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HomeLoop Legends: Larchmont's Symphonette Society

Loop Legends: Larchmont’s Symphonette Society

 

Originally published in 2017

A friend returned recently from a yard sale with a stack of old LPs, phonograph records from the 1960’s and 1970’s. On the back of each of them is an interesting inscription:

“The Longines Symphonette Society, Symphonette Square, Larchmont, N.Y.”

A quick visit to google finds a long list of this company’s recordings, including 8 Track tapes, and this: “The Longines Symphonette Society was a direct marketing company working out of Larchmont and, later, New Rochelle, New York..” from the late 1960s to 1974.

“Their main specialization was in mail-order LP box sets of classical and easy listening music as well as releasing LPs of old time radio (OTR) programs (it was a subsidiary of the Longines watch company.)”

But Symphonette Square? Have a look at the logo, above, and the building below.

Lynne Crowley at the Larchmont Historical Society says the Longines Symphonette Society operated out of the rounded building on Myrtle Avenue, not far from entrance to I-95, and it also served as a temporary barracks during WWII.

Courtesy: Larchmont Historical Society

 

“I don’t believe the address of Symphonette Square in Larchmont was an official address,” Lynne says, “but presumably the Post Office knew where to deliver.”

But it seems it all came to an inauspicious end.

In 1969, The Longines Symphonette Society was included in a Congressional investigation of lotteries, sweepstakes, and deceptive marketing practices, and consumers complained that the Larchmont based record company, like other mail order companies, sent unsolicited merchandise to people’s homes. The local record company at the address not found on any map, came to an end in 1974.

Polly Kreisman
Polly Kreisman
Polly Kreisman founded and began publishing theLoop in 2007. She is a 15-time Emmy Award winning former television reporter. In New York she worked at WPIX TV, WWOR TV, WNBC TV and NY1. She covered politics on Capitol Hill in Washington DC earlier in her career. For the past several years she has pursued professional acting roles in film, television and commercials. She is the mother of twins and two baldly behaved dogs, and lives in Larchmont.

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philip smythe
philip smythe
December 3, 2023 11:48 PM

And I worked for Longines in their advertising & production department. Worked under Bill Cullen and Mary Ann Dipple. Was with the company from 1963 to 1968 and used to buy my lunch at Goldlakes deil right next door.

John Kelley
John Kelley
March 28, 2023 4:29 PM

I commuted on the New Haven RR from 1967-73 and used the digital clock the building had to judge whether our train was on time. As I recall, our train was running express from Port Chester, passed the clock at 8:12 and arrived at grand Central at 8:38

peter picciano
February 25, 2023 7:34 AM

i was the credit manager hired by alan cartoun i suggested to alan we introduce a collection record to our dunning effort Alan told me to compose it, design the label & he would have Frank Knighttheir radio announcer do the vocal. Thid eas mailed to all our delinquent accounts.The response was them asking for additional records to pass allong to their friends alan had a VW bus & was a really cool guy his partner, your dad wasnt active in the larchmont location..our record was the only one of its kin kind and never imitated
peterpicciano

Karen Day Johnson
Karen Day Johnson
December 23, 2022 11:05 PM

My father, John day was one of the founders of this company, along with his partner, Alan cartoon. My father, John Day was one of the founders of this company, along with his partner, Alan Cartoon. Our formal living room shelves were lined with all of their records. I spent many days in that Larchmont building with my dad. Fond memories of those years.

Article
March 6, 2022 10:51 PM

Love your pieces Polly!

Ye olde days
Ye olde days
March 5, 2022 2:57 PM

That’s for that interesting but of history!
I remember this company from my early days of record collecting, and something told my young brain to stay away from them!

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