July 4th, 2019

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Let's go 'Past Daily', part 1

We've frequently noted that Carole Lombard regularly appeared on radio, especially from 1938 to 1941. But what shows might she have listened to, either at home or in one of those newfangled car radios (a luxury she certainly could've afforded)?

We'll never know precisely, but a site I discovered yesterday provides us some possibilities. More than that, it's a passport to all sorts of history. It's called "Past Daily" (http://pastdaily.com/), and its archive includes thousands of broadcasts, recordings and much more dating back to the 1890s.

Some of you may say, "Isn't this like old-time radio?" Well, sort of, but there are quite a few differences. Many wonderful radio series such as "Lux Radio Theater," "The Jack Benny Program," "Dragnet" and "Gunsmoke" have been preserved in near-complete form, thanks in part to the shows' sponsors or network officials. But broadcasting, indeed recorded sound, goes far beyond that, and sound archivist Gordon Skene has uncovered plenty of rare and fascinating things.

You'll be enthralled over what's available -- just peruse the archive (https://pastdaily.com/archive/). Today's entry, the first of a two-part series, will focus on programs Carole either might have listened to or had interest in.

For example, here's a transcribed Hollywood program from April 1935, something called the "Grayco Movie Column Of The Air." (Grayco was its sponsor.) It's 12 minutes long, and while Lombard isn't mentioned, Joan Crawford is (several times, in fact); so is Robert Montgomery. The narrator said he overheard two teen girls leaving a theater discuss what those stars would be like in 30 years...old, of course. (And by 1965, Robert might be better known as the dad of Elizabeth, then a toddler.) Maurice Chevalier is on his way out of Hollywood, while fellow Frenchman Charles Boyer is rising in the film firmament (https://pastdaily.com/2018/04/07/april-7-1935-all-about-hollywood-past-daily-pop-chronicles/).

Now for some music. In 1935, Benny Goodman's orchestra vaulted to stardom and made "swing" popular though broadcasts from the legendary Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/484127.html). By 1937, Goodman's integrated group was at the peak of popularity, with a CBS radio series, the "Camel Caravan" (named for the sponsoring cigarette brand).

We have two programs for your listening pleasure -- from Nov. 16, 1937 (https://pastdaily.com/2018/12/02/benny-goodman-orchestra-on-air-1937-past-daily-downbeat/) and Sept. 6, 1938 (https://pastdaily.com/2015/08/23/benny-goodman-and-his-orchestra-on-the-air-1938-past-daily-downbeat/).

How about some more jazz legends from the '30s?

First, the impeccable Duke Ellington guides his orchestra in a Mutual remote from Harlem's Cotton Club on March 18, 1937 (https://pastdaily.com/2016/11/20/duke-ellington-live-at-the-cotton-club-1937-past-daily-downbeat/).

Next, 15 minutes of Fats Waller from CBS on July 6, 1938 (https://pastdaily.com/2019/05/12/fats-waller-and-his-rhythm-on-the-radio-1938-past-daily-downbeat/).

And finally, pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines and his combo from NBC in Chicago on Aug. 3, 1938 (https://pastdaily.com/2019/05/26/earl-fatha-hines-live-from-the-grand-terrace-chicago-1938-past-daily-downbeat/).

More interesting broadcasts from this era tomorrow.
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