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About this video

Beginning in 1940, the Bell System sponsored The Telephone Hour, a music-oriented radio show. The program was actually only a half-hour long, and ran on Monday nights. It became a radio staple, averaging 8 million listeners per week. In 1959, the show moved to television. 

This 1945 film is a 14-minute behind-the-scenes at the radio version of The Telephone Hour. It is much like the similar, but later, Rehearsal film from the Bell System. Leslie Roush, who specialized in filming jazz and classical music during the 1930s and 1940s, produced both films. The Telephone Hour not only showcases the radio performers, it also traces how radio signals were syndicated to multiple cities over long-distance telephone lines at this time.

Pianist Josef Hofmann, the star here, appeared on The Telephone Hour eight times between 1943 and 1947, near the end of his career. Many of these recordings are available to listen to on the web, via uploaded transcription disc recordings.

Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

Release date: 12/16/2014