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ARSCLIST  November 2009

ARSCLIST November 2009

Subject:

Re: Walt Whitman Recording

From:

Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 3 Nov 2009 17:18:57 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (51 lines)

From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> Surprising that CBS News and Murrow/Friendly would get duped so badly.

Actually the "7 Presidents/11 Presidents Speak" LPs were later projects
than Murrow-Friendly, but what was done on "I Can Hear It Now" were
known fake recordings done BY Murrow-Friendly!  It was in the tradition
of "The March Of Time" and even "You Are There" where it was considered
legit to dramatize real events.  The cover of Vol 3, 1919-1933
originally said "voices and events read and re-enacted" but that was a
typo which was soon changed to "real and re-enacted".  In the notes they
say: "We are acutely aware of the dangers involved in thus mixing actors
and actual recordings, but there was no other way to do it.  In no
instance have we tampered wtih text or testimony; it is all here as
spoken."  I disagree.  Tn the case of Alfred E. Smith they discuss how
his voice on raaaaadio might have presented a bad image of him, and then
we hear a caricature of him, not a real recording WHICH DO EXIST.  I've
heard this fake recording used in many other places to make this same
point.  It is libelous.  In ALL cases in this album there ARE real
recordings they could have used.  When I did a tally of each of the
recordings, only FIVE were legit!!  And several of them are of the
actual person but were later recordings.  That turns out to also be true
in the first album but we were not warned, for example, that Bob Trout's
emotional announcement of the end of the second world war was a
re-recording he did for them in 1948 and although the words were the
same the emotion was VERY different, far greater in the re-enactment.  

My complaint is that each individual recording should have been
identified as real, re-enactment, or acted by someone else.  There is a
further problem in that many unsuspecting (and unscrupulous) documentary
producers have "borrowed" (read: stolen) recordings from these albums
for their productions and have gotten royally screwed.  It took months
to finally convince ABC-TV that they used fake recordings in their
"Century" documentary about Lindbergh (although I couldn't get them to
admit that part of their entire premise of the program was false,
because like the Walt Whitman "researcher" they had relied on a doofus,
or in this case a brother and sister pair of doofuses).    

> Mike's final point about hunting down original sources and documentation is so true.
> And to preserve original sources. There's a whole discussion to be had about making
> prudent preservation decisions so auto-pilot accumulation doesn't overwhelm important
> preservation. I'm not sure there's an ideal solution, but the topic should be
> discussed often and vigorously.  -- Tom Fine

Thanks.  I've been preaching this for over 40 years.  Les Waffen had me
participate in a conference at the National Archives back in the 70s to
explain why it is necessary to maintain the original recordings when
preservation copies are made, when they usually discard paper memos
after microfilms are made.

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]  

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