MEET THE SAMUEL HOFFMAN

RCA THEREMIN

 

 

The Hoffman theremin today. This is a video of me playing the Edith Piaf classic,

LA VIE EN ROSE

 

DR. SAMUEL HOFFMAN, apart from the many motion picture soundtracks he recorded in the 1940's and 50's, also made three very successful 78rpm theremin albums. The above photo shows Dr. Hoffman, in 1947, at one of the recording sessions for PERFUME SET TO MUSIC. (from the Hoffman family archive).

Dr. Hoffman made many radio and television appearances during his career. In the above photo he is showing a contestant how to play the theremin in 1947 on the popular NBC radio show TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, hosted by Ralph Edwards (left).

 

Here is a photograph from RADIO LIFE magazine, April 14, 1946, showing film actor Cary Grant taking a crack at playing Dr. Hoffman's theremin. The caption reads: "PRODUCER VANDA SEEMS APPREHENSIVE at the ghostly sounds produced by the theremin. This instrument produced the eerie effects that aided Cary Grant in his interpretation of the ghost in 'The Ghost Goes West'. Pictured with Vanda and Grant is Samuel Hoffman, the only man in Hollywood who operates the mechanism".

 

Here is the Samuel Hoffman theremin as it is today. Ever since Dr. Hoffman acquired the instrument in the 1930's (as payment for a debt owed to him from a fellow musician) it has been in the Hoffman family so excellent care was always taken of it.

Because Dr. Hoffman was a working musician, he added a number of custom features to his theremin as the years went by and sound recording technology changed. In the above photo, a standard XLR plug (a three prong plug often used for microphones) is visible on the side of the instrument just above the handle. This was added in the late 1950's to facilitate plugging directly into a studio recording console (avoiding the hassles of speakers, microphones and amplifiers).

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