Sound recordings chronicling Kansas City news and entertainment from 1930s - 1950s now available to UMKC and community researchers.
UMKC Libaries' Marr Sound Archives has cataloged nearly 3,000 sound recordings and digitally preserved over 445 hours of radio programming from the Arthur B. Church KMBC Radio Collection.
The sound recordings include a wide range of Church's original programming which gained national prominence as a CBS-affiliated station. Among the highlights are a number of library transcription service discs from Arthur B. Church Productions featuring the catalogs of the Tune Chasers, Bonnie King, Harry Jenks, Rhythm Riders, Tex Owens, notable Western swing group turned Hollywood film musical sensation, The Texas Rangers, along with live performances and rehearsal recordings of the Kansas City Philharmonic. Additionally, the collection includes over twenty hours of The Brush Creek Follies, an immensely popular barn dance show which ran Saturday nights on KMBC for over twenty years, as well as rural programming (Night Time on the Trail, Happy Hollow, Life on Red Horse Ranch), and nationally-syndicated soap operas (Vic and Sade, Bachelor’s Children).
Beyond entertainment, the collection includes many historically significant news and political items, including CBS’ The World Today featuring John Charles Daly, Edward R. Murrow and William L. Shirer; news coverage of the war including speeches by Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Pope Pius XI, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Douglas MacArthur, and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz; and Kansas City 1942 election coverage and political ads. Many radio personalities began their careers at KMBC, including John Cameron Swayze, Ted Malone, Walter Cronkite and Caroline Ellis, and their early recordings can now be heard. A special web site has been created to highlight the contents of the collection.
The cataloger was Special Projects Catalog Librarian, Sandy Rodriguez, with the assistance of students from the College of Arts and Sciences; the audio engineer was Andrew Hansbrough. Read more about Sandy's experience cataloging the collection.
Arthur Church, Jr. donated the Arthur B. Church KMBC Radio Collection to UMKC in 1996. Focusing on radio pioneer Arthur B. Church's involvement with the Kansas City, Mo.-based KMBC radio station, the collection includes a timeline, business correspondence, ledgers and contracts, as well as the sound recordings (which date from the 1930s through the 1950s) and disc stampers, the metal plates used to press (or stamp) vinyl discs. Promotional material related to KMBC is included, as well as scripts to the programs Phenomenon and Life on the Red Horse Ranch. The collection includes items related to the Texas Rangers, including songbooks and record labels for numerous pressings produced by Church. Other items found in the collection include internal and external station newsletters, newspaper clippings, music scores and memorabilia.
For more information and to use the collections, contact Chuck Haddix, Marr Sound Archives (816) 235-2798.