Discoveries, Restorations and Revivals

Hello and welcome to another edition of Vintage Media Millennial. This is the second week of writing in the new format, which I explained last time. I guess my intention with the new styling of the blog is to have it be a bit of a mixed bag.

When I started presenting on the radio, I was a little bit obsessed with the idea of themed weeks; The practice of making everything in the product relating to each other in an obvious way. I quickly learned that this was unsustainable, and that sometimes it is acceptable to be more subtle. The concept of this blog has always been based around the millennial experience of vintage media, which i hope is enough connection.

I guess if there is a theme going through the blog this week, it’s that of revival and reinvention.


The Midnight Special Channel on YouTube

The Midnight Special is one of those iconic music shows that I was aware of, but never actually saw. That was, however, until an archive YouTube channel was launched last year. Since then, hundreds of videos have been posted, including weekly episodes stemming from the show’s first year in 1973. The next year begins this weekend, but I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on what I’ve seen so far.

The show’s first year was a varied mish mash that eventually found it’s identity. You can see that they tried to inject comedy in-between the music in the early stages, but this was slowly toned down. Then they tried occasional themed weeks, where the acts were a little more close together in genre. I’ve seen several 50s nostalgia fests, a British Invasion special and a couple of Country focused weeks. These were fun rides that got better each time, and gave us glimpses of music legends in a completely live setting.

The show flourished when everything came together from all directions. Soul artists next to Hard Rock, Country and Blues; Concrete evidence of the sheer amount of variety available in 1973. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings! The Midnight Special can be watched on YouTube.


I Bought Something From The Warner Archive

I don’t know about anyone else, but it does appear that physical media is slowly returning to the masses. I would say this is especially true of classic movies fans, who I feel are being grossly underserved on streaming platforms. The likes of Comcast and Disney own tons of movie history, but they do very little with it. The same can’t be said for Warner Bros, or specifically the Warner Archive.

The Warner Archive Collection has been running for 15 years and offers gems from the libraries of Warner Bros, RKO, pre-1986 MGM and other things the company owns. I have long been fascinated by the US-based online store, which offers thousands of restored Blu-ray’s I’d love to see. I have often considered ordering one of their region free releases, but the cost of doing so made it difficult.

Last week, I discovered that the collection had launched in the UK in the last year. It offers a much slimmed-down catalogue, but there was enough to peak my interest. I opted to buy The Gold Diggers of 1933, an iconic musical that is over 90 years old!

I have yet to receive the film, but I’m looking forward to seeing it for the first time. Its one of those musicals you hear about, but rarely see; I’m especially eager to see the Busby Berkley choreography in action. I’ll review the film once I’ve seen it.


Beware! Insects and Spiders

Written by Jane Grandle

Beware! Insects and Spiders contains 28 tracks themed around bugs. Although styled as something appropriate for Hallowe’en, much of this compilation consists of novelty and comedy numbers. Most of the tracks are either peppy instrumentals, such as Winifred Atwell’s Bumble Boogie or full-on comedy numbers.

A standout is John Zacherly’s The Spider and the Fly, in which Zacherly uses a Dracula-style voice and a Ross Bagdasarian-style technique to great comedic effect. The Nobles’ Black Widow is a smooth instrumental piece reminiscent of groups such as The Shadows and The Ventures. The Royal Teens’ Little Cricket also stands up as a fun song in keeping with many of the novelty numbers included.

Please visit Bear Family Records’ website for more information and full tracklisting.

Thank you for reading this edition of Vintage Media Millennial. If you have any thoughts on the content above, please leave a comment below. Alternatively, you can email with the subject line VMM.

Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

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