Music Is Life……………….#49 (the 50’s)

Artaro Toscanini - Nine Beethoven Syphonies - 78 rpm recordings.

Arturo Toscanini – Nine Beethoven Symphonies – 78 rpm recordings.

Gary’s friend Hank Ball on the phone  announcing he had just bought his first 45 rpm records,  Gary was impressed,  the last single record he had purchased was a Bill Haley and the Comets 78 rpm recording of Rock Around The Clock for the family 78 rpm record player.   Gary immediately on his way to join Hank,  gazing for the first time at a 45 rpm phonograph record,  his best friend having bought the current hit  by the singer of heartbreak Hotel,   Elvis Presley.   The two finding it hard to believe Elvis actually had two hit songs in the top ten on one record,  Don’t be Cruel and the flip side, Hound Dog.   Hank having even a bigger surprise, Gene Vincent’s Be-Bop-A-Lula,  the song rumored to have that forbidden F word in the lyrics.   Both  teens listening  intensely and with acute affirmation,  agreeing they heard the word, or so the two surmised.

Be-Bop-A-Lula - the song with the hidden F word in it.

Be-Bop-A-Lula – the song with the hidden F word in it.

Gary's first 33 1/3 album

Gary’s first 33 1/3 album

Gogi Grants number one hit.

Gogi Grants number one hit.

Gary convincing his parents,  they (meaning him), needed a phonograph that could address the new 45 and 33 1/3 rpm records.   Gary’s Dad giving an approval,  purchasing a new record player, Gary somewhat disappointed because that was just what it was, a no frills player, a small  manual portable with a  3 speed turntable and a unimpressive five-inch speaker, not very dynamic  but it was a beginning.  The new player giving Gary a reason to visit the Castle Music Shop on MacArthur Blvd,  the youth  returning with his first 33 1/3 rpm album,  Fat’s Domino’s latest album  “Rockin’ N Rollin with Fats Domino” containing all his past hits including   “Ain’t It A Shame”,  but not his latest,  “Blueberry Hill”.   The Teen concluding,  with advent of the 45 , 33 1/3 rpm and High Fidelity the era of the 78 rpm recordings was coming to a conclusion.   Gary’s extensive collection of 78’s included many classical recording belonging to his cousin Bud O’Toole, who had left them in his possession for safe keeping during his varied military post in the Army.   With his cousin Bud’s and Gary’s parents record library he soon added another listening realm to a world that could transport you beyond reality.   He took satisfaction in experiencing Beethoven’s Nine Symphonies conducted by Toscanini,  works of Tchaikovsky,  Wagner,  Richard Strauss and completely applauded Respighi’s  The Pines and Fountains  of Rome.   Music was like his piano, a friend, visiting him on records or the radio, always a promising and fulfilling companion.  Listening to the strains of the Wayward Wind endorsed by Gogi Grant,  Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally or a rendition of the jazz hit Lullaby of Birdland,  music emitting all the compassion and emotion for those who understood its language and were receptive to its invitation.

The San Francisco television station  having flaunted it all week, a demonstration of a new accessible feature to the already highly publicized  acclaimed High Fidelity,  it was called Stereophonic Sound.   Gary was curious to how they could broadcast such  a sound considering the television had just one small speaker.   The night of  the exhibition having arrived,  the teen in great anticipation tuning to the channel,  listening as the announcer instructing the viewers to retrieve a radio,  tune it to their affiliate radio station and place it across the room from the television.   Gary completing the directions, the station proceeding to demonstrate the stereophonic sound of various music selections,  a person could distinguish between the two communicators and could hear the separation of the instruments.   Gary knew the principle of stereophonic recording but still wondered how many viewers would envision to having two radios to produce stereophonic sound,  it would be just a matter of time when this new technology would be readily available, but it did give him an idea.

His idea was a concept,  able to become a conception,  Gary concluding,  it wasn’t stereophonic,  but he had separated the sound that emanated from his small portable phonograph single speaker.   His sister Nancy agreed,  it was unique and he recognized  it was most likely one-of-a-kind,  maybe the only one in existence,  so the teen speculated in this facetious admission.   On the wall across the length of his downstairs bedroom,  the Youth had mounted a 8 Ft. long 1 x 12  to be used as a bookshelf to hold his 15 volumes of Bowen’s  Dave Dawson series and many other hardbound books he had accumulated.   Gary utilizing the bookshelf to hold two length of six-inch diameter stovepipe he had found in the garage, then connecting the two sections of pipes with a tee.    He removed the five-inch speaker from his phonograph,  extending the wires and placing the speaker on the floor beneath the bookshelf.    Placing a length of six-inch diameter  stovepipe over the speaker,  running it up  to  the shelf  attaching it to a tee connecting each of the horizontal pipes on the shelf.   With additional  elbows facing toward the room at either end of the pipes.  The results culminating  with sound expedited  from both ends of the bookshelf via  Stove Pipe.   Gary concluding,  stove pipes and a 5 inch speaker were just part of the world of inventiveness coming to fruition witnessed by the sound of music.

Mike and Kathy Marquardt

Mike and Kathy Marquardt are twins and classmates at Castlemont having attended  six years of Burckhalter Elementary School and three at Frick Junior High with Gary.   He would  occasionally address Mike at school, but like many of his past classmates their studies and social paths sometimes never crossed, especially now with upwards of three thousand students at Castlemont.  Gary just happened to overhear a conversation that drew his attention, Mike was speaking about his new high fidelity stereophonic system.  The conversation stirring  an inquisitive interest,  Mike taking notice of Gary’s interest, recognizing his curiosity, inviting him to experience the sound of his new acquisition.  Gary arriving at Mike’s residence, bringing a new 33 1/3  rpm recording of Respighi’s,  The Pines of Rome, anxious to listen to the new system.  It became apparent Mike was curious why Gary brought the recording , the visitor explaining that Respighi and especially the Pines of Rome’s finale was stupendous,  with the orchestrated sound of marching legions,  bellowing of the French horns, trumpets and the cascading drums and bass and would provide a great demonstration of the stereo.   Not hesitating Gary asking Mike to play the finale with some volume,  the results were unbelievable,  it was discernible Mike didn’t give his system justice,  the sound literally shook the house,  reverberated to a point that his room’s closed-door began to open.   The door was slightly ajar when it burst completely open to reveal an imposing figure standing poised with a look that could have silenced an explosion,  it did silence the music,  it was Mike’s Mother with a message concerning the volume.

Wurlitzer Superhetrodyne

Wurlitzer Superheterodyne

Unbeknown to Gary until after his arrival was that Mike’s old phonograph system was for sale,  immediately  Gary’s interest peaked.   Mike reeling out his old system,  situated in and on a 3 ft. high red metal cabinet on rollers.   Beneath the vacant top of the stand was a shelf containing the biggest amplifier Gary had ever seen  and below  inside was a large speaker enclosure.   Mike explaining,  the vacant top was where his turntable use to resided,  having kept it to use with the new system.   He further explained the amplifier had come from  a Wurlitzer Juke Box as was the mounted 15 inch  JBL speaker.   He went on to explain,  the amplifier would require a Shure Cartridge and Needle installed in Gary’s old turntable arm and that  it was inexpensive and  easy  to install.   Mike Marquardt’s Wurlitzer system having found a new home.

Gary’s new Superheterodyne amplifying acquisition with its four high-powered 6L6 push-pull pentode  tubes had animating results.   When the system was placed on the porch outside his room,  facing Mountain Blvd.,  he could turn up the volume,  the sound  would reverberate through the 15 inch speaker with it 3 1/2 inch voice coil, cascading across the Mountain Blvd echoing off the hills, then the phone would ring,  his mother answering, then making her appearance, relaying a neighborhood request, to turn it down.   Gary reasoned,  if silence is a void,  music is life.

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4 Responses to “Music Is Life……………….#49 (the 50’s)”

  1. Music Lyrics Now Says:

    I found this post while looking for free lyrics. Thanks for sharing will come back regularly.

    • gwillson7 Says:

      Thank you for your comment. I enjoy sharing these true-life episodes and giving an insight to a past era. The Memory Series allows me to write and relive those days, I hope you enjoy all of my youthful adventures on inquesitive quest……………………….Gary

  2. Nancy Says:

    I really loved your stove pipe stero system. The sound was so much better than my little red radio and filled the whole room with music and happieness.

    • gwillson7 Says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. It was fun recalling the inventiveness when your young. I had three other comments, people also enjoy reading about that era.
      Gary.

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