In a few weeks on my blog, I'm going to be posting a rather odd
transcription disc I ran into a few months ago.
At least I think it's a transcription disc.
It's a ten inch laminated Columbia pressing from Sollie & MacGregor.
It's "Coleman Cox", program 11 on one side and program 12 on the
other. The matrix numbers are MS-1311 and 1312. The matrix also
includes the show title and number and the notations "Time 4:50" and
Cox was an author from California who published some books in the
1920s. I found him in some radio listings from the NY Times and the
LA Times from around 1935 where he's described as a "Philosopher".
The shows are odd, in that early to mid-30s kind of way, with Cox just
saying some kind of pithy proverbs with a bell sounding after each
one. The theme song of the show is "Jingle Bells", oddly enough.
Each show runs about five minutes with a proper intro and outro.
Sounds normal for a 30's transcription so far, right?
Well, here's the weird part - the disc runs at about 32 rpm. If you
play it at 33 1/3, it sounds like Mickey Mouse and obviously isn't the
right speed. I manually adjusted the speed when I transferred the
disc so it sounded right and checked the actual speed with the RPM app
on my iPhone.
Anyone hear of an odd speed being used on purpose like this in the 30s
for transcriptions? Was this some kind of production/mastering error?
If this was intentional, perhaps to save on syndicating a five minute
show on a ten inch rather than twelve-inch disc, I can't see an odd
speed disc like this going over well with station engineers.
When I first got the disc and previewed it, noticing I had to really
dial down the speed, I thought it might have been mastered at the
British Talking Book speed used about that time, but that was 24 rpm,
which is much slower than what we have here.
Any ideas on this oddity? I've owned a lot of transcriptions over
various time periods and never run into an off-speed disc like this.
Here's a link to label scans and mp3s of the content if you want to
puzzle over it for a bit.
Randy A. Riddle
Cool Cat Daddy Productions
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