Jack Brown, owner and founder of Rainbo Records in Los Angeles since 1939, died Dec. 28 after a short illness. He would have been 91 on Jan. 1.
Known for savvy in CD, vinyl and cassette manufacturing, Brown founded the company at age 26 and workedup to the time of his illness at the end of 2003.
During those 64 years, he invented a portable recording and playback public address as well as the first reputed “talking toy” — an Easter egg that narrated “Humpty Dumpty” — and a mini phonograph that played 2½” records.
He also developed a thin, micro-plastic record and approached Wheaties with his idea of packaging them on cereal boxes. Over the next several years, 30 million “Record-on-a-Box” products were shipped worldwide. The final batch Rainbo made introduced Disney’s Mouseketeers.
During WWII, Rainbo Records worked with the U.S. government to allow families to send recorded messages to loved ones stationed overseas. The program helped lead to the formation of the Armed Forces Radio Network.
Brown is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jeanette, and three daughters.