Hartwest Productions, Inc. is one of four different corporate entities, all inactive, which implemented the packaging/production efforts of two prominent entertainment industry attorneys who were most active in the 1950s, the brothers Saul and Henry Jaffe. They are best-known for the joint efforts as packager/producers of some of the outstanding live dramatic television color programs which were broadcast, mostly on NBC, during the 1950s; the entity for this effort was Showcase Productions, Inc. Showcase produced and packaged the acclaimed PRODUCERS’ SHOWCASE series of 90-minute television “spectaculars;” which together with such series as Alcoa/Goodyear, Pontiac Playwrights ‘56, and numerous others, constituted the heart of NBC’s prime time dramatic anthology lineup.
The Jaffe brothers split up acrimoniously, in 1957. After the breakup, brother Henry moved to California, where he packaged/produced such stellar programs as THE DINAH SHORE CHEVVY SHOW and THE BELL TELEPHONE HOUR; he eventually founded a well-known production company, Spectacor, which is still in business as a respected television producer, and is run by Henry’s widow and won. Brother Saul, who died in 1978, caused Showcase to purchase Henry’s stock, leaving as the sole shareholders of Showcase Saul Jaffe and various family trusts, and attorney Saul “Pete” Pryor, who stayed with Saul until the early 1970s, when he left to co-found the well-known New York City entertainment law firm of Pryor and Cashman. A holding company, Hartwest, Inc., was created to own the stock of Hartwest Television, Inc., in turn the owner of the stock of Showcase and Hartwest Productions, Inc. Control of Hartwest passed to Classics Associates, Inc., owned by Barry Tucker and Alexander W. Kogan, Jr., in 1988.
All of the companies were dormant; most modern effort has been spent in researching the documents related to Showcase and its “treasure trove” of early television programming, virtually none of which has been viewed since the original live broadcasts in 1954-1957. For more about the television programs, see the entry for the “Golden Age of Television” on this website.
When we closed a warehouse in 1999, we learned for the fist time the extent of the radio programming which had been produced and distributed by Hartwest Productions, Inc. Overall, we estimate that we have approximately 2,500 hours of radio programs, ranging from 43.5 minutes each (a radio “hour” without commercials), to 3 minute interstitial programs.
In 2014, a former Hartwest employee, Frank V. Furino — who went on to an illutsrious career as a television producer, most notably as the Director of Production for Dick Clark Productions and as Vice-President of Diamond P Enterprise and as a staff director with ABC News/Sports —
dug though his archives and sent us an invitation to a Hartwest event in Chicago, to introduce Hartwest to the U.S. radio community. The invitation introduces Hartwest’s entirely new concept in radio syndication: A one-stop shop for up to 24 hours a day of programming, including news, entertainment, sports, drama, music, children’s, and information programs. That explains the stunning breadth of the Hartwest broadcast tape archive.
The approximately 2,500 broadcast master tapes are well-preserved reel-to-reel tapes, on both cores and reels, together with hundreds of 12″ and 8″ 33/13 rpm LP records. There are also numerous documents, ranging from contracts which clearly give Hartwest copyright ownership or co-ownership, to copyright notices or announcements which imply copyright ownership. While the Federal copyright law for these early audio recordings did not provide for their direct copyright registration, they are good copyright under New York’s copyright law; the Copyright Office does permit registration of transcripts of the programs, and accepts CD copies in lieu of written transcripts; Hartwest has registered some of the “CD transcripts” of the programs as they are released on Mr. FAT-W Audio. In a few cases, where it was clear that Hartwest was only a distributor, and not a producer, of the programs, we have entered into agreements with the heirs of the original participants. As we release programs on Mr. FAT-W Audio CDs, we add specific pages for each program group, with biographies, pictures, audio samples, detailed content descriptions, and links to Amazon.com for direct purchase.
THE JOE PYNE RADIO SHOW
By far the largest of the uncataloged radio shows which Hartwest produced and owns, is The Joe Pyne Radio Show, which was followed by Hartwest’s production and syndication of The Joe Pyne Television Show; the television show was the #1-rated syndicated television talk show in the 1960s. We have some 360 half-hour 2″ videotapes of this series, as well has literally thousands of individual releases, program summaries, and related contracts. (There is a separate page for the television show, on this website.) The radio and television programs were originally produced by Metromedia’s KTTV in Los Angeles; in as a result of agreements in 1964 and 1966, production and ownership switched to Hartwest Productions, Inc. and Hartwest Television, Inc. (for the television series). Pyne died March 23, 1970; by an agreement with his estate dated April 20, 1970, Hartwest bought Pyne’s interest in all of the programs. While the television programs have been cataloged as to guest and content, the radio tapes are generally identified only by show number. Approximately 1/3 of the boxes have engineer’s hand-written names of the guests..One that was identified, and which we transferred to a digital file, is Pyne’s famed interview of American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell; it is clear that the favorable interview that is on the Party’s web site, has been doctored to insert another interviewer in place of Pyne, who repeatedly expresses his dislike of Rockwell and all that he stands for. Several other programs were randomly digitalized. In general, they have commercial breaks, are of exceptionally high technical quality, and are snapshots of the particular social concern of their air dates. We estimate that for The Joe Pyne Radio Show, we have approximately 1,000 42 ½-minute 1/4″ magnetic reel-to-reel tapes. We have begun releasing the programs on CD, and there are specific pages for the released programs, as well as a page listing the guests who were identified on on the boxes.
MARIA COLE RADIO SHOW — interviews of prominent Black people; promo and 6 interviews; we have so far not found any programs other than the promo.[Maria Hawkins Ellington aka Marie Antoinette Hawkins, Marie Winter was the second wife and eventually the widow of Nat “King” Cole. She was born: August 1, 1922 in Boston, Massachusetts. Cole’s first marriage, to Nadine Robinson, ended in 1948. “ On March 28, 1948 (Easter Sunday), just six days after his divorce became final, Cole married singer Maria Hawkins Ellington (although Maria had sung with Duke Ellington’s band, she was not related to Duke Ellington). The Coles were married in Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. They had five children: Natalie (born 1950), who herself would go on to have a Maria Hawkins Ellington aka Marie Antoinette Hawkins, Marie Winter was the second wife and eventually the widow of Nat “King” Cole. She was born: August 1, 1922 in Boston, Massachusetts. Cole’s first marriage, to Nadine Robinson, ended in 1948. “ On March 28, 1948 (Easter Sunday), just six days after his divorce became final, Cole married singer Maria Hawkins Ellington (although Maria had sung with Duke Ellington’s band, she was not related to Duke Ellington). The Coles were married in Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. They had five children: Natalie (born 1950), who herself would go on to have a successful career as a singer; adopted daughter Carole (1944–2009, the daughter of Maria’s sister), who died of lung cancer at 64; adopted son Nat Kelly Cole (1959–1995), who died of AIDS at 36; and twin daughters Casey and Timolin (born 1961). Cole had affairs throughout his marriages. By the time he developed lung cancer, he was estranged from his wife Maria and living with actress Gunilla Hutton, best known as the second Billie Jo Bradley on Petticoat Junction (1965–1966) and also notable as a regular cast member (Nurse Goodbody) on “Hee Haw”. But Cole was with Maria during his illness, and she stayed with him until his death. In an interview, Maria expressed no lingering resentment over his affairs. Instead, she emphasized his musical legacy and the class he exhibited in all other aspects of his life.” Wikipedia]
THE TOP OF THE POPS
In a class by itself, and thus deserving of a its own group of three pages, is the TOP OF THE POPS radio series, produced in association with the BBC; given the complexities of clearances of these world-class live recordings, it is likely that they will eventually be released by major record companies.
Other radio shows for which we have materials, and either distributed or produced, include:
BBC “Around The Horne” with Kenneth Horne, co-written by Marty Feldman
BBC Christmas Kaleidoscope”
BBC Folk Song Cellar
BBC General Interest
BBC Music Showcase
BBC Showcase “Schweppes”
Big Mouths of 1970 – Dick Orkin-produced comedy interstitials
Mel Blanc – a complete set of the “Superfun” series of interstitials (981 separate
cuts), Superfun – promos, air checks, and Mel Blanc Audiomedia; promo tape
with Jack Benny, etc.
Home Furnishings Daily”
Long John Nebel
National Farm Report
New York Hysterical Society
Outdoorsmanship, with Bob Dixon
Tooth Fairy (a Dick Orkin production)
The Earle Wilson Show (including an interview with Richard Burton)
An outdoors series for Braniff International
and on and on and on.
The programs which have been released on the Mr. FAT-W Audio Label, are individually described on the pages which follow this one; these programs include:
The Joe Pyne Radio Show
Bill Mazer Remembers…
Dick Orkin’s Mini People
1966 Dream World Series
The Jean Shepherd Radio Show
The Joan Murray Radio Show
Norman Vincent Peale’s Live With Confidence Radio Show
Paul Gibson at Night Radio Show
To paraphrase The Shadow, “Who knows what other gems lurk in our archive!”
OTHER RADIO PROGRAMS
In addition to the programs which were produced and/or distributed and/or proposed for distribution, by Hartwest, we have accumulated a library of approximately 2,200 pre-1972 radio broadcast series recordings, aggregating approximately 150,000 individual radio programs. The programs are all digitally mastered and are available as MP3 files; the catalog of series titles runs to approximately 23 single-spaced pages. The great bulk of these are regarded as being in the public domain. We have no present plans to exploit them, but may do so in the future.