|Download For $1.99: - September 14, 1957 - various Los Angeles Radio stations 10:00 am - noon - - Gordon Skene Sound Collection|
September 14, 1957. This is L.A. This is your town. This is your town in 1957. This is what your town sounded like. A sweep of the radio dial and an aural snapshot of a town on an average Saturday in an average year. No earth-shattering events, no earth-shattering news – it’s mostly about what L.A. was doing on a Saturday in 1957. Audience participation shows, Elvis, new all-Electric Medallion Homes – the L.A. County Fair in Pomona, buying a car in South Pasadena, listening to the last baseball game of the 1957 season. Shopping.
Optimism about the future and all those work-saving devices – and promises of more leisure time. A subtle infomercial on the advantages of Passenger-Carrying Freighters and months-long cruises around the world for less than you’d pay for a regular cruise. All that time, all that freedom and none of those people.
Listening to this now, it’s amazing we moved so slow – even the gaps between songs and announcers seemed like an eternity – we were in no hurry, even though at the time we were. We smoked a lot – nobody said anything about lung Cancer or trouble breathing – we had Smog to blame. And if we didn’t like living in L.A. we could still move to the largely un-settled suburbs where, for a mere $495 down we could own a home blocks from Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park – and those were All-Electric Medallion homes with floor-to-ceiling brick with lathe-and-plaster walls and scenic views of nearby mountains while still only 30 minutes to Downtown and Long Beach was as close as a straight shot, via Highway 32.
To get some idea of what Los Angeles was like, in the dim-distant/deep-dark past, and to hear it more or less in real time, here is a sampling (made by someone at the time who had a short-attention span and a full reel of tape) of what it sounded like, what you probably heard while you were busy doing nothing, or going somewhere during a two-hour stretch from 10:00 to 12 noon on Saturday September 14, 1957. With the exception of KNX, almost none of the radio stations broadcasting at the time are still on the air, or are, but have changed several times over.