Monday, June 29, 2015

The Freed Eisemann Orchestradians

 The Freed-Eisemann Radio Corp was formed in 1922 in New York City to manufacture and sell radios. It's main office was located at 255 Fourth Avenue which if you know the area is just off the South East corner of Union Square. Previous to their incorporation, that office space was occupied by Robischon & Peckham a  clothier that specialized in knit underwear. Today the area has been extensively rebuilt, I think it's a Best Buy now.

By 1929 the Freed-Eisemann Radio Corp was in receivership. On the other side of bankruptcy in 1931 they became  the Freed Television and Radio Corporation, which in 1940 became the Freed Radio Corporation. It's founder, Joseph David Roth Freed died in 1941. He had been a science major at the College of the City of New York (CCNY), and later worked at the radio test shop in the Washington Navy Yard. He founded the company with Arthur Eisemann, and his brother Arthur Freed.  who was also a radio engineer. He left Freed-Eisemann in 1931 to work at Warner Brothers in charge of the Brunswick Radio Corp. In 1938 he left to become general manager of the Muzak Corporation. But he returned to Freed-Eisemann in 1939.

So at the end of it's rope, in 1929 the Freed-Eisemann Radio Corp decided to go hard into advertising on the radio. They sponsored a group they dubbed the Freed Eisemann Orchestradians. It aired on Tuesdays at 9:30 PM. They played on WJZ-AM and were syndicated on NBC. They were conducted by Phil Spitalny. You might know Phil from his work with another novelty act, the Hour of Charm Orchestra, but that wasn't until 1933. In 1929 Phil was just a hard working Russian composer working with crappy hotel bands. 

The Saturday Evening Post described it as a "gorgeous tapestry of harmony, woven by Phil Spitalny's magic baton." The group was still conducted by Spitalny, btu now usually referred to in print as the "Freshman Orchestradians." For it's short run the Freed Eisemann Orchestradians were billed as the largest dance orchestra on the air. The show was renewed after that Fall and aired at 10:30 in the Spring with a new sponsor: The Charles Freshman Company. It was strangely another radio manufacturer founded in 1922 by a  College of the City of New York alumni, Charles Freshman. Freshman closed up shop in late 1929. Lacking a third radio mogul the band finally called it quits.