We’re moving back in time, before the mp3 player and the CD. We’re going back to the analog age, a moment when the shellac (and later vinyl) record reigned supreme. The month is June 1937. And the short film you're watching is "Record Making with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra." How the film came into being was described in the July 1937 edition of Melody News:
Last month, a crew of cameramen, electricians and technicians from the Paramount film company set up their paraphernalia in the recording studios of Master Records, Inc. for the purpose of gathering 'location' scenes for a movie short, now in production, showing how phonograph records are produced and manufactured. Duke Ellington and his orchestra was employed for the studio scenes, with Ivie Anderson doing the vocals.
Narrated by Alois Havrilla, a pioneer radio announcer, the film shows you how records were actually recorded, plated and pressed. It's a great relic from the shellac/vinyl era, which you will want to couple with this 1956 vinyl tutorial from RCA Victor.
Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.