"Oh, What Fun," they said

This advertisement appeared in the 27 July 1907 issue of Collier's, recommending two specific playlists ("sample programmes") of twelve records each which were calculated to show off the Edison Phonograph to best advantage. I've provided links below which you can use to listen to all the selections on both playlists. All twenty-four cylinders but one are available in mp3 format, and also—as far as I can tell—in the versions that would have been available for purchase in July 1907 (some of the selections had existed earlier with piano rather than orchestra accompaniment, or were reissued later by different performers, and so on). Despite what it says below, by the way, don't bother printing out and signing the coupon—the offer's not good any more!

HERE is a porch and lawn scene from a photograph of a prominent New Yorker's home on the Hudson. Look at the merry crowd—old and young—enjoying the Edison phonograph. The machine illustrated is one of the superior 1907 model type, a simply perfect reproducer of sound. This is the instrument which is now offered direct at such a remarkable rock-bottom price on free trial to responsible people everywhere in the United States—read below

"Oh, what fun," cried the old man.

And the children clapped their hands.

I heard the noise and clatter, the laughter and applause away down the road as I was approaching the old homestead. It was toward dark, just after supper, and, as I neared the house, I saw a big party gathered on the porch and the lawn listening to minstrel dialogs, band music—every conceivable kind of vocal and instrumental airs.

And the talk and music all came out of the flower horn of one of those phonographs.

If you have heard only the old style squeaking, rasping instruments you can hardly imagine what a genuinely high class entertainment those people were having around that porch.

The new style 1907 model Edisons are so far superior that there is really no comparison. I have known critics of music who have heard only the ordinary talking machines express the greatest surprise upon listening to this special automatic entertainer, the 1907 Edison.

You must hear this remarkable instrument in your own home with your family around you—then you will appreciate why Thomas A. Edison said: "I want to see a Phonograph in every American Home."

Not only the children, but the grown folks also find endless delight in the music, songs, the vaudeville, the rag-time, the band pieces; not only the every-day lovers of music, but even the keenest critics are pleased with the reproduction of concert pieces and opera selections. There is fun, amusement and instruction for everybody.

"If my Edison cost me twice as much," said Otto Haubold, of Rogers Park, Ill., "I would not give it up. I should let my piano go rather than sacrifice my Phonograph. My wife, my children and grandchildren all enjoy it so much, especially these summer evenings when we can sit on the front porch and listen to the concerts."

Yet a very fine Edison Phonograph on the present special offer costs only one twentieth—one fortieth—as much as a good piano. The surprising rock-bottom prices on the finest Edisons are all quoted in the new Edison catalogs, and to prove the superiority of these new instruments, the Edison Phonograph Distributors offer to send your choice of a genuine Edison on free trial (returnable at their expense if not entirely satisfactory).

After the trial you can pay for the phonograph at the rock-bottom price or you can take advantage of our easy terms (as low as $2 00 a month) just as you prefer.

Every reader of Collier's ought to take advantage of this free trial offer for you can thus convince yourself as to whether you want the Edison Phonograph.

Suppose you send for one of these phonographs and give it a good fair trial (the Edison Distributors require no deposit of any kind). Let your family and friends hear the machine talk, sing and play.

Get up a few sample programmes they like, thus:



9277 "At the Minstrel Show," No. 3 (UCSB 3064, By Minstrels
8293 "Turkey in the Straw" (UCSB 7997) Humorous
9084 "Nobody" (UCSB 8075) Comic Coon Song
8823 "Old Black Joe" ( [context]; also YouTube video) Quartette
4005 "Laughing Coon" (UCSB 2495) Comic Song
9280 "At the Minstrel Show," No. 6 (, RealAudio only) By Minstrels
9111 "What You Goin' to Do When the Rent Comes 'Round?" (UCSB 6005) Song
8841 "I've Got a Feeling for You" (UCSB 2975) Banjo Trio
8389 "I Wonder Why Bill Baily Don't Come Home?" (UCSB 2948) Song
8202 "Arkansas Traveler" (UCSB 2674, 6886) Musical Monologue
9000 "Preacher and the Bear" (UCSB 2825, 4400) Coon Song
9317 "St. Louis Tickle" (UCSB 8633) Banjo Solo


2018 "Holy City" (UCSB 7192) Song
1559 "Where is My Wandering Boy Tonight?" (UCSB 2387) Song
8891 "Over the Waves," Waltz (UCSB 2987) Military Band
9387 "The Moon Has His Eyes on You" (UCSB 3123) Sentimental
9031 "The Glory Song" (UCSB 2835) Famous Revival Song
93 "Stars and Stripes Forever" (UCSB 2408) Sousa March
9054 "Dearie" (UCSB 2845, 8647) Sentimental Ballad
504 Anvil Chorus from "Trovatore" (UCSB 2413) Orchestra
9162 "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (UCSB 2895) Song
8632 "Uncle Sammy," March (UCSB 4355) Band
7852 "Hello, Central, Give Me Heaven" (UCSB 2435) Child's Song
8781 "Old Folks at Home" (UCSB 7224) Baritone Solo

These are only suggestions and the programmes are only two of hundreds of programmes which might be arranged.

After you have heard the machine and it has delighted yourself and your friends then write to the Edison Phonograph Distributors, taking either their cash or their easy-payment offer.

Surely for the sake of your family you will not neglect this offer. Get an Edison catalog anyway. Sign the coupon (no obligations) and the catalog promptly will be forwarded to you. Sign the coupon now.




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Original content copyright © 2011, Patrick Feaster.