[Photo of Dinosaur]

Latest Entries

Survive-All Fallout Shelter Radio Ads

The international struggles of our world may lead to… (ka-boom) NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST!

Nothing lends itself better to a fear-based advertising campaign than your family’s radioactive death. So when the Mort Kridel Advertising Agency was asked to create a radio ad campaign for Survive-All Fallout Shelters, they did their PR-darnedest to scare the Wonder Bread crap out of nuclear families everywhere. Tense horn stabs and canned explosions bracket sales pitches like:

Radioactive fallout, that deadly by-product of a nuclear attack, will kill literally millions of unprotected families in the event of an atomic attack. Is YOUR family protected? Do YOU have a fallout shelter?

Each Civil defense approved, basement-type, Do-It-Yourself fallout shelter includes: A complete fully-stocked first aid kit! Extra strength saran and rayon bunks! A radiation meter and individual dosimeters!

Civil defense approved, FHA approved, no money down, five years to pay!

Economical… but Priceless!

These are ripped from the original LP that would have gone to radio stations from the ad agency. There are 6 long versions and 3 shortened versions, each fairly different. Since it was promotional there was no record cover, but a scan of the record’s label is included.  No year is evident, but since the zip code is two digits, it’s presumably pre-1963, and I would guess late 1950’s.

  1. Maximum Protection (General)
  2. Comparison
  3. Value
  4. Equipment
  5. DYS
  6. Maximum Protection (Steel and Concrete)
  7. DYS (short)
  8. Maximum Protection (Steel and Concrete) (short)
  9. Maximum Protection (General) (short)
  10. Survive-All Shelters Radio Ads LP Label

Survive-All Shelters Radio Ads.zip

Stoopnagle & Budd

[publicity photo of Col. Stoopnagle & Budd] The story goes that the comedy team of Colonel Stoopnagle & Budd started in 1932, when a thunderstorm knocked out the NBC network feed to their Buffalo affiliate. Faced with dead air, the station grabbed two of their staff writers, F. Chase Taylor and Wilbur Hulick, threw them in front of a microphone, and told them to improvise. The duo instantly made up the characters of “Colonel Lemuel Q. Stoopnagle”, an eccentric ex-Navy inventor famous for his invention of upside-down lighthouses for submarines, and his bemused interviewer/straight man, “Budd”, and ad-libbed for the next two hours. They were an instant local hit, and soon moved on to national prominence.

Like many too-cute tales from the days of classic radio, that story’s probably not true, but it’s “too good to check”, as the old newspaper saying goes. However they started, Stoopnagle & Budd soon became immensely popular, at one point being the second-highest paid comedy team in radio (the first was Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, “Amos ‘n’ Andy”). Despite their popularity, their offbeat humor made sponsors nervous and they had difficulty keeping them on their various NBC and CBS shows (which they turned into a running joke). They broke up due to personal differences in 1938. Stoopnagle went on to be a frequent radio guest star and author of humorous articles for magazines like The Saturday Evening Post. He became especially known for rewritten fairy tales using printed malapropisms known as “Spoonerisms” (e.g., Beeping Sleauty and Prinderella and the Cince). Budd returned to Buffalo and obscurity.

['How to Draw a Circle', by Col. Stoopnagle]

Despite the team’s popularity back in the day, they are forgotten today, largely because very little of their work survives. Of their many radio shows, I only know of four that still exist: a 1935 episode of their unsponsored CBS show, a brief snippet of another show which I’m guessing is also from 1935, and two episodes of Town Hall Tonight from a period in 1936 when Stoopnagle & Budd substituted for the show’s regular host, Fred Allen.

[poster for 'Stoopnocracy'] They also appeared in four films: an installment of the short subject series Rambling ‘Round Radio Row, which I’m not sure survives; International House, a classic Paramount all-star comedy; The Inventors, a Paramount short which is on VHS, but only as part of this expensive six-tape set (if somebody wants to buy it for me, I’ll gladly post the Stoopnagle bit here); and, most intriguingly, Stoopnocracy, a Fleischer cartoon which tragically seems to have disappeared.

I’ve posted here a DivX AVI of their appearance in International House, and MP3s of the aforementioned 1935 show and show segment as well as one of their Town Hall Tonight appearances. Be sure to at least check out the first two links.

Unsurprisingly, there’s not too much online about them; this site has ambitions of being the definitive Stoopnagle site, but it’s far from being finished. Some good images and text, though. Also, here are some of Stoopnagle’s Spoonerisms.

(Update April 4, 2007: Stoopnocracy found! See here for details.)

Cary Grant Sings FCC Regulations

[photo of Cary Grant]Here’s another fun one for you DJs out there: the FCC’s 1939 station identification regulations — as sung by Cary Grant.

This is from the second episode of the NBC radio show The Circle, broadcast on January 22, 1939. NBC assembled a top-drawer cast — Grant, Ronald Colman, Madeline Carroll, Carole Lombard, and Groucho and Chico Marx — and put together a show in a round-table format, where all the stars were members of some sort of club. Much to everyone’s surprise, the show almost immediately flopped, only lasting a few months.

Grant singing is inherently amusing — check out his performance as the Mock Turtle in the 1933 Alice in Wonderland — but having him sing FCC documentation with full orchestral accompaniment is another level altogether. Truly to be treasured.

I’ve posted just the song MP3 and also the entire show, which has some other entertaining moments, like a routine where Chico owes Groucho money.