Although the Camden warehouse destruction was unfortunate, I think the
description of the contents destroyed is quite erroneous. The matrix
books exist, as does an amazing variety of other ledger files, card
files, inventories, and other paperwork. With the exception of
acoustical popular and ethnic masters, there is an amazingly complete
matrix file of masters, especially the type of material that would be in
the Black and White reissue series. Now that the holdings are
computerized, I bet you could take copies of those LPs and look up the
availability of masters and find almost every one. You wouldn't expect
to find almosry sued AND unissued Gosden and Correll master from
1925-1932 there, but they all exist.
One category of materials that were destroyed were things that were not
RCA commercial property, recordings they did not have the exploitation
rights to. Specifically, motion picture soundtracks, filmstrip
recordings, and broadcast transcriptions. Ruth Terry Preston, the NBC
Archivist, was invited down to take anything of theirs she wanted.
These mainly included the syndicated NBC Recorded Program Service, and
NBC Thesaurus. She took a sample of every one of the programs in the
syndicated service but not Thesaurus, which actually had been offloaded
to RCA in the mid-1950s.
Miss Preston had horror stories of her own to tell, of the downsizing of
the NBC collection around 1967, such as 90% of the television kinescope
films -- although a large proportion of them were multiple prints of the
same programs (they used to make as many as 13 prints in the early 50s)
-- and most of the daylight saving time delay discs, and gameshow
soundtrack safety discs.
But I don't think they RCA warehouse story is as bad as you made it out
Michael Biel [log in to unmask] (and Facebook)
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The Day the Music B
From: Stewart Gooderman <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, June 11, 2019 12:27 pm
To: [log in to unmask]
The most spectacular case of wholesale vault trashing is the decision by
RCA in the early '60s to demolish its warehouse in Camden, N.J. The
warehouse, according to collectors and industry veterans, held four
floors of catalogue product, pre-tape-era material ranging from metal
parts, acetates, shellac disc masters and alternate takes to test
pressings, master matrix books and session rehearsal recordings.
Several days before the demolition, officials from French RCA gained
permission to go through the building and withdraw whatever material
they could carry for their vinyl "Black and White" jazz reissue series.
A few American collectors were also allowed in the building to salvage
any items they could carry out.
A few days later. as dozens of RCA officials and collectors stood on a
nearby Delaware Bridge, demolition experts ignited the dynamite charges.
Eyewitnesses said they saw "clouds of debris, black and metal chunks
flying out the windows" of the collapsing building.
The building wreckage was then bulldozed into the Delaware River. A pier
was built on top of the detritus.
"Was it a case of literally dynamiting away our cultural heritage, or
was it nobody's business but a private property of a company that had
made a business decision that made sense to them at the time?" asked a
young archivist, one of several who have confirmed the story with older
collectors who were present at the demolition. "The problem is, it was
both. There's always that tug.”
> On Jun 11, 2019, at 8:53 AM, David Katznelson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Is there an article about the Victor bulldozing?
> On Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 8:50 AM Stewart Gooderman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Thank you for bringing up this article. I haven’t read the entire report
>> yet, but skimming it brought back the memory of Victor bulldozing all their
>> 78 RPM metal mothers in Camden with collectors running around trying to
>> save the most important performances in a 40+ year recording history.
>>> On Jun 11, 2019, at 6:59 AM, Jones, Randye <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Amazing article about lose of musical heritage
>>> The Day the Music Burned