Radio´s Second Childhood



Para los más jóvenes un refrescante recordatorio de la década del 50 en este artículo de Mechanix Illustrated, sobre la radio, Radio´s Second Chidhood. También sobre phonograph y Rudy Vallee, el cantante de décadas pasadas que enamoraba a adolescentes…

Unless you’re an avid collector of antiques –a forgivable exception – you´d probably never think of entertaining your guests with that squeaky old Gramophone that´s gathering dust in the attic.
You wouldn´t part with it for dear life, of course, because it has some sentimental value. But when it comes to “cutting a rug” with your friends, your all-electronic phonograph with “philharmonic tone” and those velvety LP transcriptions, has a definite edge in quality.
Nor would you prefer, as long as you have that sleek new convertible with fingertip steering and power brakes in your garage, to put on goggles and a duster for a rocky ride in an old-fashioned Reo. Unless, of course, you happen to share singer Jimmy Melton´s famous devotion to antique autos.
Those ancient artifacts served your parents and your grandparents well, but as far as you´re concerned, they can rest in peace. You´ll take their streamlined progeny.

Not so with another of mankind´s modern miracles, however.
Radio, it seems, is in the throes of a second childhood. The “cat´s whisker” is coming back with a bang! Or better –a boom. Yes, the crystal set business is booming again.
This information comes from no less an authority than the Messrs. M. L. and M.S. Granat of the Philmore Manufacturing Company of New York, the world´s largest maker of the primitive little coils and ticklers that first plucked sounds out of the ether and funneled them into the earphones of an awed citizenry more than a quarter of century ago. This was about the time Rudy Vallee was still singing through a megaphone and Harry Horlick´s A. & P. Gypsies were the toast of the music world.
Mr. M. L. Granat, president, isn´t a bit worried over inviting competition when he tips his hand about the profitable status of his crystal set business today. A confident little man with beady black eyes that literally spark with enthusiasm when he´s talking about lofty survival in the field, he makes some interesting observations on a business nearly everyone thought went out with the nickel beer, if not earlier.
“In 1920,” points out Mr. Granat with the self-assured air of a man who has outwitted progress, “there were more than 300 manufacturers of crystal sets in the United States. Today, a couple maybe. We survived that competition. So what´s to worry”
“You know something?” Mr. Granat went on, waving a sheaf of orders. “We´ll move more than 150,000 sets this year. And would you believe it, most people don´t even know you can buy a crystal radio today?” Still he insisted that the future is very rosy indeed. And, oddly enough, he would have it known this outlook is not threatened but enhanced by the latter-day science of electronics.
“Business is up 35 to 40 per cent since 1950,” said Mr. Granat, pointing to a rising line graph on the wall of his modestly furnished New York office. “And you know, what we got to thank for a good deal of it? Electronics! The Goldfish of modern industry!
Article from Mechanix Illustrated, 1954
Article from Mechanix Illustrated, 1954
Mr. Granat went on to explain that everybody from six to 60, it seems, is electronics-minded these days. The government is encouraging careers in this field; new schools are popping up all over the country, Captain Video is taking the play away from Hopalong Cassidy in the small fry league –and all these things mean money in the bank for the Messrs. Granat… (Article by Henry M. Lewis, Jr., from Mechanix Illustrated, January issue, 1954)

Para saber
El fonógrafo (phonograph) fue inventado en 1877 para grabación mecánica y reproducción de sonido. En sus últimas formas también se lo llamó gramófono (gramophone).
Hubert Prior "Rudy" Vallée (1901 – 1986) fue un cantante y actor norteamericano. Vallée fue uno de los primeras modernas estrellas del pop, ídolo de adolescentes. Vestía impecablemente y cantaba en los delicados oídos melodías románticas.
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