Valid question after all
Listening as always to Strange as it Seems
at bedtime, and now reading Hix books
in the daytime. Pleasantly immersed in HIGH QUALITY ENTERTAINMENT, which is no longer being produced.
The Hix family business was fairly large in the '40s and '50s. After John Hix died (too young) in 1944, control passed to his brother Ernest, then Ernest's wife Elsie, then Elsie's son. The outfit faded out in 1970. At the peak they were turning out daily newspaper features, weekly radio shows, books, and one or two movies.
Question. The shows were enjoyable enough to endure repeated listening for YEARS. Why didn't Hix sell the shows for home use?
First stupid answer: Well, they didn't have MP3s back then.
NO. WAIT, DUMMY.
These shows are available on MP3 now BECAUSE they were initially preserved on RECORDS.
The big network shows were strictly live, so most of them disappeared. We have a few of them because sponsors recorded their shows for quality control. Johnsons Wax preserved all of its Fibber shows.
Short syndicated programs dominate the current set because they were distributed to stations on 16.6 RPM transcription disks. After radio dissolved in the '50s, stations mostly tossed those disks, but some of them ended up in private collections. This shouldn't be a mystery to me because I acquired some of them in 1960 from an uncle and a neighbor who worked in radio. I was too stupid to preserve them, but others were smart.
So the question is still valid. Syndicated shows were ALREADY distributed to stations as records. Why didn't anyone repackage them on 78s for home use? After WW2, home players had all four speeds, so a retail version of the 16.6 transcriptions would also have been practical.
I suspect the answer is blockage by ASCAP or unions.
Labels: Asked and unanswered, blonde moment, Patient things