New Years Eve 1957: Times Square. 1957, like every other year, a celebration and a mass of people, converging on Times Square in New York City – waiting for the ball to drop and usher in 1958. Another year and another shot at happiness. With 750,000 people cheering, throwing confetti and cracking open champagne bottles, the cacophony of happy noise, all captured in this yearly ritual on TV and Radio. This broadcast from NBC Radio features Ben Grauer, a regular fixture for New Years Eve festivities throughout the 1940s and 1950s, trying to be heard over the din; finally giving up when midnight comes.
And as the first few minutes of 1958 get started, the network cuts away to Birdland and a live performance by the legendary Count Basie and his Orchestra, with Joe Williams taking the vocals.
Part of an all-night extravaganza NBC Radio did each year, featuring New Years eve festivities around the country and the world. Mostly live and unrehearsed and all celebrating the end of another hair-raising year.
1957 was significant – it was the year of School Desegregation and Sputnik – the Civil Rights movement and the Space Race. Issues at home and events abroad. But none of those were weighing on anyone’s minds this night. Midnight meant it was over and in keeping with the ages-old tradition; recalling the past, letting it go and hoping for a bright future.
And it’s been that way every year – this one’s no exception.
It’s been a totally unpredictable year; one nobody saw coming and one nobody expected to turn out like it did.
But it’s here and all we can do is hope for the best for 2021, just like we hoped for the best in 1958.
The hoping never stops – time never stands still.
Crank up Times Square in 1957 and get ready for 2021.
Happy New Year – if you’re reading this, we’ve made it.