I’m thinking that this counts as a “general question” rather than one for Cafe Society because it’s a technical question. But if I’m wrong, and I need to redirect it, please let me know. That being said, my question is as follows:
I’ve known for years that in the early days of radio, many programs were distributed by way of transcription disk, and that if an actor blew a line in the middle of the transcription, they had to start all over again with a new disk.
I’ve also known that Bing Crosby was one of the initial investors in the development magnetic tape recorder, which would allow him to tape his shows at his leisure, easily edit out and re-record mistakes, and give him more time for golf. With the advent of tape recording, the transcription disk bit the dust.
But, it just occurred to me that there had been another possibility for a good 20 years before Ampex became a household word. Movies had been using optical sound since the late 20s, and while it definitely didn’t have the best sound fidelity in its early days, by the time “The Wizard of Oz” was made in 1939, the technology had advanced
sufficiently enough for them to lay down multitrack soundtracks and mix them down to just the right sound balance.
So, my question is, why didn’t radio producers (and others) use optical recordings as a method of distributing shows?