Memory

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Steve Jelf
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Memory

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:18 am

When you get old everything reminds you of something else. This evening I was on the MTFCA forum and noticed that one of the regulars there lives in Modesto. Dad's boyhood pal, Dow Tout, lived in Modesto with his wife Marguerite and daughter Sue, who was about my age. I was three, or maybe four, when we were on our way to visit the Touts and spent the night at a motel in Fresno. Across old US 99 from the motel were railroad tracks where the trains pulled by steam locomotives rumbled by all night. We seldom remember where or when we learned a particular word, but I remember learning a new word that night. Mom opened her suitcase and found that a bottle of perfume had leaked. She said, "Boy, that's potent stuff." That's how I learned potent.

Dow and Dad grew up together in Sedan. Their grandfathers were Civil War vets. Dad said great grandfather Jelf and Mr. Tout would get together and reminisce about what incompetent fools some of their officers were. Dad told me he remembered the first car in Sedan, owned by a doctor. I could kick myself for not asking what kind of car it was. He also saw the first plane that flew over Sedan. I could kick myself for not asking what year that was. He also saw two presidents in person. The first was when he was nine, and his grandpa took him to see Taft campaigning. The second was during the war, when we lived in Wilmington. Our house was beside the Pacific Coast Highway, and FDR's motorcade passed by.

Dad was raised Republican. His grandpa was GAR. But life turned him into a yellow dog Democrat. He told of a guy who worked with him at the Shell refinery in Arkansas City, who ran out of gas downtown and pushed his car into the White Eagle station at Summit and Chestnut. One of the bosses saw him and fired him for buying gas from the competition. Dad's opinion of the bosses was similar to his grandpa's opinion of those army officers. Old 99 was lined with oleander bushes. What were we talking about?
The inevitable often happens.
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Burger in Spokane
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Re: Memory

Post by Burger in Spokane » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:46 am

We were talking about listening to oldtimers reminisce about wonderful stuff
and wishing we had the wherewithall to have asked more questions at the time.

I wish doing this was a paying gig. I could do this all day, forever, and never get
tired of it. 👍
More people are doing it today than ever before !


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Re: Memory

Post by wayne sheldon » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:04 am

I was a strange kid (I really was!). I was always asking questions. I was about five (I know because we were riding in the 1941 Chevrolet my dad had when I was little) when I figured out that not all the answers I was getting were the truth (a polite "shut up kid ya bother me"). I was always asking my uncles about their experiences in WWII, and my great uncles about WWI. I wish I could have gotten them to open up about them, but they didn't seem to want to talk about it. Much of my favorite times in childhood were spent on my grandparent's peach ranch in Modesto Califunny. We usually would be there for a few weeks during the peach harvest. Thanksgiving or Christmas was often spent there as well, usually with aunts uncles and cousins! (And oh the nice dirty old barns and junk piles!)

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Re: Memory

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:19 am

...grandparent's peach ranch in Modesto...

Here we go again, with something reminding me of something else. It was sometime in the fifties. We were on the way to or from camping in the mountains on a hot August day and stopped in Sanger for ice cream. Peach ice cream! For years after, Mom and her sisters would reminisce about how good it was.
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Re: Memory

Post by Rich Eagle » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:40 am

It's enchanting how those memories stay with us while we don't always remember events yesterday as vividly. The creaky floor and tuna-fish sandwiches at the Riviera Cafe that clung to the East bank of the Snake River on Broadway in Idaho Falls have stayed with me. Grampa's basement with library and coal furnace was pretty wonderful too.
I hope we are creating nice memories for youngsters to take with them in their lives.
Thanks for touching on these.
Rich
When did I do that?

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Re: Memory

Post by aDave » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:46 am

And I remember our family's little 4 cylinder Crosley...great gas mileage!
Dad eventually upgraded to a Nash Rambler Station Wagon...sure wish I had the nickles to buy it from him when he upgraded to the Plymouth Belvedere...Power-Flite transmission....the cat's meow!!

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Re: Memory

Post by Ruxstel24 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:53 am

The family 4 cylinder was a VW Beetle. Mom drove me to school and would let me shift when she pushed the clutch in. :)
About the time I got to school, the rocker panel heat duct was blowing warm air !! :roll:

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Re: Memory

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:29 am

About the time I got to school, the rocker panel heat duct was blowing warm air !!

For a car made where it gets as cold as Germany, they sure have a miserable excuse for heat. Even if you install the J.C. Whitney blower, it takes a long drive to warm up before you get where you're going. :D
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Re: Memory

Post by Rich Eagle » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:33 am

J. C Whitney!!! Don't get me started.
When did I do that?


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Re: Memory

Post by bud delong » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:36 am

I remember we had a WW2 surplus Jeep and my mother would tow us kids behind on our sleds.I really enjoy reading of what people remember of day"s and people gone by.I do not know how small or trivial it matters but i do know if we don"t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it! :D Bud.


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Re: Memory

Post by Michael Paul » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:49 am

Good morning,. I have a great model t Ford story from Napa valley.

While researching a car that was built in Napa in 1899, built by Fred Jacks, a bicycle shop owner. I was fortunate to have found his niece who still lived in the family home just outside of town. She had original photos if the car I was able to copy. And had great information about his personality, drive, ingenuity. It turns out the car listed in the catalog of American cars in 1899 was his second attempt at building a car. The first was in 1897, his chassis was made from bicycle tubing, with wooden spoked wheels. He waited for a month after placing his order for a single cylinder American motors engine to be shipped from St Louis. He had already built the frame while waiting impatiently for the engine to arrive by Raiilway Express. (Now UPS). His first test drive was in the dark of nite, not wanting his secret of cornering the California market to get out. Unfortunately, the wooden spoked wheels were not up to the task, and it was back to the drawing board. By 1899, he was a fixture driving about town, with a photo of him in the newspaper by the city park. From the automobile to the airplane went his interests! His niece told of several attempts to power a glider similar to the Wright Bros pursuit, and when they made the first flight, he didn't give up, but was limited by migraine headaches that stayed with him for years, finally giving up his interests.

In 1990 Mrs Jacks was 87 years old. I was fortunate to listen to stories of the family vacations in the 1915 Model T Ford touring. Every summer they would make the trek to Lake county just north of the Napa Valley to the hot springs. The trip was all on dirt and gravel roads that went up and over mount St Helena. (About a 3000' elevation gain) The trip up was all low gear pedal down! The trip down the other side was nerve racking to say the least! It would involve her father finding the right log to chain to the back of the car to drag down the hill so so it wouldn't run away. Can you imagine what it was like slipping and sliding down a steep dirt road dragging a log!

There are still roads like that in the Sierra foothills! I met an interesting guy the other day who is part of a group that takes day trips in there old cars on these roads. They use wooden wheeled cars of every breed mostly pre 1925 to drive on roads that resemble a creek bed. The last trip was Bowman Lake road, I drove it with my 4x4 pick up a couple years ago and it was a bear! I'm hoping to join them this summer with my TT truck! It has a ruckstell and a warford with overdrive, I can't wait to tryout all the gears!

I hope this thread continues, stories and information from the early days of motoring are so valuable.

Have a great day! Michael Paul


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Re: Memory

Post by Norman Kling » Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:02 pm

In my elementary school every year around Memorial Day an old man in a blue uniform would come to the auditorium and sit facing the students. He was introduced as Capt. Mingea a Civil War Vet. We kids even knew there he lived. He didn't speak, but just sat there. Now it is almost the same number years since WWII as it was then from the Civil War.

I heard a lot of stories about Model T's from my grandparents, dad and uncles. One was of a trip to Yosemite when grandpa would say, Its time to get out, and the boys would get out and walk up the hill. Sometimes even pushing the T as it struggled to climb. They had built a house in the Hollywood Hills overlooking the Hollywood Bowl. Some of the neighbors thought they should have a more elegant car, but our family said," this Ford will climb the hill" Dad even told me about his T in which he had a collision with a trolley. The trolley won! That was when he was in college. They bought him a brand new 1929 Model A. The great depression came along and they lost their fabulous home, and their business. Dad's dream of becoming CEO of "Kling Manufacturing Company" vanished and when he graduated from college, found himself working for Calavo Growers packing avacados. Also working in a Gas station. When I came along the family lived in a rental house opposite Forest Lawn Cemetary in Glendale. My grandma and I would visit the duck pond for a picnic lunch and then she would walk to a certain area with engraved stones where she would lay flowers. I really didn't understand what she was doing until later when I found out my great grandparents were buried there. My great grandfather was also a Civil War vet. Now my grandparents and my parents and several other family relatives are buried alongside them.
Among other things I remember are my dad driving a 1936 Ford tudor along the Arroyo Seco Parkway, the first Freeway in Los Angeles. This ran from Pasadena to Los Angeles. Dad said we are going 45 MPH. I saw the speedometer went up to 100 and I said, "Why don't we go 70? My mom's jaw dropped and she said," that's too fast. Nobody would ever go 70!"
I could also tell you when my 6th grade teacher said,"We are going into another ice age!" The following January we had a foot of snow in Los Angeles! I believed her then. Now I just read that there had been a sign in Glacier National Park which said "This glacier will be gone by 2020." The sign has quietly been removed and the glacier has actually grown in size! This proves you can't believe long period weather or climate forecasts.
Norm

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Re: Memory

Post by Oldav8tor » Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:43 pm

My Juhl grandfather was born in 1860 and died in 1960 when I was ten - I kick myself for not asking more questions when he was around. My mom has been gone for 41 years and my dad for 31.... since their passing I have come up with so many questions I would like to have asked but it is too late. Every human being has a story to tell and unfortunately, it usually dies with them. I have enjoyed reading the posts in this thread...one way of saving personal histories is to share.... keep it up.
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Re: Memory

Post by 2nighthawks » Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:13 pm

Steve Jelf is right,....when you get old enough, everything reminds you of something else. A post in this thread reminds me of an "experience" I had nearly 50 years ago:

My wife and I are both from railroad families and grew up in the Chicago area in the '40's and '50's. Working for the railroad police department (Milwaukee Road) in 1972, I got a chance to transfer out West and finally get my family out of Chicago and move out to "Big Sky Country", Deer Lodge, Montana. I lived in a motel in Deer Lodge for about 6 weeks on the new job, while my wife and kids stayed back in the house in Roselle, Illinois until the house sold, which took a couple months.

Because my wife and kids needed a car, I left our very nice and nearly new IH Travelall home for them, and as I needed "something" to drive out to Montana, my father-in-law gave me a '66 Pontiac Tempest which he'd been (unsuccessfully) trying to sell. Now then, I have to preface this little story by describing to you, the condition of this six-year-old '66 Pontiac Tempest, after which you'll understand why he couldn't sell it, and how it's "condition" relates to the "experience" I had with it! The in-laws bought this Pontiac Tempest brand new and it only had a bit over 60,000 miles on it, and it was a very dependable, nice driving and nice running car, but mere words cannot describe the horribly rusted out condition of that car in the mere 6 years it had been used in Chicago, and what driving through 6 Chicago winters of salty winter slush and salt brine did to it! Folks that live in the upper Midwest, especially in areas like Chicago, can visualize what I'm about to describe, but for those who live where winter conditions are much better, imagine this:

The rocker panels on both sides were all but gone due to rust, as were the bottoms of the rear fenders behind each rear wheel. The entire floor of the car, including the floor of the trunk had numerous and various sized holes rusted clear through, and I'm not sure why the seats remained fairly stable! One headlight was only kept from completely falling out by generous use of duct tape, and believe it or not, somehow, salt brine had apparently worked its way up through door pillars enough to result in the extreme left side of the dash panel to have a rust hole clear through and the hole next to the speedometer was large enough to stick you hand through it! Unbelievable! Anyway, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. And, believe it or not, that little Pontiac was about as sweet a running and driving car as you could ask for! As I mentioned, only 6 years old with only a bit over 60,000 miles on it!

So, here I am in Montana, working a new job, living in restaurants and a motel, with nothing to do on weekend days off but (like any "city kid" would do) explore around in "Big Sky Country"! Couldn't get enough of it! So one Saturday rest day off, having nothing better to do, I decided to take a ride up to a beautiful little mountain lake that I had heard a lot about, where some of the railroad townsfolk had built summer cottages and such. This lake was part way up Mt. Powell up near the timberline, and altho' I was told that the road becomes pretty rough as you approach the top, and really requires 4-wheel-drive, I just figured,...."What the heck,....I've got all day so I'll just take it easy and go slow and it'll be fine!" (....hmmmm.....)

I had been told about how far up the mountain this lake was, and altho' the road was getting worse and worse, I really hated to give up at that point, as I knew I was close to the lake, but frankly, what the locals had called a "rough road", had actually ceased being a road had had now become a very steep and rocky (some BIG rocks) stream bed! All of a sudden, I heard this terrible clatter from under the back of the car someplace, and initially, I had thought that the muffler and exhaust pipe had fallen off! However, engine was still running fine and no additional exhaust noise, so, can't be exhaust system, right? So I immediately ceased my "walking-pace" forward uphill progress, stopped, put gearshift in "park", set the handbrake as tightly as possible, determined that the car wouldn't roll backwards downhill, and got out to see what the heck had fallen off! The sight behind that car was one I'll never forget! The gas tank had fallen off, and had been dragged along for the last few feet I had driven, having been dragged along merely by the section of gas line that was flexible rubber hose! And yes, the engine was still running, idling just sweet as could be, like always!

So! What to do now, right? Here's where the story becomes almost unbelievable, but here's what I did:

For some reason, I had left a few things in the trunk that my father-in-law had put there, including a coil of old manilla rope. So I turned the still at least half-full gas tank in the approximate position that it hand been in, arranged the old rope crossways under the tank, and carefully backed the still running (amazing!) car back over the tank, and after getting the floor mat in the trunk out of the way, poked each end of the rope up through the rust holes in the trunk floor, and tied the ends of the rope together to form a "loop" of rope in the trunk. Then I found a stick about three feet long and poked it through the loop in the rope, and used the stick to crank the rope tight (like a tourniquet) and lifted the gas tank into (hopefully) somewhere near where it belonged! (.....and yes,....the engine is still idling away as sweet as could be!)

Needless to say, I never did make it up the that mountain lake (Lake Trask) that day, but managed to carefully drive back down the mountain and back into town and to Mt. Powell Texaco, where there was a mechanic that I knew that pretty much took care of maintenance of all railroad vehicles there. I told "Jim" the mechanic that I'd had "a bit of trouble with the gas tank". So he said, something like,....hmmm,....well, lets get it up on the grease rack lift and see what you're talking about". Then he said to a couple of the other guys that worked there,...."hey guys, come over here and look at this!"

I have to say, it took me a long time to "live that one down", but I did say to them something like,....hey, I could have left it up on the mountain and walked back, but at least I actually drove it back down and into town, right?"

That was nearly 50 years ago now, but so help me, I can still hear those guys laughing!

All I can say now is that THAT is just one more reason why I was sad to see the end of PONTIAC. My Dad had a '51 Pontiac "hardtop" Catalina (....his first ever NEW car) that was a very good car, but I can say that that '66 Pontiac Tempest with the overhead cam 6-cylinder engine was also one tough car, for sure!


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Re: Memory

Post by Roz » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:50 pm

What were we talking about?

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Re: Memory

Post by Steve Jelf » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:37 pm

I consider it a wonderful stroke of luck that I was born into a world that still had real radio. Today we can get a little taste of it through old recordings, but to really know it you had to be there. Don McNeill's Breakfast Club, heard locally on KECA, came to us over the Blue Network from Chicago. Don, Sam, Aunt Fanny and the gang started in the thirties and were on the air weekday mornings for over thirty years. When the band played a march, Don would invite listeners at home to get up and march around the breakfast table, so I did. About that same time (I was four or five), Mom called me into the house one Saturday morning because there was something on the radio she thought I might like. "Let's Pretend, directed by Nila Mack!" I didn't know it at the time, but Mom had some history with Nila Mack. Back in the twenties when the country was crazy over the new fad of radio, an Arkansas City girl named Nila Mack was managing the local radio station. Mom was in high school at the time. She played cello, her sister Ernestine played piano, and Jereldine played violin. They were the Parker Sisters Trio, and played on the local station before it folded, they went on to other pursuits, and Nila Mack went on to become a big time radio director in New York. And did I Iike the show? Yes, I did. The sponsor was Cream of Wheat:

Cream of Wheat is so good to eat that we have it every day.
We sing this song 'cause it makes us strong, and makes us shout, "Hooray!"
It's good for growing children and grown-ups too to eat.
For all your family's breakfast you can't beat Cream of Wheat.


I hated it. The stuff was disgusting. It made me barf. But I liked the show.
:D
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Re: Memory

Post by 2nighthawks » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:32 am

Well Steve, you did it again! Like you've so often said,...."everything somebody says, reminds you of something! Radio,.......

Growing up in the Chicago area in the '40's & '50's, and especially in my high school days, I had a '28 Model A Ford standard coupe. Bought it in 1957 for $350.00, so as you can imagine, I spent a lot of time in "my half" of my Dad's garage, doing whatever necessary to keep the ol' half worn out "A-bone" running. And of course, during all those hours in the garage, the radio was playing the latest "pop" tunes on "WJJD in Chicago". And to tell you the truth, I still think we really had some pretty darn good music in the '50's, like the Everly Brothers for instance,....."Wake up Little Suzie",......etc, etc. But to this day, what is so deeply engrained in my mind, not because I want it there, but because I heard it every day, over, and over and OVER again, and I still know the words by heart (which I didn't realize until you started this thread Steve), was,.......

CLARK SUPER ONE HUNDRED GASOLINE
THOUSANDS SAY IT'S BEST
THE LARGEST SELLING INDEPENDENT GASOLINE
IN THE MIDDLE WEST
FILL UP TODAY
YOU'LL KNOW JUST WHAT WE MEAN
BUY CLARK SUPER ONE HUNDRED GASOLINE


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Re: Memory

Post by bud delong » Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:27 am

Growing up in the 50"s i loved most of the music and the Everly Brothers were favorites!! We were lucky to see them perform in Lost Wages once. As for jingles,i like the Carnation Milk ditty!!!!! :D Bud.


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Re: Memory

Post by Burger in Spokane » Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:51 pm

I've been fascinated with what I called "that distant ship's smoke on the horizon"
since before I could remember. All that stuff that was disappearing from the
world around me, ... that was the stuff I locked on to, be it old cars, or old people
with all their stories.

As a kid, I found a radio station that only came in late at night from L.A. that played
old radio drama shows, that became a favorite pastime on Saturday nights. I marveled
at the sound effects and the way they produced "extra drama" with organs and such.
They were great fun to listen to. My friends were unimpressed by such corny stuff.

Visiting Grandma, we kids liked to hang out with them after dinner and watch TV, but
it was sure death if you made even a peep during Lawrence Welk. Grandma would have
your head. Grandpa was a little more forgiving while Hogan's Heroes was on, but not
much.

Both introduced me more the 50's music of Nelson Riddle, Perry Como, and Chet Baker.
Chet was pretty "edgy" for them. When I think about it, I found myself caught in an odd
place between my friends, who wanted to do "fast and exciting" things and this odd nether
world of old radio shows, old music, or just going down to the railroad tracks where things
were quiet and I might watch the water pass under the trestle or dig around the brush, looking
for old bottles or insulators. I spent a lot of time daydreaming and visualizing how things
used to look when my grandparents were kids.

Harold mentioned the Milwaukee Road. The Milwaukee Road illogically was, and remains,
my favorite railroad, because even though they were late in coming to our area, the upkeep
of their lines and the way they operated around the NW was straight up 19th century railroading,
and many of their lines were so weedy, one might have wondered if trains ever ran anymore.

Mr. Moore lived up the road. He was born in 1883 and told us neighborhood kids lots of
wonderful stories, dirty jokes, and clever rhymes. One of his stories I always found to be
profound was of when he encountered his first automobile in 1905. I found it fascinating
to think of a person, whose world was deeply shaken by something I had never known any-
thing different from.

I guess where this all ties in with memories is that I walk around this world, visualizing it
like it looked 100 or more years ago. The sawmill that was there from 1880 to 1963, the
orchard that is now a tangle of crappy houses, the old spindly bridge, now replaced by the
8-lane freeway. I am constantly reminded of all these things that "used to be". They used
to have Saturday night dances at the Sharon Community Hall. That was back when Sharon
was a stop on the trolley line to Pullman. All of that is gone now. But oldtimers told me
that the company that ran the trolley, also provided electric power to the communities
along the line, and when the trolley went by, the lights would dim in the houses. Of course
back then, electric service rarely exceeded a few light bulbs. Which reminds me of another
detail of days gone by .....
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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Re: Memory

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:54 am

Have no idea why this thread brought back memories of Nabisco chocolate chip cookies. Late 50's I guess. Rectangular box covered in a paper wrapper. Waxed box with wax paper covering the cookies inside. We didn't have glasses wide enough to dunk them in milk and had to break them in half. They degenerated into Chips Ahoy. Flavoress sawdust. Also remember Dad going to California Pies & buying the cracked ones because they were cheaper. There was a deposit on the pie pan.
Forget everything you thought you knew.

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Re: Memory

Post by DLodge » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:00 am

Steve Jelf wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:37 pm
... When the band played a march, Don would invite listeners at home to get up and march around the breakfast table, so I did.....
When I was eight, we moved from a 2-bedroom house to a 3-bedroom house. (I didn't know it at the time, but it was because my parents had found out that my sister was on the way.) They decided that I was old enough to have a radio on my nightstand, and on nights when there was no school the next day, I could listen until I fell asleep. My version of Steve's marching around the breakfast table was listening to events where the national anthem was played. I dutifully climbed out of bed and stood at attention until it was finished. I also remember that I listed to Gangbusters (I think) that ended with a description of some criminal who was at large and "armed and dangerous." I was always convinced that he was behind the bushes in our front yard.

I remember listening to Beulah, The Great Gildersleeve, Life with Luigi, Our Miss Brooks, Fibber McGee and Molly, Amos and Andy, Henry Aldrich and more.

That radio fell victim to my mother's tendency to get rid of "old stuff" and I never had a voice in what went. About 15 years ago or so, I found the exact same radio on eBay and bought it. I don't listen to it anymore (not much on AM that I care about these days), but it occupies a space in my living room bookshelves.

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Re: Memory

Post by hpetrino » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:06 am

It's interesting to read this thread and reflect on missed opportunities to ask questions when folks now long gone were still here. I was extremely fortunate with both of my grandfathers. I spent a lot of time with each of them when I was a kid. They had one identical habit. After dinner each liked to pour himself another glass of wine and tell me stories of his youth, immigration, and early years here in the USA. Now, as the senior member of the family (how'd that happen??), I have become the family historian. My adult sons have become interested in knowing more about our history, so I make an effort to answer all questions, sometimes with more detail than they expected.

There is one clear message in this thread. Each of us has an obligation to pass along as much as we can of our family and personal histories. I have started a file in my computer word program titled, "The Story". When things occur to me (I can't be expected to remember it all at once :lol: ) and I have a little time I write in this file all I can remember. It's actually becoming a fairly large file. I'm hopeful that in 50 years or so my 4 grandsons will find it interesting. For them it will contain stories that go back 6 generations with specifics about where their ancestors lived, what cars they drove, interesting family stories, how they made a living and so on. By the time they're the age I am now it will contain stuff that goes back over 225 years.

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Re: Memory

Post by Steve Jelf » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:24 pm

I listened to all the shows Dick mentioned, and more, of course. I was a devoted follower of Tom Mix, The Cisco Kid, Bobby Benson of the B—B, Roy Rogers, and The Lone Ranger. After the war the movie studios used to send cowboy actors out to make personal appearances, so when I was in first grade Roy and Trigger came to my school. I was in third grade when Monte Montana and his funny sidekick showed up in a stagecoach pulled by a full team. At that time TV was arriving, and Thursday evenings I would walk the two blocks to Jimmy Krehbiel's house to watch The Lone Ranger on TV. One afternoon I was at Jimmy's house after school, and he turned on the TV to show me the test pattern. The shows didn't come on until evening. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but I was lucky enough to have a dad who was too tight with a dollar to spring for a TV set. At least, not yet. That brought me a couple more years of Baby Snooks, It Pays To Be Ignorant, The Big Show, A Date With Judy, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, and other entertainment in "the theater of the mind".

But finally, when I was in sixth grade, the transcontinental coaxial cable was completed. That meant that the 1952 World Series would be shown live on west coast TV stations, and that meant that Dad was willing to spend the dough for a TV set. So we traveled all the way to the Sears store in Long Beach and came home with a new 21" Silvertone. It had a plug labeled COLOR stuck into a socket on the back of the chassis. I assume this was to make people think that the set could later be converted to color simply by plugging in an attachment. I never looked, but I think there were probably not even any wires connected to that socket.

Dad and I went up on the roof and set up the antenna, and aimed it at Mount Wilson where all the stations had their transmitters. We happened to be in a "major media market", to use a modern term for it, which just means a lot more radio and TV stations than most places. Our 1952 TV channels were: KNXT (2) CBS; KNBH (4) NBC; KTLA (5) IND; KECA (7) ABC; KHJ (9) IND; KTTV (11) DUMONT; and KLAC (13) IND. Today most of those stations have different call letters.

The new set happened to be tuned to channel 7, so when it was turned on the first thing we saw was Space Patrol. Buzz Corey (Ed Kemmer) was commander in chief of the Space Patrol, and Cadet Happy (Lyn Osborn) was his sidekick. They were up against an evil alien that had taken over the mind of Carol, one of the regular characters. Eventually they were able to get rid of the evil alien, but I was always suspicious of Carol after that.


IMG_0136 copy 2.JPG
A 1937 PHILCO beehive radio brought us Jack Benny, the Grand Ole Opry, The Life Of Riley, Duffy's Tavern, and so many more.
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Re: Memory

Post by Dallas Landers » Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:36 pm

Whats the funny looking black thing by the radio? :lol:
The funny thing is slogans like "dial 911" are still used even tho most youngsters have never "dialed" a phone. Party lines, busy signals and fire phones. When I joined the fire sevice, before 911 came to town, the firemen had fire phones. Someone had a fire and called the fire department which was un-manned as are most volunteer departments. The fire phone hooked into our phone line and gave a constant ring for a fire. We took turns being around home to hear a phone. Alot of time the person would scream " my barns on fire" and hang up. If you were late getting to the phone, all you heard was click,click, click as the other firemen hung up the phone. You then headed to the fire house to set off the siren so others knew we had a fire. Now we cant set off the siren for a fire as it disturbs the towns people! We went to a paging system run by the sherrif department which finally became the 911 system.
Now what were we talking about?
Oh ya tv and radio. Steve, I get distracted easy.

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Re: Memory

Post by Rich Eagle » Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:59 pm

My gosh! No wonder some of us think alike. We're surrounded by the same stuff.
Philco.jpg
When did I do that?

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Re: Memory

Post by DLodge » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:37 pm

Dallas Landers wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:36 pm
...A lot of time the person would scream " my barns on fire" and hang up. ....
Reminds me of the farmer who called the fire department and shouted, "My barn's on fire! You gotta come as fast as you can."
Fireman said, "Wait! Don't hang up. How do we get there?"
Farmer says, "Well ya still got that big red truck, doncha?" :D


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Re: Memory

Post by Burger in Spokane » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:46 pm

And the fireman replies "Alright, smart guy ... see how that fire puts itself out, OK ?"
More people are doing it today than ever before !


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Re: Memory

Post by bud delong » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:35 pm

Same day service! :D Bud.


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Re: Memory

Post by wayne sheldon » Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:39 am

One thing does remind one of another. When I was really little, before Kindergarten and into first grade, we used to shop at Bettencourt's market on The Alameda in San Jose. It was just a few stores down from Andy's Pet Shop, famous for their parrots. I remember chocolate bars going up in price, I think from three to four cents. A couple years later they went up to a nickel! And there were marshmallows that came in a box wrapped in red white and blue printed paper (I thought it looked a lot like a box of kitchen matches, only a bit larger). It had a picture of a campfire on the top. The marshmallows were neatly stacked inside, with some sort of paper between the layers. The marshmallows were not like what one buys today, although they looked the same. They were hard, and chewy. To this day, I don't really like soft marshmallows, but I cannot find anything really like the ones I remember. I do occasionally buy the marshmallow peanuts. Because they are hard and chewy, just how I like my marshmallows.
I also remember quite clearly, walking through the store, and listening to the songs on the radio they played. For some silly reason, a few times, I heard one of the early versions of "Ghost Riders of the Sky" being played in there, and I liked listening to the words of that song. I almost expected the cattle and horses to come running across the mezzanine and down the wall as the radio played!
Before I was ten, I built a crystal radio set. I spent many hours hunting for and listening to various radio stations on that. I even found a classical radio station I liked a lot which fueled my interest in symphonies and opera. (I had eclectic tastes in music very early!) I didn't know it at that time, but found out about forty years later that the classical station had just gone on the air right about the time I found it. Sadly, I found out about that because after more than forty years on the air, the owner of the license they leased had decided to become yet another talk radio station, instead of the leading classical station in ten counties.
As for television, my dad was part owner of one of the earliest television sales and repair shops in the South Bay Area! We always had a television, I cannot remember not having one. I remember when the San Francisco Bay Area had three stations (I'm drawing a blank on the call letters right now, but I should still know them). Channel four was NBC, channel five was CBS, and channel seven was ABC. The slightly higher frequency channel seven didn't always reach the South Bay areas, and I remember Channel eleven going on the air in the late '50s to provide ABC to San Jose and areas South. KTVU channel two went on the air as an independent also about 1958 or '59. KQED PBS channel nine in our area went on also in the late '50s, and I remember they had lots of fundraisers trying to keep it on the air. When they began running out of money, sometimes they would cut back on the transmitter power (the transmitter used a LOT of electricity!), and San Jose might not be able to watch for weeks. They also had to go off the air many times, sometimes for weeks. Those down-times continued off and on until the late '60s, although the down-times became fewer and shorter.

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Re: Memory

Post by Kaiser » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:51 am

I clearly remember the moonlanding in the summer of '69, what makes it so memorable was that my grandfather invited most of my moms family over to watch the event, including my great-grandmother who was in her late 80s then, she lived in the house next door.
My gramps had bought a brand new TV for the occasion and we all gathered around it in our pyamas to watch the event.
When the landing happened my great-grandmother told us all that they could tell here whatever they wanted but she was not going to have any part of it.
I asked her why not (i was nine years old then, all i did all day long was ask questions) and she told me something that made me realise how fast things can change with time , she told me;
" when i was a young girl the railroads were a new thing, we had no radio or telephone, nor record players, when i was a young woman the town doctor bought the first automobile i ever did see, your great grandfather and i didn't get electricity until after getting through two world wars and raising a family of eight with a coal stove and petroleum lights, I saw the aeroplanes coming, starting with small hops across a field to bombing us out of our homes within forty years, these days your grandparents have kids living across the ocean in Canada which they go visit every year by airliner.. so i have seen enough change in my lifetime, i've had enough of it and they can tell me they sent a man to mars for all i care but i am not believing it !"
And since that day we got computers, the internet, cellphones, teflon skillets and solar energy systems....
But we old farts are still messing about with the model T ! :lol:
When in trouble, do not fear, blame the second engineer ! 8-)
Leo van Stirum, Netherlands
'23 Huckster, '66 CJ5 daily driver

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Re: Memory

Post by DLodge » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:24 am

Kaiser wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:51 am
I clearly remember the moonlanding in the summer of '69....
Leo, I was working in Amsterdam at that time for a Dutch subsidiary of an American company, and had had dinner that evening at the apartment of two American women who had been transferred there from New York. The TV was on and we were watching the coverage of the landing. I knew an instant before they did that the landing had succeeded. The radio transmissions from the lander as they approached the lunar surface had consistently started with, "Houston, this is Eagle." Suddenly it was, "Houston, this is Tranquility Base." That told me they were down safely. It was still afternoon in the U.S. but night in Holland. It was clear and there was a full moon. We went out on the balcony and looked in complete awe at the moon, realizing that two people were walking around on it.

I had only been in NL for six months at the time. I was doing my best to learn Dutch, but had a long way to go. I was puzzled by the Dutch announcer talking about "monsters from the moon." Then I found out that "monster" in Dutch has two meanings, the same as in English, and also "sample." Aha! :D


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Re: Memory

Post by Burger in Spokane » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:42 am

Wayne's comments about PBS fundraising programming reminds me of where I got
some of my twisted humor. In Seattle, we had KOMO 4 ABC, KING 5 NBC, KIRO 7 CBS,
and KTNT 11 IND, with the oddball KCTS 9 PBS. I don't remember channel 9 being on
the air in the mid-60's, but a bit later my parents watched Masterpiece Theatre and
perhaps other things in the evening, from time-to-time.

Now, you gotta keep in mind that Seattle gets 600 days of rain a year, and resultantly,
being indoors and watching TV might seem more inviting to a kid than one who lives
in more attractive outdoor climes.

So, on days when it wasn't raining, we kids explored the woods, did all sorts of things,
including the walk, three miles to school and back. Unlike my grandparents, whose school
walk was uphill both ways, ours was a gentle downhill TO school and an almost imperceptible
rise coming back. What we had most days was 3 miles of rain each way, so getting home
and dried out seemed like a natural for turning on the TV and getting warm. But the TV
Gods conspired against us for programming in the afternoon, piling on nothing but ultra-
boring shows like soap operas on the three major network stations and reruns of Gilligan's
Island on channel 11. And invariably, channel 9 had the droning mouthpieces yawing on
and on about how much better a person would feel about themselves, of they only called
in a pledge of support to the station.

My brother and I began to mimic the way these pledge drive people would talk, finding
11,000 different ways to say exactly the same thing, over and over and over again, just
to be annoying. Imagine that, school age boys being annoying ! But we twisted it around
to where we fell into character to mock any situation or conversation we found incredibly
boring. One would turn to the other and start the monotone blather, returning every few
moments to suggesting a call to nine-nine-nine, ... nine-nine, nine-nine. That number again,
nine-nine-nine, ... nine-nine, nine-nine.

Which reminds me of when all the local telephone numbers went from Glencourt 5, six-
one, nine-two, to 455-6192, or Van Dyke 2, seven-eight, three-seven, to 822-7837. Every
town had at least one named telephone exchange. And then all of a sudden, ot was no
longer fashionable to use the exchange name, and it was all about numbers.

That number again, ... nine-nine-nine, ... nine-nine, nine-nine .... :roll:
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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Re: Memory

Post by aDave » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:03 am

The Shadow Knows - all this !

Favorite radio story time.


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Re: Memory

Post by Norman Kling » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:42 am

The stories about radio and telephone bring back memories to me. First one is the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The president was going to speak, but our radio wasn't working so my aunt and uncle came by in their almost new 1939 Plymouth which had a radio and we all went for a short ride while he was speaking. I don't remember much of the speach, but one phrase he repeated several times, "My head aches and my heart aches". Later in the 1950's our family had a cabin in Big Santa Anita Canyon which is in a mountain canyon north of the Santa Anita racetrack. You have to hike down into the canyon and there is no electricity there. I used to go there a lot when I was in my teens and there was only the wind up Victrola for music. I built a crystal set and strung a large antenna from the cabin up to a tree on the hill beside. I used to tune in the radio stations. At night most of the local stations were off the air, but I could get very clearly a station from Salt Lake City Utah. KSL
When I was a boy, we got a telephone installed in our house. I remember the man coming out and running a wire from the house to the pole. He climbed up the pole and put his belt around the pole. I thought, that is what I want to do when I grow up. I got my dad's belt from his pants and climbed up a tree and belted in. Fortunately the belt did not break, but my mom yelled at me and told me not to do that anymore. Later after i got out of high school I went to work for Pacific Telephone and worked in that business for almost 50 years.
When I took a trip to Oregon I wanted to go see my Aunt and Uncle who lived in Central Point near Medford. They had non dial phones in that town. I stopped at a booth I picked up the receiver and put in a nickle and cranked the phone nothing happened. Then I tried a dime, still nothing. So I just drove up to their house and knocked on the door. They had a good laugh, because they said I should have cranked the phone before I picked up the receiver. Many years later my grand daughter's cousin came to visit us. We had a rotary dial on our phone. She wanted to call her mother but she had never used a rotary dial!
One more story. I went down to a radio store and they had a used Silvertone radio for sale for $1. I turned it on and it didn't work. So I began to remove tubes to be tested. When I pulled the full wave rectifier tube the glass broke and my hand touched the plates. Although the radio was unplugged, the capicators discharged and I got about 500 volts shock!
Norm

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Re: Memory

Post by Steve Jelf » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:58 pm

The Shadow Knows - all this !

The Shadow, mysterious figure who aids the forces of law and order, is in reality Lamont Cranston, wealthy young man about town. Years ago in the Orient, Cranston learned a strange and mysterious secret — the hypnotic power to cloud men's minds so they cannot see him. Cranston's friend and companion, the lovely Margot Lane, is the only person who knows to whom the voice of the invisible Shadow belongs.

The original Shadow and Margot were Orson Welles and Agnes Moorehead. By the time I was listening to the show Brett Morrison was the Shadow. As a kid I always pictured Lamont Cranston as sort of a cross between Don Ameche and Clark Gable, but with an upper class accent. Some thirty years later it was quite a revelation to meet Brett Morrison and find that he was a short bald guy with a white goatee. :D
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Re: Memory

Post by Rich Eagle » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:43 pm

BIG JON AND SPARKY, Saturdays at 8:00 AM. 1950 thru 1958
When did I do that?

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Re: Memory

Post by DLodge » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:54 pm

Rich Eagle wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:43 pm
BIG JON AND SPARKY, Saturdays at 8:00 AM. 1950 thru 1958
Yup. Later called "No School Today." Theme song Teddy Bears' Picnic.


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Re: Memory

Post by Burger in Spokane » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:23 pm

Norm,

What did you do for Pacific Tel & Tel ? Did you ever work with Dennis Kotan, Denny
Hackthorne, or Al Riegler ?
More people are doing it today than ever before !


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Re: Memory

Post by Norman Kling » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:19 am

I was an installer, repairman, line assigner, cable splicer, maintenance splicer and outside plant engineer. Retired in 91 and then worked as a contract engineer for 15 more years. I started in Glendale and after 2 years transfered to San Diego. I didn't know any of those people.
Norm


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Re: Memory

Post by Burger in Spokane » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:51 am

Those guys were linemen/construction side. Kotan was out of San Diego. The
other two more regional. Dennis had an interesting story of being sent out to an
install/repair and discovering an unmolested 1915-ish openwire interior build, that
used C.G.I.Co. insulators. These are normally some color of sun colored amethyst,
but all of them inside this building were yellow, having never seen sunlight.

DSC05454.jpg
More people are doing it today than ever before !


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Re: Memory

Post by Norman Kling » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:08 pm

I might have met Dennis, but thought his name was Cotton. I never saw it spelled, just pronounced.
Norm

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Re: Memory

Post by Rich Eagle » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:02 pm

My Dad printed his own Christmas cards on photographic paper. A negative of the family exposed by a light in a contraption mounted on a 5 gallon can and a key switch and a predetermined count did the trick. Then dipping the paper in 3 baths of chemicals, with their mysterious smell, brought out the image. Four of us gathered around the pans by a yellow light we watched to see who could see it "coming" first. Then sandwiching the prints between blotter paper to keep them from curling.
True magic to youngsters before TV.
When did I do that?

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Re: Memory

Post by Ruxstel24 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:59 pm

Mom still has a rotary phone in her bedroom :)
I remember “helping” the dial return to dial faster when calling the HS sweethearts :lol:
Didn’t have to dial an area code, no answering machines...if nobody was home, it just kept ringing. We had busy signals, party lines and long distance was ridiculous, but no robocalls :evil:

Rich reminded me of grandpa’s Brownie camera.
About like this one....trying to find film or getting anything developed ain’t easy anymore.
Lots of B&W pics around. I think this one of grandpa and me was originally a Brownie pic that was enlarged. :D
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Re: Memory

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:46 pm

Dave, if that's a 120 you can still buy film for it. If it's one of the larger sizes (116, 122, 124), it's just a relic. When I was in high school I used all those sizes, but that was sixty years ago.
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Re: Memory

Post by Rich Eagle » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:03 pm

Some more relics.
relics.jpg
Dad bought some 16mm equipment in the 30s after college. He built the wooden box for the projector and the leather carrying case for the camera. Being 3’ tall I could easily watch him thread the film into the cogs on the projector feed and then watch wonderful moving images of relatives all to Mom’s narration. He built a splicer with reduction gears from clocks and would speed the film from end to end. It was marvelous action and only later did I appreciate the workmanship of the items he made.
I continued to use these after Dad passed and recorded hours of car tours. Finally film became difficult to get and have processed. Now the projector insulation is breaking down and a little buzz comes when you touch it.
16mmmm.jpg
When did I do that?


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Re: Memory

Post by wayne sheldon » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:17 am

I have a 16 MM hand crank movie camera from about 1930 (maybe slightly earlier). About fifty years ago, I took movies at an antique automobile meet in the SF Bay Area. It was fun, I have film of my '25 Studebaker coach being driven by a good friend! I really would like to do it again. But I doubt I will ever have the opportunity to.

Today, I wound up watching an early half hour episode of Gunsmoke. I think only the first three seasons were half hour before they expanded to the one hour that ran for the rest of their twenty seasons. One of the Dish/cable channels (MEtv) is running the early half hour episodes some weeknights. I was noticing how the pacing of the story line was so different than the more commonly seen later episodes. A half hour (less about six minutes for commercials and the introduction) doesn't leave a lot of time to embellish the story much. As I watched, I was thinking how several of television's early popular programs had originated on radio. Not only Gunsmoke, but Perry Mason, Dragnet, and many more (even Alan Funt's Candid Camera began on radio as Candid Microphone!). I considered further, how many of those shows on radio weren't even a half hour! Many of them ran fifteen minutes or less on the radio programs.

Yes. Life has changed a lot. People, and people's expectations, have changed a lot also. Back then, people used their imaginations a lot more. And they had busy lives, work that had to be done in order to enjoy a short break and a meal, and some quality time with family. Fifteen minutes was fine for a good story. People didn't need to be "entertained" for a couple hours.

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Re: Memory

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:40 am

There were a lot of TV shows that began on radio. Along with the ones Wayne mentioned, a few I recall are Our Miss Brooks, Smilin' Ed's Gang, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, My Friend Irma, The Life of Riley, Sky King, Father Knows Best, The Challenge of the Yukon (Sergeant Preston), The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, The Lone Ranger, Superman, The Cisco Kid, Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, The Guiding Light, Red Skelton, and Mister District Attorney. There were others I'm not remembering right now. My Favorite Husband, with Richard Denning, became I Love Lucy, with Desi Arnaz. Other shows that were popular on radio never made the transition. Fred Allen disliked television and never crossed over, though he occasionally appeared as a guest. Hoppy crossed over from movies, and expanded to radio after his old films made him a TV star. I was not a big Hopalong Cassidy fan because I hadn't heard him on radio, but Bill Boyd had a great voice for radio, and today if I hear that laugh of his I know instantly who it is. He was an admirable man. As a young actor in Hollywood he was as much of a party animal as the other young actors. But after becoming famous as Hoppy he wouldn't smoke or drink because he didn't want the kids to see him doing anything Hoppy wouldn't do.
The inevitable often happens.
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Ruxstel24
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Re: Memory

Post by Ruxstel24 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:21 pm

I remember as a kid, listening to “Mystery Theater” on WAKR AM radio in Akron at midnight.
Had my transistor radio down really low and my ear on the speaker in bed, so mom couldn’t hear.

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Re: Memory

Post by Rich Eagle » Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:00 pm

There was a "Radio Mystery Theater" on in the 70s that I listened to a couple hours each night that I worked on my Speedster out in my folks garage.

My folks got new carpet when I was a year or two old. I played on that carpet from that day on. Lincoln Logs. wooden blocks, little army men and later model cars. It was replaced in the 60s and Dad used portions of it in some upstairs bedrooms. I scavenged some of it later to out in their garage. It was nicer to lay on that concrete. Some of it went into our '47 Ford for a time. Now I have what was left in my present garage and am still playing on it.
Talk about memories!
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Re: Memory

Post by Rich Bingham » Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:55 am

Fun remembries Rich. I well remember your carpet. Glad you’re still playing on it !! :D

By now most everything on our place has a lengthy back-story. Like how our ‘65 Mustang turned into a 2-bottom Massey plow. :shock:
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Re: Memory

Post by Rich Bingham » Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:12 am

Fun remembries Rich. I well remember your carpet. Glad you’re still playing on it !! :D

By now most everything on our place has a lengthy back-story. Like how our ‘65 Mustang turned into a 2-bottom Massey plow. :shock:
"Get a horse !"


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Re: Memory

Post by Norman Kling » Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:42 am

The forum asked me to log in and I forgot my password. Memory is slipping!
When I was very small, before I even went to school, our house had Knotty Pine walls. I can remember the shape of every not and where it was located on the wall. Now I don't even notice such things!

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Re: Memory

Post by Steve Jelf » Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:27 pm

The CBS Radio Mystery Theater (1974-1982) featured many familiar voices from radio's Golden Age. Now, of course, you can listen to all 1399 episodes online.

905295_original.jpg
I think it was 1981 when I was in New York and called the listed number with a question about the show. Expecting to hear a switchboard operator, I was surprised when Hi Brown himself answered the phone. Memory being selective, I don't remember my question or his answer. :)
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Re: Memory

Post by Burger in Spokane » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:06 am

Yes ! .... that was the old-time radio show I used to pull in late at night
on my AM radio. I guess I never knew it wasn't actually old. The way they
did sound effects fascinated me. I began to study old radio drama a little
after that, and recall that the sound of a punch to the face was created for
radio by using a bunch of celery. About that time I discovered Prairie Home
Companion and got a good laugh at their parody dramas with the overdone
organ to emphasize alarm.
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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Re: Memory

Post by Rich Eagle » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:22 pm

I remember it was the mid-fifties and Elvis was sweeping the radio. We went far North and visited Mom's cousin Ralph. Ralph had large facial features among a plethora of wrinkles. I remember they had knocked on our door one Halloween night and I simply gave him some candy thinking it was a mask.
Before dinner at their house Ralph took me to the barn to help milk the cow. That was a ritual I hadn't seen before. Over in a corner sat the most amazing hunk of machinery I had ever seen. A tall carriage of steel and leather covered with a layer of magical dust. Two round spheres with glass fronts stared at me beckoning me to come closer. "What is that?" I asked.
"Why that's our old Touring Car" Ralph laughed. All too soon the milking was done but I had been smitten.
A 1913 or so White as big as a locomotive to me is what it was. I only saw it one more time but often asked about it. I was not able to purchase it from the family as another relative was higher on the list and had an interest.
The damage had been done and a dozen other encounters with marvelous machines completed my hopeless fascination of very old cars.
When did I do that?

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