Classic Tales of Old Dorp: Families gathered around radio like we do TV

It’s hard to say whether families were as hooked on radio in the old days as they are now on televis

The Daily Gazette is reprinting excerpts of the late Larry Hart’s long-running column, “Tales of Old Dorp.” Hart loved old radio shows and often talked about listening in. Here’s a nostalgic excerpt originally published Feb. 8, 1983.

We like to think back to the old radio days as we remember them from the early 1930s. We can’t recall ever not having radio, but certainly the sets of the late Twenties couldn’t have been very powerful. Besides the old standbys (Atwater Kent, Victor, Zenith, General Electric, Crosley), there were radio sets by the names of Sonora, Federal and Majestic.

Our earliest recollections are of listening to Santa Claus in a neighbor’s house one Christmas season because our radio was inoperable. Another time when our set was broken down, the winter of 1929-30, the entire Hart family walked from Odell Street to Aunt Kate and Uncle Harry’s house in Carman on a cold night — mainly to hear a popular mystery show, which intro’d with a squeaking door.

It’s hard to say whether families were as hooked on radio in those days as they are now on television. Surely, many radio fans sacrificed dinners or meetings or sleep on occasion to hear a favorite program such as Eddie Cantor’s hour, “Moonlight and Honeysuckle,” “Allen’s Alley,” Jack Benny, Seth Parker or “The Shadow.”

When it was time for the heavyweight championship fights in June, the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day, the baseball World Series in the fall or the national political conventions every four years, you on many radio listeners being in the proximity of their seats to catch the action.

Categories: Life and Arts

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