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PPP Restores Local Family’s World War II Recording

May 19, 2014

More than 70 years ago, Oscar Spaly enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to boot camp in Mississippi.
SpalyRecord002
SpalyRecord001

Shortly after he arrived at Camp Shelby, his wife Lois received a package in the mail: A 7-inch vinyl LP that contained a message Spaly personally recorded to her.

Oscar’s son. Doug, held on to the record through the years. But neither he nor his other family members had ever been able to hear what Oscar sounded like when he was a young GI.

Until now.

A few months ago,Doug hired Priceless Photo Preservation to digitize the record  so he could finally hear the voice of his young father. During the transfer, we also removed some scratches, boosted the volume of Oscar’s voice and otherwise made it more understandable.

In the one-minute message, the elder Spaly talks about the fresh air in Mississippi, the other soldiers in his unit being “true Americans’ and the fact that he is “in good spirits.”

Housed in a cardboard envelope that says “A Message From Your Man in Service,” the record is a rare example of an initiative established by Pepsi Cola during the War. Pepsi set up recording studios at servicemen centers in New York, San Francisco and Washington DC and sent a mobile recording studio to military bases around the country, according to Bob Stoddard, an authority on Pepsi memorabilia and the author of “The Encyclopedia of Pepsi-Cola Collectibles.”

You can listen to the recording at the Priceless Photo Preservation’s YouTube channel or watch it below.

The record has lots of scratches, gouges and is partly warped. Even so, we were able to capture Mr. Spaly’s voice with surprising clarity. We consider it a privilege to have worked on such an important historical artifact from World War II and help the  family preserve such a valuable part of its history.

A Czechoslovakian immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1922, Oscar Spaly enlisted in the army during the late stages of World War II after finally gaining his citizenship. He served in Europe and eventually retired as a major. He moved to Ann Arbor in 1954,  establishing a real estate company that became known as the Spaly Group. He died in 2008 at the age of 88.

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