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Golden Days of Yesteryear

My attention recently was called to a very historic event; on June 2, 1896, Guglielmo Marconi applied to patent the radio. When we think of Marconi as the inventor of the radio, it is easily overshadowed by contemporary inventors of computers, 3-D printing, and copy machines. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have current technology, but with the radio, a significant change in our society happened.

Old time radio

Illustration of an old-time radio, the “Musette” sitting on a table. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c17293

We are still in an era of oral and storyteller traditions, and even as recently as the 1990s from my time in Mexico, (with no television) I would wait for the sun to go down on Sunday nights. Then I could pick up a radio signal from Houston and catch “The Jack Benny Show” and all sorts of radio drama. And observing and working for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, I am aware of many testimonials of the power of audio books to inform, entertain and tell a good story.

In our NLS Music audio collection, we have two giants of the radio format. Mike Whorf presented “Kaleidoscope” as a daily program from the mid-1960s to the late 1990s. At a quick glance, it seems there was an unlimited supply of subjects for Mr. Whorf to present. Programs about Jazz, DBM 00366, Operetta, DBM 01000, Florence Ziegfield, DBM 00353, Jimmy Durante, DBM 00828, Charlie Chaplin, DBM 00986, Victor Borge, DBM 01002. I could go on, but I will rest my case. Over 100 titles are available for your listening and learning pleasure.

Another fine hostess and interviewer is Marian McPartland, known to jazz and NPR fans for her cool program “Piano Jazz.”

Marian McPartland

Photo of Marian McPartland in cocktail dress, smiling. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c30048

When I survey the artists she interviewed, and most of them gladly performed with her, I am amazed and happy we can provide these programs to our patrons.  How about some Herbie Hancock, DBM 01229, Gerry Mulligan, DBM 01248, Mulgrew Miller, DBM 01243 (a favorite of our patron/performer Justin Kauflin and Chick Corea, DBM 01250?

This is only a very small sample of titles we can loan to our patrons. Call or e-mail us today for an audio catalog, DBM 03542.

And you don’t even have to wait until sundown to enjoy good conversation, music and history.

Radio towers

Three tall radio towers on a hill. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.13475


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