Thom -- Thanks for your encouragement on the project. I've amassed a
collection of old time radio lps for many years keeping data about them for
my own reference (in the 70s on 3x5 index cards). I've been thinking it's
time to do something more public with it if there's interest.
I'd limit my work to commercially released lps - there are so many
cassette, reel to reel and even 8-track issues out there, it would be
difficult to track them down. I would say that many would need extensive
work even to get them to play now - the lps are more permanent and more
commonly found by collectors and libraries. There's some overlap with
collectors interested in music works by specific artists (like Bing Crosby)
or individuals that collect personality or memorabilia related to
personalities (such as Bela Lugosi or Marilyn Monroe).
Work does need to be done on what kind of transcriptions are held in
institutions and by non-profit organizations or commercial entities. I've
heard the American Legion has an extensive run of original transcriptions
for some series they released to stations in the early 50s about the Cold
War, for example. Getting a handle on institutional holdings would be a
big project all by itself.
Tom Fine - Duke University didn't get any original transcriptions in their
advertising collections - they have microfilm of original scripts. Over
the past few years, I've donated several transcriptions from my own
collection that fit with their different collecting areas, like women's
history or African-American culture, so they have some to compliment their
I've used Goldin's site to double-check dates or other information on
specific shows or to see if something is in circulation among collectors.
I'm going to contact him by mail soon with some questions about Radiola
and some of the quirks of the records he issued and points on the history
of the company.
I'd like to find some people associated with or who have first-hand
knowledge of the other "biggies" in the old time radio reissuing area in
the 70s and 80s like Mark 56, Nostalgia Lane, Golden Age, etc. Part of the
aim of the discography, for me at least, is a look at how nostalgia was
"sold" to the public through these releases.
On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 10:16 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> If you guys are going to do this, you should get going while there are
> still some first-persons alive and some key second-persons like David
> Goldin. Also, whomever runs this should make sure to talk with Art Shifrin,
> who has quite a lot of knowledge on this topic. Also Mr. Ellis down in the
> DC area, who has a huge collection of high-quality OTR already digitized.
> It's also very much worth re-reading the Erik Barnouw trilogy of books
> because of the numerous and accurate references and other documentation
> There is also a huge collection of low-quality but sometimes very
> interesting OTR tapes -- yep they are the dreaded 4-tracks on 1/4" at
> 3.75IPS type -- at a university in Memphis, it may be University of Memphis
> or Memphis State University. The librarian there is very nice and helpful
> about making CD dubs, but she is not an OTR person.
> My own interest in OTR is mostly focused on "news and actuarial," ie very
> little interest in "nostalgia" drama or comedy especially the well-worn
> mainstream stuff. I also have some interest in music recordings, but only
> those of good fidelity. David Goldin used to have some very interesting
> news broadcasts available from his custom tape service, but I never had
> enough money to buy all of them. I should add, one exception to my general
> disinterest in the drama stuff is "Mercury Theatre On THe Air" and
> "Campbell's Radio Theatre" with Orson Wells (sp?). I'm still on a quest to
> get all the Mercury Theatre shows in really good fidelity. I know some just
> don't exist in good fidelity anymore.
> Another possible source of radio-transcription audio that I bet hasn't
> been tapped is the archives of long-standing corporations and advertising
> agencies. This would be especially true for the drama/comedy stuff, which
> was sometimes produced by ad agencies specifically for corporate sponsors.
> For instance Duke University has been given tremendous amounts of vintage
> video advertising material. Is there any audio material in the lot? If so,
> is it documented? What about GM's corporate archives? Coke? Pepsi?
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Thom" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 9:48 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Advice on otr discography
> In the paper I gave at ARSC, I included a call for a Radio Research
>> Interest Group for ARSC, one of whose aims would be to give input into
>> standards related to metadata of broadcasting works and their exemplars
>> (based in part of principles of the National Recording Preservation Plan's
>> goals of better cataloging practices for sound recordings and the
>> recommendation under 4.3 "A Coordinated National Collections Policy" for
>> subcommittee to develop strategies and tools to collect and preserve radio
>> broadcast content").
>> Your proposed discography would be very useful as it would list commercial
>> publications of radio programs on disc, and would link them to their
>> original works and series. I hope you will consider publishing it to the
>> web as well as in book form (Scarecrow Press does this), and that you
>> allow other parties to license your data for re-use in broader databases
>> (such as national discographies [NRPP Recommendation 3.1]).
>> Thom Pease
>> Library of Congress
>> (not speaking for them).
>> On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 8:00 AM, Randy A. Riddle <[log in to unmask]
>> I'm considering putting together a discography of old time radio
>>> released on lp. I'd like some advice from folks in ARSC, particularly if
>>> you're in a library, archives or if you're a researcher on whether this
>>> would be a useful endeavor.
>>> Some background ….
>>> In the 70s and 80s, as part of the "nostalgia boom", several small labels
>>> popped up releasing old time radio broadcasts on lps. Some were widely
>>> distributed through mail order and retail outlets, such as releases from
>>> Goldin's Radiola, Mark 56, Nostalgia Lane and Murray Hill. Many others
>>> were put out by otr enthusiasts in limited runs.
>>> Although many otr broadcasts are floating around at archive.org and
>>> sites, these lps do contain better quality or more complete versions of
>>> broadcasts and some that have never made it to digital.
>>> The lps often have no information on the disc or cover about the
>>> episode of a program. If the particular broadcast can be identified, it
>>> might have been done from a tape dub floating around or original
>>> transcriptions and might be altered or incomplete.
>>> The discography would describe in detail the contents of each lp, noting
>>> the sound quality or any problems with the material. In addition, it
>>> cross-reference different releases of the same broadcasts.
>>> I've managed to gather a fairly large collection of these lps, but would
>>> probably need to fill out some gaps in my collection, so this would take
>>> some time to pull together.
>>> I'm at a point where I've been informally putting together notes on these
>>> discs for my own research, wondering if a discography like this would be
>>> more broadly useful and the kind of interest there might be in it.
>>> I've considered three different outlets for the discography. I could put
>>> it together as a website, an ebook I might sell through Amazon, or try to
>>> submit it to a publisher like Macfarland.
>>> I don't want to reformat all the information at a later time - a blog,
>>> ebook or publisher manuscript - would be assembled differently. My
>>> question, if you think this would be useful, would be what you think the
>>> best outlet might be so I can figure out the best format to put together
>>> the information.
>>> The scope of the discography would be complete broadcasts or significant
>>> broadcast excerpts on lp discs and wouldn't include the many compilations
>>> of songs drawn from different broadcasts that are probably highlighted in
>>> artist or genre discographies. However, it would include discs that
>>> contain a complete broadcast or band remote, for example. It would also
>>> include some lps issued before the 70s, such as lp releases of the CBC
>>> McCarthy-era drama "The Investigator" or Columbia issues of episodes of
>>> "You Are There".
>>> Randy A. Riddle
>>> [log in to unmask]