Sunday, May 14, 2006

North to Alaska

Was a 'pop' song on the hit parade in 1960. I quote 'pop' because it certainly wasn't rock and I'm not sure it even fit the description for 1960 pop. But then again, what do I really know about the matter? I was 6 at the time and one tends, at that age, to uncritically accept whatever comes spouting out of the radio. It's not as though the adults consult the tastes of 6 year olds when deciding which station to tune to.

You have to remember that this was back in a time when there might be only one radio in the whole house. CD's and MP3 players and the whole rigamarole were not even imagined. Car radios were extremely expensive, consequently relatively rare and based on unbelievably primitive[^] technology!

In our house in 1960 we had an Astor 'Mickey' radio. A decade or so later I was intimately familiar with that kind of technology.

When my wife and I visited the Arizona Historical Society Museum last weekend they had a display I instantly recognised though I doubt Andrew would have recognised it. It was a leather arm chair pulled up beside a (fake) fireplace, with an old fashioned wireless in a wooden case made up to look like a substantial piece of furniture. A card on the wall above the chair invited us to be seated and press the button. I did and heard one of Franklin Delano Roosevelts 'fireside' chats. FDR had an instantly recognisable voice!

One summer afternoon in 1960 - I don't remember if it was the first or the second summer of that year - I was on a visit to my grandparents house in Black Rock, Melbourne. Uncle Ian, the youngest of the uncles, was polishing his Vespa and Uncle Donald was polishing his VW Beetle. Ian on the left hand side of the house; Donald in the carport on the right hand side of the house. Both with radios playing.

I couldn't believe my ears! Uncle Ian's radio was playing North to Alaska but so was Uncle Donalds! I ran breathlessly back and forth between the two sides of the house, hoping to catch em out and discover one radio playing a different song. But nope, try as I might, run as fast as I could, I couldn't find a discrepancy. What a revelation! Two radios could play the exact same song!

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