Welcome to Finnley’s Audio Adventures. Today, I’m excited to take you on a journey through American political history with a promotional album from 1968 called “The People’s Choice,” produced for Abbott Laboratories. This album is a fascinating examination of the American political process, featuring narration by Edwin Newman and written by William Alan Bales.

The album starts off with the election of the first president, George Washington, and carries through to the present eve of the 1968 election. It includes the actual voices of past Presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, F.D.R., Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson. The album also features the voices of unsuccessful presidential candidates such as William Jennings Bryan, “Al” Smith, Wendell Wilkie, Thomas E. Dewey, Adlai Stevenson and Barry Goldwater. Other celebrity voices include General Pershing, Henry Cabot Lodge, Huey Long, and Everett Dirksen.

“The People’s Choice” offers a fascinating look at the evolution of American politics over the years, providing insights into the struggles and triumphs of past Presidential campaigns. It also highlights the enduring importance of democracy in the American political system.

Edwin Newman was an American newscaster, journalist, and author who began his career with the wire services and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Newman worked in radio for CBS News before joining NBC News in 1961, where he had a 23-year career. He was known for his reporting on breaking news, and he made the first announcement on NBC Radio of President John F. Kennedy’s death in 1963. Newman was also the only radio journalist to interview Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

William Alan Bales contributed to NBC News coverage on radio and television during more than 32 years as a writer, editor, and documentary maker. He retired in 1982 as a writer for NBC’s “Nightly News,” where he had prepared copy for many of its most familiar faces on the air. Bales helped cover every Presidential election until 1980, and he produced or directed radio documentaries on the Roosevelt-Truman years and in celebration of Winston Churchill’s 80th birthday. He was also the author of “Tiger in the Streets” (1962), a history of Boss Tweed’s Tammany Hall and the New York newspapermen who fought political corruption.

Now, let’s talk about the advertisement for sleep aides that was included on the back of “The People’s Choice” record sleeve. In times of choice, the ad reads, you can rest assured with either candidate whenever sleep is therapy. The ad promotes the use of sleep aids like Placidyl, Ethchlorvynol, Nembutal, and Sodium Pentobarbital. While it may seem odd for a pharmaceutical company to include an ad for sleep aids on a record about American politics, it’s important to remember that sleeplessness and anxiety can be common during election season.

“The People’s Choice” is a fascinating record that provides a unique perspective on the history of American politics. With Edwin Newman’s narration and William Alan Bales’ writing, listeners are taken on a journey through 130 years of Presidential campaigns and elections. And while the ad for sleep aids may seem out of place, it’s a reminder that even the most important decisions can be stressful and difficult, and sometimes a good night’s sleep can make all the difference. Wait, that sounded like an advertisement too. Maybe I’ve been doing this too much.

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