NYPR Archives & Preservation
January 15, 2016 - Volume 15  Issue 03
Edition # 692


1939: American Composers Concert with an orchestra under the direction of Joseph Littau, performing works by Edward MacDowell, Mary Howe, Paul Creston and Gail T. Kubik.

Abrams, Chair of the New York State Commission Against Discrimination, says the President's recent civil rights proposals are too little and too late.

French Prize Fighter on WNYC

Thirteen days after WNYC goes on the air, the title-holding French pugilist Georges Carpentier comes to the studio to pass on some health and exercise tips to listeners. Known as 'Gorgeous Georges' to his fans, he is in New York for what is Ring Magazine's 'fight of the year' against Gene Tunney on July 24th at the Polo Grounds.

Variety takes note of the broadcast and that the light heavyweight speaks only in French through a translator about "Carp's attitude" toward Tunney. The trade paper also writes, "The [Municipal] band appropriately preceded the French boxer with a medley of La Marsellaise and the American national anthem, and as an afterpiece struck up Hinky Dinky Parlay Voo." Carpentier lost the fight against Tunney by TKO after fifteen rounds. See: FIGHT.

Source: "Brass Bands Growing More Common in Radio's Mistaken 'Entertainment,' Variety, July 23, 1924, pg. 27 (Photo: Georges Carpentier in 1920 by Lumiere Studios/Library of Congress). 

Editor's Note: The same report also takes the neophyte WNYC to task for the dead air between musical numbers, "The announcer does not even include the customary, 'stand by for a few moments please,' but shuts down the microphone and the auditor must either tune in on something else and invariably tune back to find he has missed the ensuing number's announcement or he must watch idly for many minutes in order not to miss anything."

WNYC's Central American Demographic

We were going through some of the wonderful scripts donated to the archives by Maestro Jonathan Sternberg, the former 'Judge' on radio's first music quiz show Symphonic Varieties.  In between the various questions about classical music history, style and form, there was this curious revelation read by announcer Joe Fishler in early February 1941:

"You've heard the time signal - the station identification and the latest news. And here, we're all set for the oldest and most original of radio quizzes. The quiz of four unrehearsed and uninstructed contestants chosen at random from our studio audience. But before we introduce them to you let's go back a bit to the Caprice Viennois of Fritz Kreisler. It doesn't seem possible but it's true nevertheless that good old WNYC is heard regularly and directly in San Jose, Costa Rica. And we're proud to have played this Caprice for Lillian, the daughter of Carl E. Cruz. Costa Rica - and San Jose in particular, we hope you're listening in..."
Who knew?
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)

Tear-Soaked Challah

"...To Sol Belinsky's bakery for bagels, onion rolls, and hot challah...

It was here I heard Tosca for the first time. Sol Belinsky was an opera lunatic. Nights, he studied Italian at New Utrecht High School; and during the day, as he kneaded dough, he sang along, in perfect Italian, with the WQXR Morning Opera broadcasts. He was best, though, with Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. The walls of the diminutive bakery trembled with the mad scene! Yet it is Tosca I most remember. Whenever I hear Floria Tosca's lament before her suicide, I weep, recall Sol, himself teary-eyed in a tray of warm challah."

Source: Vince Clemente, "Memories of a Jewish Boyhood," Italian Americana, Vol. 11, No. 2, Spring/Summer 1993, pg. 239.
WNYC celebrated its 91st anniversary last July. Just think, 8-and-a-half short years to the big centennial. In this space we'll be linking to various historical WNYC champions and milestones celebrating nearly a century of broadcasting in the public interest.This week: Dame Alicia Markova, Ballet Legend, On and Off the Stage.

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WNYC's Way Back series

We have quite a few World War II era scripts in the collection, which is the next best thing to having the audio. Many of them were written and donated by the late Edward Goldberger, who toiled away here before getting sent off by the Army. Among the favorites is this 1942 A Primer for Air Raids, written in the rhyming style of radio's greatest dramatist, Norman Corwin.

Archive tape supplied this week included All Things Considered for Baseball Hall-of-Famer Monte Irvin remembrance.

The NYPR Archives and Engineering Departments are hosting the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) New York City Chapter meeting next Thursday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Greene Space here at the station. We'll be getting an overview of major WNYC and WQXR technical milestones through the years, as well as hearing from some veterans of both stations. All are welcome.
The WNYC Archives is on Twitter with 2,805 followers @wnycarchives. We tweet daily reminders of, and links to, WNYC broadcasts from that day in the past.
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