Welcome back to Finnley’s Audio Adventures! Today, we’re embarking on a unique auditory journey that takes us back to the year 1975. Picture this: a mono record, not made of vinyl, but printed directly onto the back of a cereal box. This extraordinary piece of audio history was known as the Cardboard Flexi Record, and it came as a delightful surprise for children and cereal enthusiasts who enjoyed Post Honeycomb Cereal. Let’s delve into the fascinating history of these cereal box gems, specifically “The Haunted House,” “The Ghost in the Attic,” and “Sounds of the Unknown,” and the key players behind them, Thomas J. Valentino, Inc. and National Musitime Corp.
Before we dive into the Cardboard Flexi Records, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane with Post Cereal. Post is a name synonymous with breakfast cereals, and Honeycomb cereal holds a special place in the hearts of many. You might recall their catchy jingle about “Honeycomb big, yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s not small, no, no, no!” It was a cereal that kids loved, and it’s this very cereal that would soon feature a unique surprise for its consumers.
Now, let’s get to the stars of our show—the Cardboard Flexi Records. In 1975, Post Honeycomb Cereal boxes held a surprise for consumers in the form of mono records printed directly onto the cardboard. These records could be cut out and played on any record player capable of handling 33 1/3 rpm records. Imagine the excitement of discovering playable records on your breakfast cereal box! Among these records were “The Haunted House,” “The Ghost in the Attic,” and “Sounds of the Unknown.”
One of the listed production companies was National Musitime Corp. National Musitime Corp, headquartered on Lexington Ave in New York, NY, remains somewhat shrouded in mystery due to limited historical records. The company offered a range of music-related services, including national background services through a radio station franchise network, music tape programming, and duplication services. While details about their involvement in producing the Cardboard Flexi Records are sparse, their role in the music and audio industry of the time adds an intriguing layer to the story of these unique cereal box records.
Now, shifting our focus to Thomas J. Valentino, Inc., the other entity listed as a production company, we find an individual who played a significant role in the world of sound effects and recorded music. Thomas J. Valentino was born in Sicily in 1907 and immigrated to the US in 1911. His career began as a piano and organ tuner for Wurlitzer, but he soon ventured into creating live sound effects for Broadway productions while working as a sales representative for Gennett Recordings in the 1930s.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Thomas J. Valentino started his own sound effects company, eventually compiling a vast library of sound cues for hundreds of live shows. These sound effects were available on 78 RPM records, which were crucial for radio stations during that era.
In 1958, Valentino expanded into music production, establishing the “Valentino Production Music Library.” This library became a significant source for pre-recorded music used in movies, television shows, and various other forms of programming.
During the mid-1970s, Thomas J. Valentino embraced contemporary music and commissioned Walter Murphy, a student at the Manhattan School of Music, to compose popular music themes. The most notable result was “A Fifth of Beethoven,” a disco version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which became a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976 and featured in the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.
The Cardboard Flexi Records found on Post Honeycomb Cereal boxes in 1975 are unique and intriguing pieces of audio history. These records, including “The Haunted House,” “The Ghost in the Attic,” and “Sounds of the Unknown,” connect us to the world of Thomas J. Valentino, Inc. and National Musitime Corp., two entities with their own fascinating stories in the world of audio production. As we continue our audio adventures with Finnley the Dolphin, let’s remember the unconventional and offbeat audio content that has delighted and surprised generations of listeners. Don’t forget to subscribe to Finnley’s Audio Adventures to ensure you never miss a new episode of auditory wonder!