Historical record, indeed

The mystery behind Gordon Greb’s object revealed

Local radio veteran Gordon Greb was featured on PBS’ show History Detectives this week because of a record he kept from World War II (as reported in “Historical record,” Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, CN&R, Sept. 11). We tuned in, as we’re sure many of our readers did.

For those who missed out, Elyse Luray, the segment’s host, tracked down where exactly the recording, titled “Hi Yank,” came from, and where it ended up. It turns out the record matches up with a book, with complete instructions for troops on how to put on a musical to entertain each other, and the musical was performed in Italy in 1944.

Perhaps one of the most striking discoveries is that one of the composers was none other than Pvt. Frank Loesser, best known for later composing lyrics and music for Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Because such recordings are practically nonexistent, Greb was kind enough to donate his copy to the Library of Congress.