Sunday, August 02, 2009

Hit of the week covers

Hit of the week hoezen ( Nederlands) Hit of the week covers (English)

Vulnerable 80-years old record covers.
Hans Koert

Hit of the weeks are cardboard records, released 80 years ago in the US, on a weekly schedule at news stands with the Hits of the Day, better the Hits of the Week. In The Netherlands and other parts of Europe these records were released months later. In Europe the English Duriums were more important, with records sung by crooners like Al Bowlly. Up to the 1960s you could find piles of cardboard records at flea markets - now they are pretty rare and only on the shelves of (serious) record collectors.
A piles of vulnerable Hit of the week covers.

Now and then the Hit of the week reachs the news lists for 78-rpm records collectors; silly season you call that I believe. Most of the discussions start ( and end) with the problems and suggestions how to play a warped card board record ( Hit of the weeks, even new ones, are always warped !). Thanks to a message on 78-l last week by Cliff B. the sleeves or covers, or whatever you call it, were point of discussion. Cliff had found a bunch of card board Hit of the week records still in their original covers, unused and brand new – a great find. He posted it on his website ( including sound files).

The remains of an early 1930s display to show the Hit of the weeks in the news stand.

I learned from the discussion that a lot of collectors weren’t informed about these fragile covers – now rare items because they were made of very thin, vulnerable paper. Not made for eternity!
Most Hit of the week collectors have found their card board records without these covers.
Covers – sleeves or should we call it envelopes, as it has a flap. Well, never mind – I’ll call it covers …………..

When the first Hit of the weeks were released in the spring of 1930 they had no covering. A kind of
display was used to store the records on the news paper stand. It would be great if someone could show us a pictures of such a display standing in a 1930s news paper stand. Who can help? There are some early US Durium covers, but it seems as if those covers were only used for special products or for export.

Most covers are now in a bad condition because of the thin vulnerable paper used.
When the Durium Product Corporation was broken ( summer 1931) the firm continued its activities as the Durium Products Incorporated and some innovations were introduced, like the extensive playing time of 5-minutes ( A new five-minute Hit-of-the-week with almost twice the playing time of the average record at your news-dealer’s next Thursday )( spoken promo on these first records) and, the records were covered in paper sleeves.

This pictures contains some 1932 covers, from the period Hit of the week had to stop its activities.

In fact you can select three types of sleeves or covers:

  • 1. The Big Note type
  • 2. The Artist Covers
  • 3. Hit of the week Orchestra drawing

During the next months I will introduce you to the three types of Hit of the week covers.

This contribution is also published at the Hit of the week blog and in Dutch on the Keep swinging blog.

Hans Koert

Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Keep Swinging News Letter Keep Swinging Contributions

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