"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


Friday, September 19, 2008

Milo Sutliff testimony on Record Clubs (1956)

In early 1956, Milo Sutliff testified before Congress regarding the record club business. He said: "Last year I took a census which was not very difficult because I called the Book of the Month Club and found out how many records they ship and I called Music Masterworks and found out how many they shipped and of course I knew how many [of Music Treasures of the World] we shipped, and between us we shipped 3,300,000 classical symphony records through the mail." In contrast, he continued, "We shipped, maybe, 30,000 pop records." As of that moment, Sutliff reported that MTW had 599,411 members, adding that "some of them have canceled—lots of them—actually, 185,000 have canceled, and never bought a record. They said, 'Send me this for 10 cents, and they never bought a record.'"

Grenell's FBI File: Advertising Men's Post 209

To my surprise, there are a few interesting nuggets in Horace Grenell's FBI file (which I didn't receive until after RCR was published). In one document, for example, an FBI agent claims that YPR/CRG co-owner Milo Sutliff was an American Legionnaire. Sure enough, the New York Times archive confirms that Sutliff was at one time (1931) the Commander of the Advertising Men's Post 209 of the American Legion. Which adds a touch of irony to the Legion's attacks on YPR.