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Remembering 1961

John F Kennedy's inauguration in January brought in the year 1961, the Berlin Wall was built, the Bay of Pigs was an international disaster, America officially enters the Vietnam War, and Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.

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23 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 6 hours, 6 min)
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7 Audio CDs


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About this Old Time Radio Show

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.


Radio 1961The musical play
Camelot opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre on December 3, 1960. The abbreviated Kennedy presidency would be referred to as "Camelot" after First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy revealed that the show was John Kennedy's favorite Broadway musical (Jay Lerner had been a classmate of Kennedy's at Harvard. The Kennedy Camelot myth disregards the fact that the show was about misguided love, treason, and adultery; as 1961 dawned with Kennedy's inauguration the future seemed to belong to a young President who would slay the dragons of Communism and bring forth an age of wonder and enlightenment.

Mad Magazine 1961MAD magazine pointed out in the March issue that 1961 was, in fact, and upside-down year, the digits reading the same no matter how they were oriented. 

Outgoing President Eisenhower delivered his Farewell Address to the nation on January 17. The address was a "solemn moment in a decidedly unsolemn time" and was meant to serve as a warning to a nation "infatuated with youth and glamour". The speech is most famous for the former military leader's warning against the corrupting influence of the "military-industrial complex", describing it as "nothing more than a distorted use of the nation's resources."

The counter-point to Eisenhower's speech came at the end of the week with Kennedy's inauguration, which kicked off with a pre-inauguration ball organized by Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford. The new President's inaugural address was delivered with Kennedy bare-headed and wearing just a suit coat as protection against the weather (a powerful nor'easter had blown through Washington the day before, the Corp of Engineers added 1,700 Boy Scouts and flamethrowers to the task force employed to clear eight inches of snow from the parade route". The address was incredibly optimistic, with Kennedy calling on Americans to "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

President KennedyDespite his youth and optimism, Kennedy would prove to be a staunch and determined (if not immediately well guided) Cold Warrior. The previous administration had allocated $13.1 million for a CIA-backed plan to overthrow Fidel Castro's government in Cuba (one of Eisenhower's final acts was to break off diplomatic relations with the island nation on January 3). The decision to implement the plan was left to the incoming President, and Kennedy allowed himself to be sold on the plan. A brigade recruited from the Cuban exile community landed at the Bay of Pigs and were nearly immediately overwhelmed. Hoping to cover American involvement in the invasion, Kennedy withheld air support by the US Air Force, and the operation not only failed miserably but strengthened Castro's standing in the international community. Although a decided embarrassment to the new administration, Kennedy chose not to deflect blame for the operation and assumed responsibility, stating: "There's an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan ... Further statements, detailed discussions, are not to conceal responsibility because I'm the responsible officer of the Government ..."

Yuri GagariJust before the Bay of Pigs, Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space, orbiting the earth on April 12. While awaiting news of Alan Shepard's flight Mercury-Redstone Freedom 7, President Kennedy was briefed on rising tensions in Southeast Asia. On May 25, Kennedy announced the goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" before the decade ended, effectively launching the Apollo Program.

The President met with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna, Austria, on June 4. The primary topic discussed was the Berlin Crisis along with conditions in Southeast Asia. The Bay of Pigs Crisis damaged the relationship between Kennedy and Khrushchev, and the President later related "He beat the hell out of me" in a subsequent interview. In a report to the nation on July 25, Kennedy announced his intention to expand Civil Defense RadioUS military power and called upon citizens to build and stock fallout shelters. A debate on Civil Defense would go on for months.

FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow described commercial programming on television as a "vast wasteland". Although network radio continued to lose sponsor support to TV, programming continued to be comforting. The Bing Crosby - Rosemary Clooney Program featured taped conversations and recorded songs from the crooner and his dear friend and White Christmas (1954) co-star. Gunsmoke was becoming one of the most important programs on TV but had entered its last season as a radio program. Suspense and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar continued to produce fine shows from well-written scripts. Radio became an important voice of the Cold War with demonstrations of CONELRAD and the Emergency Broadcasting System.

As the year comes to a close, America officially enters the Vietnam War when American helicopters and 400 troops arrive in Saigon in an attempt to make good on President Kennedy's inaugural promise to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty."

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:
  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    23 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $4.50
    total playtime 6 hours, 6 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      23 shows - total playtime 6 hours 6 minutes
      1. Breakfast Club 61xxxx National Secretaries Week.mp3
      2. CONELRAD 610425 MESSAGE BY PRESIDENT KENNEDY.mp3
      3. CONELRAD Broadcast Heard During Operation Alert, 1961.mp3
      4. Crosby Clooney 611000 B.MP3
      5. Grand Ole Opry 610428 1105 Jim Reeves Stands Love-AFRTS691.mp3
      6. Guest Star 610625 0744 Somebodys Calling My Name.mp3
      7. Guns 610423 ep472 Father And Son.mp3
      8. If the Bomb Falls 61.mp3
      9. JFK 610120 - Inauguration Speech.mp3
      10. JFK 610725 - Address To Nation on Berlin Crisis.mp3
      11. News 610117 Eisenhowers Farewell Address.mp3
      12. News 610501 NBC News On The Hour.mp3
      13. News 610721 CBS Hemingway Dead Harry Reasoner.mp3
      14. News 610813 CBS Berlin Wall Daniel Schorr.mp3
      15. News 61xxxx AFN Berlin 16th birthday.mp3
      16. Nuclear Attack Message 1961.mp3
      17. People Youd Like To Know 611000 Winston Churchill.mp3
      18. Susp 601106 878 Green Lorelei.mp3
      19. Susp 610806 888 Bells.mp3
      20. Wpgc Conelrad Test 1961.mp3
      21. YTJD 611203 769 Cinder Elmer.mp3
      22. YTJD 611210 770 Firebug.mp3
      23. YTJD 611217 771 Phony Phone AFRTS.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    23 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $4.50
    total playtime 6 hours, 6 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      23 shows - total playtime 6 hours 6 minutes
      1. Breakfast Club 61xxxx National Secretaries Week.mp3
      2. CONELRAD 610425 MESSAGE BY PRESIDENT KENNEDY.mp3
      3. CONELRAD Broadcast Heard During Operation Alert, 1961.mp3
      4. Crosby Clooney 611000 B.MP3
      5. Grand Ole Opry 610428 1105 Jim Reeves Stands Love-AFRTS691.mp3
      6. Guest Star 610625 0744 Somebodys Calling My Name.mp3
      7. Guns 610423 ep472 Father And Son.mp3
      8. If the Bomb Falls 61.mp3
      9. JFK 610120 - Inauguration Speech.mp3
      10. JFK 610725 - Address To Nation on Berlin Crisis.mp3
      11. News 610117 Eisenhowers Farewell Address.mp3
      12. News 610501 NBC News On The Hour.mp3
      13. News 610721 CBS Hemingway Dead Harry Reasoner.mp3
      14. News 610813 CBS Berlin Wall Daniel Schorr.mp3
      15. News 61xxxx AFN Berlin 16th birthday.mp3
      16. Nuclear Attack Message 1961.mp3
      17. People Youd Like To Know 611000 Winston Churchill.mp3
      18. Susp 601106 878 Green Lorelei.mp3
      19. Susp 610806 888 Bells.mp3
      20. Wpgc Conelrad Test 1961.mp3
      21. YTJD 611203 769 Cinder Elmer.mp3
      22. YTJD 611210 770 Firebug.mp3
      23. YTJD 611217 771 Phony Phone AFRTS.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    23 recordings on 7 Audio CDs
    total playtime 6 hours, 6 min

    1961 Disc A001

    1. Breakfast Club 61xxxx National Secretaries Week
    2. CONELRAD Broadcast Heard During Operation Alert, 1961
    3. If the Bomb Falls 61

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    1961 Disc A002

    1. News 61xxxx AFN Berlin 16th birthday
    2. Nuclear Attack Message 1961
    3. Wpgc Conelrad Test 1961
    4. Susp 601106 878 Green Lorelei

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    1961 Disc A003

    1. News 610117 Eisenhowers Farewell Address
    2. JFK 610120 - Inauguration Speech
    3. Guns 610423 ep472 Father And Son
    4. CONELRAD 610425 MESSAGE BY PRESIDENT KENNEDY

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    1961 Disc A004

    1. Grand Ole Opry 610428 1105 Jim Reeves Stands Love-AFRTS691
    2. News 610501 NBC News On The Hour
    3. Guest Star 610625 0744 Somebodys Calling My Name
    4. News 610721 CBS Hemingway Dead Harry Reasoner

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    1961 Disc A005

    1. JFK 610725 - Address To Nation on Berlin Crisis
    2. Susp 610806 888 Bells
    3. News 610813 CBS Berlin Wall Daniel Schorr

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    1961 Disc A006

    1. Crosby Clooney 611000 B
    2. People Youd Like To Know 611000 Winston Churchill
    3. YTJD 611203 769 Cinder Elmer

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    1961 Disc A007

    1. YTJD 611210 770 Firebug
    2. YTJD 611217 771 Phony Phone AFRTS

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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