Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Transcription Mystery Disc #64

This disc is not individually labeled, which is not to say it's not labeled. As you can plainly see above there's text all over it. In WWII Pepsi Company sponsored a set of Voice-O-Graph type discs for GI's overseas. Soldiers recorded a message on an acetate up to 3 minutes long and a mailer to ship it home. You can see another one with it's mailer here.

The disc spins at 78 rpm and starts at the outer edge. I cant tell you anything else about it with any certainty.
 I made an attempt to digitize this disc and failed. I can hear a young male voice but it's buried under layers of wide band noise. I tried high pass, low pass, filters... there was no way to make this recording intelligible. it's cardboard core had worn on the outer edge and the acetate was flaking off. There are even a few spots that may be stains or mold. The grunge around the center hole also indicated it was played repeatedly. It is in very poor condition.So poor I'll not bother to post the audio now. (at request only)

I've dated other similar discs to 1943, which jives with the one Billboard article I found that corroborates that date to January of 1943. I found another in an online auction dated to 1945. I'll assume these discs were being cut for at least 3 years from late 1942 into 1945.  This end date makes some sense as Japan surrendered in September of 1945.

In that year Pepsi was opening convenience centers for troops at home. There was one in New York, and others in Washington D.C. and San Francisco. They had a restaurant, a lounge and facilities to write letters home. It's not a leap to assume some of these were recorded at these U.S. based Pepsi-Centers.
 In a sad parallel, the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center competed for a Pepsi sponsorship to help digitize their collection of WWII oral histories. They didn't win the competition for the grant money. Pepsi and it's current youth demographic passively turned their back on their history.