Those Evil Radios!
May 29, 1948 Saturday Evening Post
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while back, I purchased a May 29, 1948, edition of the Saturday Evening Post, because it contained one of
Charles Schulz's Li'l Folks (which became Peanuts) comics. I paid 99¢ on eBay. There were a couple things
that stood out as I perused the magazine. First was the vitriolic tone of the Letters to the Editor, ripping the
publication for articles in previous editions. Another was that the majority of the artwork for stories and
advertisements was either a painting or a pencil drawing - almost no photographs. There was not a single ad for
any television set - B&W or color - even though RCA had been selling color sets for four years by that
The following story was on the last page of the magazine. You'll get a kick out of its premise.
U. S. Noise Production
Reaches New High
PERHAPS nowhere since man began to think has the
escape into the quiet of his thoughts been made
more difficult than it is in America today. To blame radio
for. this is to oversimplify. The industry is properly held responsible for the many sins it commits in the
name of entertainment. and for its often hideous irrelevance, but the hand controlling the buttons of the
individual radio receiver is the prime offender.
There are so many hands controlling so many buttons
that to hope for relief from the scourge of radio noise seems almost foolish. It boils down to a question of
manners. Is it foolish to hope that the member of the family who loves noise for its own sake will develop the
decency to limit his odd appetite? Or that the apartment dweller who keeps his radio going loudly most of the
day and night will have mercy on his neighbors cowering behind thin walls? Perhaps, but there is no harm in
There is no harm, either, in hoping that the newsreel companies will someday refrain from
enhancing the horror of disaster pictures by the addition of apocalyptic commentary and foreboding music
jerked from the bowels of Wagner; that the listening public will someday get hep to the fact that the squalid
self-dramatization of the loud-mouthed journalistic statesmen of radio is merely so many unnecessary decibels;
that someday the American hostess will abandon her notion that a perpetual yackety-yak, however pointless, is
necessary to the success of her parties; and that municipal authorities will get tough with the mobile
loud-speakers which range the streets, expectorating racket into the ears of workers who are trying to think.
Meanwhile, for the protection of the harassed fugitive, there remain these three retreats-the
soundproofed room, total deafness, and the public library, and the greatest of these is the public library.
May God rest the soul of Andrew Carnegie, who fashioned better than he thought.
May 29, 1948, edition of the
Saturday Evening Post