Friday, June 13, 2008

Radio History in Jeopardy

A major part of radio's artistic history is in danger of being destroyed, Chuck Southcott said in an urgent email. Anyone who has visited the clubroom of the non-profit Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, located in the basement of Washington Mutual in Hollywood [formerly NBC Radio], is aware of the priceless collection which includes among thousands of artifacts, CBS master recordings of Jack Benny, Escape, Suspense, The Whistler, My Friend Irma, Amos & Andy, Lum & Abner, Bergen-McCarthy, Gunsmoke, Our Miss Brooks, Johnny Mercer Shows, Art Linkletter, Bing Crosby/Rosemary Clooney shows, 1500+ transcription collection dealing with WW2 including battlefield reports about German & Japanese events, also recordings of Churchill, Hitler, King George V1. The collection is housed in a basement that has already experienced flooding and is in danger of other damage.
The collection also includes Ampex model 200 tape recorder production #1. All the classic KFI scrapbooks from 1922-53. Sound effects both manual and recorded. Bing Crosby's personal RCA44 microphone. Ed Murrow news programs, many CBS programs including end of year summaries, presidential speeches and conferences. You Are There, Rocky Jordan, My Favorite Husband with Lucille Ball, Hollywood Bowl recordings, early teletype machines, 30 vintage radio sets. Hammond organ circa 1936 with Leslie speaker....the type used for music on soap operas, Carleton E. Morse scripts of One Man's Family, Orson Welles personal collection of shows. The drumhead used to simulate thunder on Lux Radio Theatre signed by many of the major Hollywood stars who did the shows.
Southcott continued: Suffice to say, this is just a sampling of priceless archives of radio's history which may well soon be destroyed. The Thousand Oaks Library is currently erecting a 35 million dollar building specifically in honor of radio and its history. The Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters collection has long been scheduled to be a major part of this facility. We are obligated to donate the entire collection to them. Our entire organization of broadcast professionals, along with friends such as Leonard Maltin and others would like to hear from anyone seeking more information and/or how to help.
You can contact: Chuck Southcott, President - Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters through our web site (www.ppbwebsite.org) or directly at chucksongs@aol.com. His phone is: 818.368.4938. You can also contact Gil Stratton, former President at callem@pacbell.net, or John Harlan, former President at dowville@aol.com.

Submitted by Dave Schwartz