KNX-AM/FM – March 27, 1957 – Bob Crane Program – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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If you ever lived in a house in Los Angeles built before 1957 and wondered why there was what looked like a furnace or strange barbecue tucked in the far end of your backyard; no, it wasn’t part of the “outdoor lifestyle” of L.A. it was for burning trash. Just about every house and apartment building had one – and on most nights the air smelled like the entire city was on fire with a combination of burning paper, burning leaves and burning garbage – anything you could stuff in the concrete box, complete with chimney and metal doors – it was what L.A. did and it was one of the main reasons why the city had the worst smog, practically in the world.
But in 1957 burning in Los Angeles was finally banned – the last trash burning day was in October, amid a lot of protest, especially from the Mayor who didn’t think trash burning was all that bad and it made for less problems with sanitation and trash collection. But just prior to that, you could burn your trash in the morning or at night – unless the air was going to be bad from the start, and then burning of trash wasn’t allowed at least in the morning.
In case you were wondering, while you were listening to this one-hour excerpt of The Bob Crane Show, broadcast over KNX in L.A. on March 27, 1957, what the deal was with “morning burning” – now you know.
Things have changed a lot in the 63 years since this broadcast – L.A. has changed – there’s no trash burning, there’s very little or no smog, there’s no cigarette advertising, there are practically no “personalities” on the radio – there’s not much radio, for that matter. Bob Crane has been gone since the late 1970s, victim of scandal – but prior to that he was one of the cornerstones of local L.A. in the 1950s and 60s.
To get an idea of what non-top 40 radio was like in Los Angeles in the 1950s, here is the 6:00am-7:00am segment of The Bob Crane Show from KNX on March 27, 1957.