Melissa and Stevie receive a holiday greeting

December 18, 2014
Nathan Coy

A wide range of sound recordings come to SMPL for digitization. Recently two disc recordings from the Archive of Recorded Sound’s Non-Commercial disc collection (ARS 0033) appeared in our queue: 6” duo disc blanks likely dating from the late 1940’s into the early 1950’s with recordings on one side. The discs appear to be have been recorded by a service called Santa Gram that sold semi-custom recorded greetings from Santa to children. 

Below is an image of the Santa Gram label


Below is an image of the label on the unrecorded disc side of Stevie's greeting placing it in the late 1940's or early 1950's 


The content of the recordings is the same except for one spot, when the recipient’s name is spoken.  Based on the audio on the two discs pictured here it appears that a pre-recorded message was played back until the moment of the recipient’s name, at which point a live person would speak the child’s name during a slight pause in the pre-recorded message, thus creating a custom greeting to the child. This characteristic is clearly audible on the two discs featured here due to the match of the pre-recorded message greeting but a vastly different voice at a different level (or volume) at the moment the child’s name is spoken.  Additionally the voices speaking the name of the recipient on the two discs pictured here do not match, suggesting a workshop of elves or perhaps a high turnover rate of elves undertaking this job.  Either way hopefully these disc images put a little jolly in the holiday and perhaps the image of the reverse side of Melissa’s disc featuring the signs of the zodiac will bring a little holiday head scratching too.