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