Yiddish Radio Project
Narrated By: ,
Publisher: HighBridge Company
Date: June 2002
Duration: 2 hours 18 minutes
Living moments in the history from the Golden Age of Yiddish radio (1930-1955), heard nationally on NPR's All Things Considered
From the 1930s to '50s, Yiddish radio was popular from coast to coast. By 1985, it was all but forgotten. Then musician/historian Henry Sapoznik discovered a few dozen acetate-coated aluminum discs at a rummage sale. He tracked down a special turntable, put on the first disc and heard:
"From atop the Loews State Theater Building, the B. Manischewitz Company, world's largest matzo bakers, happily presents Yiddish Melodies in Swing..."
Sapoznik spent the next 17 years searching for more surviving discs. Most had been melted down during WWII scrap-metal drives, others had disintegrated, but he found over a thousand--in attics, storerooms, even dumpsters. Each fragile artifact was a one-of-a-kind window into Jewish immigrant culture during the first half of the 20th century. Searing dramas, swinging music, news programs, advice and game shows, man-on-the-street interviews, commercials, and shtick leaped to life after decades of silence.
Lovingly restored, with translations performed by a cast including Carl Reiner, Eli Wallach, and Yiddish stars, the Yiddish Radio Project is a journey through time to a lost world--intimate, passionate, raucous, and utterly fascinating.