The kids of Alexandria Minnesota - Getting the pulse beat of a nation via Radio.

The Great Radio Documentaries – “Young People Organize” – The People Act – 1952 – Past Daily Pop Chronicles

The kids of Alexandria Minnesota – Getting the pulse beat of a nation via Radio.

CBS Radio – The People Act -“Young People Organize” – June 8, 1952 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Continuing the survey of Radio Documentaries of the 1950s through 1970s. This produced in cooperation with the Ford Foundation by CBS News entitled The People Act.

Because the Cold War was rapidly approaching the critical stage, and Senator McCarthy was busy holding hearings for Communist infiltration of Capitol Hill – with a war dragging on in Korea, it was time to instill patriotism and a morale boost in America. And so, this series of documentaries was devised to showcase America’s Can-Do philosophy and to bolster the feeling that America was doing a whole lot better than the news was portraying.

This episode was entitled “Young People Organize” and it centers around High School Students in Alexandria Minnesota, one of a countless number of rural towns dotting the country and all seemingly facing the same problem; youth with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Of course, the big fear was teenagers getting into all sorts of trouble; from stealing cars, joining gangs or worse, becoming little Communists.

It was the idea of America’s morals were on shaky ground and something had to be done about it or it would get much-much worse over the coming months and years.

So, like the other documentaries of the 1950s, it was taking advantage of that new technology in the form of the portable tape recorder and sending groups of reporters and engineers all over the country to report back and give a unique eyewitness account of just what was going on.

Remember, that prior to using tape and diving into “Reality Radio”, a “documentary” like this would be scripted and actors would portray the parts of parents and kids – and maybe the gist of the sentiments were the same as those on-the-spot recordings were, the idea that recreating something just wasn’t like the real thing. And so these kinds of documentaries were wildly popular all through the 1950s.

Interesting on a lot of levels, not the least being just how teenagers spoke in 1952 – and as by evidence of an actual photo (the one above) of students from an Alexandria Minnesota High School during the timeframe of this documentary – you get more of an idea of what kids looked like and who they were. Here it is, as it was broadcast on June 8, 1952 by CBS Radio.

History and reality – nothing like it.

Stay tuned.

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