So I was so successful creating MP3 disks that my wife is now putting in orders and special requests. The problem was, she was asking for something that I hadn’t found yet. Recordings from the old Wayne & Shuster show.
Now without a doubt Wayne and Shuster were one of our greatest Canadian exports. In my opinion they eclipse some of our other best exports: Paul Anka; William Shatner and Peter Jennings. They were favorites and regularly appeared on all of the leading television shows of my youth, Dinah Shore and Ed Sullivan, to name just two.
To me, they really were the kings of comedy and they haven’t received much respect outside our own borders now that they are gone. So finding any free MP3 recordings of any of their shows was going to be a pretty tough job. But I hit Google anyways, hoping for the best.
The first challenge was that Google kept insisting that Frank Shuster‘s name was spelled Schuster but I got over that hurdle easily enough and trying to search for Johnny Wayne was a given problem with it’s insistence on just plain John Wayne… So I just stuck to what everyone knew them as Wayne &/and Shuster. Unfortunately it felt like I was wading through old newspapers – in other words no multimedia or audio/video anywhere. Just a lot of old articles after old articles.
Finally, after about six or seven pages of Google hits, I came across a little blog which raved about Wayne & Shuster and had actually, somehow acquired four recordings and was looking for more, a TAZmanian look at the World Wierd Web, (his spelling) and he too grew up with and loved Wayne and Shuster. He also, was desperately looking for more recordings.
He had two of what I considered their classics:
along with two other lesser known titles:
But he was missing two of my other favorites:
- The Brown Pumpernickel
- The Rome is Burning Caper
I had found something, but I wanted more, so I dug deeper and deeper and found, alas, nothing. So out of desperation, I did a quick check on YouTube hoping someone had some old TV recordings that they may have uploaded. I immediately hit dirt thanks to a great Canadian fan with the account name of tk221. He even had my two missing favorites as well as a few other gems. If you want a really enjoyable quality comedy experience I highly recommend that you check out Wayne and Shuster on his YouTube site – www.youtube.com/user/tk221.
He had enough material here to put together a decent selection for an CD and all I needed was the technology to transfer the flash videos from YouTube to my computer and then copy the audio out into MP3 format. So that I could combine it with my other MP3 disks – should be simple right???
Because I use Firefox as my web browser, I can take advantage of the 100’s of various plugins or extensions that make my browser quite flexible and powerful. One of these plugins allows me to download any and all videos off of You-Tube in Flash (flv) format It is called VideoDownloader from www.viloader.net. This company actually makes extensions for all three of the major web browsers, Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer.
Once I had downloaded all the flash videos that I wanted to convert. I then found a nifty little freeware tool called AoA Audioextractor from AoAmedia. This little tool lets you rip out the audio from pretty well any video format you choose and convert it to either MP3, WAV or AC3 and it works in batch mode – which makes all of this real easy!
It took about 45 minutes to strip out the audio from 600MB of downloaded flash video files. The Audio quality was excellent. It had only one hiccup, where for whatever reason it refused to recognize one of the flash videos as a video file, even though it played well in a Flash Video player. After reviewing the cut in video format I decided that I really didn’t need it anyway. As for the reason, I leave that up to more expert people than I for evaluating this great tool . As it is I still give it a 4.5 out of 5.
Once I had the audio in MP3 format it was just a simple matter to combine and clean them up a bit, and of course use all those other wonderful MP3 tools that I talked about earlier to include them in my next MP3 disk.
For those of you who may wish to acquire these recordings, I will be passing them on to our Tazmanian friend to make available if he so chooses – I hope so…