fix my machine (again, with no promises from the repair shop).

It goes against the grain for me to suggest this, but I know that other sites have done fundraisers, and that atl least a few do them yearly.

I guess I have a few questions. First, are there those of you who would contribute to such a request, and second, would anyone with more knowledge than me point me in the direction of a model which would likely be a good purchase?

In case you'd rather not answer this in a comment, you can e-mail me at

Again, thank you all for reading, listening, enjoying and commenting. I appreciate it more than you could possibly know.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Boy, That's a Hunk of the Ozark Jubilee!

Before getting today's two recordings, I wanted to share a question/request from a reader, which I received a few weeks ago. The writer found a stack of cassette tapes a few years ago, and mixed among recordings of lectures and of music off the radio, there were several family recordings. Nearly all of these, however, are in Japanese. The man who wrote me sounds like something of a kindred spirit to me, and he is very interested in learning about the conversations on these tapes. If anyone out there both speaks Japanese and is interested in helping out, please write me with an e-mail address in the comment sections, or contact me directly with the e-mail address which is found at the end of this WFMU post, and I will put you in touch with my correspondent.


I have two completely unrelated items for everyone, today.

The first is a rare recording of what Wikipedia describes as the first successful Country Music show on network television. It's The Ozark Jubilee, hosted by Red Foley. I'm not knowledgeable enough in this era/style of music to be able to nail down a date for this episode - and sadly, whoever recorded it cut out the commercials and nearly all between-song banter, so there are no clues in that area, either. That doesn't take away from the enjoyment of hearing the sounds of music and television from a very different time and place, however.

The sound in the opening few minutes is fairly ragged. And while the overall sound never approaches excellent, or even very good, after a bit of that poor sound, it settles down into a listenable quality.

Download: Various Artists - The Ozark Jubilee


Today's second feature is from the large pile of tapes in my basement (frequently featured here and at WFMU) which contain raw takes of various TV programs and commercials, In this case, it's 15 minutes worth, mostly made up of several repetitions of a small section of a Studebaker advertisement, apparently from the mid 1960's, near the end of that company's existence.

For most of the tape - ten minutes or so - we hear work on a single section of the ad, in which a young boy is supposed to excitedly state, "Boy, That's a Hunk o' Sumpin'!", followed by some voice over about the happy family and their new car. The reason why these two things had to be done as a single piece is a mystery to me, but that's not a surprise, as I know nothing about advertising. In the last three minutes, the voice-over man works on a short segment from elsewhere in the ad, including the Studebaker slogan, "Different By Design", a slogan which appears to date this ad from 1964.

Download: Unknown - Boy, That's a Hunk o' Sumpin'!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Purdue Glee Club Talent Show (And More!)

First, I want to thank the commenters who chimed in on a couple of recent posts. Tony suggested that the DJ reading about Paul McCartney might be Dick Clark, which seems at least possible, and Eric offered more information about the "Truman Capote" - Kennedy piece. Have a look at that posts' comments for more information.

And an anonymous correspondent explained that what I had labeled a conversation using walkie-talkies, in my last post, is actually a Ham Radio conversation. That explanation can also be found in the comments. Thanks, everyone!


Here's an interesting reel of tape, featuring, as advertised above, a Glee Club Talent Show recorded at Purdue University, and featuring students of that institution.

I think the tape (which is just over a half-hour long) largely speaks for itself, but I do want to make mention of the degree to which the emcee seems obsessed with where the various performers (and members of groups that perform) are from, and other ethnic and personal aspects to their existence. To my ears, it goes way beyond weird, and into something approaching obsession. Perhaps that was typical of the day and age, and perhaps they were touting something along the lines of equal opportunity, for those days. Absent some explanation, I find it creepy.

Download: Various Artists - A Purdue Glee Club Talent Show

And here, as an extra, is the contents of one of those tiny, 3 inch reels of tape. In this case, I think what we have is two separate recordings, one partly erased.

I have discovered, over the years, that sometimes people who exchanged audio letters would simply record over the letter they'd received, after listening to it, and send back their own audio letters back to the person who sent the tape.

So what I have here is a tape from a little girl named Marcia, recording an audio letter to her Aunt, with her dad, apparently at her request. They only used the first side of the tape, and the father indicates at just before the four minute mark. So then, the flip side is side two of a previous letter, presumably one from the Aunt in question, and apparently responding to an even earlier tape. The whole thing is really nice, and very sweet at times.

Download: Marcia and Her Family - Audio Letter

Monday, January 15, 2018

Life and Death - Conspiracy Theories of the 1960's!

Happy New Year, everyone,

First, I want to thank everyone who wrote with nice thoughts and positive feedback about my postings. I really appreciate it.

I want to address one comment to a poster named Bill, whose post did not contain a return e-mail address, and who asked a question about his potentially sharing with me selections from his own collection of reel tapes. Yes, Bill, I would love that. I don't like to share my e-mail address here, as it seems to end up causing me to receive an influx of spam, but you can find it at the end of this post, which I wrote about 15 years ago.


Today, I have two recordings having to do with rumors - one about a man who was quite clearly dead being alive, and one about a man who was quite clearly alive being dead. (I also have a bonus clip, since the first two are so short.)

First up is a remarkable - and remarkably tasteless - recording from either radio or TV, I can't tell which. In it, a man who sounds a lot like Mike Wallace to these ears reads a short piece which had apparently started circulating at the time, regarding the various clues indicating that John F. Kennedy was not dead. You have to hear this thing to believe it - it is seriously obnoxious, or, as Capote described it in denying its authorship, "Grotesque".

Download: Possibly Mike Wallace - "Dead or Alive", Possibly by Truman Capote

Next up, an inane little 95 seconds out of the middle of a badly (choppy) recorded set of Top 40 radio recordings. In this short clip, we hear a unique take on Paul' McCartney's mid-'60's accident, leading to another possible reason why The Beatles might have added clues to Paul's supposed "death". Sheesh.

Download: DJ Speculates on the Paul McCartney Story

And here, on an unrelated note, for those who might enjoy it, and without any real comment, is a recording someone, somewhere, on some date, made, of an 11-minute conversation between two people via walkie-talkies.

Download: Unknown - Walkie Talkie Conversation