2003   NOVEMBER 7   #311

The Tunetwisters - The Popcorn Man

What can I say about this one, except that it's the ultimate cheesy tune, from a rather unique audio format: The 16 Inch Radio Transcription Disc.

In the pre tape recording, from about the early 1930s, until tape became mainstream in the mid 1950's, the main recording and playback medium for radio was the 16 inch radio transcription disc. I believe it was the grandfather of the LP record, as it played back at 33 1/3 RPM, having a 15 min playing time per side, and was 4 inches larger then a LP. You need a special turntable to play these discs, with a longer tone arm and ideally a pre RIAA EQ curve (the standard established for LP playback in the mid 50s) phono pre amplifier. From music to entire radio shows, to commercials (see my site for some 1940s radio spots to download, http://members.tripod.com/~s_snailham/1940s.html, it was THE recording format to get the programs that weren't live, usually called "electrically transcribed". If you are curious, there's more history on the medium here,

Also back in the golden age of radio, local stations would subscribe to various program services, delivered on 16 inch disc. NBC Thesaurus, World Broadcasting System and Lang Worth are just 3 of them I can think of them off the top of my head. This was before radio stations would be given promo copies of records to play by record companies, which is common place even today.

On these discs, were some rather unique recordings, usually only recorded for these services, and when working for a radio station some years ago, I got a hold of some 300 of these service discs, mostly for the NBC thesaurus service. This cut is one of them. I just love how catchy and cheesy and very addictive it is. If you are feeling sad or upset, put this cut on. It's so silly and catchy, you have to get a least a slight grin when you hear it.

- Scott Snailham, http://www.geocities.com/snarfdudes

TT-1:48 / 1.7MB / 128kbps 44.1khz

(Image courtesy of Scott Snailham)