To teenagers 1958 was a significant year. It saw the popularity of the transistor radio.
If you were to talk about transistor radios today around my grand kids they would have no idea what you were talking about. A transistor radio was a small portable radio receiver that used transistor based circuitry. They were first developed around 1954-55 but 1958 was a banner year for them. They could be as small as a pocket size 3 by 5 card or in that day as small as a package of cigarettes.
They sparked a change in popular music listening habits. They now allowed people to take their music with them. Kids carried them most everywhere. Beaches became a very popular place for them and music soon was in the air in places never before.
I have a specal affection for transistors radios.
You see in the late 1950s' my dad bought a 1957 Chevrolet. That was one of the most popular cars at the time and today '57 Chevys are in demand and bring big money. I recently saw one sell for $60,000. Anyway Dad buys this car, I get all excited as I head for the garage to see the car for the first time. Wow...it is a hardtop. Meaning when you rolled all the windows down there were no posts. Full wheels covers. Good. As I slip in the seat behind the wheel there it is "stick on the column." Meaning it was a stick shift which to a sixteen year old boy was a big yes. Then I look. What? What? It can't be. It just cannot be. There in the dash where a radio should be was a black panel. What no radio. Yes no radio.
I hurry back to the house to share the news with my dad. Surely he has made a mistake, just a slight over site on his part. He is sitting at the kitchen table (a familiar place of his early morning residency) mom has fixed his plate of eggs, bacon, toast and black coffee. A breakfast he must have had a million times in his life. To his right folded one time in the middle is the Terre Haute Star and it is turned to the funnies. I know he is reading one of three. Little Abner, Alley Oopy or Dagwood. "Dad, hey Dad," he looks up. The car, the car it doesn't have a radio.
A classic line one of them that from your childhood you always remember. "Yea, so, if you want to listen to a radio come in the house."
Now why my beginning reference to a transistor radio. I did negotiate with my dad to buy (I paid $29.95) a transistor radio and carry it with me in the car. If you put the radio up high enough on the dash away from the roof of the car, and you were not too far from the station to receive their signal....well you might get some music. I said you might. And that's the way it was in 1959-60. No car radio...just a small pink Zenith transistor radio.
What abuse for a teenager...would you not agree? Can you imagine kids today suffering such abuse.
August 29, 2016