Sunday, February 10, 2019

A Huge Collection of Comedians, As Recorded Off Television, and More!

Almost exactly a month ago, I posted a lengthy compilation of recordings off of TV, a series of Huntley & Brinkley "tag" stories from the end of their newscasts.

Today. I have the work of another obsessive tape compiler/collector. In this case, whoever made this tape labeled it "Comedians", and captured over two hours of stand-up comedy off of his or her TV set, in what sounds like the early to mid 1960's. The Ed Sullivan Show is no doubt the source of a good percentage of this material, and sure enough, ol' Ed can be heard from time to time.

Not everyone here is identified. Several of these voices are clear to me (I am also a collector of comedy albums, and have hundreds of them), a smaller number of them are mysteries to me. But rather than break this down into a who's who, I'll just share the whole 125 minute recording with you, both sides of a 1200 foot reel of tape, recorded in monaural on both sides of the tape:

Download: A Collection of Comedians on TV.
Play:

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We'll stop now for a brief commercial announcement from Playtex. Anyone else find the announcer addressing himself to "Mother" to be weird?:

Download: Playtex Nurser Bottle Ad
Play:

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Finally, a tape which may be of interest to only a few of you, but which is important to me just for the fact that it exists. It is on a paper reel. I've written about these before, but the earliest home recordable tapes were made with paper backing. They tear just like a piece of paper. Then, for a time, you could get either paper or some sort of plastic backing, and very quickly, the much more durable plastic backing won out. I'm sure someone out there could correct me, or improve my knowledge about this, but paper backed tape seems to have been available from the dawn of home-sold reel to reel machines in the late 1940's through about 1952.

Unrecorded paper reel tapes make a weirdly excessive amount of noise - white noise - when played through modern machines (and perhaps through their contemporary machines, too). But once recorded, they sound as good as any other reel, and they generally sound just about as good today, 70 years after having been recorded, as they did the first time they were played.

So this is a recording which is almost certainly in the neighborhood of 68-70 years old, and as it captures an FM radio broadcast, it represents a recording of music put over the airwaves at the dawn of FM broadcasting. I only wish the material it captures was more interesting. What is heard, with a couple of interruptions for concert notes by an announcer, is an approximately 30 minute performance by The George Steiner String Trio, heard in a series of classical performances, Mr. Steiner having been a violinist of some minor note, based on a quick web search (which also turns up two completely different dates of death for the gentleman). It is nothing of import, aside from its very existence, if that makes sense. This is labeled part one - next time around, I will include another paper reel of the same vintage, with more stone-age FM recordings.

Download: Very Early Recording from a Paper Reel, Volume One
Play:

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