SH Spotlight Bob Furmanek's research leading up to the first year of stereo records. It is fantastic reading..

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. duneman

    duneman Forum Resident

    Great thread - looking forward to perusing all the links and listening to the clips.

    One question and excuse my ignorance: what's the difference between binaural and stereo? Interchangeable?
  2. Saint Johnny

    Saint Johnny Forum Resident

    Asbury Park
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  3. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    Both FLAMING STAR and WILD IN THE COUNTRY were also 4-track mag. I knew someone years ago that had faded Deluxe color 35mm prints and saw/heard reel one of FS in mag. I can remember the sound of blowing wind coming from the surrounds in the theater. I'm not sure what audio track is on the Blu-ray.

    Paramount cut two complete songs from reel 2 after the first batch of prints were made. (The Variety review mentions that a few songs were to be trimmed after the previews.) "I Don't Want To" and "Where Do You Come From" and they also shortened "We'll Be Together." If you ever come across a dye-transfer 35mm print, you'll notice that reel two is quite short, about half a reel in fact.

    When my brother worked on "This is Elvis" someone contacted Solt/Leo claiming to have an uncut print. They weren't interested and when we tried to reach the collector years later, he had moved. Sigh...
  4. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    Duneman, the difference between binaural and stereophonic is explained in the literature that RCA Victor included with their first tape release:

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  5. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    You've very welcome.

    I have not been able to find their address in Livingston, NJ. I don't know that they had an office, it was always a PO box for mailings.

    Initially they worked out of Ched Smiley's home and then moved to Caldwell in 1957. That building is still there, we went past it a few weeks ago.
    Saint Johnny likes this.
  6. Jayson Wall

    Jayson Wall Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA

    Thanks, Bob!!!!!! I always had a suspicion about STAR and COUNTRY went out 4-track, but never knew for sure. All I've seen in handling these titles over the years are faded 35mm mono prints.

    Since Hal Wallis held the copyright on "Girls, Girls, Girls", I assume YCM's were produced for insurance completion in the fall of 1962 before the first set of Tech matrices were struck, so I wonder if the complete reel 2 survives in a YCM set? Then again, most of the Wallis/Elvis titles did some ownership traveling over the years before returning to Paramount in the late 90's, so who knows if these YCM were saved or replaced later with the final cut? Would love to see these numbers, and the cut number from "Blue Hawaii" called Steppin' Out Of Line----you can see where this song lived in the film originally and how they cut around it in the final release.

    As always, many thanks for the info Bob!!!!
    Bob Furmanek likes this.
  7. MarkTheShark

    MarkTheShark Forum Resident

    This may be off topic a little, but I see these articles have some info about stereo sound in the movies. One surprising thing I was told (by our mutual friend Ted Okuda) is that one of the Three Stooges shorts (a very late one with Joe Besser) was recorded in stereo, and in fact has been shown that way on television in fairly recent times. However, IIRC the DVD version does not have a stereo soundtrack. It's one of the sci-fi ones, possibly "Space Ship Sappy" or "Outer Space Jitters." I wonder if Bob knows anything about this?
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  8. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    None of the Columbia comedy shorts - Stooges or otherwise - were released in stereo. The dialogue and sound effects were always recorded on different tracks for mixing purposes but the shorts went out mono.

    Thanks, Jayson. The preview was held at the Village Theater in Westwood. Variety reviewer Dale reported, "Notably, Wallis edited out five minutes from the film previewed, taking out two songs, which quickens the pace of one drawn out section."

    Your theory makes sense and I mentioned it to my contact in the archive at Paramount several years ago. I don't know if she ever looked into it.

  9. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Capac, Michigan
    The Twilight Time Flaming Star Blu-ray has three audio options: DTS-HD 2.0 original mono, DTS-HD 5.1, and DTS-HD 2.0 stereo isolated score. I'm not sure if the 5.1 was created from the 4-track mags, but it appears possible.
  10. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Capac, Michigan
    And yet WB has only reissued the original cut of That's The Way It Is in mono. I would love to have the original film in stereo.
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  11. MarkTheShark

    MarkTheShark Forum Resident

    That makes sense. So this would have been some audio mix done decades after the fact. Do you know anything about a "stereo" version being shown on TV? Apparently it happened, even if it wasn't supposed to.
  12. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    I know the people at Sony mastering. Even if separate sound elements exist (doubtful) they would not have spent any time trying to mix a 3 Stooge short into stereo. We're lucky they went back to 35mm composite fine grains for their digital masters!
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  13. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    Jayson, do you know for sure that the two Elvis concert films had 35mm stereo mag releases? I've only seen mono optical on those prints.
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Mono only.
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  15. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    I would like to find any kind of confirmation on LOVE ME TENDER having a 4 track magnetic release. By late 1956, trade announcements and theater ads had pretty much stopped listing if a film had stereophonic sound.

    The only 35mm 1956 print I've personally handled over the past three decades was straight mono optical.
  16. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

    Mid Atlantic
    Both are stereo but one is done with dummyhead spacing of two mics and is best reproduced on headphones. Any two or more spaced mic setup can produce stereo of some kind but binaural is a specific form of stereo for exact spatial cues.
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  17. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    That's a more modern (circa 2000 with Pearl Jam) specification for binaural recording.

    I believe the microphone placement in the 1953-1955 period was much wider.
  18. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Capac, Michigan
    Elvis On Tour was 4-track from the start.

    I've seen several mentions of That's The Way It Is being 4-track mag. RCA recorded the concerts 16-track, and MGM recorded the rehearsals multi-track.
  19. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    Of course they were recorded in multi-channel but I'd like to get some primary source documentation (studio paperwork, trade ads, theater listings, etc) of stereo 35mm theatrical prints.

    For instance, some listings claim FOLLOW THAT DREAM was magnetic stereo. It wasn't. We've been through the studio production files.

    Wrong information gets listed on one website - or is published in one sloppily researched book (for instance, the two R.M Hayes 3-D and wide screen debacles) and then goes on IMDB and spreads like wildfire. That's why original research in documented source materials is crucial to tell the accurate story.

    The two original release 35mm prints of the Elvis concert films that I've personally handled were mono optical only.
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  20. Matthew

    Matthew Forum Resident

    Jammin' at Sun
    I don't know if this helps (probably not) but, did On Tour get a stereo remix for VHS?

    I ask because I had (have somewhere) an old VHS tape from the 90s of Elvis On Tour that has a proper stereo mix.

    I don't recall any special mention at the time of any new work done for the release, there was no real fanfare around it.
  21. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Capac, Michigan
    The Pioneer Laserdisc was also stereo.
  22. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    They were released at least a decade after the theatrical dates. That's no guarantee the film was stereo in theaters.
  23. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    I just checked in Variety and looked at a large cross section of play-dates beginning in November 1972 at

    Not one playdate of Elvis on Tour is listed as stereo and there were some major cities covered.

    The only films getting stereo bookings in late 1972 were a 70mm reissue of 2001 and MGM's The Great Waltz, also in 70mm.

    Los Angeles and Chicago were two of the top markets that usually advertised and played a film in stereo, if prints were available. Here are the opening day ads: Elvis on Tour - 3dfilmarchive

    35mm magnetic stereo was pretty much abandoned theatrically by that time.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  24. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Lodi, New Jersey
    Bob, I find it quite odd that movies turned away from stereo/multichannel before it began to come back gradually in the later 1970's. What caused filmmakers to begin to abandon it? Was it due to lack of theaters being equipped for it, and then not bothering with mixing for stereo/multichannel?
  25. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Forum Resident

    The 35mm magnetic soundheads would wear out quickly and theaters stopped doing the necessary upkeep and maintenance. I suspect by the early 60's, they found it wasn't bringing in extra business so decided to drop it.

    The RKO theater where we test ran reel one of FLAMING STAR circa 1977 had installed mag in late 1953. When we screened that reel, they hadn't used it in at least a decade.

    When a magnetic print of THE NORSEMAN was sent in 1978, the operator powered up the system and it blew out. They ran the film in mono!
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