Rare gramophone records “The Vogue Picture Record”. Part IV

Vogue Records was a short-lived United States-based record label of the 1940s, noted for the artwork embedded in the records themselves. Founded in 1946 as part of Sav-Way Industries of Detroit, Michigan, the discs were initially a hit, because of the novelty of the colorful artwork, and the improved sound compared to the shellac records dominant at the time. Vogue picture records were of a very high quality, with little surface noise. The records were produced using a complicated process whereby a central core aluminum disc was sandwiched between the paper illustrations and vinyl. Perfecting this process took quite a while; Tom Saffady and his engineers spent several months working out the bugs that often resulted in torn or dislodged paper illustrations. The discs were manufactured by first sandwiching printed illustrations around a core of aluminum, then coating both sides with clear vinyl upon which the grooves were stamped.

The first 10-inch Vogue picture record (catalog number R707) was released to the public in May 1946. Production ceased less than a year later in April 1947, with Sav-Way entering into receivership in August 1947. During this time, approximately seventy-four different 10-inch Vogue picture records were released.

The colorful artwork on the records have made Vogue Records a collector's item.

There are ten such records in the museum Collection. One of them is numbered R733. Digitized recording of this piece is posted in the museum Sound Library. On one side is the song "Blue Skies", composer Irving Berlin, performed by “The Hour of Charm All Girl Orchestra, directed by Phil Spitalny. On the other -- “Seville”, performed by the same orchestra.

Phil Spitalny (November 7, 1890 – October 11, 1970) was a Russian Empire-born American musician, music critic, composer, and bandleader heard often on radio during the 1930s and 1940s. He rose to fame after he led an all-female orchestra, a novelty at the time.

He led orchestra under the name Phil Spitalny and His All-Girl Orchestra, beginning with his radio program ‘The Hour of Charm’ in 1934. Spitalny and Evelyn Kaye Klein auditioned over one thousand women to fill the twenty-two persons’ orchestra. Klein was the featured performer, a virtuoso violinist introduced as Evelyn and her Magic Violin. The program lasted for over ten years on radio.