November 26, 1999 NPR's Deborah George tells us the story of pioneering radio evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. She was among the first to take her preaching to the radio, bringing innovative ideas to the airwaves. In the first half of this century she was a celebrity of the first order, listened to by movie stars and common folk. She was a striking stage presence who used humor and song to make her message heard. In the first of these two segments, we hear from the movie actor Anthony Quinn who played saxophone at her rallies as a boy in East Los Angeles. He tells us he learned a lot of his stage presence from her -- using pauses and staring at the audience to get attention. We learn how scandal rocked her life. McPherson vanished at Venice Beach and turned up a month later in a Mexican border town with a strange story that few believed. There were rumors she had been seen in a love nest with a married man in California. This shadow over her Godliness was compounded during the stock market crash of 1929 by money woes and family arguments over money. She died in 1944 at age 54, long after her heyday ended.
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.
November 12, 1999 The years just after the Second World War saw the advent of a new genre of classroom films: "social guidance" or "attitude enhancement" films -- we'll call them "mental hygiene" films. Young people in schools across America saw films with titles like "Dating Dos and Don'ts," "Mind Your Manners," "Are You Popular?" and, "Narcotics: Pit of Despair." Topics included table manners, etiquette, fitting in, posture, dating, highway safety, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency. They were tools of social engineering, made to shape the values and attitudes of an entire generation of American kids. More than three-thousand of these films were made over nearly three decades. Now, fewer than half of them survive. Ken Smith has written a new book called "Mental Hygiene: Classroom Films, 1945-1970". He'll be our tour guide through this Lost and Found Sound report on this funny, fascinating, and largely forgotten genre of American filmmaking.
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.
October 22, 1999 Our series Lost & Found Sound remembers the explosion of transistors radios for the first time in the early 1960s. Washington lawyer Jonathan Cuneo recalls how every kid had to have one when they first became small enough to carry around in a pocket. With portable radios, sports like the World Series could be listened to in school - and on the school bus ride home. Cuneo tells how the final game of the 1960 World Series was a highlight of his life -- thanks to his transistor and where he heard the game.
October 8, 1999 Eighty-five-year-old Don Hunter plays us a few of his acoustic "trophies" from a lifetime of recording the sounds of his Pacific Northwest. The Eugene, Oregon man has been making stereo recordings of his region since the late 1950s -- and has been interested in sound since he was a boy. We hear a "planer," fog horns and a Douglas Fir being cut down.
October 1, 1999 In this week's installment of "Lost and Found Sound," Quest for Sound curator Jay Allison presents audio found by a listener in Newton Massachusetts. David Gullette found the disk at a flea market. It turned out to include the recorded voice of one of this country's most important broadcast producers at a young age. The disk featured 1941 Mutual Broadcasting System coverage of the inauguration of the Quonset Naval Marine Air Station in Rhode Island. The announcer is none other than the great Fred Friendly, who died just last year.
September 24, 1999 As part of our series "Lost & Found Sound," we present an un-narrated story about R. A. Coleman, a black man who recorded the sound of African-American weddings and other events in Memphis during the same period that Sam Phillips was recording those of the white people of the city. Coleman was originally just a photographer, but he began to provide recordings to enhance the memories of couples. He even recorded at funerals. He's remembered by his friends and family.
September 17, 1999 The year long series, Lost and Found Sound, presents the story of Sam Phillips, the man who founded and ran the Memphis Recording Service. Phillips was a rural boy with the dream of capturing songs of poor Southern people on records. He started in radio. Then, in the late 1940's, he opened a studio in Memphis. The sound he captured has helped shape rock and roll and American music ever since. We hear from Phillips, his family, friends, music experts and some of his recording talent, as they recall the years when Phillips came to realize his dream.
August 13, 1999 Today on Lost and Found Sound, we delve into the audio archives of radio writer and director Norman Corwin. In 1946, while Corwin was working for CBS, producing very popular radio dramas and documentaries, he was the first recipient of the "One World Award." The award was created after presidential candidate Wendell Wilke made a diplomatic world wide tour during World War Two. The prize was a four month flight around the world for Corwin. It resulted in 13 radio documentaries about his travels. Together with producer Mary Beth Kirchner, Corwin re-listens to these tapes and remembers the variety of people he met in his travels; from great leaders such as Nehru, to a young girl in devastated Manila. He returned home with the stories of post-war reality in the outside world. In some cases people had lost entire families. He also found hope for a better world.
July 16, 1999 In the late 1960s and early 1970s, young, mostly left-wing students and radicals found a voice on FM community radio across the country. Ken Sleeman was the general manager of one such station, WGTB-FM in Washington DC. As part of our Lost and Found Sound series, Sleeman shares some of his recordings from that time.
July 9, 1999 As part of our year-long collaboration with independent producers, Lost and Found Sound today turns to veteran broadcaster Robert Trout for a look back at CBS Studio Nine. The New York newsroom was the source of much of the century's news for millions of Americans. During the studio's operation from 1938 to 1964, Trout was one of the men who spent the most time there. He recently discovered some of his tapes.
June 11, 1999 As part of NPR's year-long collaboration with independent producers, NPR's Dean Olsher tells us about the increasing common extinction of the world's languages. Fifty percent of the world's languages are spoken by fewer than 10,000 people. Some languages are spoken by just a handful of people. In a century, 95-percent of the language that exists today will be gone -- the result of the commercial and technical advantages of Chinese, English, French and a few others. Linguists are split on whether extraordinary efforts should be made to SAVE languages, versus allowing them to die naturally.
May 21, 1999 The Vincent Voice Library at Michigan State University houses recorded speeches, performances, lectures, interviews, and broadcasts by over 50,000 persons over the last 100 years. NPR's Don Gonyea took a tour of the library and talked to its collector. Maurice Crane presides over a vast repository of the recorded voice. We learn that among the mass of recordings, there are treasures and trash.
May 7, 1999 As part of our year-long Friday feature collaboration between NPR and independent producers highlighting this century's recordings, we present two anniversaries that fall on this date. Quest for Sound Curator Jay Allison tells us about Derby, Connecticut, Boy Scout Troop 3. Every year for 75 years the troop has performed a "Gang Show" on this date. We hear excerpts from the recordings the Boy Scouts there made. Today is also the 54th anniversary of the day Germany surrendered to Allied Forces in W.W.II. We hear Winston Churchill and a home recording of a woman reflecting on the end of the war.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor