. . . . . . . . Dinosaur Discs Magazine May 2021 No.154
This mini information magazine on old records is issued monthly and covers many aspects of collecting 78rpm records
Melody Card pictured. See article below.

The 1933 News Chronicle 1,500 Dance Record Contest - England v America.
Thus read the headlines on a pamphlet offering a First prize of 1,000, a Second of 400 and a Dealer's Prize of 100.
And all for predicting the sales achieved by two records between February 18th and March 31st 1933. Both these records were issued with the legend printed on them "News Chronicle Competition Record." They were
Decca F3459 with Lew Stone's Band on side A and Jack Hylton's Band on B. This record appears to have sold pretty well, as it's quite common! Three entry forms for the competition were given. However four were offered with the other record, the American recording of Wayne King and Guy Lombardo on Brunswick 1456.
I wonder who won?! And indeed how much sales were distorted. Probably very few people would have had an idea of sales figures, so some interesting data was included on the competition form. This showed sales for two months after a record was placed on the market. It may be of interest to reproduce these figures-
Decca F 2679 by Jack Hylton: "Rhymes" - 260,507
Decca F 3070 by Jack Hylton: "Underneath the Arches" - 42,416
Decca F 2798 by Jack Hylton: "He Played His Ukulele" - 31,387
Decca F 2763 by Roy Fox: "Oh! Mo'nah" - 103,571
Decca F 3029 by Roy Fox: "Lullaby of the Leaves" - 12,686
Decca F 3270 by Lew Stone: "Let's Put Out the Lights" - 25,525
Decca F 3268 by Lew Stone: "Leave the Pretty Girls Alone" - 12,822
Decca F 2748 by Titterton: "Trees" - 16,100
Decca F 3337 by The Street Singer: "Wanderer" - 83,016 (after ONE month)
Brunswick 1380 by Bing: "Please" - 29,039 (after SIX weeks).

If you have an old Chronicle, I'd be pleased to hear the results. My guess is the Decca sales were 75,000 and the Brunswick 25,000. If the prize went unclaimed, I shall write to the paper at 13 Pocock Street!

Extra Articles


Our series analysing records by Billy Williams (1878-1915).

The Kangaroo Hop
This was Billy's most successful attempt at ragtime. There are the following versions, in order of recording:
1. Zonophone 912
2. Columbia 1979
3. Favorite 530
4. Homophon 1199
(There's also a Jumbo version which has eluded us. The discography lists a group of recordings on Pilot / The Stars / Invicta, but these are not by the great man. However they are by Jack Charman. (* in text means BW laughs)

The Zono begins by advertising "The latest song from Australia." At the finish we have some humour, which today might be considered rather poor taste: "See poor father hopping about with his wooden leg * and mother hopping around the room * and Mailey(?) with her bad corn * ". He sings then concludes:" very funny and all, too *"!
The introduction on Columbia is much more polished, with the band nicely drawn in: "You've heard about Alexander's Ragtime Band and the Turkey Trot, but have you heard the Kangaroo Hop?" "NO"- shouts the Band. "All right then, I'll sing it to you. Come on me lads... ". Billy appears to have more time at the end as he expands the Zonophone monologue and introduces audience participation: "You ought to see father hopping about the parlour * and mother hopping after him *". This looks more tasteful until he adds:" Then me sister hopped about * and I stood on a tin tack and then I hopped!" And the wooden leg then gets introduced! Billy continues "You oughter seen a man the other day with a wooden leg, see him hopping about *. Oh dear oh dear. It's a bit of a dance that is. Come on mother all join in now. You get on that side. And now come on sister you get this side. Now are you ready? (he sings) Hop hop, * Oh look at him hopping in the corner *"!
This is perhaps the best version. The Favorite is similar but not as expansive. It begins "You've heard about Alexander's Ragtime Band and the Turkey Trot, but I'll bet you've never heard the Kangaroo Hop eh? Come on lads *". The wooden leg returns at the end too, this time it belongs to father: "You oughter see us hopping all over the room * see mother hopping round the floor, and father with his wooden leg hopping about *. It's a bit of a scream isn't it * "?
The Homophon recording is an improvement. Being the last to be recorded, Billy has polished the patter at the start: "You've heard of Alexander's Band, the Turkey Trot and the Grizzly Bear, but I'll tell you what I'll do with you. I'll bet you, er, five pounds, you haven't heard the Kangaroo Hop *". The end sees Billy optimistically including more than just the family in the hop: "You oughter see auntie and I * hopping all round the room * and father with his wooden leg *"! Nothing new in this last then, but after singing he finishes: "All the villagers hopping about the green * and all the rabbits hopping and the kangaroos hopping after me *. Oh dear oh dear, this ragtime stuff *"!
So comparing these versions, we can see that as usual Billy keeps his patter to a general format, but refines it. Except for the wooden leg! I feel the best version is perhaps the Columbia one, which fortunately turns up frequently on the Regal reissue


Melody Cards
were musical birthday greeting cards issued in the late 1950s by a company at 349 Royal College Street London NW1. The front consisted of a 78rpm recording over a picture. Inside was a printed greeting from (to be signed) with a poem such as this wild one on the first issue:
"Hep-Heppy Birthday to you!
Hep-Heppy Birthday to you!
You ain't no square! An' I know that!
Let down your hair! You're the coolest cat!
Pull back the chairs! Get yer carpet rolled!
Just ROCK! And you'll never grow old!"
Each card contained a poem to fit the front cover. Some of the cards issued were these:
MC100 Rock-a-boogie Birthday Rock (musical instruments decoration)
MC101 Washboard Birthday Special (picture: boy and girl dancing)
MC102 A Very Happy Birthday (pictured: musical toys)
MC103 Happy Happy Birthday (elves and pixies decoration)
MC104 Many Happy Returns of the Day (decoration: 4 red roses)
MC105 God Bless You (picture: yellow and blue flowers)
MC107 May Your Party be Hot (picture: jiving teenagers)
MC110 I Think of You (picture: man kneeling before ballerina)
MC111 Little Perky Poodles (four poodles with flowers and butterflies)
A Christmas series followed, starting with
MX12 Tavern in the Town (Christmas card with seasonal pictures)

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