British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Audio Recording History Compilation

A compilation of 8 classic audio innovation films of the 1940s and 1950s, redigitised and included on 2 DVDs.

A REVOLUTIONARY NEW TRIUMPH IN TAPE (1958, 14:54)- Before the diminutive audio cassette there was this enormous predecessor, which for all its obscurity laid the technological groundwork for high quality miniaturisation of future audio components and formats. But first, a showing of LIVING STEREO, featured later on in this DVD, introduces the subject of hi-fidelity sound.
A VISIT TO WURLITZER (1950, 40:19) - The classic colour manufacturing film of the cold war era, giving the viewer a tour of the famed Wurlitzer "coin-operated phonograph" (a.k.a. "jukebox") factory of North Tonawanda, N. Y. and showing off its facilities, location and manufacturing processes.
COMMAND PERFORMANCE (1942, 18:58) - Made at a time when the 78 RPM phonograph record was in its heyday and serving worldwide to keep morale high during the Second World War, this extraordinary film illuminates exactly how phonograph records were created, starting from the recording studio through the creation of master discs all the way to the the finished phonograph product on the factory floor.
HOW TO LISTEN TO...NEW DIMENSIONS IN SOUND (1957, 17:44) - RCA proudly unveils its innovation in audio, stereo sound and hi-fidelity reproduction. What we nowadays consider to be the audio quality that makes a recording sound "modern" originated in this extraordinary technological advance.
LIVING STEREO (1958, 7:42) - Take a ride through a record groove as the grooviness takes you up, down and all around, another filmed example of the pride of RCA circa late 1950s, the stereophonic recording.
THE SOUND AND THE STORY (1956, 58:50) - RCA’s lucid, detailed explanation on how the long playing 33 1/3 "LP" vinyl record recording, the medium through which the world first heard high-fidelity (a.k.a. "Hi-Fi") sound was produced, recorded, and manufactured.
SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCTION (SOUND ON FILM) (1943, 10:39) -An excellent explanation of how sound recordings are put onto motion picture film with plenty of great and easy-to-understand diagrams and clever animations.
WANNA BUY A RECORD? (1951, 29:58) - A colour film starring the famous voice of Bugs Bunny showing the making of a phonograph record within the domain of the Capitol Records company, from initial recordings in Hollywood, California to manufacture in Scranton, Pennsylvania, for the purposes of motivating the label’s executives. Never before seen by the public.
United States
Year of release
Also available in a 9-DVD set entitled MEDIA RECORDING HISTORY MEGASET, which also contains 3 volumes of TELEVISION BROADCAST HISTORY, 3 volumes of RADIO BROADCAST HISTORY and 1 volume of NEWSPAPER HISTORY films (PRICE $49.49).
Film studies; Media studies; Technology
archive films; technological innovation; sound recording

Distribution Formats

Region 0 NTSC
240 minutes



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Specialises in US archival moving image and sound material, particularly vintage radio and public service films and broadcasts that have been digitally restored. Formerly known as Sale on multi-region DVD or CD.

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