ABC Grand Record

A.B.C. Grand Record (Austria) / 1923

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Design: An attractive but very old-fashioned label (compare with the ultra-modern appearance of the next label), and one which must have represented a challenging production job for the printer, since tight register was required around the label name and the boy, both of which have a white release background.

The ink used for overprinting of the greenish foreground must have been somewhat transparent, because it does not completely block out the yellowish background, creating a 'halo' effect around the panels in the upper and lower segments.

The spaghetti-like Victorian-era curlicues on the border in the lower segment bear similarity to those seen on the roughly contemporary Phonotype label, while the high-waisted label name lettering harks back to the very early 20th century (as do the lines of imprinting under the song title).

The 'Beka boy' (see note below) wears a cap, long shorts and carries a schoolboy's satchel on his back, the latter probably to emphasize that this is a boy and not a small man. He shoots at close range with a tiny bow and arrow at a 'bull's eye' made by a record standing on its edge; if the resultant spindle hole (above) is any indication of his accuracy, he was a pretty poor shot! And unless he was standing on the side of a hill, his shadow seems badly drawn.

The song title, 'Rozsika,' is printed in a charmingly spiky, expanded, fat-faced Victorian-era font which shows lots of 'character.'

History: Label scan courtesy of collector Georg Richter of Germany, who writes: "According to author and discographer Dr. Rainer E. Lotz of Germany, 'A.B.C.' represents the Austrian Beka Company, owned by Mr. Theodor Pichler of Wien [Vienna] IX, Porzellangasse 25." Using Beka masters from 1904 (at least) to 1924 (or later?) which were recorded mostly in Austria, Germany, Hungary and Poland, the label shows another (perhaps the original?) drawing of the 'Beka boy' (see alternate version), shooting an arrow into a record. Issue # 32215 (above) was recorded October 30 1923 by the famous Edith Lorand Orchestra, and was originally issued on Beka with same number, featuring Walter Herrling singing songs in both the German and Hungarian languages. In the label name, the missing space between 'C' and Grand' seems to be an accident, because on other printed labels it appears correctly."

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