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FTtapebox

Josef Hardt’s tape on my Sony tape recorder

On January 3, 2008, Kenny Quinn and I visited Josef Peter Hardt at his Tulsa home.

Josef (as “Peter Hardt”) was the host of weekend late-night sci-fi/horror movie program “Fantastic Theater” on Channel 2 in the 1960s. (See Fantastic Theater pages on TTM.)

We chatted about various Tulsa and TV topics.

I installed RealPlayer and added a Tulsa TV Memories shortcut to his computer so he could explore.

Before we left, Josef pulled an audio tape out of a closet and gave it to me.

I didn’t have a reel-to-reel recorder to play it on at the time.


I recently bought a circa 1968 Sony model TC-200 tape recorder on eBay. (I had the same model back in 1969 when “Fantastic Theater” was on the air.)

The Electrosoniks, aka Dissevelt & Baltan

I played Josef’s tape at 7 1/2 IPS (inches per second), the maximum speed for home reel-to-reel recorders.

But even at this speed, the tape sounded drastically slowed-down. Evidently, it had been recorded at 15 IPS on a professional recorder. It was one big mono track, rather than 2-track or 4-track stereo.

Nevertheless, I easily identified the first tune on the tape as “Sonik Re-Entry” by Tom Dissevelt/Kid Baltan, the electronic theme I remembered so well. (single MP3 download at Amazon)

This was likely the audio tape used at KVOO-TV Channel 2 to put together the “Fantastic Theater” intros, extros, and bumpers!


After the complete “Sonik Re-Entry” ended, there was a long silence. Then, more slowed-down music abruptly began mid-tune. I recognized it as a version of the quintessential Exotica/Tiki tune, “Quiet Village“, which had been mentioned by TTM readers as the first FT theme.

On 5/10/2000, I wrote this on TTM’s Fantastic Theater page:

“Reader Bob Shelton said in Guestbook 38 that “Quiet Village” was the 1st Fantastic Theater theme… I didn’t even realize there WAS another theme. You can listen to Martin Denny‘s popular version [single MP3 download at Amazon].

“But now I seem to remember Johnny Martin [KRMG evening radio host in the 1960s-70s] saying that it was composer Les Baxter‘s version.”

From Guestbook 147, 10/1/2003, Kelly S. said:

“Punched in ‘Fantastic Theater‘ and what a great surprise! I remember the first theme, ‘Quiet Village’, introducing movies like ‘From Hell It Came’ and ‘World Without End’.”

So the tape seemed to corroborate Bob’s and Kelly’s memories (and mine of Johnny Martin’s comment).

Once again, the tape went quiet for a while, then an organ tune lurched in, again mid-tune.

What was that?!


My smartphone and laptop were the only tools needed to solve this part of the mystery.

First, I held my phone up to the speaker and played the tape again, recording it with the Recorder app.

Next, I opened the FTP Server app so I could pull the audio file over to my laptop.

I opened up the recording in Audacity (a free audio program) on the laptop.

Audacity made it simple to double the speed of the recording.

Listening now at normal speed, I recognized the second tune as Les Baxter’s “Quiet Village”, corroborating my own memory of Johnny Martin’s offhand comment made decades earlier (I have the tune on CD).

The third tune was again “Quiet Village”, but performed by an organist. Who?

Listen to the crucial section of the tape, with a slideshow of the tape box and reel:

The Shazam app can identify almost any piece of commercially-released music when you play any segment of it near your phone.

I already had it, so I held my phone up to the laptop speakers.

Shazam confirmed that the second tune was Les Baxter’s “Quiet Village”. (single MP3 download at Amazon)

The third tune, Shazam revealed to be organist George Wright’s version of “Quiet Village”. (single MP3 download at Amazon)


Clearly, the overlapping recordings were made in reverse order of hearing on the tape.

This tape of Josef’s turned out to be an audio palimpsest (“a parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text.”)

Likewise, the Scotch-brand tape box (originally for an empty 7″ reel) has written on it in pen: “Bowery Boys theme, cut 1, 7 1/2 I.P.S.” This was sloppily red markered-out at the time it was repurposed to store this Fantastic Theater tape. (Watch the YouTube above to see it.) The reel itself is Scotch-brand as well, and has “Quiet Village” written on the rim.


I made this note on TTM the day we visited Josef:

“1/3/2008: Josef Hardt told me today that there was only one theme, the one described and heard below [“Sonik Re-Entry”]. Kenny Quinn was involved in its selection; it was on a tape from upstairs at KVOO-TV, he told me.”

Did Josef forget about an early usage of “Quiet Village” that at least a few viewers remembered? Maybe.

Josef’s videotaped host segments probably had the music added in post-production. Many years followed with the distinctive electronic theme.

On 6/18/1999 in Guestbook 11, Mitch Schauer recalled:

“I grew up watching Fantastic Theater, Jungle Theater on Saturday mornings (with ‘Quiet Village’ as its theme).”

Hmmm. “Quiet Village”, with its dense jungle noises, would make a lot more sense for a “Jungle Theater” than the sci-fi “Fantastic Theater”.

This tape might have been used to produce a Channel 2 adventure movie program before becoming the “Fantastic Theater” tape. I will need to look into newspaper TV listings from that period to find out if that could be true.


  1. Was “Quiet Village” the first “Fantastic Theater” theme by design?
  2. Or was it recycled from the existing tape, serving until “Sonik Re-Entry” was recorded over it?
  3. Or was it never used as the theme, and misremembered by the viewers we have heard from?

The strong and specific memories of TTM’s early readers (and mine of Johnny Martin’s comment) suggest that one of the first two options is correct. I lean toward #2.


If “Quiet Village” was specifically selected for “Fantastic Theater” (#1), George Wright’s version could have been the first take, and might have been heard on-air at least once.

If the remnant of Wright’s “Quiet Village” was related to the production of an earlier program (#2), it would never have been heard as the theme for FT.

Wikipedia notes that George Wright was the organist on “General Hospital” in the 1960s and 70s.

Ironically, in 1975, he wrote a theme for GH that was used for only a year before being replaced by the one remembered today.

Wright also worked with Tiki favorite Arthur Lyman, producing jungle sound effects with his mighty Wurlitzer organ. (See Tulsa Tiki.)

Coincidentally, I once owned this George Wright “Pop Organ” album on reel-to-reel tape, bought at Radio Shack, played on my first Sony TC-200.


Audio archaeology, and some deep-diving in the TTM Guestbook Archive shed a bit of light on Tulsa TV history.


3/12/2017: Until this moment, I had been unaware that Kenneth Eugene Quinn passed away on January 19, 2014. Josef Peter Hardt passed away on June 11, 2009.

Kenny played vibes and piano at The Rubiot: Tulsa jazz coffee house of the past. Obituary at Moore’s

Josef was also Mr. Oktoberfest in Tulsa for many years. See bottom of the Fantastic Theater page. Obituary in the Tulsa World.

I’m now listening to a Bill Evans Trio album with a beer in their memory.

Rest in peace, gentlemen. We will remember you.

JohnnyCarsonWeleetka

Just came across this Tonight Show on Antenna TV (8.3).

I recorded it on TiVo, and downloaded to my PC with the help of free pyTivo (see linked previous post).

With free Windows Movie Maker, I edited the segment into a 5:30 .mp4 for YouTube. But someone beat me to it. See bottom of this page.

This appearance was notable enough to be mentioned in Weleetka’s Wikipedia entry.

JohnnyCarsonWeleetka2

Chief Ronnie Porter talked about the problems of law enforcement without an adequate police vehicle.

We learned that the Weleetka chief was originally from Wewoka. Reminded me of this classic Tonight Show take-off on “Dragnet” with Jack Webb:

And here is the video:

You might get the idea that the purpose of this blog is to promote TiVo, as often as I mention it.

Not so. But with our possible choices constrained by the need for a high Wife Acceptance Factor weighting, it was almost inevitable that we would converge on TiVo as the best solution for the TV/DVR side of cord-cutting in our household.

News today from Digital Trends: “TiVo will soon be an entirely different company

TiVo is being acquired by Rovi Corporation, “a company based in the United States whose patents, products, and technologies include copy protection, software licensing and ‘search recommendation’ on devices such as set-top boxes, digital video recorders, TVs, and mobile and tablet devices. Companies such as consumer electronics manufacturers, cable operators, websites, and social networks use Rovi’s entertainment metadata—a collection of in-depth information on movies, television shows, celebrities, music, games, and books—in their efforts to organize and enable the consumption of digital entertainment.” (Wikipedia)

Rovi is not well-known to the general public. So the new company will also be called TiVo.

According to TheVerge, “it seems that the acquisition is mostly about patents. Neither TiVo nor Rovi make most of their money from actual products, instead, they rely on their intellectual property. For example, TiVo’s Time Warp patent, which allows users to fast-forward through adverts on recorded TV. Between them, the two companies have more than 6,000 issued and pending patents in the digital entertainment world.”

Rovi has roots in Tulsa. It was formerly known as Macrovision.

Back on July 11, 2008 in GroupBlog 270, I wrote this:

“Gemstar-TV Guide has an operation here in Tulsa at 71st and Lewis. It became a part of Macrovision a couple of months ago. Macrovision will keep the TV listings data side of the business, and likely spin off TV Guide magazine and possibly, the TV Guide Network.”

I added:

Weird Al’s ‘UHF’ (1988) was shot in Kensington Galleria, where TV Guide has its Tulsa offices”

The first TiVo was shipped on March 31, 1999 (More TiVo history here). Too bad I didn’t buy stock when it was offered on July 21, 1999.

Amazingly (to me, anyway), this website (TTM) was already in existence at that time.

(L & R images link to the pictured TTM pages, Middle is the Roku app on my smartphone.)
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Here’s yet another post related to both sides of this website (vintage local TV and cord-cutting).

The middle image is a screenshot from the Roku app on my wifi smartphone. All of our Roku channels are shown as a channel changer. Touch one of the channels and your Roku will present it.

The 1st and 3rd images are from the Tulsa TV Memories site, created late 1998 on Geocities(!) I used to present site subjects as “channels” until it got too unwieldy.

The “buttons” on all these changers are in the 4:3 aspect ratio, same as TVs had before 16:9 widescreen became the standard.

chnlchgrjava739height

(Click for larger view)

Here is an image of a “Java toy” changer I created for TTM on 10/25/1999. When displayed on the original page, the buttons move, audibly click, and take you to the relevant page.

Browsers tend not to use Java these days.

To make this work, you would have to download the Java add-on for your browser (Chrome doesn’t even have one.) Then you would need to add this page (http://tulsatvmemories.com/java/index3.html) to the Exception Site List in the Java Control Panel.

It’s not really worth the trouble except as something to do.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting that the design ideas were the same.

Screenshot of our 65" TV playing "Sonik Re-Entry" via the PleXBMC addon in OSMC/Kodi

Screenshot from our 65″ TV while playing “Sonik Re-Entry” on my $35 Raspberry Pi media computer.

This is a post where both sides of this website (vintage local TV and cord-cutting) converge.

Drive-in theatre maven Wesley Horton recently found an ad in the Nov. 10, 1967 Stillwater News Press for the Channel 2 Saturday night sci-fi/horror movie program, “Fantastic Theatre“, and sent me a copy. I finally got to see again the logo created by the Channel 2 artist!

1967 ad

1967 ad. Click to enlarge.

In early 1999, I had identified the show’s creepy electronic theme as “Sonik Re-Entry” by sending a .wav file of me trying to “sing” the instrumental melody to a couple of experts on early electronic music.

Once identified, I ordered a two-fer CD with the album it was taken from, “Song of the Second Moon” by Tom Dissevelt and Kid Baltan, plus Russ Garcia’s “Fantastica”. I later discovered that Channel 8’s “Plenty Scary Movie” promo used music from this bonus album, so it was a great deal.

A few days ago, I ripped the CD into .mp3 files using Windows Media Player. I have it set up to automatically do this when I insert a music CD into my PC.

I wanted the album to appear in Plex (What is Plex?) correctly so I could play it on Roku boxes, my Raspberry Pi/OSMC/Kodi media computer, or download it to smartphone for listening at the gym.

Usually, that happens with no further intervention needed. This time it didn’t.

On my phone

Smartphone. Click to enlarge.

This particular CD (issued in 1998 by Fantazmos Records in Frisco) was not recognized by WMP’s music database, so I had to name the .mp3 tracks, and manually add ID3 metadata tags to them. This I accomplished with freeware, Mp3tag. I had previously learned by trial-and-error plus Google which tags were important for the Plex server software on my PC to index the tracks properly.

In addition, I had to move the tracks from the two albums into separate folders, using Plex’ naming and organizing conventions on my PC.

Plex lets you add album art, a background, and the performers’ photo. I used part of Wesley’s ad for the background, and found the cover art online easily enough.

The screenshot at top shows you how it appears on our big TV. At right is a view on my wifi-only smartphone, showing the Dutch composers/performers.

Listen to samples of “Sonik Re-Entry” on the TTM “Fantastic Theatre” page. One features a voiceover by the original host, Josef Peter Hardt, created especially for David Bagsby’s “The Tulsa Project” CD!