|The Real Tom Mix|
Very little has been documented about the radio program. The creation of the radio show was detailed by the late Jim Harmon, whose chapter on Tom Mix in The Great Radio Heroes contains what might be a solid account of what the serial provided to boys and girls, and how it affected the audience. We know how it affected Jim Harmon because he wrote that chapter, above all others, with a fond look back at a time when children received entertainment from books, newspaper comic strips and the radio. Knowing Jim as well as I did, Tom Mix was his favorite and Holy Grail among "lost" old-time radio recordings. He even had a few uncirculated recordings himself.
For reasons I cannot comprehend, and maybe it is because I am of a generation that hasn't yet comprehended the greed behind "recording hoarding," there have been rumors for years of a man in California hoarding transcription discs of Tom Mix for his own personal pleasure. Fans of the program remain optimistic -- sometimes at the disadvantage of an obsessive fan boy -- repeating tales of the hoarder and exaggerating the number of recordings. Whether these are rumors or some basis of truth behind them... one thing remains a fact. Fans today have less than 30 recordings to enjoy. But wait! There is hope! Read on and you'll learn the good news.
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Almost immediately I began preparations for a concentrated effort to preserve the only existing scripts. We are now scanning every radio script into pdf format and generating an off-site backup to ensure a method of preservation. This effort may take a few months -- after all, it is a massive undertaking. Interestingly, even with volunteers willing to donate their time (I personally donated 12 hours this week scanning the first 103 radio scripts), the date of completion is all dependent not on time or staff, but money. It requires many trips crossing state boarders to the private collection and each travel costs a sum of money. If the loose cash (or what friends refer to as discretionary money) is not available, traveling to the archive will be temporarily hampered. On the plus side, this also opens the door to potential documentation such as radio re-creations on stage using the original scripts, published reference guides and magazine articles that will reveal much more than anyone documented in past publications.... provided we finish in a timely manner. No one is asking for donations but funds are limited so trips to the private collection are being made in between available funds. (If you want to donate to a worthy cause, contact me via e-mail and I will put you on the list. We are working out details for those who want to donate money for the project to receive a CD or two, or three, loaded with old-time radio scripts to "lost" programs.)
As a treat, here is a scan of a radio script dated January 1, 1941 that was never broadcast. The Rose Bowl game (Stanford Indians vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers, held in Pasadena, California) pre-empted the Tom Mix radio program from airing. With advanced knowledge that the episode would probably not air as scheduled because of the game, the continued story arc with Tom and his friends was temporarily shelved for this special musical offering. Had the game ended early, this musical presentation, complete with the Wrangler's Thanksgiving Day poem (from a prior radio broadcast for Thanksgiving 1940) would have aired. I present a scan of that script. By the way, most scripts ran 11 to 13 pages but because this episode offered music, it is shorter in length than the rest. I did not omit a single page. This is the entire script, unedited. Click on each page to enlarge.
|Could she be listening to Tom Mix?|