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Dakota Station: 1940

Dakota Station: 1940

November 1940. "Schulstad boys listening to radio. Aberdeen, South Dakota." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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I have memories of this

I was 6 years old then. On the floor listening to the serial shows. Same holes in my shoes. Less than a month later, Pearl Harbor. DonaLee, the little girl next door, was crying 'cause her dad was in the Navy.

Radio's Visual Effects

With respect to Ozinor's post, I was born in 1943 and experiencing Radio is one of my earliest memories of media contact.

Radio for my generation has visual subjective closure patterns.

I have friends born in the late 1940s and early 1950s and their first media experiences were typically television based and television doesn't have a visual subjective closure pattern.

Nor does the telephone, another low-definition medium I never took much interest in.

TV and telephone involves all of the subjective sensory closure patterns in low definition, and all-at-once, whereas radio involves the subjective visual sense in high definition (resolution) while engaging the non-verbal auditory receptors for frequency and vibration.

I've never had any interest in television. High definition media like radio, print, cinema and photography have been my most enjoyable media experiences.

Pinkie's niece

Pinkie "was the aunt of Elizabeth Barrett Browning," who it seems was not the inventor of the machine gun after all.


That's Baby Snooks not Spooks. I always thought that belief that people of my (raised on radio) generation always looked at the radio while listening was baloney since my mom, dad and I didn't, but apparently some did. At this time of year back then I would have been pouring over the Lionel train section of the Western Auto catalog while listening to Tom Mix or Tennessee Jed.

Baby Snooks

I restore old radios like the one shown and listen to a fair bit of old-time radio on them (with my own short-range transmitter). A lot of the dramas, cowboy, and detective shows hold up OK, although the level of violence is amazing. The comedies, aside from a few very rare exceptions like Jack Benny or the Great Gildersleeve, don't. Many of them are rather painful to hear, like Lum and Abner, where *absolutely nothing happens, funny or otherwise* and the pace is usually glacial.

Below, Ozinor mentions Baby Snooks -- Fanny Brice pretending, very unconvincingly, to be a small child. By far the worst, utterly excruciating. And it just goes on and on. I have heard better humor at a Cub Scout play. My late father told me the same thing, almost completely unbidden, when he was talking about old-time radio -- which he referred to as just "radio". Apparently his dad routinely threatened to shoot the radio when Baby Snooks came on, but apparently my grandmother loved it, so they always had to sit through it, apparently while making snide comment after snide comment. Fun guy, my dad.

1934 Sparton Radio

1934 Sparton brand radio made by the Sparks-Withington Company from Jackson, Michigan.


The painting (a reproduction of course) above the radio is by Thomas Lawrence, and is a painting of the 11 year old Sarah Goodwin Barrett Moulton (1783-1795), aka "Pinkie". She was the aunt of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

What a difference three years make

My wife, who is only three years older than me, has trouble believing that people actually sat and watched the radio. In 1950 I was five, and I remember sitting in front of the radio with my sisters, eating popcorn and "watching" Baby Snooks, Beulah, the Lone Ranger, and lots more. We really saw the programs in our minds. By the time she grew old enough to remember home entertainment her family had a television, and she only thinks of radio in terms of music.

Our radio was in the corner like that and there was an ashtray and magazine rack just like in the picture. I probably had holes in my shoes too.


Nice to see that the ubiquitous slouching in a chair has remained unchanged. These kids did it, I did it, and now my daughter does it.

And the back-then-popular picture

... by Gainsborough on the wall. I can't tell you how many of those pictures I've seen in antique shops over the years.

Staton's Station

All through my childhood, I misread/misheard this as the name of the great jazz vocalist Dakota Staton. I think I assumed she took her name from a railroad stop.

Entertainment Center

There's not only a radio but there's a magazine rack, and temperature and humidity.

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