Optometrist Wm. D. Triplett ad promoting the Men of Vision episode Marco Polo: 'Windows for The Eyes' from March 13 1937
Men of Vision was conceived and producted by The Better Vision Institute of America
The Better Vision Institute compiled a 1938 booklet with thirty articles drawn from the Men of Vision Radio series.
The earliest broadcasts we logged were over Florida CBS affiliate, WCOA
Radio broadcasting during the era immediately following the Great Depression was an important factor in the nation's recovery. The early Radio networks were recovering as well. Capital-strapped and low on cash flow, the networks of the era turned more often to independent programming producers to meet listeners' voracious appetite for new and unique Radio entertainment.
The mid-1930s found more networks extending their programming around the clock, commencing as early as 5:00 a.m. and broadcasting as late as midnight to 1:00 a.m. in most metropolitan areas of North America. The increase in demand combined with longer and more regular programming schedules to present even greater opportunities to a growing number of independent transcription houses. Here's a representative list of the independent and network transcription houses throughout 1934:
- Allied Phonograph and Record Mfg. Co.
- American Foundation for the Blind
- American Record Corp.
- Atlas Radio Corporation, Ltd.
- Audisk Corporation
- Broadcast Producers of N.Y., Inc.
- Byers Recording Laboratory, Inc.
- Capital Sound Studios
- Cleveland B. Chase Co., Inc.
- Columbia Phonograph Co.
- Decca Records, Inc.
- Electro-Vox Recording Studios [Air-Chek]
- Freeman-Lang Studios
- General Broadcasting Co.
- Gennett Records
- Kasper-Gordon, Inc.
- MacGregor & Sollie, Inc.
- Marsh Laboratories, Inc.
- R. U. McIntosh and Associates
- Mid-West Broadcasting Co., Inc.
- National Broadcasting Company
- National Radio Advertising Agency
- National Recording Studios
- National Starcasts, Inc.
- Otto K. Olesen Co., Ltd.
- B. A. Proctor Co.
- RCA Victor Co., Inc.
- Radioscription Service
- Reeves Sound Studios, Inc.
- Recordings, Inc.
- Speak-O-Phone Recording Studios, Inc.
- Standard Radio Advertising Co.
- Transigram Sound Corp.
- Titan Productions, Inc.
- Universal Radio Productions
- World Broadcasting System, Inc.
Several other transcription houses were also exporting programming throughout the world in 1934. Among the major transcription houses were several smaller recording firms catering to specific sectors such as religious programming and public service or public interest programming.
The Better Vision Institute of America
The Better Vision Institute of America was a non-profit organization based out of New York City with the goal of promoting better eyesight through both modern optical technology and sensible eye health. Running a series of syndicated newspaper columns from 1929, forward, the Better Vision Institute soon became a household name in promoting better eye health and practices. The articles became so well accepted that the notion of a series of Radio programs promoting optics technologies seemed a natural extension of the Institute's promotional message.
The Better Vision Institute premieres its Men of Vision series
Recorded in the mid-1930s (1934-1936), Men of Vision was a series of twenty-six to thirty-nine, 15-minute docudramas presenting "men who've opened the eyes of the world," in one form or another through their scientific discoveries and inventions in optics. The series proved so popular with sponsoring Optometrists, Opthomalogists and Opticians that the Institute subsequently distributed an accompanying series of booklets collectively titled, "Men of Vision" containing articles drawn from the Men of Vision Radio series.
Concentrating primarily on the subjects' contributions to optics technologies, each program also profiled some of the subject's personal history as it shaped his 'vision' in pursuing his scientific discoveries. Both the Radio series and the subsequent booklet featured some of the following subjects and topics, among others:
- Primitive Man
- The Tool Makers of Old
- The First Writers
- Ramesses II
- Nero and The Emerald Eye [-Glass]
- Roger Bacon and Light Diffraction
- Johannes Gutenberg and The Ray of Light
- The Inventions of Leonardo da Vinci
- Marco Polo and Windows for the Eyes
- Kepler and The Science of Light
- Galileo and The Telescope
- William Harvey and Blood Circulation
- Anton Van Leeuwenhoek and The Microscope
- Isaac Newton
- Thomas Young and Astigmatism
- Pierre-Louis Guinand and Flint Glass
- Benjamin Franklin and the Bi-Focal
- John Dalton and Color Blindness
- Talbot and Daguerre and The Discovery of Photography
- David Brewster and The Polarization of Light
- Louis Pasteur and Optical Activity
- Robert Bunsen and The Spectroscope
- Hermann von Helmholtz and Physiological Optics
- Dr. Carl Siegmund Crede and Corneal Disease
- Gregor Mendel and The Inheritance of Traits
- Louis Émile Javal and Orthoptics
- Wilhelm Röntgen [Roentgen] and The X-Ray
- Thomas Edison and The Incandescent Light Bulb
- Guglielmo arconi and Near-Field Optics
- Francis Jenkins and Vision By Radio
- The Wright Brothers and Optical Lift
Using the natural play on words the series offered, the 'visions' in each installment represented both the concepts and discoveries of the subjects as well as their specific contributions to the physical processes of vision amplification and enhancement through their technological breakthroughs over man's history. As must be obvious from the subjects selected, the series ran the gamut of discoveries in optics dating from earliest man to the technologies of the 1920s.
The first program of the series is thought to have been "Nero and The Emerald Eye" [-glass], based upon recorded references to an emerald employed as an eyepiece by the reputedly short-sighted Nero to better watch the gladiatorial exhibitions in his Coliseum in Rome. The piece on Roger Bacon emphasized Bacon's mathematical discoveries leading to his study of light diffraction. The Leonardo da Vinci program traced da Vinci's early prototype for a telescope, among his myriad other visionary discoveries.
|RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.
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