New York - 1956.

New York in the 1950s - Capturing the sound and soul of a City.

The Great Radio Documentaries – “The Voice Of New York” – 1956 – Past Daily Pop Chronicles.

New York - 1956.
New York in the 1950s – Capturing the sound and soul of a City.

CBS Radio Workshop – Voice Of New York – March 2, 1956 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Continuing a month of Radio Documentaries with this audio glimpse of New York in 1956 and broadcast over the CBS Radio Network as part of it’s series, The CBS Radio Workshop from March 2, 1956.

Dubbed “Dedicated To Man’s Imagination; The Theatre Of The Mind”, the CBS Workshop was a showcase for a lot of things, from experimental theatre to new Music – it ran the gamut and definitely spearheaded the movement to make Radio more accessible and to attract a younger audience.

This episode, entitled The Voice Of New York, showcases the talents of Audio artist and Sound designer Tony Schwartz who, armed with a portable tape recorder wandered the streets of New York looking for sounds that would epitomize the New York experience.

This episode became so popular it was eventually pressed on to an lp and established Tony Schwartz as one of the great and foremost chroniclers of Popular Culture in the 1950s.

This was also at a time the Radio Documentary was coming of age in America. Where the BBC had been doing live on-the-scene recording and documentaries for some time, America was just getting into it.

With tape being the new medium that made everything much easier to accomplish (not to mention edit and piece together material with which to shape a story), the networks were quickly switching over to tape as the preferred medium because not only could it be used for news gathering, it also had infinite possibilities as a creative medium.

Difficult to imagine now in 2022 that having the ability to randomly record anything you wanted wasn’t something easily accomplished even in the early 1950s. And mention of Portable tape recorders brought cumbersome and unweildy cases of electronics to mind just to capture the smallest sounds from nature.

One of the upshots of the popularity of the work of Tony Schwartz was the sudden surge in home tape recorders. Everyone, it seemed wanted to chronicle their own on-the-spot events. And tape recording became a cottage industry.

The other nice thing, and particularly nice about this episode, is how it manages to send you back in time by way of sounds to place you’ve never been to or have long since gone from our culture.

Narrated by Clifton Fadiman, The Voice Of New York is a spellbinding half hour of time-traveling sounds and sound images.

Just exactly what it was intended to do.

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