Guide to the Randy Riddle Collection of Race Records and Radio Programs, 1920s-1965
Randy Riddle is an Academic Technology Consultant with the Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) at Duke University, and a collector of race records and radio programs. Collection includes 12 inch and 18 inch vinyl, acetate, and lacquer race records and radio programs from the 1920s through the 1960s.
- Collection Number
- Randy Riddle Collection of Race records and Radio Programs
- Riddle, Randy (collector)
- 5 Linear Feet, 200 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
The Randy Riddle Collection includes two series: Race Records and Radio Programs. The Race Records series consists of thirty-four 12 inch (78 rpm) gramophone records and one 45 rpm record. Each includes two songs, one per side, by an artist. Most of the records are in good or excellent condition. Artists represented in this collection are: Emitt Slay Trio, Bert Williams, Moran and Mack, The Orioles, Billy Wright, Johnney Rebel, The Couplings, Bob Howard and his Boys, The Midnighters, Jimmy Bowen with the Rhythm Orchids, The Clovers, Chuck Miller, Miles Davis and his Orchestra, The Original Casuals featuring Gary Mears, Eunice Davis with Orchestra, Ivory Joe Hunter, Cab Calloway and his Orchestra, Howlin Wolf, Varetta Dillard, Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra, Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five, Carson Robinson, Young Jessie, Chuck Webb and his Orchestra, Socko Underwood, Brownie McGhee, and Bull Moose Jackson and his Buffalo Bearcats.
The Race Records series has not been converted to a digital format, meaning that there are no use copies available at this time. Use copies must be made before researchers can access this material. Contact the Rubenstein Library with questions.
The Radio Programs series includes both 12 inch (78 rpm) records and 16 inch transcription discs, including vinyl, lacquer, and acetate records. Programs include recordings of both original on-air broadcasts as well as rebroadcasts by organizations such as the Armed Forces Radio Service. Frequently, the discs include only excerpts or pieces of a program, and program runs are not complete (many include only one or two episodes). Titles in the collection are: This is My Best (Globe Theater); Lest We Forget; Pick and Pat; Southland Echoes; Harlem Hospitality Club; lacquer records from WREN in Lawrence, Kansas; the Bea Kalmus Show; Choose a Song Partner; Americans at Work;Any Bonds Tonight; American Family Robinson; a Townsend Plan filmstrip soundtrack; Twenty Questions; Monticello Party Line; Coke Club; Plantation Echoes; Behind the Scenes in Hollywood; Your Home Front Reporter; Billie Burke; Aladdin Lamp; America's Famous Fathers;Mad Hatterfields; Supper Club; Uncle Remus; Dwight Eisenhower campaign special; Christmas Seal; and special episodes from the March of Dimes and American Cancer Society fundraising drives.
The Radio Programs series has digital use copies available, including high-resolution scans of some records' labels. Original transcription discs are CLOSED to use. Please contact the Rubenstein Library with questions on how to access the digital files for these programs.
Access to the Collection
Collection is restricted. Original recordings are closed to researchers.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
In addition, original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Some electronic use copies are available in the collection. Otherwise, Technical Services staff need to produce use copies before contents can be accessed.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Randy Riddle Collection of Race Records and Radio Programs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
1. Race Records
Series consists of 78 rpm gramophone records, including songs by Louis Armstrong, Bert Williams, and The Midnighters. Includes one 45 rpm record by Johnney Rebel.
Original audiovisual materials are closed to use. Use of these materials requires production of listening copies. Please contact Research Services before coming to use this collection.
Series includes transcription records and 78 rpm records of radio programs that aired throughout the United States between the 1930s and the 1960s.
Original audiovisual materials in this collection are closed to researchers and should not be recalled from the LSC. Digital copies of this material are available, on Duke's servers and in Box 13. Please contact Research Services before coming to use this collection.
One 12" lacquer disc, very good condition. Excerpt from a disc jockey program by Bea Kalmus, the first female DJ on commercial radio. The guest on this show is Otis Blackwell.
Six 12" lacquer 78 rpm discs, excellent condition. Contains 3 fifteen minute programs aired during World War II, aimed to raise funds for War Bonds while boosting workers' morale. Records were recorded for Carl E. Payne of the Oscar W. Hedstrom Corp., who gives short talks about labor and workers joining together for the war effort. WCFL was owned by the Chicago Federation of Labor.
Five 16" vinyl discs, excellent condition. Program from circa 1947, targeting women, featuring comedienne and actress Beryl Vaughn and vocalist Don Moreland. Produced by Eugenia Price Productions, and sponsored by Formfit Life Bras and Life Girdles. Includes Programs 1-2 and 5-12, circa 1947. Record sleeve samples are included at the end of the run.
Two 16" vinyl discs, excellent condition. Originally broadcast on Mutual, these discs were rebroadcast by Armed Forces Radio Service. The program was a half-hour of rhythm and blues music, including audience participation, featuring Willie Bryant and guests such as Amanda Randolph. One of the few examples from the period of network radio programs aimed at African American audiences.
One 16" vinyl disc, excellent condition. Filmstrip soundtrack (the filmstrip has been lost) promoting and advertising the Townsend Plan, an alternative to Social Security that was lobbied for through the 1930s.
Two 16" vinyl discs, excellent condition. Program was a radio show where listeners submitted ideas to try and stump the panel. One of the panelists, Robert Van Deventer, also known as Bobby McGuire, was a Duke alumnus. No dates are included on the labels. Program aired between 1946 and 1954.
Eighteen 16" lacquer discs, poor to good condition. A set of discs thrown away from WREN in Lawrence, Kansas. Most feature parts of programs by a local Western swing group, The Range Riders. Also contain excerpts from the 1946-1947 series Ladies Be Seated. Most programs include appearances by an actress in character as the sponsor, Aunt Jemima. Record sleeve samples are included at the end of the run.
Nine 16" lacquer discs, poor to good condition. Series was broadcast on CBS in the late 1930s, featuring Blackface comedy team Pick Padgett and Pat Malone. These discs contain significant parts of several episodes, and were made as air checks by WABC radio. Record sleeve samples are included at the end of the run.
Fourteen 16" acetate discs, excellent condition. Dramatic serial produced around 1935 by the National Association of Manufacturers as part of an effort to combat the New Deal; characters frequently drop plugs for conservative ideas. NAM originally approached NBC and CBS about carrying the series, but the networks declined. Instead, NAM syndicated the show to about 300 stations under the moniker National Industry Council. The show was the subject of Congressional hearings by members who felt the program was misleading. Includes Programs 38-43, 48-63, 68-71, and 84-85. Record sleeve samples are included at the end of the run.
Ten 16" vinyl discs, excellent condition. Produced by Nelson Chesman Company, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and sponsored by Black Draught Laxative and Cardui. 15 minute shows consist of gospel songs by the Homeland Harmony Quartet, the Jones Sisters, and Blackface comedians Jam-Up and Honey. Includes Programs 5-6, 17-20, and 23-36. Record sleeve samples are included at the end of the run.
One 16" vinyl disc. Armed Forces Radio Service rebroadcast of Norman Corwin-produced series, This is My Best. Program 166: features the original cast of Porgy and Bess, performing a half-hour adaptation of the musical.
Nine 16" vinyl discs. The series was created to promote tolerance, and the programs feature stories about prejudice based on religion, race, or ethnicity. Produced and syndicated in the late 1940s by the Institute for Democratic Education. Includes Programs 9-10, 14-21, 27-28, and 31-36.
Eleven 16" vinyl discs. A series run on CBS during WWII each weekday. Each half-hour show, sponsored by the Owens Illinois Glass Company and produced by the D'Arcy Advertising Company, includes vocalists Frank Parker and Met Opera star Eleanor Steber early in her career. The main body of each show is a commentary by Fletcher Wiley, who came to prominence in the 1930s in Southern California talking in a folksy style to women about issues they were interested in. Wiley's commentaries focus on the warfront at home and current news on rationing and other issues of interest to the WWII housewife. Some of the later shows in this disc series have reporter Don Pryor filling in for Fletcher Wiley. These are the only surviving episodes of the series and the discs appear to have been especially prepared for the sponsor, Owens Illinois. The donation includes the original shipping labels (the paper containers had deteriorated) where the discs were sent to an executive at the company. Shipping labels are housed in Box 13.
First program in the series. Fletcher Wiley talks at the beginning of the show about the purpose of the program, then offers a commentary on politeness and another on the many uses of the soybean. Frank Parker performs "Begin the Beguine" and Eleanor Steber sings "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia"; they perform a duet, "Dearly Beloved". The announcer is Ben Grauer; features the David Brookman Orchestra. Notes: This may be a rehearsal recording since it runs over 30 minutes (others in the series run 25 minutes). Scratch on second side at beginning for first three minutes or so.
Second program in the series. Fletcher Wiley discusses why we should not get too excited about good news from the war front since the end of the war may be some time away. He also mentions that new shipments of alarm clocks are coming on the market. Eleanor Steber sings "Just a Song at Twilight"; Frank Parker performs "The Night is Young, And You're So Wonderful"; Steber and Parker sing the duet "Why Do I Love You?". With announcer Hugh Conover and the David Brookman Orchestra.
Third program in the series. Fletcher Wiley comments on taking care of your car for the war effort, women going on blind dates, and other topics. Frank Parker sings "One Alone"; Eleanor Steber performs "In the Glow". The David Brookman Orchestra plays the "Missouri Waltz".
Program 24 in the series. Fletcher Wiley reminds everyone to apply for their new ration books and gives a talk about gossip. Frank Parker performs "Mother of Mine"; Eleanor Steber sings "Bartlett's Dream"; Steber and Parker sing the duet "'Neath the Harvest Moon". With the David Brookman Orchestra and announcer Hugh Conover.
Program 26 in the series. Fletcher Wiley talks about a new "welding" sewing machine you can buy after the War if you buy and save up your War Bonds and offers a commentary on keeping a positive attitude and "getting along" with what's available in wartime. Frank Parker sings "Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes"; Parker and Eleanor Stebel perform "If You Were the Only Girl in the World" and Stebel sings Gershwin's "Summertime". With the David Brookman Orchestra and announcer Hugh Conover.
Program 96 in the series. Fletcher Wiley's commentary is on why service flags are a symbol of democracy and he does some remarks on making the most of clothes during wartime. Phil Hanna and Diana Gayle sing "Tip Toe Through the Tulips" and "The West, A Nest, and You"; Phil Regan sings "Boy of Mine". Wilbur Hatch conducts the orchestra.
Program 103 in the series. Don Regan looks at stories in the news about love during wartime, including a woman in Idaho arranging a marriage by proxy with her beau in England, and other lighter news items. He also does a commentary on travel during wartime and how useful a good suitcase can be. Eleanor Steber sings Gershwin's "Summertime" and "Alice Blue Gown"; Walter Castle performs "Through the Years". Phil Regan sings "Take Me in Your Arms". Steber and Castle sing "Make Believe" from "Showboat". With the David Brookman Orchestra, Hugh Conover announcing.
One 16" shellac disc, broken. An early 1930s program syndicated by Transco. It features an almost all-Black cast in stories set on an "old South" plantation and the stories include Black songs and spirituals. The plot of the story concerns a runaway slave. This and one other program are the only surviving episodes of the series (the other is in private hands). This disc, for Episode 9, is broken into three pieces.
One 16" lacquer disc. One of three episodes of this unusual situation comedy in existence. Originally heard on CBS on Saturday mornings for a season or so following the long-running children's program Let's Pretend. The show, sponsored by Listerine Toothpaste and Tooth Powder, stars Billie Burke, better known for her role as Glenda in The Wizard of Oz. The show seems to be aimed at children and their mothers, with storylines about Billie's family getting in awkward situations and learning some kind of lesson.
The episode in this collection aired April 27, 1946. When a tramp shows up at her back door begging for food, Billie teaches her brother Julius a little lesson about charity. Marked "Copy" on the disc label. Note that there's an odd transition between the sides - side one cuts off suddenly, but the second side is faded in.
One 16" vinyl disc. Two programs in the series "Chesterfield Supper Club": this is the version of the program heard on AFRS with the commercials and sponsor information omitted. Featuring Perry Como and sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes, this was usually a quarter-hour program of vocal music. However, some were done in the style of minstrel show with guests Blackface comedians Pick and Pat heard with Como in the role of interlocutor. A handful of these shows survive in other collections, but this particular copy is unique.
Originally broadcast as Chesterfield Supper Club on NBC. With Perry Como, Martin Block, Pick and Pat The Satisfiers, Mary Ashworth, Ted Steele and His Orchestra. Opening tune is the theme song of "Pick and Pat"'s radio program. Show is done in the style of a minstrel show. Como sings "Mammy" as the opening tune. Previously lost.
Originally broadcast as "Chesterfield Supper Club" on NBC. With Perry Como, Martin Block, Pick and Pat The Satisfiers, Mary Ashworth, Ted Steele and His Orchestra. Opening tune is "Carry On, Brother, Carry On." Previously lost.
Three 16" discs (2 vinyl, 1 lacquer). Four programs (1, 11, 2, and "Mud Pies") in the series Uncle Remus featuring Jimmie Scribner. Syndicated during the Christmas season in 1947, the show features Scribner, a white actor, playing all the roles in the program. Scribner was known for doing a Black-themed radio soap where he played all the characters, "The Johnson Family". This show is a real oddity - it appeared to have run only one month and was withdrawn. Scribner re-recorded the shows with the same scripts, omitting any references to Uncle Remus and changing the name of the character to "Sleepy Joe". This might have been because Song of the South came out in 1947 and Disney might have objected to use of the Remus name on the series.
One 16" vinyl disc. An obscure syndicated show from circa 1941 that features Howard Lindsay, star of Life with Father, discussing fatherhood with some famous guests. The programs feature Lowell Thomas and, in the other show, Col. Theodore Roosevelt and Mrs. John Phillips Marquand. Roosevelt is a highlight of the show, recalling stories about his father, President Theodore Roosevelt. No other shows in the series survive.
Features Lowell Thomas telling a dramatized story about two men that are stranded after their airplane crashes. Ray Green is the announcer.
Col. Theodore Roosevelt and the wife of author John Phillips Marquand debate the role of fathers in the household. Roosevelt relates some fun and interesting stories about his own father, President Roosevelt. Howard Lindsay, who normally was host of the show, was ill and unable to appear, so announcer Ray Green conducts the interview.
Three 16" vinyl discs. Six episodes (Programs 380C, 381C, 406C, 408C, 410C, 411C, 413C, 415C) of a quarter-hour syndicated music show sponsored by Coca-Cola and produced by D'Arcy Advertising. Features Morton Downey doing popular tunes and sometimes religious numbers. Some shows also include a "salute" to different towns each week with a story about an interesting person in the town apparently submitted by the local Coca-Cola bottler. Coca-Cola themed labels on the discs.
One 16" vinyl disc. 15 minute episode of "Thunder in the Valley," a Christmas story, with Ralph Bellamy. A drama about a doctor needing an x-ray machine to detect TB in his patients. Transferred from original National Tuberculosis Association, New York.
Two 16" lacquer discs. A half-hour dramatized biography of Dwight Eisenhower, focusing on his youth and college years, prepared for the 1952 Presidential campaign and sponsored by Youth For Eisenhower.
One 16" vinyl disc. Two quarter hour public service dramas syndicated to radio stations. "Square Moon" has a man who goes to his doctor with a sore lip that might be cancer. As he deals with what cancer means, he goes to a cancer research lab where the doctor there offers him a cigarette to calm his nerves. The other drama, "An Accounting," looks at how the Society spends its donations. Both shows look at the stigma around cancer at that time. The shows were produced at the American Broadcasting Company for the Cancer Society.
Six 16" vinyl discs. Thirty-six episodes (Programs 1-36) of a five-minute syndicated show sponsored by the Aladdin Lamp company. McConnell does two songs on each show - an old number from the turn of the century updated with a peppy jazz arrangement and a hymn. In between, he makes a pitch for the lovely Aladdin brand lamps and lampshades the woman of the house can find at their local dealer.
Two 16" vinyl discs. Two programs spread over 4 sides produced as fundraisers for the 1953 March of Dimes and syndicated to local stations. "Man Against the Crippler" is a half-hour drama featuring Mercury Theater alumnus Everett Sloane. The story is an overview of the history of polio research, produced just a year before the first large-scale polio trials. The second program is "Summer Concert," a program of light concert music featuring Andre Kostelanetz and pianist Alec Templeton. Both include announcements that have tips for protecting against polio during the summer months.
Eleven 16" lacquer discs. The Mad Hatterfields is a rather obscure fifteen minute serial from the 1930s originating at WLW in Cincinnati. The program was written by Pauline Hopkins, whose other credits include radio's First Nighter and Grand Hotel and who played Meg on The Mad Hatterfields. The show was directed by Owen Vinson, later the director-producer of Let George Do It. The discs came from the collection of Marty Halperin, the vice president of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters.
In this group are eight fifteen minute episodes from the series on original WLW lacquers from 1938-1939. The program was probably local on WLW and offered up on the larger Don Lee-Mutual network and ran through June 1939, based on radio listings. The program is a humorous radio soap that looks at an eccentric family that works in theater; the shows are sponsored by Nestle's Red Lion evaporated milk and Horlick's Malted Milk.
Also in the group are three discs that were used when the producer and writer of the show attempted to reconfigure it as a half-hour weekly program and sell it to potential sponsors on one of the networks. One disc contains different versions of the theme song; the other two discs contain a half-hour sample episode with an announcer that tells about the characters, its run as a fifteen minute show, and people associated with the program, selling it to potential sponsors.
Nine 16" vinyl discs. Eighteen quarter-hour shows, syndicated, about 1944-45. Bidwell McCormick, the host of the show, was a publicity man at RKO and each show includes current "behind the scenes" news of productions at the different studios, along with segments that look at the work of technicians and interesting facts about the life of famous stars. Several of the shows mention or detail problems caused by the War with rationing and ways studios worked around it; they also detail early cast choices or announcements of productions that were later changed, so they document some of the facts around the making of famous films of this period. The only surviving shows from this series.
Twenty-two 16" vinyl discs. Broadcast in 1938, this block of 43 programs is from the soap opera "Monticello Party Line", sponsored by Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin, a patent laxative. This soap opera, based around the small-town lives of Monticello, Illinois, the location where Dr. Caldwell was headquartered, ran from 1934 in syndication. The show was written by Sandra Michael, who would go on in a year or two to create the Peabody winning Against the Storm.
The program is based around a telephone "party line," though the actual party line itself is only used as a plot device on occasion in the episodes. The stories revolve around the small problems of couples Curley and Aggie and Clem and Sara and people in the town. Often, characters participate in the show's commercials. At times, the show sounds like it was influenced by character driven comedy serials, like Vic and Sade or Lum and Abner, and, with other characters and plots, more of a traditional women's soap opera. Each year the show offered, as a mail-in premium, a recipe and household tips book, supposedly authored by Sara and Aggie, that featured photos and information on the town and characters. Two examples of these books are available in Box 13.
The show was broadcast without interruption through program 675, broadcast March, 1938. At that point, the program went on a summer hiatus and picked up that fall where it left off a couple of months before.
Stations typically ran the program five days per week in the morning or mid-morning soap opera block alongside shows like Just Plain Bill. The program was produced by the Cramer-Krassell Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Transcriptions seen in the series were pressed by Columbia, possibly in Hollywood. The first reference to the program in the Los Angeles Times is the schedule for September 22, 1936 and the last is in 1937 - in this run, it was on four days per week. There are no references to the program on radio schedules in New York or Washington, so it probably ran on smaller market stations or perhaps regionally in the West and mid-West where Syrup Pepsin was distributed. The Broadcasting Yearbook mentions the program as late as 1939.
The music and recordings in this collection were acquired and donated by Randy Riddle, an Academic Technology Consultant for the Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) at Duke University. The collection includes both race records and radio programs.
“Race records” is a phrase describing 78 rpm gramophone records made for and by African Americans during the early 20th century. These recordings typically contained blues, gospel, jazz, or comedy programs targeting African American audiences. Recording companies marketing race records included Okeh Records, Emerson Records, Vocalion Records, and the Victor Talking Machine Company, among others. By the 1960s, “race records” on the Billboard chart had been replaced by the phrase “rhythm and blues.”
The radio programs in this collection are a variety of recordings from numerous shows that aired in the 1930s through the 1960s. Some of these discs are the only known copies of the program in existence.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
The Randy Riddle Collection of Race Records and Radio Programs was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2010 and 2011.
Processed by Meghan Lyon, April 2010; September 2011
Encoded by Meghan Lyon, April 2010; September 2011
Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2010-0051, 2011-0149
Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.