Golly gee! "Compendiumize"? Sound the language inflation alarm! What's
wrong with "collect"?
On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 6:28 PM, Clark Johnsen <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> My gosh I hope there's some mechanism at play (at work?) to compendiumize
> all these great and detailed conversations about recording history on
> On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 6:03 PM, Dennis M Spragg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Mike,
> > No.
> > Any discs with BBC labels on them that you would have seen at the Library
> > of Congress Sound Lab in the 1970s were definitely not the OWI "Music
> > America" programs.
> > The OWI operated ABSIE (The American Broadcasting Station in Europe) in
> > London which was their European Service Headquarters. During October
> > and November 1944, Major Glenn Miller and the American Band of the AEF
> > it was rebranded following transfer to the ETO) recorded at least eight
> > programs for ABSIE in the German language for broadcast over ABSIE. The
> > programs were used for the ABSIE "Wehrmacht Hour" broadcast and targeted
> > to German service personnel. They were recorded at Abbey Road Studios
> > using EMI discs and were later fully cataloged in the EMI vaults. We
> > copies of the original paperwork and session sheets for the EMI discs
> > were made. Most of six programs exist from copies made of the EMI discs
> > and circulated as early as the early 1950s in the United Kingdom. Alan
> > Mandell (Alan Dell) had obtained one of the (unauthorized) copies and
> > the also misleadingly titled "Lost Recordings" issue that was put out
> > first by Conifer and later acquired by BMG. Again, these issues came
> > Mandell's copy of the original discs. At the time of the ABSIE
> > recordings, first-generation disc copies of the 10" EMI masters were
> > to the United States for broadcast over the leased OWI transmitters.
> > Those copies were broadcast by the OWI from over here. Sort of a reverse
> > lend-lease. These copies remain today in the United States and are
> > superior to what Mandell, et. al. obtained and were later released. We
> > have the detailed broadcast dates and times in our files. Again, these
> > are EMI-produced discs. The orchestra performs as normal with Miller
> > reading from a German-language script and being led by a native German
> > speaking OWI female announcer. Ballads are performed by Sgt. Johnny
> > Desmond in the German language.
> > Please do not confuse these recordings with the OWI "Music from America"
> > discs which were produced and duplicated by NBC, New York, not the BBC.
> > ABSIE also recorded Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore, Marlene Dietrich, Morton
> > Downey, Fred Astaire, Spike Jones and his City Slickers, M1C Sam Donahue
> > and the US Navy Dance Band, the Washington, DC AAF Band conducted by
> > George Howard and others for the "Wehrmacht Hour" while they were on
> > in the ETO. Dietrich had zero problems of course with the German language
> > introductions. This appears to have been the source for German service
> > personnel calling Bing "Der Bingle". There is no known evidence of what
> > they thought of Spike Jones and his City Slickers or if they performed
> > "Der Fuehrer's Face", which most likely they certainly did not.
> > Any discs including Major Miller and his ABAEF before or following his
> > disappearance with a BBC label on them are performances recorded for
> > broadcast by the SHAEF "Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme" (AEFP),
> > which was technically operated for SHAEF as the BBC Violet Network by
> > mostly BBC engineers and originally using one of the BBC Start Point
> > transmitters. Major Miller insisted on being able to record broadcasts
> > that he and his men could travel around and perform concerts for air base
> > and other allied personnel. To this point, BBC were against recorded
> > broadcasts and favored live performances only. Later, when Miller's
> > orchestra was being transferred to the then-under construction AEFP
> > "Forward" studios in Paris, he was able to lean on EMI for discs to fill
> > six-week schedule of broadcasts by the full orchestra and its sub-units
> > fill the gap if transmission lines were not available from France to
> > BBC-London for their regular broadcasts. Staffing AEFP was the reason
> > that gen. Dwight Eisenhower requested the Miller AAFTC Orchestra from
> > H. H. Arnold and the Army Air Forces. The AAF "loaned" the Miller unit
> > to SHAEF and never gave up formal custody of it.
> > Please do not confuse AEFP/BBC discs with the OWI "Music from America"
> > series and discs, either.
> > AEFP recordings were passed to AFN-London for broadcast over AFN as well.
> > AFRS discs flown to the UK and used by AFN were passed to AEFP for
> > broadcast as well. The program content of AEFP was supposed to be
> > representative of the percentage of American, British and Canadian forces
> > within SHAEF's command. AFN relied upon AFRS for programming but
> > pre-dated AFRS and operated as a semi-autonomous organization to the end
> > of the war in Europe and beyond. Most of the AEFP programming ended up
> > being American and included AFRS transcription discs of the AFRS original
> > productions and off-network programs. AEFP produced their own programs,
> > including the utilization of three "house" bands, the American Band of
> > AEF (Miller), The British Band of the AEF (RSM George Melachrino) and the
> > Canadian Band of the AEF (Capt. Bob Farnon). AEFP hosts and announcers
> > were American, British and Canadian, including mainly female British
> > announcers during breaks and for introductions. We have an AEFP audience
> > research study from January 1945 which shows that the American forces
> > wanted only American programs but the British and Canadian forces wanted
> > their own programs and American programs. The British civilian audience,
> > who could received AEFP in and around southeast England and London,
> > particularly younger people, favored AEFP over the BBC which certainly
> > an affect on the BBC. The AEFP signal was readily available whereas AFN
> > was restricted to 250 watt transmitters around bases and not generally
> > heard by the British public.
> > As far as union agreements, once program discs got into the field content
> > did indeed overlap. As I also mentioned, OWI circulated many programs
> > during 1942 and 1943 for the fledgling SSD (Special Services Division)
> > the AFRS (as rebranded in November 1943). SSD and then AFRS chief Lt.
> > Thomas H. A. Lewis knew from the get-go in May 1942 that he could not
> > on shortwave transmissions and developed the now famous 16 inch
> > transcription disc program of original AFRS content and off-network
> > programs which were distributed worldwide from Los Angeles. However,
> > until mid-1944 at minimum, programs such as "Uncle Sam Presents" were
> > recorded at NBC, aired by OWI but broadcast to allied service personnel.
> > These discs were passed from OWI to SSD/AFRS where the latter had
> > facilities, such as those commanded by Maj. Andre Baruch in North Africa.
> > There was indeed sharing that occurred in the field and no one ever
> > complained so far as extant documentation demonstrates.
> > As you very correctly point out, the OWI Foreign Division indeed had a
> > distinct and separate mission from the United States Armed Forces radio
> > mission, in short, foreign audiences as opposed to allied, mainly
> > American, military personnel. Carrying the message of the United States
> > as "the Voice of America" was certainly different from bringing service
> > personnel a touch of home to each and every air base, ship or forward
> > ground unit and everyone in between. AFRS Los Angeles did not receive
> > copies of the designated OWI recordings made by NBC. However, overseas
> > stations run by AFRS and AFN personnel definitely did have them passed to
> > them. The music-only discs were not inappropriate to the military
> > and in some cases were used for expediency until the AFRS Basic Music
> > Libraries became widely circulated. Stations all over the planet
> > had to improvise!
> > When Major Miller disappeared December 15, 1944, the pre-recorded ABSIE
> > German language programs along with pre-recorded AEFP ABAEF programs were
> > on the air with Miller's voice included. This presented a touchy
> > situation for SHAEF and the BBC as the Eighth Air Force went about trying
> > to ascertain what happened to the VIII AF Service Command aircraft that
> > Miller was aboard. Upon the public announcement that Miller was missing,
> > AEFP edited out his voice as best they could substituting Sgt. Keith
> > Jameson (formerly of WMAL, Washington). Due to the nature of the
> > programs, ABSIE was not able to fit out Miller's terse and stumbling
> > German language voice overs and did not air programs 7 and 8. They
> > substituted other pre-recorded items featuring different artists.
> > Therefore, in addition to the series that I detailed in my previous
> > message, please add the following:
> > ABSIE (OWI) "WEHRMACHT HOUR" RECORDING SESSIONS
> > Programs 1-6 (7-8 withheld)
> > OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1944
> > EMI ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS
> > LONDON, ENGLAND
> > AEFP (BBC VIOLET) - VARIOUS PROGRAM RECORDINGS FOR BROADCAST
> > "THE AMERICAN BAND OF THE AEF" ("MOONLIGHT SERENADE") (full band led by
> > Maj. A. G. Miller)
> > "THE SWING SHIFT" ("AMERICAN DANCE BAND") (no strings led by Sgt. Ray
> > McKinley)
> > "UPTOWN HALL" ("SWING SEXTETTE") (small groups led by Sgt. Mel Powell)
> > "STRINGS WITH WINGS" (strings only led by Sgt. George Ockner)
> > "SONGS BY SGT. JOHNNY DESMOND ("A SOLDIER AND A SONG") (full band or
> > strings with vocals)
> > "PIANO PARADE" (solos by Pvy. Jack Russin)
> > The ABAEF kept a very busy schedule. Following Miller's disappearance
> > ABAEF program was conducted by Sgt. Jerry Gray.
> > It would be very helpful to learn what original discs you saw at the
> > Library of Congress Recording Lab in the 1970s.
> > Sincerely,
> > Dennis M. Spragg
> > Glenn Miller Archive
> > University of Colorado Boulder
> > On 6/12/12 4:16 PM, "Gray, Mike" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > >As I recall, the original discs were recorded by the BBC - and I also
> > >recall seeing the originals in the Library of Congress Recording Lab in
> > >the 1970s. BTW, I very much doubt that the AFRS would have obtained
> > >copies of
> > >the recordings from OWI - for one thing, the each organization's
> > >contracts with unions and performers and other parties defined the
> > >and assumed audiences, which did not overlap.
> > >
> > >
> > >Mike Gray
> > >
Dennis D. Rooney
303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
New York, NY 10023