|Download For $1.99: - July 4, 1952 - KNX - News And The Hawthorne Show - Gordon Skene Sound Collection|
July 4, 1952 – Here’s a glimpse of Los Angeles as you may no doubt might have heard if you were on your way home from the fireworks show at the L.A. Coliseum or the Pier in Santa Monica or anyone of a number of places throughout Southern California that went out for celebrating the Fourth in a big way. This is L.A. at midnight – July 4th is turning into July 5th and the news recaps the goings on of the day. Despite a massive advertising campaign over Holiday accidents, the death toll on American highways was enormous – well over 200 in the first few hours of the holiday weekend alone, and there were days to go before the final tally would come in. And of course, being 1952 there was war going on in Korea. And in Sports, every city was having a baseball double-header it seemed – and L.A. was no different – the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn and wouldn’t be in L.A.until a few years later – but they did have The Los Angeles Angels and there were The Hollywood All-Stars and everything was going on out at Gilmore Field (where CBS TV is, for now).
One of the staples in the diet of Los Angeles radio at this time was a fellow named Jim Hawthorne, who became a fixture in L.A. throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s. At KNX, where this rather primitive wire-recording came from, Hawthorne hosted a nightly show which went from audience participation to discussions on nostalgia and vaudeville. Because he was so popular at the time, there’s a good chance you’d be listening to this show on your car radio. Or you were taking a break from cleaning up all the fireworks debris littering up your front yard. Fireworks were big and legal and you could buy them at any one of a number of stands set up in vacant lots or empty fields all around Los Angeles.
So this is a taste of L.A. from the fourth Of July 1952 – different times, different sounds – a lot of places and a lot of ads for beers and wines that are no longer made but the after mid-night time slot seemed to make their consumption a must.
Yes, different times indeed.
Take an hour off and have a listen – it’s a bit rough in places, but the vibe is still there.