Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Tracking Santa... NORAD style

While the North American Aerospace Defense Command is best known scanning for incoming nukes (and making umpteen LPs, featured on this blog), it also has a special mission each Christmas season - tracking Santa Claus, deep from the depths of Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado Springs.

 The story goes that, back in 1948, the United States Air Force issued a communique claiming that an "early warning radar net to the north" had detected one unidentified sleigh, powered by eight reindeer. The news wire service picked up the report, and ran it as an ongoing news story. Supposedly, seven years later, a child, trying to reach Santa Claus on a hotline number provided in a Sears advertisement, misdialed the number and instead called NORAD (then known as the Continental Air Defense Command). The government, seizing on a public relations opportunity, made tracking Santa, an annual tradition. When the North American Air Defense Command was renamed the North American Aerospace Defense Command in 1981, it began publicizing a hotline number for the general public to call to get updates on Santa Claus's progress.

NORAD now has a very cool on-line tracking site, 
where you can see where Santa is, at any given time - HERE

Dug through my Colorado record stash and found a great copy of an actual 1968 Santa tracking 45. 

Found this 1971 NORAD Tracks Santa LP (Century 71138), earlier this year. The album, voiced by Air Force Master Sgt. Lee Mosley, also includes an entire side of songs, performed by the NORAD Commanders musical group, and a recitation of the story "The Littlest Angel," performed by Major Derek Stannard, Canadian Forces.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Fighting for Tomorrow

Spent yesterday in Colorado Springs, hitting a big estate sale warehouse business, over on the east side of the Interstate. Discovered a couple of Colorado finds, including this disc from Council Recordings, in Denver.

The 33rpm spoken word record was produced by the Office of Price Administration. Founded in 1941, the OPA was established within the Office for Emergency Management to control money and rents after the outbreak of World War II.

Apparently, as part of its public relations effort, the OPA interviewed wounded WWII soldiers, who were recovering at Denver's Fitzsimons General Hospital / Army Medical Center. I had never seen these records, and I could find nothing on this public relations campaign.

The interviews were conducted by Staff Sgt. Bill Walker, who served as the public relations officer, for the hospital. The heavily-scripted audio provided listeners with a first-person account of "what it's like to live overseas," as told by a WWII soldier.

Walker interviewed T/5 (technician fifth grade) Gene Dorman, of Indianapolis, IN.  According to the audio, Dorman with the 82nd Airborne Infantry. He was wounded during the invasion of Normandy, on July 27, 1944, at Saint-Lô.

The flipside of the disc includes an interview with Cpl. Manuel Marks, of Wichita KS. Sadly, that audio is too beat up to include.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Solve the Mystery - Maxine, Marilyn, Rhoda, and Edith

Yesterday I hit up the Pueblo ARC thrift store, in search of esoteric Colorado vinyl. My eyes immediately focused on four Audiodisc / Recordio records, with handwritten labels. For a buck a piece, I didn't think twice. I took the whole batch home.

As you know, it's always a mystery with these homemade recordings. When I put them on the turntable, I heard what sounded like a Sweet Adeline (female barbershop quartet) group.

The labels noted "Tetra Chords" and "Maxine - lead, Marilyn - Baritone, Rhoda - Tenor, Edith - Bass." The other homemade records only showed the names of the songs, along with "1950 Pueblo." All had the same vocal group, performing various heavy-on-the-harmony songs.

So I hit the Internet and quickly find that there was a group called the Tetra Chords, in the Sweet Adeline archives, but the dates are way off - that particular group won the the Queens of Harmony title, in 1978. Also those members names were not the same as those on the records I found (Tenor: Terry Mohn D'Amato, Lead: Patti Frei, Baritone: Sandi Spilker Wright, and Bass: Nancee Reinhold). They were also from Missouri.

EDIT: Shortly after I posted this story, my friend Jane Fraser located this picture: 

This Colorado Tetrachords group (1964) was out of Littleton, however it's quite possible one of the members ended up in Pueblo, at some time. Thank you for finding this, Jane!

So, dear readers, I look to you for any additional help in solving this mystery. Anyone know who Maxine, Marilyn, Rhoda, and Edith are?