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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

This Is Stereorama: 1964

This Is Stereorama: 1964

How do I even begin to explain why I did this? It was 1964; I was 18; I was big on photography; I was big on my record collection; I had a daylight photoflood bulb. At the time, it seemed like a no-brainer. Wards brand 35mm slide. View full size.

For a second there I thought

For a second there I thought you'd taken a trip into the future and bought a copy of this album.

Victory at the thrift store

I spotted a copy of Victory at Sea at the thrift store the other day and, based on the rave reviews here, bought it for 99 cents. You are all correct: it's excellent. I never would've known about it if not for Shorpy. Thanks.

Allan Sherman!

I recognize one album (aside from "Victory at Sea") -- "Peter and the Commissar," a spoof of "Peter and the Wolf" by Allan Sherman, with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops -- the multi-stripe album lower left center.

Revenants: "Songs of the World"

I didn't have an album like that. Which one did you think it was? Whichever it was, I could probably emit some semi-interesting recollections of it. I even remember where, why and how I acquired some of those things.

Revenants

I still have three of those albums: "Fantasia," "Victory at Sea," and if that's "Songs of the World" on the bottom far left, that too. Says more about the power of mass marketing than about our respective tastes.

Christmas Records

Looks here like Santa Claus just clambered back up the chimney on Christmas morning after delivering presents to the world's happiest music lover.

Uncanny

Crazy thing is I'm listening to Stereolab's Dots and Loops as I browse this site.

Rachmaninoff/Bennett (was Victory at Sea)

Dear Termite Terrace:

Rachmaninoff and Robert Russell Bennett weren't best buddies, but it was RRB that Rachmaninoff went to for advice when the latter chose to write for saxophone for the first time in his "Symphonic Dances" of 1940.

Also, the published two-piano score of Rachmaninoff's Fourth Concerto (with the second piano = the orchestra part) was unfinished at Rachmaninoff's death, and R's family had Bennett finish it up.

Also, at the first NY performance of the Gershwin-Bennett "Symphonic Picture of Porgy and Bess," at Carnegie Hall in 1943, a movement from a Tchaikovsky symphony was added to the opening of Fritz Reiner's Philharmonic program---in tribute to Rachmaninoff, who had just died.

Trivia, I know, but you seem to be appreciative. While I'm at it, your submitted photos have been delightful. I realize the color photos aren't so stable across the decades, but it's wonderful what can be done digitally to bring them back. My father's late 1940s Kodak slides, for some reason, are holding up really well, color-wise.

Whoever and wherever you are, I salute you.

Victory at Sea and Me

The music from Victory at Sea was almost undoubtedly one of the things that kindled my lifelong interest in classical music. The series is one of my earliest TV memories; we got TV in late 1952, the year the program was first shown, and I was all of 8 years old. The Guadalcanal March gave me goosebumps, Song of the High Seas (the main VAS theme) swept me away, and Beneath the Southern Cross (later reused as No Other Love) got me almost literally swaying. Sounds corny and hyperbolic, but that's exactly what it did to me.

Around that same time, my brother and I would occasionally play with some old building blocks and my toy cars here in the living room, building cities and bridges on the carpet, and inflicting various catastrophes upon them. He'd usually put on something from his record collection, and when he'd ask what I'd like to listen to, more often than not I'd reply "Rock Monument," which at the time I thought to be a particularly hilarious way to refer to Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto (album in the lower left corner).

Victory at Sea

Volume One was recorded just at the end of the 52-53 TV season, in June 1953. Mono, of course.

It became a huge seller, and the 26 half-hour episodes hugely popular in TV syndication all around the globe (even Germany and Japan, no kidding); hence the demand for a Volume Two in the later 50s (now stereo).

And then demand was sufficient that a stereo-re-recording of Volume One was made (c. 1959; I don' t have the exact year handy).

And then, a Volume Three in the early 1960s.

It's all a small, small slice of what was heard as the non-stop underscoring for the series, of course. Each episode actually about 26 minutes long; the total is about 11-1/2 hours of music.

Richard Rodgers, bless him, still only composed those "twelve themes"--about 20 minutes of music---at the piano. Robert Russell Bennett transformed them, again and again, to suit every possible onscreen mood, but then he ended up composing much more music, minutes-wise, than did Rodgers, in addition to his "orchestrating."

The raw soundtrack recordings (the twenty-six 26-minute recordings, without narration or sound effects) were not released commercially, but did get passed out to NBC top brass and some luminaries on 13 LPs. I waited years to snag one on eBay!

NBC Symphony - yes, the musicians under contract to NBC, and who also were the players working for Toscanini. NBC officially disbanded the Symphony a bit later on, and so the later VAS recordings are credited to the "RCA Victor Symphony" or something of the sort, though it was many of the same players who'd done the TV sessions in 1952-53.

Colour Coordination

Maybe you were just sick of the carpeting.

Hi-Fi '64

What kind of stereo equipment did you have?

Album comments

The "Victory at Sea" album is one I still have (RCA LM 1779, a "New Orthophonic" recording). I always thought it was cool because the it credits "Members of the NBC Symphony Orchestra," Toscanini's band. His recording of Respighi's Pines & Fountains of Rome is also on there the floor. The ending of "Pines" always gave me goosebumps as a kid.

"Stereolab" was the Vanguard label's ballyhoo designation for their stereo discs. Like other labels at the time (starting in 1958 when stereo discs were introduced), they plastered STEREO in huge letters across the top of the jackets for several years thereafter. This one was suites from Handel's Water & Royal Fireworks Music. Vanguard Records started out specializing in classics, but later was a pioneer in the folk music movement that gathered steam in the late 50s, becoming Joan Baez's first label, for instance.

No rock records because I didn't have any. I never developed enough of a taste for rock music that I ever sought it out or collected it. Didn't hate it, but it just didn't grab me.

Victory at Sea

Can someone tell me how many volumes made up the complete "Victory At Sea" set? Years ago I picked up Volume 3 (the only one the used record store had) and it listed Volumes 1 and 2 but Volume 3 scarcely seemed as though it completed the music from the series.

Love it...

Nice pic. I am still playing albums and collecting to this day. Lot a new vinyl out there too.

Victory At Sea has always been ons of my favorites.

Victory at Sea

The Victory at Sea telecasts that ran in 1952 were the best of the WWII combat documentaries. All 26 episodes shown on the NBC Network received the accolades they deserved. The narrator, Leonard Graves, was the perfect voiceover. The music by Richard Rodgers was later morphed into some of his Broadway shows. If you Google "Victory at Sea DVD" you'll get hits for the 3 disc set for as low as $8. It's a great piece of history.

Albums

I see no rock n roll. Would that have been in your 45 collection?

Victory at Sea

That "Victory at Sea" score is quite something. That was a major hit, too. My records of that era did not survive a house fire in 1978. I had about 30 shelf-feet of LPs at that time, a Linn Sondek turntable with an SME arm and a Decca cartridge, a Dyna PAS preamp, and a McIntosh 275 driving some custom JBL speakers. That was tube and vinyl heaven...

Stereolab

There was a band in the 1990s called Stereolab, who liked to include graphics and motifs from the Hi-Fi era on their albums. Now I know their namesake album (it's purple).

Cheap records

Many of those albums came from 88-cent record racks at places like W.T. Grant, Woolworths and Montgomery Ward. It wasn't surprising to find odd-label classical LPs mixed in with the 101 Strings, Glenn Miller reissues and Persuasive Percussion knock-offs. Never passed up one of those racks when I spotted one.

Tterrace's brother

Sorry, I meant that metaphorically; my brother is still alive and kicking. Getting his records was more of a hand-me-down thing.

The Hi-Fi Bug

Inherited from your brother? Sounds kinda sad.

Termite Terrace

Hmm. A Looney Tunes allusion. And retired from what?

[Please include telephone number, home address and SSN in your reply. - Dave]

Tterrace revealed

Actually, it was right around the time I took this shot that I began what became a life-long losing battle with adulthood. I entered retirement 8 months ago with the hope that it would be similar to childhood, but it hasn't quite worked out like that. Yet. Tterrace stands for Termite Terrace.

Incidentally, I still have some of those records. I was just listening to the Paray Bolero album on Mercury the other day (7th row back, fourth from the left). Some of those I inherited from my brother and go back to c.1954 when he caught the hi-fi bug.

Unveil tterrace!

I second that motion!

Stereorama!

So after your tree-dangling, Hollywood-ogling, record-playing self went to college, what was your degree in? What have you spent the last 40 years doing? The inquiring public wants to know. And what is tterrace -- Temple Terrace?

 
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