Saturday, June 22, 2013

My First Radio Studio Part 2

In this second of a 2-part post, I want to continue my story about one of my best Christmas gifts ever.

The record player with a microphone gave me so many hours of fun pretending to be a DJ on the radio. I spent hours and hours in my room honing my "talents"; especially talking through the intro of the best songs of 1975. 

Two of the hits I remember "talking up" the most were 45 RPM records that were also given to me as part of my Christmas presents.

One was the #8 song and the other the #38 on the top 100 hits of the year. But both made it to #1 on the weekly charts. 

Here are pictures of those 45s:

"Laughter In The Rain" by Neil Sedaka 


"Cat's In The Cradle" by Harry Chapin 

I could go on about the good times with my first radio studio but I believe I've done that quite well already. 

Now I want to move on to the journey that helped me find it again. Well not exactly "find it: but as close to it as I believe I'll ever come.

One of my favorite reality TV shows currently set to record on my DVR each week is "The Toy Hunter" on the TLC network. It's title star is Jordan Hembrough. He goes around the country "picking" the average Joe's toy collections in search of "vintage" toys to sell to his customers. 

On one episode, while searching through a yet another toy collection, he talked with his benefactor about searching through the Sears "Wishbook" catalog, as a kid, in search of toys for Christmas. 

Hearing that conversation sparked the same memories for me. Some of the things I remembering picking out over the years were: Official licensed NFL clothing (with the Washington Redskins name and logo on it), an electric football game, a ventriloquist puppet, and much more. 

It also came back to me that the Wishbook was where I found my treasured record player. At least there was a connection that seemed very familiar. 

I went back and searched Googel and Ebay with some different keywords with the same unsuccessful results. 

I came to the conclusion that in order to confirm my "where I saw it" theory I needed to see a 1975 Sears Christmas catalog. But where to find one?

Well, those catalogs were a significant part of the average American baby boomers year end holiday season for decades. There must be people into collecting them. That led me back to Google. 

I didn't find a listing of a group or club that specializes in collecting Sears catalogs. I found something better: a website that has digital copies of every page of 45 classic store catalogs (Sears, Montgomery Ward, and Spiegle from 1933 to 1988). Can you believe someone or someones took the time to convert all those catalogs. Well see for yourself.

Excited about just finding the website I anxiously scrolled through the catalog links in chronological order until I found it: Sears Wishbook 1975. Each page was a jpeg picture. After horizontally scrolling through 611 of 649 pages I found this. 

It's my first radio studio! Isn't the internet amazing? 

The digital picture was somewhat different than the one I have in my mind. But the reality was more of a rush than I had expected. 

I still can't find one of these record players for sale. I don't think I ever will. I may even give up on looking. What would I do with it anyway? 

But at least now whenever I want to I can bring up this picture and remember all the joy and happiness my parents gave me when they gave me the opportunity to have a "radio studio" in my very own bedroom. The ripple effects of that wonderful Christmas gift are still a part of my life 38 years later. Thanks Mom & Dad. 

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