"David Bonner's fascinating look at the nostalgic world of Young People's Records takes the reader far beyond memory lane and into the political and philosophical worlds of those who planned them, wrote them, and performed on them. The complicated history of a host of record labels that sprung from those children's discs, which Mr. Bonner recounts, adds to the tremendous value of his book. Anyone who grew up with these priceless records must read what's on these pages."—Peter Bay, Conductor, Austin Symphony Orchestra

"I grew up with Young People's Records. 'The Funniest Song In The World' featuring Groucho Marx and 'By Rocket To The Moon' with Raymond Scott helped mold the mind of the boy who became Dr. Demento. Here's the whole story of how those and hundreds of other YPR favorites were created by some of the most progressive thinkers and artists of their times, how they became a target for those in the McCarthy era and later those who sought to repress and confine the minds of young Americans, and how their spirit of joy in knowledge perseveres."—Dr Demento, Syndicated Radio Personality


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

AMICA Bulletin

Pictured is the August/September 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors' Association. On the cover is Judith Sidorsky in 1926. She was 14 years old at the time, when she recorded a piano roll (possibly two) for the Welte-Mignon company. Piano roll collectors were unaware of the roll's existence until 2007, when a dealer in Michigan unearthed one of them. When I found out about it, I contacted Judith's son Rob with the news. Turned out that he had in his possession the roll that Judith had been given back in 1926; it had been in the family -- unheard -- for all those years. So he sent the roll to me, and I took it over to a gentleman here in Austin named Ken Caswell, a leading piano roll expert who has a couple of the world's finest "reproducing pianos" for playing such rolls. It was quite a treat getting to hear the roll, 82 years after it was originally made, on Ken's LOUD, vintage Feurich piano.

Molarsky Quintet

The insert for the album that Delmar Molarsky recorded for the Timely label in 1940.

Living Language

A circular that was included in Living Language boxes.

Boulanger's class

Nadia Boulanger at piano. Horace Grenell 6th from right.

A page from Horace Grenell's FBI File

(Click on picture to enlarge.)

I didn't receive Horace Grenell's 350-page FBI file until after my book was published. Unlike most FBI files, this one actually contains some interesting stuff. One thing that makes it different is that it is actually two separate files. There's the original file which was initiated in 1951, and then another file initiated in 1965 as part of a security clearance when Grenell was hired to do a recording job for the White House. So in addition to a new investigation, the 1965 file includes an historical review of the 1951 file.

To be continued...

Ned Rorem at Desto session

Ned Rorem, Jim Holmes, Helen Vanni, Horace Grenell, Phyllis Curtin at a recording session of Gloria, September 27, 1972. (Photo by Eugene Cook)

Monday, January 21, 2008

ARS Catalog

The artwork is by Russell Patterson. It is the same image that was used on the plastic Music Treasures of the World jackets.

Langston Hughes

(Click on picture to enlarge.)

SOUNDS by Horace Grenell and William Schuman

Rough sketch of the cover of a manuscript, apparently intended to accompany an album for the then-new Musicraft label. More (but not much more) about this in RCR.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

World Record Club

Here's one of several CRG titles licensed by the World Record Club of Australia. There was also a club in Australia called the Children's Record Guild, but it didn't have anything to do with the American CRG.

Another Little Bitty Baby

Tom Glazer (credited here by the pseudonym "Hopkins") made the first recording (for YPR) of the African-American spiritual "Go, I Will Send Thee," which he re-titled "Little Bitty Baby." The song was subsequently recorded many times, by many singers. This Columbia recording indicates YPR as the song's publisher.

Abe Pomerantz is Watching You

A feature article in Fortune magazine (late 1960s) about YPR's original owner.

Sidorsky Welte-Mignon

Friday, January 18, 2008


This Ajay postcard is addressed on the reverse to Judith Sidorsky.

Doubleday Stevenson

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Train to the Zoo

I think I already posted this, didn't I?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wrigley's Chewing Gum

A YPR promo tie-in with Wrigley's Gum, circa 1947. (Click to enlarge.)

Girl playing "Toy Symphony"


Score for Emperor's New Clothes

(Click on picture to enlarge.)

Commissioned by YPR, premiered by the New York Philharmonic in 1949.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Abe Pomerantz

This dates from about 1968. Photo by Duane Michaels.

Universal Recording lacquer disc

YPR Brochure

Rob Grenell as the "Phonograph Boy"

Saturday, January 5, 2008

George Rasely

Star of Robin Hood, Emperor's New Clothes, etc.