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Thanks for the info, Mike.  Some comments and an update:

On Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 3:36 PM, Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> These would be easy if I had a copy of Victor Master Book Vol 2 at hand.
>  P = Pacific Coast studios, M = 16-inch standard groove, S = improved
> Western Electric recording system, and the number would be interpolated
> into the regular recording matrix series.  It is near the end of the
> switch over to a leading zero series after this one hit 100,000 so this
> is around 1936.  They probably can be dated within a week.

I'll see if I can locate a copy of the Victor Master Book V2.

Which discographies would you recommend that include 16"
transcriptions from the major labels?

>> According to Jim, it's part 2 of an episode of "Weird Tales", a series
>> based on the sci-fi magazine, and he was told it dates from 1938. The
>> label, along with the pressing style (laminated) makes me think it's
>> much earlier.
>
>
> Does the label state "Pressed but not recorded by Columbia"?  For
> recordings made by Columbia there would be a circled W and a six digit
> matrix number, and elsewhere there might be the take and stamper letter.
>  There is a possibility that the IA might be: take one stamper A.

Indeed, it does say "Pressed but not recorded by Columbia".

I got a digital transfer of the disc from Jim today and gave it a
listen - it mentions that the series is "Weird Tales" in the end
announcements and the company that created it - "Hollywood Radio
Attractions".

A few minutes of Googling, and I found that the disc dates from 1933
(not 1938).  I found a site that mentions a brochure from Hollywood
Radio Attractions where they were trying to sell the series.  They had
produced three episodes and were proposing to record another fifty
shows.

>
> Finally, there's a series of Columbia pressings I've got from the
> "Continental Broadcasting Corporation" that were dated by Goldin to
> 1930-31. These are 16" laminated single-sided pressings with the
> title "Gillum & Duke Atterbury" stamped on the labels. Goldin listed
> one show in the series when I got it and he called it "The Two
> Daffodils" and the title isn't clear in the program contents. I've
> never found a title for it in newspaper articles or listings of the
> period under either title.
>
> http://randsesotericotr.podbean.com/category/continental-broadcasting-corp/
>
> Continental was a major West Coast syndicator for a couple of years from
> 1930, and they might have been absorbed into Radio Transcrption Corp of
> America, or Transco.  The Komedy Kapers episode you mention might be a
> repressing of one of these programs.

That's a possibility.  It would be nice to see the original name of
the show to see where it pops up in program listings of the day.  I've
got several 1940s era repressings of Transco shows in my collection -
nice red vinyl with wonderful sound.

>
>> I agree with your grumblings about otr collectors. However, I'll cut
>> them some slack, at least collectors who were dubbing and trading this
>> stuff years ago - their interest was based on nostalgia and not on
>> historical research. I don't think many realized what they had.
>
> During those same years record collectors were doing magnificent
> discographical jobs of documenting and identifying recordings.

OTR collectors were really focused on the shows themselves and using
high-quality tape dubs to trade for tape dubs of shows they didn't
have - they didn't seem interested in the artifacts themselves.

I think the reason for that is that the original discs are rare and
hard to collect.  If you were a fan of big band and jazz music during
that time, you could dig around record shops and dealers and quickly
assemble a nice basic collection by big name performers.

For OTR, original discs were pressed in much smaller quantities and
are often unique lacquers and by necessity could only be the domain a
relatively few collectors, even for a basic collection of "greatest
hits".  So the focus by the broader audience shifted to collecting on
lp and tape.

I think the appreciation among music collectors for discs is greater
because many more people had a chance to hold a hard to find, fragile
78 in their hands and understand why discographies and this type of
documentation is important.  Still today, OTR collectors have blinders
on, researching exact dates and titles of show episodes and finding
the "best copy" on tape or mp3 of a show.

>> I was hoping my blog would encourage otr enthusiasts to document the
>> discs themselves, whether pressings or instantaneous recordings, since
>> the labels, matrix numbers or even the style of the disc itself can
>> have some key information about the recorded sound. But my approach
>> seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
>
> Your efforts with the photos as well as the descriptions are great --
> and the fact that the OTR people STILL don't appreciate this (and even
> LAUGH at it) shows how dense some of them are.

I don't think it's being dense as much as being stuck in a rut.

I'm curious if people in OTR circles are laughing at my blog for it's
often scattered writing or my focus on documenting the artifacts (the
labels and discographical info) or something else.

I have heard some in OTR circles that think I'm a dope for buying
uncirculated shows and posting them on the blog, rather than hoarding
them to trade for other shows or selling audio cd or mp3 discs of
them.  And, yes, I got used to seeing shows I'd post one week turn up
the next on ebay in mp3 collections or for sale from various web-based
otr dealers.

Trading around mp3s or tapes of otr is a bit boring for me personally
and short-sighted for the hobby, IMHO.  Many of the fans of OTR that
were around to hear the original shows or came to the hobby later are
getting up in years and the original discs themselves are spread out
to the four winds.

I really think we're in the last couple of decades when we can use
modern digital technologies and techniques to do fresh transfers of
discs, properly document them and combine all that with the knowledge
of OTR that fans and hobbyists have accumulated over the years.  When
that knowledge is gone, it's not so easy to put all the puzzle pieces
together again.

> I know a dozen or so collectors and discographers who have collected,
> reissued, and documented these Nat Ra Adv Co. discs, and in almost all
> cases they have not been able to find full six-disc episodes intact.  I
> myself have only one instance of a complete episode, found originally by
> the late George Blacker.  Every disc known at the time, and all of the
> paperwork that still exists, are documented in Ross Laird's Brunswick
> Discography.  Some more holes were filled in with a find of about 125
> discs two years ago -- but in that huge group there was not one instance
> of a complete episode!!!

I still think more are hiding out there.  I still run into dealers or
collectors familiar with 78s that have no idea what 12" 78 radio
syndication discs are.  More advanced collectors or dealers are
certainly aware of them.