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  Railroad Hour, Volume 2 - 6 hours [Audio CDs] #RA195



 
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6 hours - Audio CD Set


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The Railroad Hour
Volume 2



Gordon MacRaeIn the late 1940s and well into the 1950s, millions of American families had their radios tuned to NBC on Monday evenings for what the network termed their "Night of Music". This remarkable evening of entertainment included such long-running radio stalwarts as "The Telephone Hour", "The Voice of Firestone", and "The Cities Service Band of America" - but, as of October 1949, the evening began with a musical program that would soon become must-hear weekly listening in many households: "The Railroad Hour", starring a young and handsome baritone named Gordon MacRae.

Sponsored by the Association of American Railroads, "The Railroad Hour" presented vest-pocket versions of some of the most popular and beloved musicals and operettas of all time - everything from the romantic melodies of Victor Herbert and Sigmund Romberg right through to the modern musical comedies of Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, and Lorenz Hart. In these lush and tuneful half-hours, star and leading man Gordon MacRae was joined by a host of leading ladies - including MGM and Warner Brothers vocalist Lucille Norman, Metropolitan Opera stars Dorothy Kirsten and Nadine Conner, Dorothy Warenskjold of the San Francisco Opera Company, as well as guest artists like Jane Powell, Jeanette MacDonald, Kenny Baker, Eileen Wilson, and Patrice Munsel.

The rich, room-filling music was provided by maestro Carmen Dragon, an arranger/conductor with vast musical experience in both radio and motion pictures, and the dozen or so members of the Norman Luboff choir; together, these two musical experts gave "The Railroad Hour" a sound that was both distinctive and unique, even in an medium that was known at the time for large-scale musical programs. But it was the expert voice of announcer Marvin Miller that really brought the show together. Setting the scene for each program with the announcement "Ladies and gentlemen, the Railroad Hour!", listeners would then hear the sound of a train whistle in the distance as Miller went on to proclaim "And here comes the star-studded show train!" as the orchestra and chorus struck up the theme "I've Been Working on the Railroad", which increased in speed and intensity to suggest a fast-moving express train while Miller announced that evening's musical or operetta, ending with the introduction of star Gordon MacRae.

Dorothy KirstenIn his role as host and leading man, MacRae generally narrated the programs, giving listeners the basic structure of the plot as the show went along. The job of adapting massive musicals and full-scale operettas into a half-hour format fell to Jean Holloway and the writing team of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. Holloway, who herself was also a singer and musician, had earlier written for such programs as "The Kate Smith Hour" and "Mr. President", while Lawrence and Lee had honed their writing skills as two of the first staff members of the Armed Forces Radio Service during World War II. All three had considerable knowledge of both music and theater; Lawrence and Lee, in fact, would in later years write the Broadway classic "Auntie Mame" and its musical counterpart "Mame", as well as such well-known plays as "Inherit the Wind" and "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail". The "Railroad Hour's" director was Francis "Fran" Van Hartesveldt, a former professional musician and arranger who had turned to work in advertising agencies in the late 1930s.

One of the unfortunate things about the often sorry state of radio show preservation is the condition in which such well-produced programs as "The Railroad Hour" have survived the decades. For years, many of the programs from the series available to collectors existed only in inferior sound, frequently marred by wobbly, multi-generational transfers that turned the wonderful melodies and arrangements into nearly unlistenable exercises in musical torture. Not so with this second collection of broadcasts from Radio Archives. We've gone directly to the source - the original lacquer master recordings, made for the Benton & Bowles advertising agency - to ensure the best and highest quality sound possible. The disks, cut by Radio Recorders in Los Angeles during the original broadcasts and long stored away in Las Vegas, were in excellent condition and required only minimal restoration to sound as fresh and sparkling as if they were recorded just last week, rather than well over fifty years ago. The result is twelve full-length programs that provide not only outstanding entertainment for today's listeners but that also stand as a tribute to the talent and production techniques that went into their creation so many years ago.

If you love Broadway musicals, romantic operettas, or the popular songs of the mid-20th century, you'll love "The Railroad Hour" - especially in this second sparkling collection of original broadcasts from Radio Archives. Here is the complete content of this outstanding collection:

#175 East Wind
Music by Sigmund Romberg; lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
With Gordon MacRae, Mimi Benzell, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller
Monday, February 4, 1952 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#177 Frederika
Music by Franz Lehár; lyrics by Edward Eliscu, Ludwig Herzer, and Fritz Löhner-Beda
With Gordon MacRae, Patricia Morrison, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, February 18, 1952 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#178 The Firefly
Music by Rudolf Friml; lyrics by Otto Harbach
With Gordon MacRae, Dorothy Kirsten, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, February 25, 1952 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#180 The Cat and the Fiddle
Music and lyrics by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach
With Gordon MacRae, Dorothy Kirsten, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, March 10, 1952- 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#186 Erminie
Music by Ed Jacobowski; lyrics by Harry Paulton
With Gordon MacRae, Nell Tangeman, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, April 21, 1952 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#188 Sunny
Music by Jerome Kern; lyric by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II
With Gordon MacRae, Virginia Haskins, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, May 5, 1952 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#189 Spring is Here
Music by Richard Rodgers; lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Music by Jerome Kern; lyric by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II
With Gordon MacRae, Annamary Dickey, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, May 12, 1952 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#212 Naughty Marietta
Music by Victor Herbert; lyrics by Rida Johnson Young
With Gordon MacRae, Dorothy Kirsten, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, October 20, 1952 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#223 My Romance
Music by Sigmund Romberg; lyrics by Rowland Leigh
With Gordon MacRae, Evelyn Case, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, January 5, 1953 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#236 Sally
Music by Jerome Kern and Victor Herbert; lyrics by Clifford Grey and P. G. Wodehouse
With Gordon MacRae, Lucille Norman, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, April 6, 1953 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#240 Mary
Music by Louis A. Hirsch; lyrics by Otto Harbach
With Gordon MacRae, Dorothy Kirsten, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, May 4, 1953 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

#267 Roberta
Music by Jerome Kern; lyrics by Otto Harbach
With Gordon MacRae, Dorothy Kirsten, The Norman Luboff Choir, Carmen Dragon and the Railroad Hour Orchestra, and announcer Marvin Miller

Monday, November 9, 1953 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by the Association of American Railroads

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