It’s February 1969 – You Live In L.A. – You’re A Teenager – You Go To High School – Life Begins Behind The Cafeteria

Uni-Hi - 1969
And you’ve become the people your parents warned you about.

KRLA – Russ O’Hara – 7-8:00 pm – February 23, 1969 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

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Yep. There you are – you and your friends; Bummer Bob, Phantom Wallwasher, Steve, Captain Nemo and the new kid, Arnold. You’re behind the cafeteria – it’s Nutrition. The air is filled with the aroma of Cinnamon Coffee Cake. It’s noisy – seems like everybody is shrieking and running around at high speed. Not you, and not your friends. There’s another smell, this one isn’t so profound; it’s subtle, it smells like burning leaves – kind of/sort of like cigarettes only faintly like Alfalfa. You’re all huddled together; every few seconds one of you looks nervously around. You take turns ducking your head, making the odd sucking noise and popping your head back up to look around and exhale. Occasionally someone walks by. They’re either too preoccupied to notice, or they do and they shoot you one of those “oh, you are so disgusting” stares as they amble into the Cafeteria. Bummer Bob sometimes gets paranoid and tosses what you were passing around into his mouth – it’s what he does, all the time, that’s why he’s called Bummer Bob. You’ve lost many good lids that way.

You’re one of the people your parents warned you about – you cut class a lot. You hang out on the Strip a lot – you congregate at the Earth Rose in Venice on the weekends and spend hours in the blacklight room a lot. Everybody knows you on Fairfax – Sire Bob knows you on a first name basis.

You do a lot of things your parents read about in the newspaper or watch on TV – but they don’t really know you’re in there someplace. You’re leading a double-life. You went to the Century City Demonstration in 1967 when LBJ came to L.A. and you missed being on the news by a few seconds. You went to the first Love-In at Griffith Park and the L.A. Times ran a photo in the Sunday Magazine and the photographer missed you, except for your feet.

Someday they will find out – by then you will be out of the house and working for the Post Office.

In the meantime, it’s you – your doper friends, the car radio in your 1961 Corvair that only gets AM and it’s 1969. So far, so good.

Here’s a slice of Russ O’Hara from KRLA on February 23, 1969.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Editors note: In my haste to put this up, I didn’t double-check to make sure the date on the tape box was the same as the contents. As one reader pointed out, it’s actually 1971 and not 1969. Until I can find a replacement this will have to be one, big, glowing screwup – so I apologize.

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    • I started listening to it after I posted it and put up a disclaimer at the bottom. The tape sounds so good I’ll have to find a comparable quality aircheck to replace it. But in the meantime . . .

  1. What a great-sounding aircheck! With some truly awful music in spots! I’m lately downloading (from an online music blog) each and every 45 that appeared on at least one KHJ-AM Top 30 chart starting in 1965, many of which I don’t remember ever hearing, despite having paid close attention. In the case of 1969, the charted discs disprove the thesis that 1969 was some kind of bellwether year in rock and roll. Not on Top 30-limited AM radio, it wasn’t. Some real bow-wows that year. Why? Theories abound, but for me it comes down to two words: James Taylor.

    Here’s the link to the start of 1969 on that blog, if you permit such things here:

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