NBC Cartoon on Fraunfelder Poster Radio Performances
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Rondo Records and NBC Radio

This color poster, printed in Minneapolis, was used to promote sales of Rondo Records between 1947 and 1950. The cartoon character with the NBC sash is apparently a reference to the group's frequent radio performances on Midwest NBC affilliates. (Poster provided by Lisa and Mia Yoshida, Spokane, WA)

National CBS Broadcast - WISN Radio
Wisconsin State Fair, 1949 

Betty was on stage with the Wisconsin Gov. Oscar Rennebohm in this 1949 WISN (Milwaukee) broadcast from the Wisconsin State Fair. Rennebohm was apparently giving the award for "Champeen Cheese Eatin' Yodeler."
Photo courtesy of Buba Fraunfelder and Erika Williams

Electro-Vox Recording

1938 Electro-Vox Logo from Fraunfelder Recording

The Fraunfelders did some recordings with Electro-Vox, an earliy recording studio  in Los Angeles
that worked closely with NBC Radio for many years.
(See the Music Downloads Page for More)
Photo from a 1938 Fraunfelder record label courtesy of Richard and Megan Buckley

July 16, 1949 - Milwaukee Journal
The Milwaukee Journal
July 16, 1949

WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee Wisconsin

The Fraunfelders were featured on their own WTMJ Milwaukee radio program three times each week beginning in July, 1949 and likely ending sometime in December, 1949. The program aired Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:15 p.m.  These handwritten notes on Swiss Family Fraunfelder letterhead paper were probably written by Papa. The list of 90 distinct songs performed by the Fraunfelders appears to far outnumber any recordings in existence today.  It includes music written and arranged by Papa Fraunfelder such as "Hold Me Tight."  But the list is dominated by traditional Swiss or German tunes and music made more popular by other artists. For instance, the fast-paced and traditional "Helena Polka," listed first, was performed by many, many other musicians in the 1940s including Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra. The list below includes 20 instrumentals, 22 solos by Betty Fraunfelder, 46 yodel tunes, a "New Yodel Waltz" performed by Papa, something called "Blondegirls" and Papa's favorite Christmas carol, "Silent Night." Among Betty's solos was "You Can't Be True Dear," a traditional German song released on Rondo Records by Ken Griffin in 1948 and performed by many artists including Patti Page on Columbia Records in 1965. The yodel tunes include "Toolie Oolie Doolie," composed by Swiss songwriter Artur Beul and made popular in the United States by the Andrews Sisters. The undated tally shows that many of these Fraunfelder-performed songs aired repeatedly, up to three to five times.  Counting the repeats, that means more than 200 Fraunfelder songs were broadcast on the WTMJ program.  A separate list found among family records of the same era listed 49 solos for Betty (instead of 22), an indication that the Fraunfelders performed many more songs. Click HERE to view the Solo List.  Documents courtesy of Buba Fraunfelder and Erika Williams.

WTMJ Lineup, 1949  WTMJ Lineup, Page 2; 1949 

WTMJ Program Notes for "Schlitz Family Fraunfelder"

Below are some surviving partial radio outlines or script for the Fraunfelder radio program in 1949. It appears that these programs each contained five or six performances by Swiss Family Fraunfelder. Many of the songs were not likely part of their regular stage performances. Some original Fraunfelder tunes such as, "Roodee Rulla" and "The Swiss Yodel Polka" were composed by Papa Fraunfelder. Others were traditional or new compositions written by other Swiss or Europeans that were apparently performed by the Fraunfelders especially for the program sponsored by Schlitz Brewing Co.

By the 43rd broadcast, the script outline included some introduction notes by Papa.  For instance, the introduction below for the "Where Alpine Roses Grow" carries these notes from Papa about the traditional Swiss folk song:  "Alpine roses prefer to grow on steep mountain walls where they show their glory with the most glowing colores of alpine grandeur.  This rhododendron variety refuses to grow down in the lowlands.  If the "sennerin" or "milk maid" wants to be sure that her young dairyman really loves her, she asks him to climb a steep wall to pick her the most gorgeous bunch of alpine roses.  If he succeeds, her heart is his."

The surviving notes indicate there were at least 63 radio programs over about five months in 1949.

Milwaukee Radio Broadcast 11 Schlitz Family Fraunfelder, Broadcast 43