March 24, 2000 In our latest installment of our occasional Lost and Found Sound series, producer Yair Reiner presents Jack Foley: Feet to the Stars. Jack Foley is a Hollywood legend---he did his job best by not letting anyone know he existed. But Foley's legacy lives on in every film and television program we watch---it's there in the footsteps of the star walking down a street, in the rustle of a dress, in the pounding of horse-hoofs. Foley made these sounds and many more on his stage at Universal studios. Foley was there on the studio's maiden voyage into sound pictures. At first, he and his team of sound men had only one chance to get all the sound right. Foley figured out that by projecting the film and recording the sound effects in sync, he would get the best effect---and he would do each effect one at a time, till the various sounds were all put together with the film--a method today called Foley. Foley's stage looked more like a garage than a recording studio---dirt, gravel, and lots of junk everywhere. These were the tools of his trade. Foley's voice was never recorded and there are no pictures of him at his work---but he is remembered by those who worked with him.
February 25, 2000 This year we're continuing our Lost and Found Sound series on an occasional basis. Today's installment, "The House of Night," is the story of the Mojave Indians, their language and their songs and one man who tried to preserve both for future generations. Beginning in the mid-1960's Guy Tyler began making recordings of the Mojave language and of their 525 song cycle, called the Creation Song. This 13 hour song is a map of the tribe's origins. The songs describe celestial cycles, the positions of stars, planets, and elaborate descriptions of migratory birds.
February 13, 2000 Actor Christopher Walken talks about starring in a Broadway musical adaptation of The Dead, which is based on the James Joyce story. The actor also talks about portraying one disturbing character after another.
December 31, 1999 Quest For Sound Curator Jay Allison brings down the curtain on our year-long series, Lost and Found Sound, by playing examples of some of the listener calls that came in this year answering our plea for hidden audio artifacts. He laments that we never heard the talking seal, but then plays a short example. Allison takes us on a walk through the various kinds of sounds we learned about: ancestors passing messages to their descendants, voices of youth returning on record in old age, and many more. And, we hear the sound that initiated the series: a mysterious record made to a World War Two solider by his lover or wife back home.
December 24, 1999 Reporter Nina Keck of Vermont Public Radio tells us about the 35-year obsession of a woman named Helen Hartness Flanders to capture a vanishing breed of Vermonter on recorded media. She started in the 1930s with wax cylinder, then graduated to disk and tape. She sought out elderly residents, and had them sing and tell stories.
December 17, 1999 Lost and Found Sound presents the story of William Allen Taylor, a disk jockey and a bit of an actor, who went looking for the sound of the voice of his father. Taylor was born out of wedlock. It was only late in life that Taylor discovered his father was Walkin' Talkin' Bill Hawkins -- a former Pullman reporter who in 1948 became Cleveland's first black disk jockey. Hawkins broadcast live from the window of his record store, and was widely influential. But there are no known recordings of Hawkins' voice. So, by talking to those who knew Hawkins and listened to his program, William Allen Taylor attempts to bring his father's voice to life again through imitation.
November 19, 1999 Art Chimes had a single TV sound obsession: a satirical TV show on NBC from 1964-65 called "That Was The Week That Was" (TW3), which introduced David Frost to American viewers. The show's sharp wit caught Chimes' fancy as a teenager in New Jersey. The most striking thing about the show was the opening song sung by Nancy Ames, which contained all the week's news. Chimes says the show was a smart viewing choice in days of clownish variety shows.
November 19, 1999 Our year-long series visits a man obsessed with the sound of TV. Phil Gries started recording audio from his television set in the 1950s. He still has over 10-thousand items, and has turned his hobby into a business -- supplying audio from old TV shows to other collectors and museums. He says he was motivated by the ethereal nature of live TV to preserve broadcasts of all sorts.
November 12, 1999 As many as 3,000 "mental hygiene" films were shown in schools in the years after the Second World War. They provide lessons about dating, manners and delinquency, all wrapped up in a tidy 10-minute package. Lost and Found Sound got a tour through these films from author Ken Smith.
October 29, 1999 A story about radio station WHER in Memphis, billed as the first "All-Girl Radio Station" in the nation. It was started by Sam Phillips of Sun Studio fame in 1955 - just after he sold Elvis Presley's contract to Colonel Parker. Phillips gave women a chance to work both on the air, and in the sales department. It lasted 17-years. Independent producers Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson located 14 of the 40 women who worked at WHER.
September 10, 1999 In this week's installment of Lost and Found Sound, "Quest for Sound" Curator Jay Allison introduces David Greenberger. Greenberger made a strange tape recording back in 1981 of a man who sang 129 songs in 45-minutes. The singer was a gentleman named Jack Murdurian, who renders popular music items one after another in the same careless, toneless cadences. The recording and Jack's memory are both "lost and found."
September 3, 1999 Lost and Found Sound presents a story about present-day uses of the most ancient of recording technologies: the wax cylinder. On the occasion of this month's release by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis's album of wax cylinder recordings, we hear what it is about wax that appeals to some. For Marsalis it's the authentic sound, which reminds him of the jazz greats of the past. Also featured: Les Paul and the band They Might be Giants. John Flansburgh of the "Giants" learns that to get recorded, he has to stick his head into a brass cone and sing in a very pronounced way.
August 27, 1999 In this latest installment of our Lost and Found Sound series, NPR's Don Gonyea remembers the heyday of powerhouse AM radio. Gonyea grew up in Detroit, where the big station in the 60's and 70's was CKLW. It broadcast from across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario. It was a loud, glitzy noise-making enterprise. Everything was shouted -- even the news. The 50,000-watt giant spewed rock and roll and hyped-news across 28 states and mid-Canada. Gonyea describes the formula that made CKLW and its imitators successful.
August 20, 1999 As part of our series Lost & Found Sound, Quest for Sound Curator Jay Allison introduces us to a collector of old electric fans. We are treated to solo performances of individual old fans, and an orchestra of fans blowing at once, and learn that in days gone by, a good electric fan was a blessing -- and expensive. Some models cost the average American worker two months pay.
August 6, 1999 Today in our continuing series, "Lost and Found Sound," we have two stories about the era of silent movies. Jay Allison, the curator of our Quest for Sound phone line introduces us to listener Bob Borgen, who has discovered tape of silent film star Buster Keaton at a party in 1962. The tape originally belonged to Keaton's wife. Keaton was a child star of Vaudeville with his family--on the tape Keaton sings songs and tells stories from those days. Our second story comes from our movie reviewer Bob Mondello, who pays tribute to the "silence" of early films. He remembers the time when movies were a purely visual medium---the introduction of sound took away some of the grace of what was taken place on the screen--this was most true for the silent film comedy stars.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor