ell, here's a couple of examples:
I based the name of this show on its contents, but I can't say for
sure what the proper name of the program is and whether this is some
type of audition or if other programs in the series were made.
RCA Electrical Transcription PMS-97685-1 ("#1" noted in the matrix)
RCA Electrical Transcription PMS-97878-1
The next one I've not posted online since I got it a couple of weeks
back. This is a Columbia pressing with a white label "Sound on Disc
Division" label - there's no program name or information on the label
The disc is single-sided and about 16 and a half inches - I can't play
it on my turntable (it's just a bit too large), so I've not verified
the contents. Jim Blackson, who I purchased it from, is supposed to
send me a transfer he made of it.
According to Jim, it's part 2 of an episode of "Weird Tales", a series
based on the sci-fi magazine, and he was told it dates from 1938. The
label, along with the pressing style (laminated) makes me think it's
I've been through several websites and databases of old newspapers and
I can't find any listings or mentions of a "Weird Tales" radio series.
So is this some kind of audition? Another series entirely?
Columbia I 1511
"HRA 2" and "IA" are noted in matrix area.
Finally, there's a series of Columbia pressings I've got from the
"Continental Broadcasting Corporation" that were dated by Goldin to
1930-31. These are 16" laminated single-sided pressings with the
title "Gillum & Duke Atterbury" stamped on the labels. Goldin listed
one show in the series when I got it and he called it "The Two
Daffodils" and the title isn't clear in the program contents. I've
never found a title for it in newspaper articles or listings of the
period under either title.
So it's not just the recording dates I'm interested in, but also the
name of the client that had the discs pressed, whether others were
pressed for a series, and the proper name for the series - all that
would help track down when and where these were broadcast or if they
were just auditions that never made it to air.
I agree with your grumblings about otr collectors. However, I'll cut
them some slack, at least collectors who were dubbing and trading this
stuff years ago - their interest was based on nostalgia and not on
historical research. I don't think many realized what they had.
I was hoping my blog would encourage otr enthusiasts to document the
discs themselves, whether pressings or instantaneous recordings, since
the labels, matrix numbers or even the style of the disc itself can
have some key information about the recorded sound. But my approach
seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
Documentation on syndicated programming, particularly from the late
20s through the 30s is really lacking. Many of the discs don't
survive and, for those that do, we only have dubs that have passed
around with no discographical info attached to the sound.
My frustration with otr extends to record collectors too - I'm sure
that there are several parts of early radio shows in collections where
someone picked up a disc because it had Benny Goodman or Tommy Dorsey
in the band, but it's not been connected to the radio series the disc
actually came from. The National Radio Advertising Company discs
pressed by Brunswick are a good example, where one half-hour or
quarter-hour show was spread across several 12" 78 discs. How many
complete or near complete shows survive, spread out among various
On Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 10:10 PM, Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Although the matrix series for Columbia's transcriptions were not
> included in the Columbia discography, Tim Brooks told me that many of
> these series are documented at Columbia. Victor used one numerical
> series for all of their recordings although there are blocks that were
> set aside for different studios and sometimes run parallel. But
> although the paperwork for most of their client recordings are not in
> their files, the dating info can usually be closely extrapolated or
> specifically interpolated. The "Movie Book" with listings of their
> recordings for film soundtracks for 1928 to 1932 is now once again
> available, and this can also help find things. The AFRS and V-Disc
> recordings that are Victor based can also be determined thru the common
> matrix series. While there is a very good discography for V-Discs by my
> friend, the late Dick Sears, the AFRS discography is really more a
> program series listing. Because of the generally crappy ways OTR people
> fail to properly identify the discs they had made their dubs of, most of
> the information that could have been compiled over the past four or five
> decades has been lost. A record collector would never fail to include
> discographical info with their dubs but OTR collectors seem to be
> angrily defiant against copying down the info off of the discs they
> have. Some of them seem to prefer not having proper identification of
> the programs. (There also are some OTR collectors who don't want the
> recordings to sound good -- one guy wants the programs to sound like the
> old Philco with a torn speaker cone he had in his bedroom as a kid.)
> So what are the numbers of the discs you need identifying?
> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
> From: Randy Riddle <[log in to unmask]>
>> I recently obtained a "mystery disc" pressed by Columbia - laminated
> shellac, just over 16", with a "Sound on Disc Division" label common
> to discs Columbia manufactured in the early 30s. I've also run into a
> couple of Victor transcriptions from the early 30s with blank labels
> that have been difficult to get some concrete info about.
>> I've been curious if the ledgers for the transcription divisions of
> Columbia and Victor or other labels have survived. Has anyone done
> any discographical research in this area? I've seen some
> discographies of Armed Forces radio transcriptions or Music Library
> releases. The ledgers from Columbia and Victor and some other
> companies, like Allied, would probably be of great interest to
> researchers on film or radio history.