Sunday, February 12, 2012

Noropa - Amsterdam

A Dutch advertisement for English durium records: Durium brengt de nieuwste dansplaten binnen ieders bereik. (= Durium brings the latest dance records within everybody's reach) Mind the funny Dutchmen in their local dress ( Source: Nieuwsblad van het Noorden - 8th of July 1932) ( bron: Historische Kranten Koninklijke Bibliotheek)
The Hit of the Week Records were recorded between 1930 and mid 1932 in the US and distributed in a weekly schedule at the newspaper stands all around the country. Not all records were sold during these weekly ( or two week) limited period, so Durium took had to take all unsold records back in stock and sold it to people who loved to "complete" their collection ( the so-called Records for your Hit.of.the.Week. Library) or shipped it in large quantities for the European markets.
Advertisement for an extra income ( Bijverdienste ƒ 200 ,- per maand) ( source: Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad, 26th of April, 1933)
The Hit of the Week records were sold in England, Scandinavia ( as Veckans skiva), Holland and France ( re-labelled as Sefono, ABS, DoReMi, Dancing and a half dozen of other record labels. ). In Holland it could have been that Noropa distributed those Hit of the week records. I found an advertisement where it promotes the English durium records: durium brengt de nieuwste dansplaten binnen ieders bereik (= Durium brings the latest dance records within everybody's reach). Pre 1932 advertisements learn that Noropa seems to have been an importer ( like fountain pens). Fact is that long after the Durium US-firm was broken ( Summer 1932) these Hit of the Week records were sold in large quantities in so-called bargain shops, "dime-stores" ( In Holland this name wasn't used).
Noropa Taalcursus Fransch ( Noropa Language Course French) (record IV) ( Hans Koert collection)
In April 1933 the N.V. Noropa firm, located at the Heerengracht 270 in Amsterdam, placed an advertisement with the head Bijverdienste ƒ 200,- per maand, ( Extra income 200 guilders each month). The Dutch text reads that it is very easy to earn an extra income of ƒ 200,- each month, selling the unbreakable Durium records to your friends and family, promissing a high commission. The suggested retail price is one guilder each. A sample of 5 records ( 10 tracks) could be obtained for ƒ 2,50
A Noropa Language Course advertisemenbt: De moderne Mensch dient zijn talen te kennen: Dit is goedkoop met Noropa ( = The modern men should know his languages. Enjoy this cheap opportunity with Noropa) ( Source: Nieuws van de dag voor Ned. Indië ( 15th of March, 1935) ( bron: Historische Kranten Koninklijke Bibliotheek)
The Noropa firm distributed language course, Taalcursussen, in fancy boxes. Three different Taalcursussen were released, Engelsch ( English) - Duitsch ( German) and Fransch (French). Each course contained six cardboard Durium records, labeled Noropa and a text book. The Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad of November 1933 shows an article about the Noropa's Taalcursus Engelsch. It reads that Noropa is preparing to publish several language courses in Duitsch, Fransch, Spaansch ( Spanish) and Italiaansch (Italian) and that the English one is ready to be published. Mind that the Spanish and Italian language course have never been released. In the Middelburgsche Courant which also published the story in November 1933 ( the story was published in several national newspapers) these Noropa Taalcursussen were distributed by NV-Publiciteits-Onderneming Rudolf Mosse from Amsterdam, which seems to have been a publisher.
A RN Kleintje ( a Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad page with small private advertisements) offers fonkelnieuwe, brand new Noropa taalcursussen. ( source: Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad - 20th of August, 1940)
In a public advertisement site in the Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad, entitled RN Kleintjes, from August 1940 ( the Second World War had just started), a person offers brand new Noropa language courses, including a windup gramophone for ƒ 55 guilders. He also offers an Underwood typewriter. Maybe this advertisement is symptomatically for the quality of the Noropa language courses, as even today only unused, new copies seem to have survived – I wonder who ever learned a foreign language with these courses!

In a previous post I wrote about the Noropa Taalcursus Duitsch

Hans Koert
author of the (online) Hit of the Week-Durium Discographies

Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Making of .... a Marathon Radio program

Last summer the final album of the Complete Hit of the Week Recordings, released by Archeophone Records has been published. Such a huge project would have been impossible without a decent Hit of the Week discography. In some previous blogs I presented you the birth and growth of such a discography in a series The making of ...............
Jean-Christophe Averty

When the 6th edition of the Hit of the Week Discography had been published I received a lot of commends from collectors all around the world. ......... I was surprised to get a telephone call from Paris one day in the summer of 1998 by a rather excited Jean-Christophe Averty, who told me, in a kind of broken English, that he had heard from the discography and that he wanted to have a copy of it ..... tout de suite. ( = as soon as possible). I'd send him a copy of the book and a week later he called me again and labelled the discography as a piece of art. Jean-Christophe Averty, he must be now in his 80s, wun his spurs at the France Broadcast during the last 60 years, producing jazz and French vintage records, as a jazz historian, as a host for dozens of TV and radio programs and as a 78rpm. record collector. ....... I wrote about him in a previous blog dedicated to the quest for information:
The making of .. the Quest.

Jean-Christophe Averty was a host at hundreds of TV and radio programs, like Jazz for The Happy Few. One of the projects he loved to present was a series of radio programs with all his Sefono, Dancing, DoReMi and MP's and other French Hit of the Week records in his collection ........ Mind that the Hit of the Week label was released with french label in France. Some weeks before he received the Hit of the Week discography he had started this project and had shared some of the earliest Hit of the weeks he had in his collection with the listeners of his program ......... One of his regular listeners must have pointed him to my discography. The Hit of the Week discography he had studied mentioned some early Hit of the weeks he didn't had in his collection, so he asked me, or shall I say ordered me, to send him cassette tapes of these first Hit of the Weeks, so he could start over a series of programs dedicated to his favorite record label. ........ I did and Jean-Christophe re-started the series presenting all Hit of the Week recordings in chronological order starting with the Hit of the Week 1019 ( "Tip-Toe Through The Tulips With Me" ), the promo record and 1020 (Through - Bert Lown's Hotel Biltmore Music), the first commercial release of Hit of the Week. Between March and April 1999 each week two Hit of the Week records were played ......... ( with a four week intermission during the month of August). As in Holland we couldn’t receive this France Culture on radio ( I don't think the internet offered radio programs in streaming audio in those days) I received the programs on cassette tape from Iwan Fresart, a Belgian collector from Waavre (near Brussels), who was a regular listener of the program.
Fragment of one of the cassette tapes as made by Iwan Fresart ( collection: Hans Koert)

It was a pity that in April 1999 he had to stop the program, as but few people listened to the program, which started at midnight .........
Jean-Christophe was allowed to host a similar program entitled Les Cinglés du Music-Hall, which was transmitted between October 1999 and May 2002 at two o’clock in the morning (!) in which he could play just one Hit of the Week, each week. In may 2002 he could play the final Hit of the Week record: Hummin' to Myself by Phil Spitalny's Music. In the studio Jean-Christophe invited for the program Jazz for the Happy Few one or two guests, to discuss the records. Jean Christophe, who is an authority on this kind of vintage music, informed the listeners about the origins of the songs and the musicians and gave the Hit of the week recordings its place between other recordings of the early 1930s.
One of the cassette. (Hans Koert collection)

His French was almost inarticulated, even for native French speakers, and before the started to play the cardboard record he read out loud all my information from the discography, to the letter, including all personnel, matrices, takes, label information, notes and names of composers and arrangers, all at double speed in his well known broken English.

I wonder how many people have heard this Marathon Radio project ........ but it nourished my dream to share all Hit of the Week Recordings in chronological order with the rest of the world .............

Deze blog werd ook in het Nederlands gepubliceerd als The Making of ... de radioprogramma's van Jean-Christophe Averty

Hans Koert
author of the Hit of the Week-Durium discographies and the online Hit of the Week Discography