Mar 2009

Old Westinghouse Radio Station Directory

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier posting, I’ve been cleaning out my basement. My Dad gave me a box of old radio books and I found this Westinghouse Radio Station Directory for Canada.

There isn’t a date on it, but it looks like this book would have been included with the purchase of a Westinghouse World Cruiser Radio. That would probably put the book somewhere in the mid 1930s, as evidenced by these ads.

However, there is a curious passage on page 12: “The Paris Stations now handle the programs from Berlin, often without separate station identification.” I’m not sure if that’s an oblique reference to the German occupation of France or not. If so, that would date the book after 1940. There is a possible corroboration of this date based on a passage on the same page: “There are several other transmissions from London in some fourteen different languages for propaganda purposes but these have not been listed.” However, the meaning of the word “propaganda” has changed quite a bit over the years so I can’t be sure of this interpretation. There is also a reference to “Rumania” on page 13, which was in common use around and before the WWII timeframe, but I believe that spelling had largely died out after that.

It has a short description of the Canadian Westinghouse Company as follows:

“In two large plants at Hamilton, Ontario, the Canadian Westinghouse Company manufacture not only the enormous motors, generators and transformers used by industry, but also a complete line of electrical servants for the home: refrigerators, ranges, washing machines, radio receivers, radio tubes and lamps. These plants, covering 53 acres, employ upwards of 4000 people.“

It’s interesting looking through the stations listed from all over the world. For example, the Vatican City had a large number of radio stations. I wonder what they were all used for?

There’s a neat little ad for “Westinghouse Genuine Radiotrons” on the back page.

I scanned in the guide and OCR’d it. You can retrieve it by the link here.

Memories of the Twilite Drive-In

I have recently been doing a purge of my basement. There are far too many boxes around that have been hauled from far too many basements to other basements. So, lest they become overwhelming I have decided to tackle them. The difficulty is that you have to go through every box and look at everything. You might not want that twelve year old Sears catalogue, but you might just find something unusual.

This posting is about something unusual.

When I was younger, growing up in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, I enjoyed going to the drive in theatre, as I expect all boys did. It was a lot of fun being able to eat popcorn in the comfort of your car. It was comfortable, too. Those older Oldsmobiles were essentially moving chesterfields. You would have to carefully drive up to the post holding the speaker. If you were too far away then you couldn’t roll down the window and stretch the speaker cord so it would hang in your window. If you were too close then you couldn’t open your car door because you were too close to the post.

The movie would always start with the same trailer: “I’d Like to Buy The World a Coke”, even though the trailer was aged already when I was going to movies. It hissed and crackled and there were bright lines and sparkles all over the screen due to film wear. I still smell popcorn every time I hear that song. Perhaps the Coke company would rather I associate it with Coke but it never worked out that way. The video I point to doesn’t have the instrumental finish where they show Coke pouring into a glass and remind you that the concession stand is open, but perhaps that film is lost.

The weekends would always have two features, and the movie screen would go dark in between the movies. I’m sure advertisers now would cringe at this valuable unused advertising time but it gave us a chance to lie on the hood of the car and watch the stars, which were so numerous there seemed more white than black. Fort Qu’Appelle didn’t have light pollution, nor would they have known the term. Noise pollution was present, if you counted the chirping crickets. If the time of year was right, the fireflies would come out and start lazily swarming around the grass. You’d even get the odd bat confused by the projector lights.

I’m reminded of all of this by the act of me cleaning out my basement. I found two schedules from the Twilite Drive-In from April/May 1970 and July 1970. These are a little old even for me, but it’s fun to take a look at them and see what was playing.

I see that admission for adults was $1.00, Students $0.75 and children 12 years and under in the car free. The 1970 season started with “Tickle Me”, starring Elvis Presley. That month also featured “Easy Rider” with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. July had a Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Service” with Telly Savalas (now there’s a name I haven’t heard for a while) and “Bullit” with Steve McQueen. Of course there’s that great classic “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes” with Kurt Russell.

Personally I’m curious what “The Green Slime” would have looked like. It might have been fun.

The other interesting thing to notice is that these were hand set on a manual printing press that the owner Joe Hatton used. You can see the differences in the type. It’s neat to look at from a retro design perspective.

Anyway, seeing these schedules was a fun trip down memory lane; a time and place long past. Sometimes it’s worthwhile going through old boxes.

Have fun looking at the schedules. Click for bigger versions.