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Disclaimer: The material presented in
the Radio and Television Nostalgia section was recorded from
copyrighted sources prior to 1978 and more than 28 years ago (copyright
protection was extended considerably
for works produced in 1978 and beyond). As such, the items I
recorded presumably have passed into the public domain.
Furthermore, these are low-bandwidth recordings that rank in the
category of "telephone quality." If you believe that
something offered here violates your intellectual property rights,
please send me a link to a site where the same material can be
purchased, and within ten business days of receiving such
notification I will link to your site and, if you insist,
withdraw my low-bandwidth recording from here.
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complete with this agreement and the clip descriptions, but you
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Radio and Television Nostalgia
Television News at 1:00 PM Sunday, May 5, 1963 - I don't know what motivated me, as an 11-year-old
kid, to lay a microphone up against the television
speaker on this particular day, but it certainly was a
"newsy" day. The Russians, admittng for the
first time that Adolf Hitler was dead, provided
descriptions of the evidence they had found in 1945.
Chateaugay had won the Kentucky Derby the day before.
Other news included a sunken boat, an assassination, and
unrest in Haiti. Nelson Rockefeller had just remarried;
prisoners had escaped from the Louisiana State Prison; a
book dealer in Poughkeepsie, NY had been evicted to make
room for an expressway, and more. I found this 12.5-minute
clip interesting enough to preserve for posterity.
- Sir Winston Churchill - Funeral, 1965 - Early in 1965, British Prime
Minister Sir Winston Churchill died. I captured 12
minutes of audio from the television news coverage of his
- Clark Weber on WLS-AM, August 5, 1965 - I became a fan of Top
40 radio in the mid-1960s, and Clark Weber, host of the
WLS-AM morning show, became my favorite radio personality.
I especially enjoyed the ongoing rivalry he carried on
with evening host Ron Riley. So, when I obtained an AM
radio tuner that could plug into a microphone socket,
naturally I tuned it to WLS and plugged it into my tape
recorder. Especially interested in his comments about
Riley, I cut out almost all of the commercials and much
of the music, resulting in this 27-minute clip.
- Northeastern U.S. Blackout, November 9, 1965 - It was the first
widespread power outage in the USA, and while most of the
northeastern radio stations went silent, AM station WHAM
in Rochester, NY came back on the air using emergency
generator power. By turning my directional radio in a way
that suppressed the Chicago stations, I was able to pick
up WHAM in between them, so I recorded 12.5 minutes of
their live coverage.
- First Football Game and Field Dedication -
Munster High School's Mustang Field, October 22, 1966 - Munster, Indiana's
newly-built Munster High School opened its doors to its
first students in September 1966, and I was there as a
member of the Class of 1969. The first football game ever
played on our brand-new Mustang Field happened at the
first MHS Homecoming on October 22, 1966, and I was there
as a charter member of Munster's band. Radio station WJOB
broadcast the game, so I started a tape rolling before
leaving home and stopped it upon my return. I then edited
it down to remove long breaks and unrelated material
preceding and following the game. This 108-minute audio
clip includes much of the play-by-play coverage and the
During The 1967 AFTRA Strike
- When the regular radio personalities walked off the job
for a few weeks in the spring of 1967, management and
clerical staff manned the microphones instead. Here's a
30-minute sample of how WLS-AM sounded during that time.
Too bad I didn't record that U.S. 30 Drag Strip
commercial, of which you can hear only the beginning!
Little did I realize then that it would eventually be
considered a classic ad. WLS played those ads so often
that I considered them annoying at the time.
- WKFM Antenna Disaster, February 2, 1970 - As my musical
interests drifted away from Top 40 hits and into stereo,
I became a fan of easy-listening station WKFM. On the
morning of Ground Hog Day in 1970, their signal suddenly
vanished, and WLS News had the story in this 41-second
clip. Young reporter Jim Johnson covered it, and Jim
continues to do news on WLS more than 40 years later.
On-Location Sound Effects
All maps in this section are
courtesy of Yahoo! Maps. (Yahoo! hosts this web site.)
Sounds, 1968 - I was
a big fan of electronic music, including the Moog
Synthesizer and other synthetic sound sources. After
reading a magazine article about an obscure electronic
musical instrument called a Theremin (named after its
Russian inventor), I ordered a kit of parts and assembled
one. I quickly learned how to make spooky sound effects
with it, so I signed up for Munster High School's 1968
spring talent show and gave an on-stage performance.
Later that year, in preparation for Halloween, I recorded
43 minutes of spooky Theremin sounds, from which I dubbed
the eeriest 15 minutes' worth onto a tape loop that I
played through a speaker mounted in an open upstairs
window on the big evening. It was a hit with the local
kids, so I gave encore performances each Halloween for a
few years thereafter. Here's the complete 43-minute
recording, which is inherently monophonic but has
synthetic stereo effects that vary from one segment to
the next, starting with a simple delay and ending with a
back-and-forth bouncing echo effect. The presence or
absence of reverb adds additional variety.
Trunk Railroad Trains and 45th Ave. Traffic, 1970 - I made my first train recordings
along the Grand Trunk Western Railway about a block east
of White Oak Ave. (map at right) in Munster, IN (near the
northwest corner of Indiana). Now a business district,
the section of 45th Ave. near which these tracks pass was
rural residential in 1970, and my neighbor had a cousin
who lived there. We visited them and walked out behind
their property to record some trains passing by. I had
just bought my Hitachi TRQ-222 portable stereo cassette
recorder and decided to take it along, primarily for the
purpose of showing people how good it sounded (I had pre-recorded
some music to use as a demo). The idea of recording
trains first occurred to me after we arrived there. This
segment of the Grand Trunk Western Railway was, and still
is, one of the busiest railroads in America, though it
now operates as part the Canadian National Railway system.
After recording a couple of passing trains, we walked out
to the front of the property and recorded some traffic
passing by on 45th Ave. This 5-minute clip has it all,
including a very short train, a normal train, automobiles,
and a motorcycle.
Central Fast Freight,
1970 - Just 96 seconds from the first distant toot of
the air horn to the last fading sound of the caboose
disappearing in the distance, this northbound Penn
Central was one of the fastest-moving full-length freight
trains I ever saw. I recorded this train in downtown
Lansing, IL, along the east side of the tracks on the
south side of their Ridge Road crossing (map at right).
Although they still appear on maps, those tracks have
been gone for many years now. Ridge Road still dips down
to cross the old right-of-way, segments of which have
become (and more are still becoming) bicycle trails. This
location is just a short distance northwest of where I
recorded the Grand Trunk trains. Notice the three-way
railroad junction near the lower right-hand corner of
this map -- it also appears at upper left on the Grand
Trunk recording location map above. The Illinois/Indiana
state line appears as a faint dashed line passing through
the Lansing Country Club. Curiously, the wrong tracks
have been removed from the map on the Illinois side. The
Grand Trunk Western (now Canadian National) appears to
end at the state line, though in fact it remains active,
and the Penn Central still appears on the map, though in
fact it is gone.
- Erie Lackawanna Freight Slowly Accelerates, 1970 - While driving through Hammond,
IN, in the vicinity of Gavit High School, I spotted a
northbound Erie Lackawanna freight parked a short
distance south of the 175th Street crossing. I parked my
car, walked over to the east side of the tracks at the
south side of the crossing (map at right), set up my
stereo cassette recorder, and waited. Eventually the
diesel's headlight brightened, suggesting that it was
preparing to move, so I started recording. Sure enough,
the train blasted out a warning from its air horn and
began a gradual acceleration, taking nearly 5 minutes to
pass completely by. Toward the end it was moving quite
rapidly, and a washout under one of the rails made the
boxcars sway vigorously from side to side, bottoming out
their springs and making loud banging noises. I became
concerned that they might even tip over, so I backed away
from the scene and hoped that I wasn't about to witness
the demise of my recorder. Fortunately, no disaster
happened, and I gained a rather remarkable recording.
This location is just a short distance northeast of where
I recorded the Penn Central train. Notice the I-80/94
interchange at Calumet Ave. near the left-hand side of
this map -- it also appears near the upper right-hand
corner of the Penn Central recording location map above.
Park, May 29, 1971 -
A popular stock car racing track located at 130th St. and
Ashland Ave. in Calumet Park, IL (map at right), Raceway
Park attracted thousands of fans from the South Suburban
Chicagoland area and beyond from 1938 until the end of
the 20th century, but eventually it closed down and fell
to the wrecking ball. I often went there with some
friends during the 1960s, and by 1970 one of my neighbors,
the late Bob Howerton, had begun driving car #7 on that
track. On Saturday, May 29, 1971, my stereo cassette
recorder and I went along with Bob to Raceway Park and
captured nearly 38 minutes of nostalgic audio. I recorded
a stop we made at a gas station on the way (most likely
on Sibley Blvd., located south of the map area) as well
as some of the action at the track. Hear us pull into
that good old-fashioned gas station -- the bell clangs as
we drive over the air hose, and a radio in the service
bay plays old standards -- where we meet an enthusiastic
kid who asks us many questions. Then you'll hear the
announcer at the track calling out the time trial results
followed by a few races. Familiar drivers and car numbers
include Bud Koehler #77, Stosh Coleman #4U, and others.
30 Drag Strip, circa
1971 - The commercials on WLS were predictable and
frequent: "Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! at wailin' U.S.
30 Drag Strip, Drag Racing Capital of Chicagoland! Where
the Great Ones Run!" Located on the west side of
Clay St. between U.S. 30 and County Rd. 330 in Hobart, IN
(map at right), the track ran from east to west in what
then was a desolate area but now has malls and other
businesses just to its south and west. In the early 1970s
I occasionally went there with a couple of friends, and
one time I brought along my stereo cassette recorder.
Hear some super-stocks followed by the ever-popular Funny
Cars, including "Big Daddy" Don Garlitz, "The
Hawaiian" Roland Leong, and others in this 30-minute
nostalgic audio clip. Reputedly, the first Funny Car ever
to race did so at U.S. 30 Drag Strip in 1965, and within
a very short time they became the track's top attraction.
- Grand Trunk Train #1 and Grand
Trunk Train #2,
November 6, 1988 - By 1988 the area east of White Oak
Ave. along 45th Ave. had been built up into a business
district, and the home from which I had recorded trains
and cars in 1970 (map near top of this page) was gone. I
returned to that area to record some more trains, this
time setting up my recorder adjacent to the railroad's
White Oak Ave. crossing, just a few hundred feet west of
where I had recorded before. On this particular day I
caught two trains just a short time apart, moving in
opposite directions on the double main line. Each clip
runs just over 4 minutes. The second clip has a long lead-in
that includes a bit of traffic passing by, the gates
coming down at the crossing, and the traffic stopping
before the train arrives.
- Crows and Geese,
November 6, 1988 - While waiting for the trains to
come, I heard several crows cawing and also a flock of
migrating geese passing high overhead. I captured two
minutes of these nature sounds on tape.
Trunk Double Train,
November 19, 1988 - I returned to the White Oak Ave.
crossing one more time in the hope of capturing the sound
of two trains passing one another on the double main line,
and I succeeded. In this 6-minute audio clip, much of the
first train has passed by when the second train comes
along from the opposite direction. After the first train
has ended, the second train continues until it trails off
in the direction from which the first train came.
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