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Old 07-30-2001, 11:07 AM
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My wife has had a boxed set of Nat "King" Cole records, as released by the Longines Symphonette Society, ever since she was she was in high school. For What It's Worth, she bought it directly from the Society, so now I'm giving clues as to her age. Well, our victrola is becoming increasingly difficult to find replacement stylii to, and in any event, she listened to "The Ruby and the Pearl" so often during her adolescence that there's very little acetate left on the platters. So it is imperative that we find out how to get the compact disc version of this set. But we can't find the Symphonette Society any more (so we can ask them how we can send for it). The Larchmont (New York) Chamber of Commerce was unhelpful to my search for where this operation picked up and moved to, and they even hinted that the name of the street (Symphonette Square) the society was on had been changed (a driving directions search on Yahoo! MapQuest supports this). Holy Illuminati, Batman! What manner of conspiracy is this? There's only one thing to do, and that is to turn the case over to Cecil and the SDMBSTAFF. If they can't get to the bottom of this, no one can.

Oh, and the Teeming Millions are invited to help, too.
Old 07-31-2001, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Ashburn, Va, USA
Posts: 375
Well, the only Longines Symphonette that I have ever heard of is a stupid little radio. Here is a pic. Somehow, there does also seem to be signs of Longines Symphonette Recording Society which seems to a former record label. I find a few links that point mostly to descriptions of used records for sale. But no current activity. So I guess they're gone. Looking at the titles they used to offer, you must be the only folks who miss them.
Old 07-31-2001, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Ashburn, Va, USA
Posts: 375
It's bad form to follow up to myself, but I've done a little more research. Here we learn:
The December 14, 1968, issue of Billboard reported that Capitol had agreed to sell its Direct Marketing Corporation, which included the Capitol Record Club, to the Longines-Wittnauer Company. Although known primarily for its up-market watches, the company diversified into other areas, including a mail-order record operation known as the Longines Symphonette Society, specializing in multiple record box sets. Billboard also reported that Longines would initially retain the name "Capitol Record Club" and that their mail-order record sales for fiscal 1968 accounted for half of the company's $52,756,925 sales proceeds.
So these guys were bigger than I thought. And that page in about Beatles records, so I guess I take back my remark about their catalog. You could ask the Longines-Wittnauer Company, but here we learn:[/quote]In September of 1994, Longines and Wittnauer parted company, and Swiss giant SMH, which holds title to Hamilton, Omega and Tissot, among other name brands, acquired the name.[/quote]

I guess that radio was just another business for them. But it's not looking real hopeful for the Longines Symphonette Recording Society. I still think the record label is gone. It's time you guys switched to cd's anyway.
Old 07-31-2001, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: America
Posts: 6
Longines Symphonette!!

That brings back memories! I was browsing topics and was all set to just cruse past yours when a blast from the past brought me to a skidding stop.

I remember them. When I was a kid, their advertisements were all over the place as they sold recordings of music ranging from easy listening to classical. They used to take popular tunes and rework them with an orchestra, -- something like what later became elevator music, only better.

Nate King Cole was on their product, along with selected songs from Johnny Cash, Perry Como, Diana Shore, some show tunes and such like that. They were like, to an extent, the popular duo of Ferranti and Teicher, who took rock and roll tunes and set them to piano. They sold a lot of Christmas music from Bing Crosby and other easy listening artists of the time.

Think of them as taking, lets see now, -- something from Salt 'n Peppa and setting it to symphony music.

I don't know what happened to them. Thinking back from when I was a little guy, to now, they seem to have just somehow vanished, lost in the rush, so to speak, like Jimmy Durante, the Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock along with Christmas Club savings accounts in banks.

I do recall them, though. It has been a long, long time since I even thought of those guys. They also seem to have taken Ferranti and Teicher along with them.
Old 07-31-2001, 12:33 PM
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Thanks for the help, guys.

For the record: We're TRYING to convert to CD's; that's why it's so frustrating that we can't find the folks who have the power to make the Nat King Cole Golden Treasury "Unforgettable" set available on CD.

Nat Cole's set was the only one I ever saw commercials for, and I guess I was fortunate.

Ferranti and Teicher (Homer Simpson shudder).
Old 07-31-2001, 08:35 PM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicago
Posts: 8,494
Have you checked Tower Records online yet? If you do an "artist search", quite a few multiple-CD collections show up. Here are two 3-CD collections called "Unforgettable":
"President [Michael] Crow and the board of regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS." President Obama, 5/13/09, "joking" about being denied an honorary degree.
Old 07-31-2001, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: up the coast
Posts: 4,417
I always thought the Longines Symphonette was infinite (it never rests, anyway) ... now it looks it may be gone.

You could always try Capitol Records -- maybe they had an actual affiliation with them, maybe not.

I found this indication of songs on a previously released box set by doing a quick web search :

Compare it with what you have; maybe you can find that one or one of the other ones around.

You could also consider trying to transfer your albums to CD yourself (or better, find someone who will do it for you.)
Old 08-01-2001, 02:20 PM
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Originally posted by panamajack
I always thought the Longines Symphonette was infinite (it never rests, anyway) ... now it looks it may be gone.
Hmmm. I don't recall being consulted.

I did check Tower's website. They can't find any Nat Cole release of "The Ruby and the Pearl", therefore the set that we're looking for is not available from Tower. Q.E.D. The set contained 6 LPs with ten songs each.

BTW, my Yahoo! check for "Swiss giant SMH", using the terms "Hamilton, Omega, and Tissot" suggests that SMH primarily deals in watches.
Old 08-01-2001, 03:31 PM
Eve Eve is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,064
Ah, yes, teevee memories . . . That old character actor saying, "YOU probably recognize this lovely tune as 'Stranger in Paradise.' Well, you pig-ignorant boob, it's actually the Polovetsian Dance No. Three by Boradin . . "

Page Morton Black for "Chock Full o' Nuts" (that heavenly coffee!), Ann Blyth for Hostess Cupcakes, Ruuuuula Lenska and her "friends from Europe," Giselle McKenzie for . . . whatever the hell it was Giselle McKenzie hawked . . .
Old 06-24-2011, 06:40 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1
Nat King Cole box set from The Longines Symphonette

Hello friend,

I know this response comes several years late, however, I just inherited a large collection of rare recordings from my dad. I have, in my posession, the exact Nat King Cole box set that you were looking for several years ago.

If you are still interested, please e-mail me at

I hope this message found you well.

Old 06-24-2011, 08:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Montreal
Posts: 20,201
Where did it go? Why, its story's infinite, it doesn't rest, much like this thread.

Last edited by matt_mcl; 06-24-2011 at 08:42 PM.
Old 06-24-2011, 09:14 PM
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Dang, beat me to it!
Old 06-24-2011, 11:50 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Originally Posted by matt_mcl View Post
Where did it go? Why, its story's infinite, it doesn't rest, much like this thread.
I laughed!

I'd always wondered what words I was mishearing as "Longines Symphonette" in that song.
Old 06-25-2011, 10:43 AM
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It's not as if Nat King Cole anthologies are hard to find, either.
Old 06-25-2011, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by typoink View Post
I laughed!

I'd always wondered what words I was mishearing as "Longines Symphonette" in that song.
You misheard nothing; The Longines Symphonette was also the name of the orchestra that produced pseudo-classical arrangements of popular music for Longines. The 101-strings-type arrangements had little unfilled space.
Old 06-25-2011, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 1999
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Interesting how technology changes. Digital music is so pervasive at this point it might well be easier to buy the individual songs you want via itunes and and other sites and simply burn the exact mixes you want.
Old 06-25-2011, 11:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
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Fooled again by a zombie! I momentarily thought Eve was back.
Old 06-26-2011, 08:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 652
I have a set of old time radio clip records hosted by Jack Benny from sometime in the mid-late 1960s that had something to do with Longines Symphonette. That the only place I ever saw it, I wasn't aware it was a thing.
Old 01-30-2012, 07:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1
I have heard somwhere that they were bought up by Warner Music Group.
Old 09-06-2012, 08:46 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1
What has been missed in this discussion is that Longines-Wittnauer was a long-time sponsor of a radio program that had what later would be identified as a Boston Pops flavor. Before they bought the record club, they themselves had a significant side business going selling albums of the Longines Symphonette. Often topical, sometimes the works of a single composer.
As I remember (this was in the mid/late 40's), their arrangements were not highly regarded. I think also that their radio theme song was "On the Trail" from the Grand Canyon Suite by Grofe.

Don C

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