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


  1. Bob, I think that your assessment of the M.C. on the Purdue show tape, is perhaps weird. Why would promoting the hometowns of some yokel yahoos make you feel uncomfortable??? He's simply trying to place emphasis on the crowd's regional spirit & entertain at the same time. THAT'S what good announcers do. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to do a DNA test on my neice's husband's daughter in law.

  2. Bob, gonna be honest, NO idea how I got here (you know how crusing the internet at night goes), but both of these audio clips were quite entertaining (i'll be honest, only made it through the first 8 minutes of the Purdue clip)!

    So, did you just end up with a ton of reel to reels and you post them online as an archive?

  3. I love talent shows, one never knows what to expect. Will there be some interesting displays of talent, innovative entertainment, or something akin to Gong Show rejects after too many beers?
    Thanks Bob, for another year of audio slices of Americana!