I have heard rumor, which I have not been able to confirm, that many Bing Crosby disk masters and
metal parts from the 78 era burned up in the Universal Studios soundstage fire. He recorded
extensively for Decca, one of the companies absorbed under the umbrella of the vault owner.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Aaron Coe" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 1:27 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Radio Transcription Disc Label Gallery
Since we’re on the topic of Bing Crosby, I stumbled across this great PBS documentary a few months
What perked my ears up was the inclusion of his personal letters that he had recorded on Dictabelts
being featured in the film. This lead me to find the studio that actually transferred the
Dictabelts, who are apparently "the trusted partner of Bing Crosby Enterprises, where for years Mr.
Crosby’s extensive catalog of songs has come for the latest in expert digitization, re-mastering and
> On Sep 23, 2015, at 9:13 AM, Richard L. Hess <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi, Karl and Tom,
> It is also my understanding that Gonzaga has a fairly complete collection of Crosby ETs. Jack
> Mullin's family has some and since I am no longer in touch with Jack's family, I don't know the
> current status of that. When the family loaned the remaining Magnetophon to the San Francisco
> Airport exhibit in conjunction, I think, with an AES show, that was my last contact with the
> At least a decade ago, I do not think that Gonzaga had digitized the ETs. I digitized all the
> tapes in the Mullin Family Collection and those files are at Stanford, the tapes were returned to
> the family.
> The tapes from the Palmer Collection (via Jim Wheeler) are physically stored at Stanford.
> The Stanford catalog listing is here:
> http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/6745997 <http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/6745997>
> The online finding aid is here:
> At the top right is a link to a PDF file of the complete finding aid, or it can be navigated using
> the table of contents in the right window.
> The collection that I worked with pre-dated the mainstream use of tape for Philco Radio Time with
> Bing Crosby. I do not know where any of those tapes are or if they still exist.
> I also do not know when the use of ETs was terminated, airing live from the tape.
> The 1947 work (starting with the show that aired October First) was done on Mullin's two tape
> machines which were the Magnetophon transports that he salvaged from Germany with his home-built
> electronics chasses that were loosely based on the German design, although it is my understanding
> that Jack's electronics ahad one additional tube (valve) as compared to the German design.
> The tape-recovery story goes that Jack would sit up late at night, half-asleep, listening to tones
> recorded on tapes and hearing a step in sensitivity would move the tape of different sensitivity
> to another reel.
> While very interesting material, the Magnetophonband Typ L was crude for audio by later standards.
> Since it was homogeneous, the depth and density of the magnetic particles were not well controlled
> and one can hear level variations in the reproduction that can be ascribed, most likely, to
> physical variations in the tape structure.
> Overall, using the full width of the tape (6.5 mm vs. today's 6.35 mm), and running at 30 in/s
> with AC bias, the recording quality is quite good, although ETs were also quite good in 1947.
> I doubt that the off-air recordings at UTA offer much insight into the available quality that the
> Gonzaga/Family collection of ETs offer, however, they may fill in a hole or two in that combined
> collection, though the Gonzaga collection, as I understand it, is rather complete since it was
> donated by the Crosby family (I don't know the detailed history). My hazy recollection is that
> between the family collection and the Gonzaga collection, there are only a few missing shows.
> I do not see a detailed listing of the holdings at Gonzaga, but did find this:
> ---or a shortened version---
> http://bit.ly/1LwdKeJ <http://bit.ly/1LwdKeJ>
> It is interesting to note from the above link, that they hold the following:
>> Gonzaga University has a large collection of Bing Crosby radio discs including:
>> The Bing Crosby Show : 1949 - 1954
>> Kraft Music Hall: 1943 - 1946
>> Minute Maid Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice: 1949 - 1950
>> Philco Radio Time: 1946 - 1949
>> Miscellaneous: 1936 - 1960
> My understanding is that the discs are generally two discs per half-hour show, with the first disc
> recorded outside in and the second disc recorded inside out. In that way, the EQ did not jump at
> the transition between the two discs.
> I think this is about all I know on this subject (or can find).
> I am in no way putting down UTA. In fact, I am considering UTA as the repository for my St. Thomas
> Church (New York City) and other Church Music recordings as UTA has a school of Sacred Music which
> Dr. Gerre Hancock who was organist and master of choristers at St. Thomas for many years "retired"
> to. His wife, Judith, is still there.
> On 2015-09-22 21:37, Karl Miller wrote:
>> When I was recordings curator at the University of Texas at Austin I connected with a man who had
>> a relative...a sister? who was a huge fan of Bing Crosby. She had recorded many of his broadcasts
>> on discs. Most of the discs were of rather poor quality but, when I left the collection, they
>> were still in good shape. She did not record the entire programs, but only the portions when
>> Crosby was on the air. I got him to donate the collection. My "superiors" at the University saw
>> no reason to fund their transfer. I remember my successor being asked about the discs to which he
>> supposedly responded..."the collection was not worth bothering about."
>> She had also collected, as far as I know, all of the commercial Crosby discs known at that time.
>> The library administration decided to catalog the commercial recordings.
>> Perhaps some Crosby collection was acquired by them subsequent to my departure, yet I am unaware
>> of it. I believe Crosby's personal collection went to Gonzaga University. As far as I know, my
>> successor at UT knew nothing about the Gonzaga donation, yet, that was at least ten years ago.
>> Hence, as far as he might have known, these were some of the sole surviving copies of some of
>> these broadcasts.
>> On Tuesday, September 22, 2015 8:17 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Weren't most of the Bing Crosby broadcasts at the University of Texas originally recorded to
>> tape? I
>> remember reading that Jack Mullin would reuse bits of tape he edited out, but were whole shows
>> erased and reused? If not, why aren't the tapes the master medium and why are the transcription
>> disks necessary for archival purposes? Aren't they inherently inferior since they are at best
>> second-generation dubs and more likely are second-generation dubs made down a phone line?
>> -- Tom Fine
> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
> http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm <http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm>
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.