GOLDEN GIFT Our thanks to Jerry Lewine, Elizabeth McLeod and Radio Historian Jim Hilliker for this rare recording from the National Archives.
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PLAY Fifteen Minutes with Bing Crosby, KHJ Los Angeles, 1931 (08:45)

. . . that sensational baritone Bing Crosby, whose singing has made him the favorite of California through the mediums of the motion pictures, the vaudeville stage and the radio . . .

[Description by Jerry Lewine]

This KHJ aircheck of Bing Crosby on the CBS network was recorded by the RCA Victor company of Hollywood on September 2, 1931. The recording of this show is fully documented in the Victor files in the National Archive. The show was recorded in two formats — two disconnected selections on 12-inch 78 RPM matrices, as well as the full 15-minute program on a 16-inch 33 1/3 RPM matrix. The 16-inch recording is not known to exist. Victor purged most of the 16" masters during World War II, selling them for scrap metal. The few that survived were destroyed in the late 1960's when the old New York Victor warehouse was demolished. All that exists is the partial recording - the two 12 inch sides.

The recordings were made at the insistence of NBC, which apparently wanted to monitor this rising young Crosby fellow. The sound is such that it's reasonable to conclude that the recording was made by placing an open microphone before a high-quality radio. It includes a KHJ station ID and Leroy Jewelers timecheck, followed by Harry Von Zell's opening announcement and Bing's performance of Just One More Chance. Bing concludes the show with I'm Through With Love.

This is not only the first known surviving aircheck of KHJ, but it is also one of the earliest known airchecks of any station in the United States.

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