Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Transcription Mystery Disc #90

If this persons handwriting was more clear, tracking this one down would have been easier. It's very frustrating to find a disc that actually is labeled but that the label is nearly indecipherable. Only the date is clear 9-24-40, almost exactly 70 years ago. The rest is harder to read than doctors handwriting. Other than that it's relatively common in composition. It spins at 78 rpm with an outer edge start. The A and B sides appear to have been recorded on different dates with unrelated content.

I can infer some things from context.  It came from a stack of other Perma Disks from that era, many with similar handwriting, a few that are certainly the same.  I think under "speed" it says Moon River. Several other discs were labeled "Moon River."  My first thought was that some person had been bootlegging various versions of the song Moon River.  This was wrong. The song Moon River wasn't written until 1961.  (It's by  by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini)  It turned out to be a very obscure radio program.

Moon River was a  late-night radio program on 700 WLW-AM in Cincinnati. Moon River ran until the WLW sign off at night.  It had what would now be considered an odd mixture of soft, "dreamy" organ music and romantic poetry.  It was sponsored by Southern Cross Spring Mattress Company.  It's run was surprisingly long, it began in 1930 and continued into 1972. Actually station management tried to cancel the dinosaur in 1953 but it's loyal listenership rebelled and the show was reinstated. In 1995, WMKV on 89.3 revived it for a four-year encore with it's original narrator Bill Myers. You can download some programs at Archive.org HERE.
This disc has about 2 minutes of music and poetry from the original Moon River somewhere in it's second decade of broadcasting. But Moon River is still alive. In December of 2007 Ward Glen, a later Moon River announcer started a late night poetry and organ music program on Sonoma California radio station 91.3 KSVY with organist Everett Lehman. More here.