3517 RALEIGH AVENUE, ST. LOUIS PARK, MN 55416
620 watt bulb from top of
Empire State Building
Long-time sponsor Jim Marvy called the other day and said, “I have something here for you that I guarantee you don’t have.” He was right; later that day he brought in a 620 watt bulb that once lit the top of the antenna on the Empire State Building.
Marvy, a lighting engineer who collects souvenir Empire State Buildings, purchased the bulb in 2005 from John Neuner, the electrician who climbed the tower and removed it.
This bulb was replaced in September 1976 and was accompanied by loads of documentation, news releases, and personal anecdotes. According to Neuner, he performed this death-defying task 1,472 feet above the streets of New York City from 1976 to 1987. The only year that he took off was 1979, when he was the general foreman in charge of installing the tower on the World Trade Center.
The process of changing the bulb took anywhere from two to four hours. He would start at midnight, to avoid broadcast emissions that would literally fry him, using a ladder to climb the first 200 feet of the antenna. From there he would shinny up the last 15 feet, attached only when perched to catch his breath or get his bearings. The actual changing of the bulb took only ten minutes or less.
After 1985 the owners of the Empire State Building required that the electricians return the used bulbs, thus ending sales of dead bulbs.
We recently completed another successful Magnets to Megahertz class here at the Pavek. This was the AC course, which had the students build a crystal set, a one transistor headphone amplifier, an AM transmitter and finally an op-amp audio amplifier with speaker. The students really enjoyed the hands-on building process. It was especially fun seeing their reactions when we tested their transmitters and they worked! We would like to thank the students, volunteers and parents who joined the class this semester. We hope they had as much fun as we did!
Our next Magnets to Megahertz class starts in the fall of 2016 and that will be the DC course. We have spots open so sign up now!
The classes we run at the Pavek would not be possible without the help of some very dedicated and generous volunteers. We are incredibly grateful to have recently received a generous contribution from The Firefly Scientists’ Foundation, whose mission is to make every life a story worth telling by advocating practical, purposeful, and productive education and training opportunities for all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Its donation to the Pavek Museum is intended to help build their dream of creating more youth mentorship programs focused on electronic tinkering. We are so very excited that with such support, we will be able to connect our students with even more amazing leaders in the Twin Cities engineering community!
"Sometimes it pays to clean out your closets! Twenty-five years ago Don Betzold donated 16 RCA “Living Stereo” tape cartridges. They were home recordings of KDWB radio broadcasts that he had made off the air when he was a teenager in the 1960s. I thought they were lost until we started cleaning out a couple of rooms to make way for a major remodeling project. The rediscovery of these tapes inspired us to start looking for a machine that would play them."
...Story continued here, and in the Pavek Newsletter 26-3.
We have a new telephone display here at the Museum, complete with working telephones from the 1920s to 1960s! The display has been a big hit with all ages. Come check it out and share your memories of one of the greatest inventions of all time.
PM/Evening Magazine was a popular news and entertainment series that ran from the late 70s until the late 80s. Check out this clip from WCCO-TV featuring Boone and Erickson and the WCCO-AM studio in Minneapolis.
In case you missed it, John Reinan did a wonderful feature about us in the StarTribune. He even made the extra effort to call Earl Bakken in Hawaii to get the real story of how we got started and why we're still here.
John Gallos recalls his 40 years as a television personality including "Clancy the Cop" and "Commodore Cappy!"
Here's a real holiday treat from us at the Pavek: Axel's very own rendition of "The Night before Christmas" with an introduction by none other than Mary Davies. Happy Holidays and enjoy!
Carmen's Cottage with Mary Davies as Carmen the Nurse had its final broadcast on March 25, 1977. When the show ended, Mary had become the longest running children's TV character in the Twin Cities. She first played Carmen in October 1954, filling in for Clellan Card's Axel when he was ill. Mary appeared intermittently on the program and took over the show when Card passed away in 1966. The program became Carmen's Cottage in the early 1970s, leading in to the Clancy and Willie Show every morning.
Larry Krug, a frequent guest on Carmen’s Cottage, stopped by the Pavek with a 16mm silent film of the two of them at the Shrine Circus. He also brought in his personal scrapbook with about 30 pictures that he was gracious enough to allow us to scan. Danny and Nikki put together a nice short that you're sure to enjoy.
Groucho Marx had one of America’s most familiar faces and voices during Network Radio’s Golden Age. Many of the movies he made with his brothers in the 1930‘s - Animal Crackers, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup, A Night At The Opera, A Day At The Races, etc. - were, and still are, considered comedy classics.
Yet, he was 60 years old and had 18 years of prime time network exposure before he finally had a Top Ten show. It was then, after three years of work, he hosted what became the most popular audience participation quiz show of the Golden Age, You Bet Your Life.
Go to www.jimramsburg.com to hear the rest of the story.
On May 5, 2012, Andrew Baron of Popyrus Studio stopped into the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting and played our RCA Theremin. We realized we were witnessing something special and captured the final verse of "Home on the Range" with a cell phone.
Andrew is an international award-winning pop-up book designer, as well as a restorer and historian of various early technologies. With his research colleague Mike Buffington, Andrew co-hosts RCATheremin.com, the first and only definitive website devoted to Leon Theremin's unique and historic instruments. RCATheremin.com is also home to the Official RCA Theremin Registry, formed in 1996 by Theremin World's Jason Barile to document the surviving instruments.
Andrew's web site for his other endeavors, including his restoration of the famous Maillardet Automaton at The Franklin Institute Science Museum, can be found at Popyrus.com. Andrew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This 1962 Motorola hung on the wall of West Concord, Minnesota, Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Doty's office until 2012. His daughter Kathy said, "It was always tuned to WCCO because Ken needed reliable weather information to determine whether he needed to get up early to drive the bus routes the next morning. When Ken couldn't get through, he knew he needed to call WCCO and cancel school. Usually he and some of the neighboring superintendents from Kenyon and Dodge Center would talk to each other and compare notes so they would have similar start times or cancellations.
After Ken called WCCO, we would listen to hear them announce that school was either cancelled or late that day. I remember Roger Erickson's voice making the announcement."
Suppose you turned on your radio and found that all of your local stations had moved around the dial to new frequencies.
Impossible, you say?
Nope, it actually happened on March 29, 1941, when over 800 of the country's radio stations - almost 90% of them - switched frequencies in the middle of the night.
Check out The March of Change at www.jimramsburg.com to learn how and why this once in a lifetime upheaval happened. The post also includes a list of familiar 50,000 watt stations that were affected and some recorded announcements that were broadcast in advance of the event urging listeners to...well, we'll let you decide what those spotsreally wanted them to do.
In case you haven't seen it yet, Jim Ramsburg did a wonderful interview with Jimmy Durante back in 1965 on KLAC/Los Angeles. You'll be touched by the genuine warmth of the man and his stories about Garry Moore, Carol Burnett and the adoption of his baby daughter at age 68.
To hear the interview and learn more about Jim's book, Network Radio Ratings, 1932 - 1953, go to http://www.jimramsburg.com/
Tom Oszman's TC Media Now Website is loaded with new entries that he wants to share with anyone who can't get enough classic Twin Cities news coverage.
30 years ago: WCCO-TV News full report with Dave Moore and Doug Moore
KQRS-FM Commercial from 1978
WCCO-TV Commercial with Dave Moore, Doug Moore, and Walter Cronkite 1978
KSTP-TV 10PM Update full report including the very short baseball strike,
Johnny Canton is spotlighted on RadioTapes.com featuring 20 recordings spanning nearly 50 years of his broadcast career including interviews on Dick Clark's American Bandstand and airchecks on various stations inside and outside Minnesota including WDGY-AM, WCCO-FM, and WLTE-FM. There is even a photo when he appeared in the movie, Airport.
As many of you may know, Steve Cannon and Tommy Mischke became good friends during Steve’s final years. But we were all surprised when Tommy dropped off a cache of more than 100 reel-to-reel tapes of the Great One a while back.
Tom Gavaras has been transcribing and posting them to his site, RadioTapes.com, where you can now hear highlights of Steve’s career from WLOL-AM in the late 1950s, KSTP-AM throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, and WCCO-AM in the mid 1980s. We will post links as more tapes are released.
Thanks to T.D. Mischke and Tom Gavaras for all their work preserving and sharing some of the great moments in broadcast history.