Records On Xray Film: Propaganda Video of Cuban-Missile-Crisis Era

In common with America in the Cold War era of the 1950s, Soviet authorities tried to prevent the evil spread of rock and roll and to save the youth from it’s moral dangers.

The video shows a bunch of youths “stiljagi” who are dealing in black-market records behindthe GUM (government style supermarket) being rounded-up by the KGB. They are given a lecture, including admonishments like “We don’t want foul shadows blemishing our sidewalks” and “It is great luck to live your life as a human being and not turn into an empty shadow.” All ends well with the kids displaying a huge poster to show the folly of their deeds.

The music records that you see in the video are made from used XRay film. Yes, you heard right, used XRay film otherwise known as ‘Jazz on bones’. Unable to buy jazz music records, an ingenious medical student invented a method of transferring grooves onto the plastic of used XRay plates. The roentgenizdat or “xray press” was finally discovered and made illegal in 1958.

Here are three examples of “Jazz on Bones” X-Ray plates:

Jazz-on-Bones X-Ray Plates
Jazz-on-Bones X-Ray Plate -- pelvic floor (click to enlarge)
Jazz-on-Bones X-Ray Plates
Jazz-on-Bones X-Ray Plate -- looks like a rib cage

Jazz on Bones X-Ray Plates
Jazz on Bones X-Ray Plate -- a lower back and spine

Image Source: József Hajdú

These amazing records could be purchased on the black market for less than 2 rubles, about a third of the price of a conventional vinyl record, and only lasted a few months. In the mid 1950s literally millions of duplications of Western and Soviet groups were made and distributed through the black market. I found this amazing video here. Thanks to Yenisei for the sub-titles using Universal Subtitles.

One Reply to “Records On Xray Film: Propaganda Video of Cuban-Missile-Crisis Era”

  1. Hello from the UK, I just clicked through from Bing and would just like to say I love the site! Keep up the good work 🙂

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