Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's beginning to look alot like...

Well, we had a visit from Fire Marshall Bill today.  He walked into one of our storage rooms and said "WELL LET ME SHOW YA SOMETHIN!"  Those boxes are to close to the ceiling.  What's in them? We all looked at each other and said "I dunno."  Let's find out shall we.

What it turned out to be was a HUGE stash of old vinyl records from one of our classic/album rock stations. Within all of those boxes. I found a few boxes of Christmas music.  Andy Williams was apparently very popular.

But the biggest fond for me was this.



That's right.  The Signing Mailmen of Miami.  Reminding us to Mail early and have a Merry Christmas.

From the USPS Postal Museum website.


The Singing Mailmen of Miami
In the 1950s and 60s, a group of postal workers from the Miami Branch area joined together as the Singing Mailmen of Miami and were later adopted as a voice of the Post Office Department. Twenty-five letter carriers and clerks organized in 1954 as a non-profit nondenominational glee club.(1) A letter to a local Miami newspaper stated “We are not a fanatic group, but this we do believe: where others have failed, music has opened the box heaviest doors and left peace, good will, and understanding”.(2) This letter emphasizes the Singing Mailmen of Miami’s main intent: good will, a desire for which brought together the group of diverse postal workers (thirteen letter carriers, five clerks, two supers). Each performance was completed by a performance by the “JCP Trio,” composed of a Jew, a Catholic, and a Protestant who would remind the audience of the importance of brotherhood.
At their beginning the group was purely for the enjoyment of each other’s company and the chance to sing. But as time passed, they began to sing at post office events, local events, and nursing homes. By 1960 they had garnered national interest and the Post Office Department adopted them as their official spokes-group. Their fame continued to grow as they released an album entitled “Neither Snow Nor Rain,” the money from which came their funds for the ZIP Code tour.
They even became popular enough to be featured on the prime-time television program “Sing Along with Mitch” where they sang their theme song, “Men with the US Mail.”  They were also the only organization at the time to be granted special permission by the Postmaster General to perform in their uniforms, which they declared as “a great honor”.(3) Other notable performances were at the White House, the U.S. Congress, and for Florida Governor Ferris Bryant.
In 1961, they made a trip to various radio stations around the United States to promote the “Shop and Mail Early” campaign during the Christmas season. Their itinerary was vast; they visited Menasha, WI; Galveston, TX; Hagerstown, MD; Santa Fe, NM; Terre Haute, IN; and Jamesville, WI. The next year they recorded a song for the same purpose:
(set to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Christmas stamps, Christmas stamps, making our debut.
We’ll brighten up your Christmas cards and speed them on to you.
Don’t delay; mail today. It’s later than you think.
We’ll put them through for all of you, quicker than a wink.(4)
Later in 1963 they made a similar goodwill tour up and down the East Coast to promote the use of the ZIP Code. They traveled in a large bus loaded with a piano, their luggage—and hundreds of coconuts to pass out at each performance to represent Mr. ZIP. They played for twenty-one audiences in twelve different cities, again armed with a song:
(set to the theme of ZIppity Do Da)
Welcome to the ZIP Code
Use it today
Send your mail out
The five-digit way
For speedier handling
To lighten the load
Your return address
Should have the ZIP Code(5)
The Singing Mailmen were never paid for their local Florida appearances or for their trips for the Post Office Department. Instead, they raised money for charities or used the funds to make their goodwill tours and share their music with others. They even each used annual leave for their trips. One member put it well: “There was a lot of camaraderie—we all stuck together and looked after one another’s well-being. We also brought joy to a lot of people. It was a great pleasure to see the smiles on their faces”.(6)
Most of the members retired by 1970 and the chorus disbanded, though nine did reunite again in 1985 for a local television reunion concert in Miami. In 1989, a writer for the Miami Herald found Sidney Barshak, then seventy-one years old, and previous member of the Singing Mailmen of Miami and the J in the JCP Trio.(7) He did not know if any other members were still alive, as had contact slowly faded over the years. But he still remembered those times very fondly saying “I don’t like to toot my own horn, but when the lights came down, the spotlight came on, the curtain opened, there we were. We had some great times”.(8)


Now here is the fun part.  I work in a place where we actually have record players and some nice equipment to record things.  I will be digitizing the album for delivery to my readers for the Christmas/Holiday season.  So when the time comes.  I will be doing something fun with this.

So is anyone interested.  An inquiring mind wants to know.

DD

10 comments:

  1. Singing mailmen....why not? I'd love to hear them sing Christmas carols.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am definitely interested. Christmas and mail, two of my favorite things. My ears are excited to hear the singing mailmen. What a very cool find.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I started recording it tonight. The best parts for me are the psa stuff. The 30 second spots for radio. This is dating pre zip codes.

      Delete
  3. Such a great discovery, Derrick. Me being a mail freak, count me in!

    ReplyDelete
  4. SO interested! That is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  5. that is absolutely amazing! what a score. and I'm a total sucker for old PSAs.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This sounds totally amazing. Singing mailmen... how cute is that?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, as the daughter of an old railway mail clerk, I must get in on this!!! Love the tune of zippity do da

    ReplyDelete