On the Turntable

Occasionally I’ll say what’s “on the turntable.” And today, it’s Dvorak’s Te Deum (a rare 10″ LP version). This is a strong choral piece with a great ending. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I’m a big fan of Antonin Dvorak.

A recent LP find is the “Golden Treasury of Catholic Verse.” The LP includes introductions by Fr. Gilbert Hartke, O.P.

Bl. Miguel Pro — The Movie

When I saw For Greater Glory, I noticed that Bl. Miguel Pro was noticeably absent, but I also thought, “But there is a movie about him already.” A portrayal of his execution is present at the end of the movie, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of him otherwise.

Yes, there was a movie made about Bl. Miguel Pro. It’s not the greatest, but it does exist. The original title is Rain for a Dusty Summer, but it is currently marketed on DVD as Guns of the Revolution.

It’s a low budget movie made in 1971 using “Spaghetti Western” techniques–filmed in Spain mainly.

Overall, it’s fair, but there are some hilarious scenes of Bl. Miguel Pro hiding in plain sight and evading the authorities. It shows that an excellent movie could be made about him. It would put the audience in stitches.

The performance of Fr. Humberto Almazán as Padre Miguel Pro is excellent. He actually is a priest, and was when he acted the role! He brings out the clowning, playful character of the blessed who, by keeping things light, was able to help people during a very difficult time in Mexican history.

There Will Be Time Later

World War II was still raging less than 70 years ago.

A soliloquy about it written in 1944 by Norman Corwin called “There Will Be Time Later,” brings the reality of those days to the listener.

From 68 years ago: August 15, 1944: There Will Be Time Later.

This will give you pause to give thanks to God for the relatively peaceful situation we live in today.

There is, without a doubt, a longing for peace that is palpable in this soliloquy, but a recognition that it has not come yet. But also, hope. Why listen to this now? I guess you have to listen to it to see why.

War of the Vendee

This is a rather unusual movie, telling of the complete loss of religious freedom during the French Revolution (i.e. the State suppresses the Church), and some Frenchmen who would not stand for it.

The movie is unusual in that all the parts are played by young people under the age of 21.

This doesn’t necessarily take away from the intensity of the movie, however. Take a look at the trailer: The War of the Vendee.

There are many more movies from various parts of history (especially the 20th century) that could be made on this topic. Will we start to see more now?

Fr. Z’s review explains more about the unusual casting.

I Finally Saw October Baby.

I’ve wanted to see the movie for a while, but Holy Week was particularly busy, as was the time around Mercy Sunday, and then there have been other things that have come up.

My main reaction is, “Wow!”

I don’t feel adequate to review the film, but here’s something from an interview with Jon Erwin (director of the film) that sums it up pretty well:

“I believe the film is much more than just a pro-life film. I think it’s a celebration of life. It’s about forgiveness, it’s about love, it’s about knowing who you are, it’s about a lot of different things, and most of all it’s about the power of forgiveness.” – Jon Erwin, 5 Questions With Jon Erwin

Indeed. I think I recommend this about twice as much as I would recommend Bella. This movie does have some dialogue written for a Catholic priest that, I suspect, was not written by a Catholic, but it’s a mild complaint.

Yes, if you can, you should see it. I’m also excited that there will be some scenes in the DVD that were cut from the film, per the above referenced interview.

I also note that one of the executive producers, Dave Allen Johnson, was the creator of Sue Thomas FBEye. I’ve been rather impressed with his work over the years. I’m glad he was part of this success.

My Review of October Baby in IMDB

Year by Year LPs (or the Year in Review LP)

Updated January 8, 2015

Some spoken word LPs concerned news events over a particular period of time. Some were concerned with the previous year. Here are many of the sets that can be found — some more common and some quite rare.

The granddaddy is probably Edward R. Murrow’s “I Can Hear it Now” series. It was originally released in a 78 RPM set called “I Can Hear it Now 1933-1945” in 1948. Two other sets were issued, and eventually this was released in a 3 LP set covering 1919-1949. It is somewhat in demand and often sells for over $10. We have a set I got from the MLK Washington, DC Public Library when they were getting rid of a lot of spoken word LPs.

D3L-366 I Can Hear it Now

Columbia may have led the way for the LPs focusing on a particular year. “The Big News of ’57” was a two LP album. There is a fairly rare “The Big News of ’58” sometimes found for sale. “The Big News of ’59” was one LP and was narrated by Walter Cronkite.

Gateway Records did a series for Radio Press International from 1962-1964 (at least) called “History in Sound” “1962 in Review”, etc. These appear to be quite rare. Decca records released two years of “year in review” records from UPI called “Playback ’65” and “Playback ’66.”

(UPI acquired RPI, and you can listen to UPI year in review programs from 1959 to 1994 (broken up into small sound files) at this page.)

Starting with 1963, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley released “A Time to Keep.” They also released editions for 1964 and 1965. We currently have the 1964 edition.

In 1965, Associated Press started their “World in Sound” LPs, which ran until 1982. We currently have the 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, and 1981 editions.

CBS News returned to do “year in review” records with “The Incredible Year” (1968). We have that one. Charles Kuralt also narrates 1969 and 1970 LPs.

The Longines Symphonette produced some “year in review” records for 1971-1974 (?).

Group W (Westinghouse Broadcasting Company) produced the “Perspective” series of “year in review” LPs. Each was a two record set. They say “Not for Broadcast” and “Not for Sale.” What were they for, then? They start with “Perspective ’71” and conclude with “Perspective ’78”. Each is subtitled “an aural review.” We have the 1974 and 1976 editions.

WBBM produced two “year in review” records for St. Paul Federal Savings of Chicago in 1968 and 1969. They are very professional and have something of a Chicago bent to them. The 1968 LP is called “The Impossible Year” and the 1969 is called “Prelude to the 70’s.” We have the 1969 LP.

There are others — even more obscure. There is Collier’s Encyclopedia 1965 Edition Year-in-Sound LP, and others like that. Most of them did not have very long runs, though.

Murder in the Cathedral – audio editions

The T.S. Eliot play Murder in the Cathedral is quite an impressive work. It treats the last days of St. Thomas Becket in a symbolic and thought-provoking manner. I think it would be wonderful to see if performed live someday. Still, it is possible to listen to an audio adaptation here and now, (if you can find one, that is).

I know of three. One was done in the 1950s, one in the 1960s, and one in the 1970s. All were released on vinyl. One was re-released on cassette and now on CD (in the UK) and MP3.

The first is performed by Robert Donat and the Old Vic Company. This was released in the 1950s, and one can find an occasional set on Gemm, Musicstack, or Ebay. However, it was re-released on cassette, and used copies are available through Amazon. Now, it has been released on CD and MP3 files. Amazon (UK) has the downloadable MP3 version.

The second is from Caedmon Records. It features Paul Scofield and the Theatre Recording Society. Vinyl copies can be found in the usual places, but often they are $20 or more. It has not been re-released. Someone put this version out on Youtube as a series of files.

The third edition is from Argo Records. The play is performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company and features Richard Pasco as Thomas Becket. (I have this edition.) Some parts that are soft and “in the distance” are a bit difficult to hear. It requires some volume adjustment to enjoy, but is quite well performed. Copies are found in the usual places.

Vatican Radio – To the Ends of the Earth – Radio Drama

I noted recently that the 26 part series by Vatican Radio – To the The Ends of the Earth (based on the Acts of the Apostles) – is still available to listen to (for those with Real Player), but not easy to access. Here are links to at least some episodes:

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10
Episode 11
Episode 12
Episode 13
Episode 14
Episode 15

Episode 17
Episode 18
Episode 19

Episode 22

Final Episode

Note from 1/8/15: Well, it seems that most of the links (except some of the later ones) no longer work. Maybe some day Vatican Radio will release these in some format or give them their own webpage. If you have any connections, maybe you could ask for this.

The Hour of St. Francis – show information

“The Hour of St. Francis” is a radio program that began in December of 1946 and continued through the 1950s. The program was distributed through syndication. A radio station would receive transcription discs of episodes. Each fifteen minute episode presented a dramatic story — often a “modern day parable” which looked at a moral issue or a particular virtue. “The Hour, sponsored by the Third Order of St. Francis, is founded on the belief that sound Catholic teaching and religious inspiration can be combined with entertainment.” (The Sign, December 1949, p. 31)

It was the project of Fr. Hugh Noonan, O.F.M., of St. Joseph’s Church in Los Angeles. He wanted stories that tackled practical problems of modern men and women.

According to the article in The Sign, the programs were financed on a budget of $22,000 a year, which was a rather small budget for a radio show. A “series” of shows meant 39 or 40, and each year a new “series” was produced. “[The money] is raised through a tax of less than fifty cents a year per member of the Third Order Fraternities, supplemented by contributions of the Franciscans of the First Order and the Franciscan Missionary Union.” (ibid.)

The article also mentions the positive impact the show has had on people. “Letters from listeners tell the story of its value. An alcoholic is lifted from the brink of despair; a Catholic vows never to miss Mass again in his life; a young man bedridden and without religious contacts finds his way into the Church.” (ibid.)

Approximately 400 episodes were produces of the program. A few of these are in circulation among Old Time Radio Collectors.

A list of some episodes in circulation.

Some episodes are available through this website, but it requires registration.

Franciscan University of Steubenville, in Steubenville, Ohio, has approximately 28 16″ transcription disks of the radio program, including the entire first series of programs. They have not been transferred to any other media, and there is no player to play them with at the library.

I have a few later episodes on reel to reel tape, and I have transferred some of them to MP3 files. A few of these episodes might be found online, but most are not in circulation.

The copyright to the program is held by the Franciscan Friars of California – Province of St. Barbara. The programs may have fallen into public domain due to a lack of action on the part of the Franciscans, but this is not certain. At present, it seems they have no interest in doing anything with the shows.

The quality of the shows varies, but some are real gems. Perhaps someday they will be available to the public — legally, that is. St. Francis, pray for us.

(Note: Here I only deal with the radio show. The “Hour” became a half-hour TV program in the 1960’s, and its history is also quite obscure. I have not seen any of the episodes of the TV show available anywhere.)

Pope John Paul II at Knock – 1979

A favorite talk of mine of the late Holy Father is this talk at Knock – here is an excerpt.

Here I am at the goal of my journey to Ireland: the Shrine of Our Lady at Knock. Since I first learnt of the centenary of this Shrine, which is being celebrated this year, I have felt a strong desire to come here, the desire to make yet another pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Mother of Christ, the Mother of the Church, the Queen of Peace. Do not be surprised at this desire of mine. It has been my custom to make pilgrimages to the shrines of Our Lady, starting with my earliest youth and in my own country. I made such pilgrimages also as a bishop and as a cardinal. I know very well that every people, every country, indeed every diocese, has its holy places in which the heart of the whole people of God beats, one could say, in more lively fashion: places of special encounter between God and human beings; places in which Christ dwells in a special way in our midst. If these places are so often dedicated to his Mother, it reveals all the more fully to us the nature of his Church. Since the Second Vatican Council, which concluded its Constitution on the Church with the chapter on ‘The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church’, this fact is more evident for us today than ever – yes, for all of us, for all Christians.

You can even listen to Blessed John Paul II speak this entire address at the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference website. (I updated this page to reflect a new link on August 20 2012.)

In Washington, D.C. for Thanksgiving

I’m back at the old Marian Scholasticate. It’s great to come here and not have to be worried about studies. I can just relax and hang out.

The library here is undergoing some renovations, but for the most part, the building is rather familiar.

I worked on a “youth show” of sorts when I was here which never materialized. However, I put the intro for the show out on Youtube:

The guitar was played by Fr. Donald Calloway back when he was also a seminarian.

Archive of Obscure Catholic Audio

I’m developing an archive of rather obscure Catholic audio files… mainly from LPs and reel to reel tapes of yesteryear. These are things which I presume to be in the public domain or have received permission to post.

You will find something for a variety of ages and tastes there (i.e. lives of saints, radio dramas, etc.). The files are listed newest first, so part 2 is shown above part 1 for programs which have 2 parts.

The Archive

Small Things with Great Love

This is one great song. It’s not going to be a big hit. It could be, but listen to the lyrics:

You have not called me to be successful.
You have called me to be faithful.
I can do small things with great love
and make my life something beautiful for God.

Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today.
Let us begin.

Listen to the entire song:
Danielle Rose – Small Things with Great Love
You can also purchase the song for download.