[Note: This upload is a duplicate of my other Fred Allen Version 2 upload with one difference. In this upload, the episodes are numbered restarting at 1 for each different sponsor. In the version 2 upload, the episodes have been numbered consecutively regardless of sponsor.]
This upload contains 277 episodes of the Fred Allen radio shows from 1932-1949, including Linit Bath Club Revue, Salad Bowl Revue, Sal Hepatica Revue, Hour of Smiles, Town Hall Tonight, The Fred Allen Show, and Texaco Star Theater. Allen, together with his wife and partner Portland Hoffa, was a humorist and wit ahead of his time.
The dates, titles and episode numbers of each episode are believed to be correct based on available sources, but any corrections are welcome.
Disclaimer: By uploading these files, I make no claim to ownership or copyright. These recordings have been acquired from publicly available sources on the Internet, and my goal has been to put together a collection of every available episode where possible. I will add to these collections if I discover new episodes or if any new episodes become available. Additionally, while I tried to put together a collection that contains the best version of each episode that I could, there may be better copies of some recordings available from collectors and dealers, and I encourage you to reach out to them if you are so inclined. We OTR enthusiasts owe a huge debt to those who have worked tirelessly to discover, acquire and preserve these recordings. My role here has been to organize the files I have, verify the dates, episode numbers and titles as best I could from available sources, and correct and rename the files accordingly. My goal is to ensure these excellent artistic expressions of our past are preserved for this and all future generations, and I hope that by uploading all of my files here in a uniform and organized system, they will be easily accessible for all.
An irrepressible punster & wordplayer myself, something clicked instantly when in the 1980s, myself in my early 30s, i first heard Fred Allen. My ongoing experience with him was organic, circumstantial, not academic. My "consumption" of Fred's work was likewise: on the one hand, the OTR boom of the 70s-thru-90s (in which music particularly & entertainment generally rushed (for fidelity reasons) to FM, and until the bandwidth was repurposed became in many markets & dayparts untenanted & therefore LITERALLY anything was (had to be) thrown on)---the OTR boom on AM exposed me especially to the most famous stuff, but archives were just beginning; to extent OTR was commercially available it was too costly for me---but i listened, some of my friends did too; we rolled cassettes on broadcasts & duped and shared these; i got stuff from the public library and (shhhhh!) duped that. But i did not begin to study FA or his career or life until years starting with "2".
The Internet Archive is a tremendous source that would literally take lifetimeS, plural, to audit. But it is here!
I am a historian, so my "absorption" of historic media is a symbiotic and synergistic thing. The elements are not in isolation.
Still, the other night i was startled to hear, in a December 1941 Texaco show, what sounded like Kenny Baker singing a classic-religious thing in German. I listened closer (i tend to disregard most of the musical interludes in commercial OTR; with many exceptions but still with just-about-certain consistency, they're unremarkable performances in tedious arrangements)---it was "Ave Maria". In German, in mid-December. There was a war on, Kenny; hadn't you heard?
Today i'm listening to some more Allen, and a show from November '42 began with a voice i could swear was Arthur Godfrey. Moments later he told us he was Arthur Godfrey, I DID recall something about Godfrey filling in some Allen spots, & now opened a new screen. Couldn't have done that in 1988---
Confirmed that Everybody's Pal (in those pre-LaRosa years) had indeed subbed, the resource said several times, in the fall of 1942, as Kenny Baker's contract with Allen was ending and his relationship already had: Baker had never had a small head, had been getting a bigger one as the Star Theater did well; he believed himself, as the later Eve Harrington believed herself, the piano that had written the concerto. By the fall of '41 he was not only impossible to direct or manage, but disrespected Mister Allen. Talk about ingrates; talk about nice guys!
So Kenny Baker was on the bleeplist by Pearl Harbor, and for whatever reasons (i'm trying to follow this up) he did a Kraut-tune 10 days after the Nasties declared war, unprovoked if not unexpectedly, on the US of A. I can't imagine how, in the age of strictly managed programming & fine-combed content, how the selection made it to script conference, let alone to rehearsal or broadcast, & mean to find that out---but a fiercely pro-Allen public barked hard at Kenny Baker, he was unapologetic and from hardly speaking to FA he went to insolent performance of his individual, isolated numbers in contracted quantities & duration. What an experience studio audiences in that year must have had!
When the 1942 radio season started in September, Allen and his apparatus (more than almost any other show, Fred Allen was NOT a creation of a stable; but he did have and need staffs) had not settled on a replacement for Kenny Baker, partly because on Allen's show as others the announcer did skit participation. For a number of weeks, a few different individuals intro'd the Texaco Star Theater and to one degree or another joined the patter. Among these was a "young" guy (then still in his 30s) just moving up to The Network (CBS) after several years in suburban Washington DC where he'd invented Morning Talk. Arthur Godfrey turned out to have the same ego on his back as Kenny Baker, Godfrey was let go after six weeks; from the calendar-turn to 1943 no "permanent" announcer was named, and a serious health issue for Allen (hypertension) obliged him to delay his return to air till just before New Year's 1944, and to leave the air for a long convalescence as soon as possible, June '44.
Kenny Baker and Arthur Godfrey continued on their quirky ways, living and working into their 70s, but under shadows.
Graciousness is its own reward, and brings others. Fred Allen returned to the air in 1947, and went on to do well in the earliest mass-broadcast TV. He published one book, a rather readable autobio called "Much Ado About Me"; a second, a reflection on what we now call "media", called "Treadmill To Oblivion", was all but complete when Allen died suddenly on a New York sidewalk St. Patrick's Day 1956; its completion was shepherded by Portland Hoffa (Mrs. Fred Allen) and the book remains more than a bit relevant, and still somewhat quotable, almost 70 years later.
Pianos don't write concertos. If you ever meet a Fred Allen and are lucky to be offered a gig, just read the lines and be a trouper in the repartee. Remember it's the other guy the folks came to hear sing.
July 26, 2020 Subject:
I couldn't find the Sal Hepatica shows anywhere- one otr download page has corrupted file for the Mechanical Robot episode, there is one other site (DUMB - that's the name of the website- "DUMB") has it also, but I wanted it from archive. thank you for sharing these- they're very much appreciated.