(5 stars; 1 reviews)

The biggest names in Hollywood and Broadway recorded for AFRS during the war years, The American Forces Network can trace its origins back to May 26, 1942, when the War Department established the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS). The U.S. Army began broadcasting from London during World War II, using equipment and studio facilities borrowed from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The first transmission to U.S. troops began at 5:45 p.m. on July 4, 1943 and included less than five hours of recorded shows, a BBC news and sports broadcast. That day, Corporal Syl Binkin became the first U.S. Military broadcaster heard over the air. The signal was sent from London via telephone lines to five regional transmitters to reach U.S. troops in the United Kingdom as they made preparations for the inevitable invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe. Fearing competition for civilian audiences the BBC initially tried to impose restrictions on AFN broadcasts within Britain (transmissions were only allowed from American Bases outside London and were limited to 50 watts of transmission power) and a minimum quota of British produced programming had to be carried. Nevertheless AFN programmes were widely enjoyed by the British civilian listeners who could receive them and once AFN operations transferred to continental Europe (shortly after D-Day) AFN were able to broadcast with little restriction with programmes available to civilian audiences across most of Europe (including Britain) after dark. As D-Day approached, the network joined with the BBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to develop programs especially for the Allied Expeditionary Forces. Mobile stations, complete with personnel, broadcasting equipment, and a record library were deployed to broadcast music and news to troops in the field. The mobile stations reported on front line activities and fed the news reports back to studio locations in London.

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.



AFRS - Globe Theatre - A Christmas Carol - Lionel Barrymore 12-23-44 29:47
AFRS 015 - Jack Benny 01-07-45 29:36
AFRS 019 - Amos & Andy - Three Times And Youre Out 02-11-44 24:44
AFRS 021 - Enchanted Keyboard - Art Tatum xx-xx-51 15:50
AFRS 022 - Enchanted Keyboard - Jack Crossan xx-xx-51 15:48
AFRS 025 - Your All Time Hit Parade - From Carnagie Hall 04-02-44 29:32
AFRS 026 - Take A Record Please - Frank Devol - first song - Dream A While xx-x… 31:04
AFRS 034 - Amos & Andy - Andy The Fugitive 05-26-44 26:07
AFRS 051 - The Inside Track - Fred Hessler (host) xx-xx-51 15:36
AFRS 052 - The Inside Track - Fred Hessler (host) xx-xx-51 15:42
AFRS 066 - Kollege of Musical Knowledge - From Los Alamedas 01-19-44 30:13
AFRS 077 - Bob Hope - Stockton Air Field 10-17-44 30:42
AFRS 101 - Jukebox USA - first song - Mambo Jambo xx-xx-51 31:08
AFRS 102 - Jukebox USA - first song - Sunny Side Of The Street xx-xx-51 30:46
AFRS 103 - Jukebox USA - first song - Dixieland Band xx-xx-52 30:59
AFRS 104 - Jukebox USA - first song - Rhapsody In Wood xx-xx-52 31:12
AFRS 105 - Jukebox USA - first song - Nightmare xx-xx-52 31:14
AFRS 129 - Jubillee - Benny Carter - Nat King Cole Trio - Eddie (Rochester) And… 29:54
AFRS 151 - Angelus xx-xx-51 31:16
AFRS 2035 - Words With Music (without poetry) 15:42
AFRS 2036 - Words With Music (with poetry) - Lurene Tuttle 15:37
AFRS 2037 - Words With Music (without poetry) 15:40
AFRS 2038 - Words With Music (with poetry) 15:43
AFRS 2039 - Words With Music (without poetry) 15:45
AFRS 2040 - Words With Music (with poetry) 15:48
AFRS 2213 - GI Jive - Erskine Hawkins - Tippin' In 15:31
AFRS 2214 - GI Jive - Count Basie - Basie's Basement 15:17
AFRS 2268 - GI Jive Stan Kenton - June Christy It's Been A Long Long Time 15:12
AFRS 2269 - GI Jive - Erskine Hawkins Rose Room 15:18
AFRS 232 - Redd Harpers Hollywood Roundup xx-xx-52 31:01
AFRS 470 - Showtime - The Red Mill xx-xx-51 30:54
AFRS 479 - Command Performance - Coleen Gray - Margaret Whiting - Jackie Gleaso… 31:17
AFRS 785 - One Night Stand - Les Brown - Doris Day 09-04-45 28:52


Thanks so very much for posting these! -- The Benny Show is a classic!

(5 stars)

Many of these shows are circulating among radio collectors, but these are big sound improvements. Others are new and have not been available before. The Showtime episode is the AFRS rebroadcast of a missing episode of Chicago Theater of the Air dated 1951-03-03. Another collector has advised me that the Your All Time Hit Parade is compiled from the network broadcast of 1943-12-03 (verified by script) where the AFRS edited the show and added extra songs to this version. The network recording does not exist, so this AFRS version is a real find. And as far as the Benny goes, this is in excellent sound compared to the circulating AFRS copy most collectors have. But... this one's a favorite episode because it includes two of the show's most famous routines, Jack going down to his vault, and his trip to the train station with Mel Blanc as the track announcer. It's the debut of the "Anaheim, Azuza, and Cuc-amunga" routine. Thanks again for so generously posting these recordings!