THE GILDERSLEEVE CHILDREN'S RECORDS
I first got word that these recordings existed from the great man himself. At the close of one of the November, 1946 broadcasts, Gildy cut in on the show's closing announcements with an announcement of his own — that the second collection of his children's story albums had just been released by Capitol records, thanks to the overwhelming reception the first album had the previous year.
Having never heard of the records before, I started asking questions over on the Gildy phorum and doing some detective work via the net -- quickly discovering there were actually THREE albums in the series. Some close watching of auction sites over several months, along with a bit of judicious bidding, finally resulted in the purchase of all three of the original Capitol albums, which were released annually from 1945 to 1947.
Here's the complete discography for the original albums:
Each 4 record album (heavy, fragile 78s in paper sleeves inside a full-color, hardcover) had the same name:
STORIES FOR CHILDREN TOLD IN HIS OWN WAY BY THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE
CAPITOL ALBUM CD-11
Release date: Fall, 1945 (?) (On the cover this is also referred to as CAPITOL ALBUM J-1, making it the first in the series of Capitol's albums for children.)
Jack and the Beanstalk
CAPITOL ALBUM CD-33
Release date: Fall, 1946
Hansel & Gretel
The Brave Little Tailor
CAPITOL ALBUM CD-69
Release date: Fall, 1947
Snow White and Rose Red
All of these stories were subsequently re-released as individual records from the late 1940's through the mid 1960s, as children's 78rpm & 45rpm records.
One of the nicest things about these stories is how Peary consistently stays in character as Gildersleeve as he tells these stories. This is primarily because Capitol had the good sense to hire regular Gildersleeve writers John Whedon and Sam Moore to write the stories for the records. In several of the stories, they gave Peary the opportunity to stretch his vocal talents, via his vocalizations of old witches, evil giants and bears. They're pretty good, too.
The lovely music that accompanies the stories was composed and directed by Robert Emmett Dolan -- who was musical director on many radio programs in addition to providing the musical scores for several fearure films. The dance song in Cinderella is an especially fine piece.
Grimm's Fairy Tales as Read by Earle Ross
A generous Gildersleeve Project supporter, coincidentally named "Earl", has come forward to share information about his collection of Gildersleeve related children's records. Included are two sets of 78 rpm records of Grimm's Fairy Tales as told by Earle Ross. There is no date on the records but they appear to be of late forties or early fifties vintage. Interestingly, the liner notes seem to go out of their way to avoid drawing any connection between Earl Ross and the Gildersleeve program. It is mentioned only indirectly when reference is made to Ross's work on a "popular transcontinental program". Nor does Ross tell the stories "in character" as Peary did on his children's records. Nevertheless, there is no mistaking that voice and Ross's telling of these classic tales is quite enjoyable and entertaining. Also included in Earl's collection is a set of Andersen's Fairy Tales as told by Earle Ross. These were apparently recorded subsequent to the Grimm's Fairy Tales, as the liner notes refer to the success of the earlier sets. Stories from the Brothers Grimm:
The Bremen Town Musicians
The Dragon and his Grandmother
Doctor Know All
The Three Brothers
The Three Feathers
Snow White and Rose Red
Stories by Hans Christian Andersen:
The Magic Tinderbox
The Steadfast Tin Soldier