Thanks to Bill Freytag (BF), Fred Zlotkin (FZ) and Leonard Slatkin (LS) for the following information.


BF: It's one thing to have had so many talented people together, but consider that in many cases the "groups" were turned into very fine orchestras within the span of a few months. Their purpose was clear, and their talent was part of the methodology the AAF used in building their Arsenal of Democracy. At the same time, the domestic concerts and radio broadcasts beamed locally or regionally or nationally provided the public with remarkable entertainment that subtly reminded them of the War and the reasons their sons and daughters had donned the uniforms of the armed services.

The V-Disc program was a significant contributor to the morale of personnel around the world. These recordings (primarily pressed in vinyl) also served a wider purpose in charting the path of popular music from Big Bands-based to one in which the vocalists took over top billing on the labels. Remember, the AFofM was on strike from 01AUG42 through September 1943 (Decca and Capitol) and through 11SEP44 (Columbia and [RCA] Victor). This meant that no instruments could be played on recordings. Vocalists were not affected by this mandate. Frank Sinatra's first Columbia red labels were made in June 1943 and are performed a cappella. Orchestras were allowed to play on radio broadcasts and...because the artists volunteered their services... the V-Disc program was allowed to make studio recordings by full orchestras.

The AAFTAC Symphonette, by time-frame and location, could not have included Sgt Slatkin. The issued recordings of that group were made during a single V-Disc recording session on 03APR44 at the Army Air Forces Tactical Center in Orlando, FL.

FZ: Re the timing of Felix's stint with AAFTC: after he went thru basic, he began with the "band." He did some fiddle playing (Brahms Hungarian Rhapsody is one selection) and conducted, maybe even some arrangements. As for the IDs, there is an announcer who tells you who's performing/conducting.

LS: Felix also did at least two shows for something called “Yank Bandstand”. Shows Nos. 2 and 10 are listed. It is possible that the Library of Congress has some of this info. 

Taken when Felix served in the Army Air Force Tactical Command, c. 1944-5, in a musical capacity. 
From left to right:  Bronislaw Caper, Felix, Marshall Sosson and Ruggiero Ricci (a battalion of fiddle players for sure!).  (Courtesy FZ)

On July 4, 1944, Felix Slatkin conducted the 150-member Army Air Forces Orchestra in a War Bond Show at the Hollywood Bowl.   Featured performers were Bing Crosby and Ginny Simms.



NOTE: The above photos are courtesy of
Adrian Daff (Australia) and BF

V-Discs with known Felix Slatkin involvement:

October 1943, V-Disc Recording Session
"Stairway to the Stars"  V-Disc 27A
"A Handful of Stars"  V-Disc 27B
(starts at 3:17)

April 2, 1945, V-Disc Recording Session, Liederkranz Hall, New York
"Close as Pages in a Book"  V-Disc 498-B    (VP 1360)
Sgt. Bob Carroll, vocal


Information about WW2 radio shows with Felix Slatkin involvement

The Star-Spangled Radio Hour (featuring vintage radio broadcasts of military bands and orchestras)

January 20, 1945 - "Music With Wings" (Master Sgt. Felix Slatkin conducting)

G. I JOURNAL 86 (AFRS H-19-86)  Recorded Friday, March 9, 1945
CBS Studio A, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA
Harry Mitchell, announcer / Bing Crosby, host / With Marilyn Maxwell, Allen Jenkins, Mel Blanc, Leo Cleary
Army Air Forces Training Command Orchestra
38th Base Unit (1st Radio Production Unit)
Directed by M/Sgt. Felix Slatkin

May 5, 1945 - "I Sustain The Wings" (last 8+ minutes) (Master Sgt. Felix Slatkin conducting)  (courtesy of Adian Daff of Australia)


Dennis M. Spragg's Star Spangled Radio Hour Page

General information about the V-Disc program

Catalog of V-Discs (including the Richard Sherwood Sears Collection) prepared by Dennis M. Spragg

The Slatkin Family Collection in the Glenn Miller Archives at the University of Colorado (Boulder)

"I Sustain The Wings" musical selections played 1943-1945 (Glenn Miller Archive, University of Colorado, Boulder)

"V-Discs: A History and Discography" by Richard Sears (Greenwood Press, 1980)  1167 pp.
ISBN:   031322207X        OCLC:  635560696

"V-Discs: A History and Discography - First Supplement" by Richard Sears (Greenwood Press, 1986)  273 pp.
ISBN:   0313254214        OCLC:  14131466

“The Directory of the Armed Forces Radio Service Series” by Harry MacKenzie (Greenwood Press, 1999)  258 pp.
ISBN:   0313308128       OCLC:  41612414

"One night stand series, 1-1001" by Harry Mackenzie & Lothar Polomski (Greenwood Press, 1991) - Armed Forces Radio Service discographies
ISBN:   031327729X      OCLC:  23142352

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