Thursday, December 28, 2023

Travelin’ Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall

For decades, rumors have circulated among Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fans about a long-lost recording of their legendary 1970 show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Today, the long-fabled performance is available in its entirety on multiple formats as Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall. Coinciding with the album release, the new documentary concert film, Travelin’ Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall, is available now streaming on Netflix.


The stunning new concert album and film find CCR at the apex of their career, playing the most prestigious venue in London. Placing listeners front and center at the show, the album features John Fogerty, Tom Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook performing the classic hits "Fortunate Son," "Proud Mary," "Born on the Bayou," "Bad Moon Rising," and more.


Travelin’ Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall is directed by two-time GRAMMY® Award winner Bob Smeaton (The Beatles Anthology and Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsies). The film takes viewers from the band’s earliest years together in El Cerrito, CA through their meteoric rise to fame. Featuring a wealth of unseen footage, Travelin’ Band culminates with the band’s show at the Royal Albert Hall—marking the only concert footage of the original CCR lineup to be released in its entirety.


The documentary is fantastic. Ninety minutes summarizing their career, narrated by Jeff Bridges, with archival footage from rehearsal footage and rare interviews. The highlight of the documentary, of course, is the Royal Albert Hall performance, which concluded with a 15-minute standing ovation after the performance. 


Highly recommended.



Friday, December 22, 2023

A Christmas Tradition

This is that annual reminder of a playlist available for listening to, with over 300 vintage Christmas songs not commonly heard over the radio.

Any flat disc record, made between (circa) 1898 and 1959 and playing at a speed around 78 revolutions per minute is referred to today by collectors as a "78." The materials of which these discs were made and with which they were coated were also various; shellac eventually became the most common of materials. Generally 78s are made of a brittle material which uses a shellac resin (which is why collectors also refer to them as shellac records). During and after World War II when shellac supplies were extremely limited (used for the war cause), many 78 rpm records were pressed in vinyl instead of shellac.

In 1948, Columbia Records unveiled the 33 1/3 RPM long playing record. It played for about 20 minutes per side. Then came the battle of the speeds. RCA in 1949 began offering records (and record players) that played at 45 revolutions per minute.

If asked how much these discs are worth, there really is no set guide to determine the value. Anyone with the correct record player can play these recordings and they are a dime a dozen at antique fairs and eBay.

After two months of cataloging more than 3,000 of the old 33s, 45s and 78s to CD format, and separating those with a holiday theme, I loaded more than 300 Christmas songs onto a streaming playlist for you to enjoy. In the spirit of of mixtape from years gone by, I found a modern way to bring these songs to the masses for the holiday season, without having to burn hundreds of CDs. 

If you are like me, every holiday you tune to a local radio station that traditionally plays the same Christmas songs over and over and over... and yeah, it gets tedious hearing the same recordings every year. Christmas is a time to establish a fond look back through nostalgic vocals and my frustration grows knowing that Gene Autry's rendition of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Bing Crosby's White Christmas is going to play on rotation... again and again.

What you will hear on this streaming radio station (accessible with a simple click of a button on your computer, iPad, tablet, iPhone, etc.) are vintage Christmas offerings all dated pre-1960 and chances are you haven't heard these renditions. Examples include:

I Want Eddie Fisher for Christmas (1954, Betty Johnson)
Frosty the Snowman (1950, Guy Lombaro and his Orchestra)
Santa and the Doodle-Li-Boop (1954, Art Carney)
I Want You for Christmas (1937, Mae Questel as Betty Boop)
All Around the Christmas Tree (1940, Raymond Scott and his New Orchestra)
Barnyard Christmas (1952, Spike Jones and The Bell Sisters)
The Birthday of a King (1949, Judy Garland)
Jingle Bells (1935, Benny Goodman and his Orchestra)
It Happened in Sun Valley (1941, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra)
Christmas in Killarney (1950, Dennis Day with The Mellowmen)
The First Noel (1942, Nelson Eddy and Robert Armbruster's Orchestra)
Let's Start the New Year Right (1942, Bing Crosby)
Hello, Mr. Kringle (1939, Kay Kyser)
Jingle Bells (1934, Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra, and Harriet Hilliard)
All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth (1949, Danny Kaye and Patty Andrews)
Yah, Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree (1953, Mel Blanc)
Silent Night (1921, Florence Easton)
Silver Bells (1938, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys)
Christmas on the Plains (1949, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans)
The Night Before Christmas (1952, Gene Autry and Rosemary Clooney)
O Come, All Ye Faithful (1938, Frances Langford)
Boogie Woogie Santa Claus (1950, Patti Page)
Happy Little Christmas Friend (1953, Rosemary Clooney)
Ol' Saint Nicholas (1949, Doris Day)
A Ride in Santa's Sleigh (1953, Judy Valentine)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1934, Harry Reser)
Santa Claus is on His Way (1941, Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra)
Silent Night (1940, Kate Smith)
Suzy Snowflake (1951, Rosemary Clooney)
Auld Lang Syne (1939, Erwin Bendel with Tiny Till and his Orchestra)
Baby, It's Cold Outside (1949, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan)
Christmas Day (1952, Eddie Fisher)
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (1941, Dick Roberston)
Merry Christmas Polka (1949, Guy Lombardo and The Andrews Sisters)
I'll Be Home for Christmas (1947, Eddy Howard)
Five Pound Box of Money (1959, Pearl Bailey)
The Man with the Whiskers (1938, Hoosier Hot Shots)
March of the Toys (1939, Tommy Dorsey)
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing (1938, Kenny Baker)
I Want You for Christmas (1937, Russ Morgan)
The Kissing Bridge (1953, The Fontane Sisters and Perry Como)
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (1952, Molly Bee)
Here Comes Santa Claus (1949, Doris Day)
I Believe in Santa Claus (1955, The Mills Brothers)
Little Sandy Sleighfoot (1957, Jimmy Dean)
The Man with the Bag (1950, Kay Starr)
Merry Christmas Waltz (1949, Gordon MacRae)
Christmas Alphabet (1954, The McGuire Sisters)
Let It Snow, Let It Snow (1946, Bob Crosby)
I Saw Mommy do the Mombo (1954, Jimmy Boyd)
The Mistletoe Kiss (1948, Primo Scala and The Keynotes)
My Christmas Song for You (1945, Hoagy Carmichael and Martha Mears)
Christmas Night in Harlem (1934, Todd Rollins and his Orchestra)

Among the highlights you will hear "I Want a Television Christmas" by Mindy Carson (which happens to be a 1949 RCA sales promo), the 1953 Christmas Dragnet spoof with Daws Butler and Stan Freberg, a 1953 commercial recording of Amos and Andy's popular "The Lord's Prayer," Basil Rathbone narrating a musical rendition of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (1942), Bing Crosby's 1942 version of "White Christmas" (not the 1947 re-recording you commonly hear on radio today), Jerry Colonna's 1953 take on "Too Fat for the Chimney," the 1934 version of "Winter Wonderland" performed by Richard Himber (the first recording ever made of that song), and other rarities.

Of the 300 plus recordings, you will no doubt hear the same song (such as "Winter Wonderland" and "The First Noel") performed multiple times but each rendition with a different singer.  

Many familiar songs but with unfamiliar renditions from your favorite singers. (Believe me, I will have this radio station playing all day at home, and streaming through my iPhone when I travel during the holiday season.) The radio station will expire January 1 so enjoy this while it lasts. And I hope this musical yule log not only suits your palate, but many of these songs become a favorite of yours. My Christmas present to you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Ultra Rare Marvel 45s

“An extremely rare group of four children's 45 rpm records of songs & stories, featuring Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, and Hulk, presented in die-cut sleeves, from the 1966 Marvelmania craze. We have never had the opportunity to offer a set of these insanely cool records, and this set is in excellent condition. The group would make a great addition to any good Silver Age collection.”

That was the description (cut and pasted) from an auction house that recently sold four of those children’s records for a whopping $2,000 gavel price. What makes those 1966 records rare? Who knows? But whatever the reason, they are rarely sold as a set.


The records are 45s so there is about six minutes maximum on each side. For each of these records, Side A contains a song about the superhero and Side B contains an audio drama. The good news is that the stories and the songs are purely original so for fans of the comic books, these are worth seeking out. For the “Captain America” record, as an example, a song about the superhero is on Side A, while a thrilling drama titled “The Bomb Bombs Away” is on Side B. For Thor, Side A has a song about “The Mighty Thor,” and “Thunderbolts and Violets” is the title of the drama for Side B. 


Of particular note was the Spider-Man record. I expected the cartoon theme song but instead it was an original song about the web-crawler. 


A friend of mine had four of them and he was kind enough to lend them to me to transfer to digital format. The link below (provided for one week only) contains the transfers of the four records pictured above. 

This is my Christmas gift to you. 





Friday, December 8, 2023


With almost 40 movies made in the Godzilla franchise, it is refreshing to discover Godzilla: Minus One, thelatest version now in theaters, to be one of the best in the series. I am going to go as far as to say this is one of the best films of the year. 

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the franchise, the movie was released in Japan on November 4, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the release of the first Godzilla movie. What might appear odd at first, the film does not focus on Godzilla. Instead, a war veteran takes center stage with Godzilla lurking in the distance. During World War II, a kamikaze pilot deserts his post and his cowardice results in the death of numerous soldiers. A year later, in post war Japan, he finds himself reliving the ghosts of his past, waking every night in cold sweats. But when a monster rises from the deep, a mutation due to atomic bomb tests, the pilot finds himself with an opportunity to return to combat and redeem himself.  

Humans in this entry are depicted as three-dimensional and realistic, in a war epic that doubles as a love story and a psychological drama. Have no fear, though, for this is a monster movie and when Godzilla takes to the stomping ground during a period of Japanese repentment, boy is the destruction jaw dropping! 

The film is receiving limited distribution so don't wait beyond this weekend to see the movie.

Godzilla: Minus One is a film to experience, not to watch. But to do so is to see it on the big screen. If you enjoy watching any of the Godzilla movies, this is certainly one of the best and – dare I say – as good as a Godzilla film gets?

Thursday, November 30, 2023


While I enjoyed (and recommend) POKER FACE as the most entertaining television program of the year, hands down the most brilliant and addictive this year is THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, an eight-part mini-series on Netflix. 

Loosely based on various works by Edgar Allan Poe, the series adapts otherwise unrelated stories and characters by Poe into a single nonlinear narrative set from 1953 to 2023. It recounts both the rise to power of Roderick Usher, the powerful CEO of a corrupt pharmaceutical company and his sister Madeline Usher, the genius COO of the pharmaceutical company, and the events leading to the deaths of all six of Roderick’s children. In each episode one of his children dies a most gruesome death, each in the manner of a victim in an Edgar Allan Poe story (which is why each episode is aptly titled “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” etc.). By the third death, Roderick Usher realizes his house is falling down... and it takes the superstitious Madeline less time to figure out who is responsible and why the family is being targeted. 

The series is top notch from directing, writing, and acting and the ensemble cast shines with the performances of Carla Gugino (as a mysterious woman plaguing the Ushers) and Bruce Greenwood as an elderly Roderick. These two deserve an Emmy nomination for best acting of the year for a miniseries.

Carla Gugino as the mysterious woman.

Each episode provides a bit of mystery that keeps you guessing what the solution is until the final episode. For the most part, you’ll figure out who the mysterious woman is before the big reveal, which will come as no surprise. But the fun is knowing what’s around the corner, even if you are a Poe enthusiast. The most brilliant aspect of the series is the writing – superb prose and a well-crafted story.


My recommendation is not to binge watch, but instead to watch one episode a day so you have time to dwell on the mysteries that remain unsolved until the final episode. If you are looking for a series that will keep you glued for days, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER on Netflix is brilliant. And I do not use the word "brilliant" for films or television programs loosely.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Keeping the British End Up: A New 007 Magazine

There’s something traditional about turning the pages of a magazine that arrives in the mail, despite the fact that magazine subscriptions nationwide are still dropping at an annual rate due to the digital format. I am ashamed to admit that I collect magazines, comic books and fanzines in digital format because I found the iPad to be one of the most magnificent inventions made. I can hold the issue, search within the contents, and carry only one iPad that would hold tens of thousands of issues. 


Still, there is a new magazine recently published and I got my hands on the first issue the other week… and discovered how gorgeous the photos are in this well-designed magazine. Lavish, slick and glossy, this is a feast for the eyes. And a must for fans of 007/James Bond films. It seems a fan club was started in England and members are allowed to submit one or two-page articles about various subjects from the history of Aston Martin, a 60th anniversary look back at a classic Bond film, to photos of a large Bond girl gathering for charity. Basically, it is a magazine written by fans, for the fans. 

The magazine is not available on newsstands. You have to be a member of the club to receive the issues. 


The website promoting the 007 Club also has a few samples of such articles. Click on the link below to visit the website and enjoy.

Thursday, November 16, 2023


There are people in this world who need to take time to learn a trade, and there are people who likes to make sandcastles... and last week I met a woman who found a way to make the best of both worlds. She does arts and crafts – including scrapbooking – and took her love of old-time radio and pulp magazine heroes to a new level. She created “junk journals” which are pretty much the portfolios of the likes of Britt Reid (alias The Green Hornet), Richard Wentworth (alias The Spider), Lamont Cranston (alias The Shadow) and Doc Savage, among others. Naturally, I grabbed the one for THE GREEN HORNET and took a few photos to share. This is awesome.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

You Must Remember This by Robert Wagner

Film and television star Robert Wagner delighted audiences for more than sixty years, and his many fans flocked to bookstores when he began to record his memories on the page. In his second 
New York Times bestseller, You Must Remember This, Wagner shared stories of Hollywood life behind the scenes from the 1930s through the 1950s. As poignant as it is revealing—and filled with magical moments like Judy Garland singing Gershwin at a dinner party thrown by Clifton Webb and golf games with Fred Astaire—You Must Remember This is Wagner’s tender farewell to a legendary era. Having read this book at the beach this summer, I have to confess this was one of the most entertaining and fascinating books I have read in quite a while. 

A few yers ago, Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers were among the celebrity guests at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. On stage they talked about Hollywood and answered questions from the audience. Robert Wagner discussed the evolution of Hollywood as he confessed he came in during the tail end of the studio system, and the early days of television. His talk was fascinating and prompted me to buy his books and read them. I Love Her in the Movies was more autobiographical, demonstrating the alchemy of the camera and how the studio system could transform the attractive into the stunning. Along the way, he revealed the transformation as actresses were empowered to become aggressively sexual beings in a way that black-and-white films had only hinted at. 

With You Must Remember This, Wagner (with the assistance of Scott Eyman), is more sociological. From a tour of famous Hollywood restaurants, to the homes of art directors... from the celebrities who liked to golf, to dealing with the press, this book is a historical time capsule of the fashion and style both in front and behind the camera. This book is a walk down memory lane... or, I should say, Hollywood Boulevard.

This book has been available for years so you can probably get it for a bargain. Worth seeking out and reading.

Friday, October 27, 2023


One of my favorite radio horror programs is The Witch's Tale, broadcast from 1931 to 1938. Only a large handful of episodes exist in recorded form, but thankfully all of the radio scripts exist -- and with the cast written on the front cover on most of the radio scripts. Preservation is sorely needed for this program, which featured both adaptations of classic horror literature (Frankenstein as an example) and original concepts that involved a decapitated hand, werewolves, monsters, ghosts and more.

Created and written by Alonzo Deen Cole, the title role was played by a young girl named Miriam Wolfe (pictured below). The radio listeners at the time probably thought an old woman played the role of Nancy, the old witch of Salem. The radio program even spawned a pulp magazine! About once every other year I get on a curiosity kick and do a little archival digging for news blurbs, magazine articles, and other bits of information to add to the growing pile of research. I thought it would be cool to post a few archival photos of the cast and crew during rehearsals, and a vintage radio advertisement for another program involving Alonzo Deen Cole. Since there is no book yet being assembled from this material, I felt it prudent to share a few photos (chosen at random) rather than keep them stored in digital format on an external drive. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

The Adventures of Sam Spade Newspaper Strip

Did you know that radio's Sam Spade made the transition to comic strip? You bet! Newspapers across the country featured this clever advertisement for the radio sponsor, Wildroot, on an infrequent basis, with an artist take on Howard Duff and Lurene Tuttle as Sam and Effie. As of last week, I believe I have a scan of every strip and if you lick on the images, they should enlarge on your computer screen. Here are the first 14 strips which ran through September of 1950.

January 12, 1947

March 9, 1947

May 25, 1947

July 20, 1947

September 6, 1947

November 9, 1947

January 7, 1948

February 8, 1948

April 11, 1948

June 6, 1948

August 8, 1948

October 10, 1948

February 6, 1949

April 3, 1949

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

PETE KELLY'S BLUES: The 1951 Radio Program

Although the series ran for 13 weeks over NBC, in the summer of 1951, never has there been a short-lived radio program to generate a cult following over the years than Pete Kelly's Blues. A unique detective series that prominently featured jazz music, before the era of television's Johnny Staccato and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 

In these weekly crime capers, Jack Webb played the title role as he functioned around kidnappers, murderers, organized crime and corruption. But it was the music that dominated the series and worked beautifully as the jazzy scores (both vocal and non-vocal) were interlaced into the stories. 

The radio program was created by Richard L. Green, the same man who created Pat Novak for Hire (another short-lived Jack Webb radio program), who was also an Oscar-winning screenplay writer for such films as Dragnet (1954), Titanic (1953) and Niagara (1953). 

Jack Webb, obviously, is known to millions as the creator and star of Dragnet, a program attracted a spotlight on the young man, who was quickly hailed by critics as a genius. Television studios asked him to tweak their existing programs in the hopes of improving the quality of the scripts. Warner Brothers offered him a three-picture contract.But fans of old-time radio -- and historians -- will quickly testify that few of Webb's projects became major hits. It was not until the 1970s that Adam-12 and Emergency became big hits and even then... Webb never created those programs. He was just the producer. So you can understand why historians today claim Pete Kelly's Blues as Webb's other great hit. 

Despite the fact the series lasted a mere 13 episodes, the program would later be adapted into a big screen movie (with Jack Webb, Janet Leigh and Edmond O'Brien in the leads), spawn two LP records, and a short-lived television series in 1959 with William Reynolds playing the lead. 

Of the thirteen radio broadcasts, only seven are known to exist in recorded form. The remaining six are still considered "lost" and, sadly, will probably remain so. The next best thing, of course, are the radio scripts... which is the subject of this blog post.

A few years ago all thirteen radio scripts were found in an archive and every page was scanned into PDF format. I then dug into the archives to find the music cue sheets, then the cast lists, and then inter-office memos and on top of all that... further digging in newspaper archives. Now a new book has been assembled with a history of the program, including a scrapbook of newspaper clippings and other goodies. But the highlight will be a reprint of those 13 radio scripts. 

The enclosed link provided for your convenience and reprints of newspaper blurbs are also provided for your entertainment.



Thursday, October 5, 2023

DICK TRACY: A Collection of Rare Photos

For fans of DICK TRACY, the following are some obscure and rarely-seen photos. Enjoy the fun!