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re: So did Columbia just launch the LP with demonstrations that day, or did they actually have product ready to
sell?

It appears that this was just an announcement, probably just a press release.  The major papers (NY Times,
Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, LA Times--thank goodness for the ProQuest historic
newspaper databases) all covered the story with the same information, much of which sounds like PR talk (an 8
foot shelf of 78s could now fit in 15 inches of shelf space, etc.)  None of the reporters mentions actually hearing or
seeing the records.

Ads start showing up in July, which is about the time the first reviews appear.