Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Picture This

By Paul Dugan, Groovy Reflections Team Member

The best pictures I’ve ever seen transmitted over the airwaves didn’t come from a big screen HD TV. They didn’t come from a state-of-the-art home computer either, nor from the smartest of smart phones. The best pictures I’ve ever seen came from a six transistor radio!

As a kid I was an avid baseball fan and watched every game that was broadcast on TV, however many games weren’t shown. When they played on the weekday afternoons it meant listening on the pocket transistor with an earpiece. Wearing a sweater was useful for helping hide the telltale cord from the prying eyes of teachers!

The picture? It was the best; the announcers knew how to paint, right down to the finest detail: When the pitchers “brought the heat”, the “high hard one”, or the classic “frozen rope”. Sometimes they even threw “smoke”! Any little leaguer worth his salt could see it just as clear as day.

When the slugger went up to bat you were there with them when they “crushed” the ball. You could see yourself jogging around the bases in his place with a proud as a peacock strut in your step.

It wasn’t just baseball games that I saw; that transistor let me see some of the greatest rock ‘n rollers ever: Elvis in all his pelvis gyrating glory, rocking around the clock with Bill Haley, and Chuck Berry doing his duck walk. Sometimes the pictures weren’t so pretty. I remember crying when I saw what we lost the day the music died.

My transistor went to bed with me. Sorry Mom. I lied all those times I said I turned it off. How could I? Man, then I’d miss seeing the smooth and sultry Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and the moves of the Four Tops. I’ll never forget the night Nancy Sinatra and her boots walked through my dreams; how could a picture ever be better than that!

I saw the Beach Boys in all their baggy wearing glory catch the last wave. I stood on that shore and watched as the British invaded with the Beatles, the Stones and Herman’s Hermits. All of them gave private concerts that could never compete with anything they did on television. I viewed Bob Lind chase that elusive butterfly with his nets of wonder, something never seen on the big screen!

I was in the capsule the day Navy Commander Alan Shepard Jr. rocketed into space. I crawled deeper under the covers for protection when the Russians pointed their missiles at us from Cuba. I saw a man’s dream from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and it was one of the spectacular pictures I’ve ever seen.

It’s certainly laughable in the face of the advanced technology of today but my little six transistor brought me the world in a way that the children of today will ever know. The imagination paints the greatest picture of all and I for one will never forget all the magical things that I watched on my radio!


Anonymous said...

A wonderful story that brings back my own memories of my little transistor and listening to "The Real Don Steele" at 93 KHJ in L.A., and of course the legendary Vin Scully calling the Dodgers games. Thank you Paul! Tim

SK Waller said...

I used to listen to Wolfman Jack under the covers late on Saturday nights. It was the only time the signal could reach the rural Santa Ynez Valley where I lived. I also had a long walk home from school every afternoon and the only thing that made it bearable was my transistor radio.

What a beautiful memory jog. Thanks!

LAURA B. said...

Used to hide my beloved transistor radio inside my pillow case to listen to west coast Braves games! Of course, never failed to get busted when the Braves sores and I'd start hollering! Thanks for the wonderful memories!