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Adrian Michaelis Papers 004.014
004.014  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Provenance
  • Access and Restrictions
  • Copyright Information
  • Preferred citation
  • Processing History
  • Biography and Organizational Note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Organization

  • Title: Adrian Michaelis Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 004.014
    Contributing Institution: Museum of Performance and Design, Performing Arts Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 24.0 Linear feet 14 cartons, 6 flat file boxes
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1940-1970
    Date (inclusive): 1890-2000
    Abstract: Adrian Michaelis (1901-2000) was the producer and program manager for Standard Oil Company's The Standard Hour radio broadcast, subsequent School Broadcast, and television show. In 1919, Michaelis began working for the Standard Oil Company as a hall boy. In 1926, through a collaboration with the then-struggling San Francisco Symphony, Standard Oil sponsored a series of broadcasts of the Symphony's performances. Due to his background with the company and strong interest in music, Michaelis was appointed as the Program Manager for the newly created Standard Symphony Hour Broadcast, later simply known as The Standard Hour. Michaelis remained with Standard Oil Company until his retirement in 1966 and worked subsequently as a consultant. Following his retirement, Michaelis became actively involved with the Los Californianos organization. A small amount of this material is strictly biographical or personal, but the vast majority of it pertains to Michaelis’ career as Program Manager for the Standard Oil Company’s music related programs. The collection includes correspondence, libretti, clippings, photographs, negatives, programs, brochures, flyers, souvenir books, scrapbooks, sheet music, and transcripts. The arrangement of the collection is as follows: Biographical, Correspondence, All Broadcasts, Standard Hour Radio Broadcast, Standard School Broadcast, Standard Hour Television Broadcast, People, Photographs, Miscellaneous, and Sheet Music
    Language: All materials are in English.
    Creator: Michaelis, Adrian J.

    Provenance

    Collection donated by Lily Michaelis in 2004.

    Access and Restrictions

    The Michaelis Papers are open to researchers.

    Copyright Information

    Museum of Performance + Design holds property rights. Copyright varies with individual items. Please consult MP+D Head Librarian/Archivist for more information.

    Preferred citation

    [Folder Title], Adrian Michaelis Papers, Museum of Performance + Design.

    Processing History

    Processed by Tricia Roush with additional processing by Supriya Wronkiewicz.

    Biography and Organizational Note

    Adrian Michaelis was born in San Francisco on December 1, 1901. In 1908, his family moved to Oakland, where he attended Oakland public schools and graduated from Oakland Technical High School. Following graduation, Michaelis began work for the Standard Oil Company as a hall boy. Over the next few years, he progressed to positions such as typist, clerk, editor of the employees' magazine, photographer, writer, and finally into positions in advertising and public relations. In 1926, through a collaboration with the then-struggling San Francisco Symphony, Standard Oil sponsored a series of broadcasts of the Symphony's performances. Due to his background with the company and strong interest in music, Michaelis was appointed as the Program Manager for the newly created Standard Symphony Hour Broadcast, later simply known as The Standard Hour, a role he would retain until the show's final broadcast in 1955. Alongside this role, Michaelis worked as the Producer-Writer for The Standard Hour's companion broadcast, the Standard School Broadcast. Michaelis also served as creator and producer for the short-lived The Standard Hour television series in 1952. Michaelis remained with Standard Oil Company until his retirement in 1966 and worked subsequently as a consultant.
    Following his retirement, Michaelis became actively involved with the Los Californianos organization. He was a charter member when the group formed in 1968 and served as their genealogist for years. He designed distinctive genealogical charts, created an audiovisual program on the history of Spanish California, and wrote a series of genealogical-historical articles titled California Hispanica for Los Californianos members.
    Michaelis died on May 6, 2000 in Oakland, California.
    About The Standard Hour
    In the fall of 1926, the San Francisco Symphony Association faced a deficit, resulting in the Standard Oil Company gifting the Symphony with the $10,000 needed to save it from bankruptcy. This gift is said to be one of the earliest U.S. corporate donations to the arts on record, so in gratitude, the Symphony offered Standard Oil the broadcast rights to their concerts played that season. The Company named Michaelis the program director and created Standard Symphony Hour Broadcast, later referred to simply as The Standard Hour. The premiere broadcast was on October 24, 1926 on the NBC Pacific Network. The concerts were broadcast live from the War Memorial Opera House, which would continue for most of the show's run. The public response was impressive. Shortly thereafter, featured singers from the San Francisco Opera began making regular appearances on the program. A year later, the program was established as a weekly full-hour concert. This continued until its final performance on June 5, 1955. Throughout its run, the broadcast featured prominent local musicians and singers as well popular singers of the era, such as Louis Armstrong. Renowned conductors such as Carmen Dragon, Gaetano Merola, Pierre Monteux, Arthur Fiedler also appeared on the program several times over its run. The Standard Symphony and NBC Pacific Coast Network radio was honored with the Peabody Award in 1943 for Outstanding Entertainment in Music. NBC and the Standard Symphony received the award again in 1952 for the contributions of the Standard Symphony and The Standard Hour broadcasts for television.
    A companion project was shortly developed as the Standard School Broadcast, premiering in 1928. The program quickly grew to become a part of the curriculum of schools in the West, continuing its run after the original Standard Hour broadcast went off the airwaves. Lesson plans were drawn out for the radio programs to be used in the classrooms. In 1958, this program was also honored with a Peabody Award. This broadcast continued to 1970.
    In 1952, Standard Oil decided to run an experimental televised version of The Standard Hour broadcast. Michaelis produced the series and thirteen episodes were aired. This allowed for televised broadcasts of previously radio-only performances. The telecasts featured minimal sets and performers in costume, and for the first time allowed for the participation of San Francisco Ballet, working in collaboration with then-director Lew Christensen. Unfortunately, production costs for continuing the series overrode the experiment and the "Thirteen Week Spectacular" was not repeated.

    Scope and Contents

    This is the personal collection of Adrian Michaelis, the producer and program manager for Standard Oil Company's The Standard Hour radio broadcast, subsequent School Broadcast, and television show. This collection includes a rich history of the seminal radio broadcast featuring performers from San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Symphony, and prominent musical artists of the day. While being a prominent West Coast radio program, The Standard Hour helped NBC Radio (which broadcasted the show weekly) win a Peabody award in 1952, proving the broadcast had a national impact. During that same year when the television show was broadcast, groups such as the San Francisco Ballet were filmed for the first time for a wider audience. The collections includes correspondence, libretti, clippings, photographs, negatives, programs, brochures, flyers, souvenir books, scrapbooks, sheet music, and transcripts. A small amount of this material is strictly biographical or personal, and the vast majority of it pertains to Michaelis’ career as Program Manager for the Standard Oil Company’s music related programs.
    Michaelis was considered very innovative in the teaching of music appreciation. In the 1940s, his presentation of Afro-American jazz was artistically and educationally accepted by the public, highlighting artists such as Louis Armstrong. He was also considered a "star finder". Among the artists whose careers he advanced through experience on The Standard Hour were Claramae Turner, Dorothy Warenskjold (a local singer who became a featured addition to its programming), Raymond Manton, Lucine Amara, Paulena Carter (a sixteen-year old local pianist), and Jerome Hines (a basso just beginning his career). Conductors Meredith Willson (creator of The Music Man) and Carmen Dragon (Hollywood Bowl Orchestra) contributed heavily to the school broadcasts and also the regular Standard broadcasts. Pierre Monteux (San Francisco Symphony) and Arthur Fiedler (San Francisco Pops Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra) were regular guest conductors. Along with photographs of the aforementioned, the collection includes information regarding Marian Anderson, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Kirsten Flagstad, Jussi Bjoerling, Gaetano Merola, Ezio Pinza, Lily Pons, Yehudi Menuhin, and Isaac Stern.
    The arrangement is as follows: Biographical, Correspondence, All Broadcasts, The Standard Hour Radio Broadcast, Standard School Broadcast, Standard Hour Television Broadcast, People, Photographs, Miscellaneous, and Sheet Music. Please note that all items in the Sheet Music series have been cataloged separately in the Museum of Performance + Design Museum Database.

    Organization

    This collection has been organized into the following series with content in alphabetical order by subject or person and then chronologically by year or decade:
    1. Biographical
    2. Correspondence
    3. All Broadcasts
    4. Standard Hour Radio Broadcast
    5. Standard School Broadcast
    6. Standard Hour Television Broadcast
    7. People
    8. Photographs
    9. Miscellaneous
    10. Sheet music

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    San Francisco Ballet--History.
    San Francisco Opera
    San Francisco Opera--History.
    San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
    San Francisco Symphony Orchestra--History
    Standard Hour Program (Radio program)
    Standard Hour Symphony Orchestra