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Friday, November 29, 2019

The Seventeen Dollar Clock-Radio

The Seventeen Dollar Clock-Radio

I Just watched an episode of “Leave it to Beaver” (maybe the best sit-com ever) where Ward gave “The Beaver” a clock-radio.

“Oh man, I remember when I was seven, I got a clock-radio.  It cost seventeen dollars.”

“How do you remember what it cost?”

“I don’t know, for some reason in those days you said the price for nice stuff.  You wouldn’t say ‘I got a clock-radio for my birthday,’ you would say, ‘I got a seventeen-dollar clock-radio for my birthday.’ I guess it was a way to brag to your friends.”

Anyway, at the end of the show, Ward commented, “I think it was worth spending the $16.95 to make the Beaver happy.”

“See. I told you; seventeen dollars!”

I loved that radio.  I grew up with an 11-inch TV in the living room and watching whatever my parents allowed me to watch up until maybe nine o’clock.  With my radio I could listen and fall asleep to some of the old great radio that I missed out on because of growing up with TV.

I don’t think there were shows on every night, it was probably mostly on Saturday or Sunday, but on KFI Las Angeles I would listen to “The Lone Ranger,” “The Shadow,” or “The Jack Benny Show.”

These were shows that were now also on TV (Maybe not ‘The Shadow’) but were much more fun to listen to after 9 o’clock, under the covers and without parental consent, than they were to watch on TV.

Those old radio shows were a novelty to me, but old hat to the rest of the world.  They stopped producing them around 1954 or 55.

There was something captivating about how they could paint a picture with words and sound effects on those shows. 

I would have completely missed out on that special creativity if not for my Seventeen-Dollar Clock-Radio.


  1. I recall my family's first TV, with its tiny screen, in black and white. The neighbors came over to watch TV, it was quite a novelty. I remember Gunsmoke and Hopalong Cassidy as being favorite shows, they had horses in them and I was crazy about horses.

  2. I remember my dad telling me to turn on the RCA so the tubes would warm up and we could watch one show in the evening.

    I can remember my dad listening to Cassius Clay on the radio and everyone had to be quiet.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend, Joe. 😎

  3. Loved your look back and that clock radio at the top Joe. I remember in 1967 when my dad got our family a Zenith Colormatic Console tv for an early big Christmas present. Our first color set, and the very first program we watched on it was 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer', for my 6 year old eyes it was like an acid trip. I miss the days when tv shows announced if they were in color. Anyway--your clock radio reminded me of my grandpap's recliner chair, he always had a model like that one on the table next to him. He preferred listening to ballgames versus watching 'em.

  4. My Dad talked about some of those radio shows. I listened to a scary radio show that came on Sunday nights. It opened with the sound of a creaking door. Scared me silly, but I loved listening to it on my transistor radio, under the covers.

    1. I remember that creaking door sound but not the name of the show. We loved it whatever it was.

  5. I remember those radio shows and many more like "Fibber McGee and Molly", "The Great Gildersleeve", "The Green Hornet" and the daily soap operas my mother used to listen to. And then t.v. came in and it all went to hell.

  6. My mom and dad had a radio like that on top of the refrigerator. We listened to the local news and country music during breakfast, before we went out to wait for the school bus. The days of the radio shows were over then. My first radio was a red transistor in a leather case. I loved that thing! Didn't know the price.

  7. I didn't have the beauty of that clock radio but I remember my first transister (sp?) radio and I loved that thing! I could listen to what music I wanted and I got to know the dj's too. My girlfriends and I would hop a bus to downtown Chicago and go visit those radio stations. I might have been 13 or 14. I would never let a kid do that today! Anyway, I can understand your love of that radio. I also can understand the love of Leave It To Beaver!

  8. I didn't even know clock-radios existed until hubby brought one home one day soon after we'd moved into our first flat as a married couple. Later when we had children they had clock radios, but only until they discovered radio-cassette tape players, then they'd beg us for blank cassettes to record songs straight off the radio, cheaper than buying the pre-recorded tapes. I don't remember ever falling asleep to radio or TV, I would watch or listen until I was sleepy, then it all got turned off before I lay down.

  9. Loved Beaver and even had a cougar like crush on Tony Dow. My Mom was anti TV-said we would quit talking to eachother but saw no problem with us quietly listening to the 48 Indians. Well we did holler now and then. Also loved the radio shows you mentioned. It was nice letting the mind do part of the work visualizing scenes.

  10. Grandpa bought LP records of those shows, and i listened and listened. What great memories!

  11. I guess when you listened to those shows on the radio people in the UK were listening to The Goons Shows. I doubt they ever reached the USA. They featured Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine.

    God bless.

  12. i remember i often would call that radio was my second mother ,it improved my thinking skills and i had really deep ,strong and indefinable connection with radio ,i always so much enjoy your stories about olden day Joe ,how similarly we spend our days when we we little :)

  13. I started listening to OTR shortly before we bought a computer and internet. I borrowed some tapes from the library an instantly created a new habit. Now, with today's technology, I listen to the Old Time Radio shows everyday. The comedies are my least favorite.