2003   NOVEMBER 13   #317

Marcia and Robin

Today's recording features my sister Marcia at about age three, and our cousin Robin, who was perhaps ten or eleven at that time, that time being circa 1953.

Many people reading this probably understand what I'm going to say here, but it's hard to explain to my kids, or anyone under the age of about 30-35 how unusual it was to have family recordings of this type in one's collection, growing up in the '50's and early '60's. Sure there had been home recordio disc machines, but they recorded poorly, for the most part, and for only 3-4 minutes at a time. Plus, these had begun to disappear by the mid-'50's.

When I was growing up, no one I knew had sound recordings of their family, yet we had hours of recordings which had been made in our home, due to our dad being the type to want to buy the new technology as it became available.

As common as it is for my kids, and everyone else their age, to know that many important moments of their life (and just as many ordinary ones) exist on videotape, cassette tape and maybe even a DVD, it was unique when I was little to be able to hear the voices of my parents and my older brother and sister, recorded before I was born.

None of this would make this selection interesting outside of my own family, in and of itself, but this recording is more than that. It (perhaps accidentally) captures certain aspects of life, circa 1953, as well as capturing two kids who were still unfamiliar enough with being recorded as to not be self-conscious about being themselves while the recorder was running. And I find it very funny in places. I hope you agree.

Things I particularly enjoy:

1.) The opening quote from a Pepsi ad parody, one no doubt popular with kids around Robin's age, at that time.

2.) Marcia quoting an ad for Pertussin, and the adults' reaction.

3.) The use of the "Dragnet" theme, which was (the show and the theme) all the rage at that point. If you listen closely, you'll hear our parents discuss the fact that they should stop recording, if they want to watch Dragnet when it comes on.

4.) Marcia's attempt to make up a knock-knock joke: she uses the last name of a family friend as the answer, causing the adults to laugh, and leaving Robin in complete confusion.

By the way "Make the Noise" was Marcia's way of asking our dad to use the speaker to create reverberation.

Today's selection was recorded on my dad's 1952 (or so) model Concertone Reel to Reel machine. I still own this machine, although it hasn't worked in decades. My brother and I have recently been lucky enough to acquire another machine of the exact same make and model, one which works almost perfectly, and it is pictured, below, playing the very tape that holds today's selection.

- Bob Purse

TT-7:33 / 6.9MB / 128kbps 44.1khz

(Image courtesy of Bob Purse)