For Christmas 2003, I gave my son, Richard, and his wife, Laura, a very special gift: It was a 1950 Emerson table model radio that I had repaired and restored after finding it stuck away on a shelf at a local antique shop. I had in the past given them some of my OTRCAT collection, but when they unpacked the radio from its Christmas wrappings they were delighted-a radio that had tubes!
Where had it been all these years? Who were the owners before them, if it could only tell us, but like old time radio programs, it is the imagination that makes it fun and exciting. I have never lost my love for OTR programs. The following is a letter I gave them as part of their gift:
Dear Rich and Laura:
In 1950, the year that this radio was built, I was thirteen years old and living in Newburgh, NY - attending the eighth grade at South Junior High School. Radio was our entertainment and to this day I still love it. My vast collection of radio programs from my youth bring back fond memories as I sit and listen again to all the comedies, serial adventures, and the detectives who could solve any mystery. Radio was called "The Theater of the Mind," how true it was. I remember sitting on the living room floor in front of our Philco console, visualizing Sergeant Preston of the Royal Canadian Mounties being pulled by his dog team, led by King, his lead dog, companion, and protector. I could feel the harsh Yukon wind as it whipped through the living room as Preston shouted commands to the team in pursuit of the bad guys.
I only lived two blocks from Junior High and always came home for lunch and listened with grandma to Ma Perkins, a soap opera sponsored by Proctor and Gamble's Oxadol laundry soap. We would listen to the radio until it was time for me to run back to school for my next class. After school, I would rush home and listen to Superman, Terry and the Pirates, and Dick Tracy.
These memories are so precious to me and I dread the day they fade. This gift to you is a part of my past, present and my future. I know you will always keep and appreciate what it means and someday you will be the ones to pass this treasure onto you family.
-Joe Graziano, Born 1937