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APRIL, 2020 - "koyft manischewitz matzo"

Of all the personalities on Yiddish radio, no one was more associated with the Passover holiday thanks to the product they sold —matzo —than was linguist, actor, director and matzo maestro Nahum Stutchkoff (1893-1965, L)  thanks to the long on-air sponsorship of his shows by the Manischewitz company.  

Stutchkoff's task —celebrating perhaps the most humble and taste-neutral of all foods — would have cowered a lesser writer but thanks to Stutchkoff's encyclopedic knowledge of the Yiddish language, he was able to spin brilliant and pithy commercials every bit as entertaining as the show which followed with perhaps his best and most widely revered alliteration: toyzent tamen/a thousand tastes. 

WLTH Rate Card  copy.jpg

Named for the swanky leverich towers hotel the downtown Brooklyn hostelry whose roof housed their studios, WLTH (R) was one of New York's most active stations airing Yiddish programs in the 1930s. (Its subsequent studios on Second Avenue and East Sixth Street would become the Fillmore East.)  

Among their numerous Yiddish language programs was The Jewish Children's Hour hosted by Feter Sholom/Uncle Sholom: composer/pianist Sholom Secunda starting in 1930. When Secunda left the show in 1932 —the same year he co-wrote Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn —  he handed the reins over to a young linguist, writer, director, playwright, Nahum Stutchkoff.

The only surviving sound of the Secunda/Stuchkoff Yiddish WLTH children show — in fact. about the earliest surviving Yiddish broadcast of any kind — are several takes of jingles they co-wrote for their sponsor Manischewitz Matzo. Not long after this, Stutchkoff would be lured away by the more prestigious station WEVD where he would see out his broadcast career. 


 Unlike Secunda's earlier jaunty jingle for "Joe and Paul Men's Stores" which eventually became a cross-over comedy hit,  this piece draws on one of the traditional cantorial/klezmer modes giving it a familiar, plaintive feel which the klaynvarg, — the children dragooned from the city's network of Sholom Aleichem Yiddish shules — earnestly intone. 

00:00 / 01:20

(Okay, kiddies together with me) 

Manischewitz matzo is what my mother favors 

It has everything you're wanting  

It has a thousand flavors 

Manischewitz matzo never

dries out or goes stale 

Always fresh and always tasty

Toothsome without fail

(Everyone, kiddies!) 

 Buy, Buy Buy I'm crying 

Manischewitz matzo you should be buying

 Buy, Buy Buy I'm crying 

 Buy, Buy Buy

the rare sheet music of the Manischewitz songs wås privately published by Secunda and not by the show sponsors, the radio station or even a commercial music publisher and could possibly have been offered as a show premium. The Trio Press on the Lower East Side was a popular publisher for theater and lyceum posters, political handbills and short-run books and Yiddish newspapers. 

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