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ARSCLIST  March 2010

ARSCLIST March 2010

Subject:

Re: first Amos & Andy ETs

From:

Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 8 Mar 2010 15:39:11 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (116 lines)

Art Shifrin wrote:
> When they made their debut after leaving WGN (as Sam 'n' Henry) Gosden &
> Correll's deal with the Keith Orpheum theater circuit had them traveling
> extensively around the country doing live appaerances, often in markets
> where NBC did not yet have affiliates that were wired to the relatively new
> network.  Therefore it was shrewdly arranged to pre-record the episodes. I
> don't know or recall who made that decision.  I think that it's discussed in
> "The Adventures Of Amos 'n' Andy" by Melvin Patrick Ely. 

If you got this info from his book, he has his info all wrong because 
very little of what you post here is correct.  When they left WGN at the 
end of December 1927 the went over to WMAQ NOT NBC.  In fact, WMAQ was a 
CBS affiliate.  Nor would NBC have alllowed a recording to be played on 
the network, so that part of the tale is impossible.  ALL network 
affiliates MUST be wireline connected to the network because that is how 
radio networks operated.  So this shrewd arrangement had nothing to do 
with NBC, and since all the episodes for 1928 into April 1929 were live 
on WMAQ, a tour was impossible.

 Here are the real facts.  Starting on Feb 25, 1928 a short announcement 
was made nightly on WMAQ about the new program that would be starting in 
March.  The WMAQ logs do not indicate if the announcements were live or 
recorded, but the technical logs seem to indicate these were on short 
recordings.  It is possible that these short recorded announcements were 
also heard on the other stations the program recordings were going to be 
syndicated to.  During that month they were starting to record the 
series at Marsh, and when it debuted on WMAQ it was done LIVE on WMAQ 
and distributed to several dozen stations via recordings. 


> The ETs were issued (with-destroy-by- dates on the labels) 

Those dates were NOT destroy-by dates, it was the specific date the 
program must be AIRED.  The recorded episodes had to be aired on the 
exact same day as the live performance on WMAQ.  For the entire year of 
1928 from March 19 and into April 1929 the performed their program live 
on WMAQ in the WMAQ studios six nights a week without a break, without a 
vacation, and without a tour.  On April 28, 1929 for the very first time 
WMAQ aired the program from the recording.  On that day Gosden and 
Correll borderd a train to Los Angeles where they vacationed, made some 
appearances, and recorded several months of programs at Brunswick's LA 
studio on discs with LTR prefixes.  When they returned to Chicago in 
June they resumed recording at Brunswick's Chicago studio with discs 
with XC prefixes with the last session being July 10.  Apparently the 
use of the recordings continued on WMAQ although the logs only mention 
the use of recordings if there was a problem.  The final note of a 
problem with the recordings was on Sunday Aug 18, 1929.  The following 
night the program was again broadcast live from the WMAQ studios, this 
time with the program being sent to the NBC network from this CBS 
affiliate.  Indeed, that night a little of the signal from CBS was heard 
in the background of the oprogram on NBC.  Thereafter, of course, the 
program was broadcast live six nights a week, and the syndication by 
recordings ceased. 

> done on 12" 78 rpm lateral cut
> shellacs` whose masters were cut in wax.  They lacked commercials & opening
> & closing announcements that were delivered by local announcers.  The disks
> were turned over during the mid-show commercials.  The locally generated
> live portions, added to the pre-recorded ones nominally totalled to 1/4 hour
> or less to accommodate other local commercials and annoucements.
>
>   

It has never been determined how the theme song was played.  There may 
have been a Marsh theme disc, but there never was a Brunswick theme 
disc.  As far as Elizabeth McLeod or I know, no theme disc or cue sheet 
has ever been found.  If you know of any we would liike to know.

> The earliest date that I have is 7-15-28 matrice #s 5081 & 5082.. 

The earliest disc I have come across had  matrices  4949-1 and 4950-1 
and Elizabeth McLeod has confirmed that this is the earliest episode 
ever located, about 5 weeks into the series. (I don't have the episode 
number written on the tape sheet, but it was under 50.  It is one of 
several episodes where they buy the car that became the Fresh Aire 
Taxicab.  (I just listened to it -- the car cost them $75.)    

>  The latest that I have is 7-5-29 matrice #s LTR 117 & 118.

Your dates are wrong.  LTR 117 and 118 are for Episode 384 aired June 
16, 1929.  The July 5 program was episode 400 on LTR 150-1 and 151-l


>   The LTR matrices denote Brunswick recordings & pressings, 

The Brunswick Chicago recordings had prefix XC and are all listed in 
Ross Laird's Brunswick discography.  They recorded from episode 342 for 
April 28, 1929 on March 26 on XC 7170/71, thru episode 382 for June 14 
on April 25 on XC 3393/94.  Then came the LTR series in  Los Angeles.  
The session sheets for this early portion of the LTR series are lost so 
we don't have the recording dates, but I do have the numbers (and dubs) 
for Episode 384 thru 395, and 398 and 400 which I discovered nearly 40 
years ago in the Broadcast Pioneers Library.  I assume those two discs 
are still in the Library of American Broadcasting at the U of Md.   They 
resumed in Chicago on June 25 with episode 412 for  July 19 on XC 
3698/99, thru July 11, 1929 for episode 438 for Aug 18 on XC 3838/39.

>  not the inferior Marsh ones..
> Given the once-only applications of these disks it'd have been technically
> better if they'd had a deal with Columbia, given its substantially sonically
> superior laminated pressings.
>
> Art Shiffy Shifrin
>   
They were located in Chicago and could get better service from Marsh and 
from Brunswick.  It is quite probable that the surfaces on the unplayed 
Marsh and Brunswick discs were fine.  The copies we find now were 
usually played many times.  When they switched over to Brunswick the 
company had already had six months experience recording several hundred 
syndication discs for the National Radio Advertising Company.  By late 
29 or early 30 Marsh was doing some syndication discs using laminated 
pressings.


Mike Biel  [log in to unmask] 

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