September 1963 Popular Electronics
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As is frequently the case,
John T. Frye's intrepid teenage technophile experimenters, Carl Anderson and Jerry
Bishop, find themselves in an unplanned adventure. Often times they end up applying their
electronics knowledge to bail themselves out of trouble, but this time the pair - and
a friend - ended up helping the police catch some bad guys (an
oft-occurring theme). As you will see after reading "All's Fair --," the device
used would some day (today) be used by automobile manufacturers,
at the behest of law enforcement agencies, to enable remote control of somebody else's
Carl & Jerry: "All's Fair --"
A Carl and Jerry Adventure in Electronics
By John T. Frye W9EGV
Carl and Jerry were sitting on a bench inside the fenced enclosure waiting,
according to their natures, their turn on the park tennis courts. Carl moved restlessly
up and down the bench, swishing his racquet through the air in anticipation. Jerry was
completely relaxed with his arms stretched out comfortably along the back of the bench.
"Hi, Butch," Jerry greeted a tanned, blond, shirtless youth who wandered over and
slumped down beside him. "Why the morose mug ? You look like you've lost your best friend."
"That's just it. I probably have," Butch answered.
"You mean you and Kathy broke up?"
Carl exclaimed with sudden incredulous interest. "Not the 'Made for Each Other Couple'
of our high school prom!"
"We had a scrap Sunday about her wearing those new stretch pants, and now she's dating
Cecil Langtry tomorrow night. I wouldn't mind so much if it were anyone but that fluff
"What did you call him?" Jerry asked. "A fluff buff. You know: a doll dazzler, a pro
lobo; what our grandparents used to call a woman chaser or a lounge lizard. It's natural
for a guy to like gals, and I'm all for it, but that character has made a career of women
ever since kindergarten. Kathy doesn't know anything about handling a wolf like that.
Maybe I ought to go mess him up right now," he concluded, getting to his feet and clenching
"Hold it!" Jerry exclaimed. "I'm no expert on feminine psychology, but something tells
me thumping old Cecil isn't the answer. That would just make you look like a bully."
When Carl pushed the button, the car ahead stalled. The thieves started to run, but
drawn revolvers changed their minds ...
"Yeah," Carl added. "What you want to do is let Little Red Riding Hood see those long
wolfish fangs of his for herself. "
"Exactly," Jerry agreed, "and the 'Riding' bit gives me an idea. What would Kathy
think if Cecil pulled the old 'that's-funny-my-car-won't-run' routine on her tomorrow
"She'd flip," Butch answered promptly, sitting back down, "but Cecil is too experienced
to try that on a first date."
"Maybe we could make it look like he was trying it," Jerry murmured thoughtfully.
"Knock it off, Jer," Carl broke in.
"This is none of our affair. Cecil never did anything to us, but I can tell by that
gleam in your eye you're dreaming up something pretty nasty for him."
"Whose side are you on?" Butch demanded. "You guys know what a sweet girl Kathy is-most
of the time. You like her, too. She's been my girl ever since our sophomore year in high
school, and Cecil has been trying to horn in the whole time. If Jerry can help, let him
do it. Don't worry about Cecil. 'All's fair in love and war,' and all that kind of jazz."
"What I have in mind may be a little illegal, but it will be an interesting electronic
experiment," Jerry said persuasively.
"Okay, so you twisted my arm," Carl surrendered. "What wicked scheme is brewing in
that criminal mind of yours?"
"Carl and I have been experimenting with small transistorized receivers for garage
door openers," Jerry explained to Butch. "Although they usually work off the power line,
you can power them with a battery, too. A transmitter mounted in your car or held in
your hand sends out an r.f. signal modulated with a certain audio tone. The receiver
picks up this signal and amplifies and detects it. The audio tone feeds through a sharply
tuned filter to the base of a relay-control transistor, causing it to conduct and close
a relay in its collector circuit, which starts the garage door opening and closing mechanism.
The receiver relay won't close unless both the r.f. carrier and the modulating tone are
the right frequencies.
"Here's my idea. We'll mount one of these little receivers in Cecil's car tonight.
The normally-closed relay contacts will be wired into the lead going from the ignition
switch to the ignition coil. As long as no signal is being received from the garage door
transmitter in our car, Cecil's car will work fine, but when we push the transmitter
button, his ignition will be cut out and stay cut out until the button is released.
"All we have to do tomorrow night is follow along behind Kathy and Cecil - the receiver's
sensitive enough to pick up our signal up to a mile away - and kill his engine when he
gets to some lonely spot. We wait until Kathy gets suspicious, and then we 'happen' by.
When Cecil says he can't start his car, we try. Naturally, it starts and runs perfectly
with the transmitter off. Kathy will decide that Cecil is a tricky make-out artist and
will want us to take her home. You'll have to keep out of sight, Butch, but you should
find Kathy in a different mood next time you see her."
"Sounds great!" Butch exclaimed.
"Putting that whatchamajigger on Cecil's car will be no sweat. He leaves it parked
in front of the house every night, and it's dark under those shade trees. Think you can
have it ready tonight?"
"Sure," Jerry answered. "Of course Carl and I will have to forget our game of tennis
in the hot sun, but that's life. Come on, Carl. Let's take a look under the hood of a
car like Cecil's to get the lay of the land. The quicker you can connect that receiver
tonight, the better."
"I can connect it!" Carl repeated.
"This is your idea and Butch's girl. Why me?"
"Because you know more about it than Butch, and
besides, you can run faster than I can," Jerry replied with simple but irrefutable logic.
Having obtained the information they wanted at an auto showroom, the boys went to
their basement laboratory and quickly made the necessary conversion in the transistorized
receiver. This consisted of powering it with a small battery and equipping the case with
powerful little magnets that would hold it in place against the steel fire wall of the
car. Leads were brought out from the relay contacts, and a short wire, serving as an
antenna, was arranged to extend down beneath the motor.
About midnight the three boys cruised slowly past Cecil's home to find his classy-looking
convertible parked at the curb and the house dark. This was fortunate, because a thunderstorm
was coming up fast. Jerry parked a half a block down the street, and Carl got out and
walked quickly along in the shadows of the trees.
Reaching the car, he quietly lifted the hood and went to work with the aid of a tiny
penlight. Thanks to careful preparation, the operation was quickly completed. Carl stood
erect and waved his flashlight from side to side, whereupon Jerry pushed a button beneath
the dash several times.
"Carl's listening for the receiver relay to click when I push this transmitter button,"
Jerry said, answering Butch's questioning look. "It does, all right. See him waving the
flashlight up and down? Wonder what he's waiting on."
Aided by the flickering lightning, the boys could see Carl poised in front of the
car with his hand on the raised hood. Finally a peal of thunder followed a flash of lightning,
and Carl slammed the hood at the same time, so that the noise was completely covered
by the roar.
Jerry started his car, and Carl got in on the run just as the first big drops of rain
came splattering down.
There is no way of knowing how eagerly Kathy looked forward to her date the next night,
but the three youths could hardly wait. Finally, just at dusk, from a vantage point far
down the street, they watched Cecil escort her to his convertible and drive away. Cautiously,
they followed the car.
"Hey," Butch observed a few minutes later, "he must be heading for the dance at Ideal
Beach by way of the old river road. Right now he's probably telling her it will be cool
and nice driving down along the river."
"I don't know about you," Carl muttered. "For a non-wolf, you seem to know a lot about
the technique. Jerry, the loneliest spot on the road is just around that next" bend.
Do I push the button ?"
"Go ahead. I'll stop here and let Butch get back in the trunk. Hold that button in
so Cecil can't start his car."
As Jerry was closing the trunk lid, two rough-looking youths came roaring up from
behind and flashed past in a car with a sputtering, coughing motor.
"Holy cow!" Carl exclaimed, jumping out as the other car went careening past. "Those
guys didn't hit you, did they?"
"No, but we better get going. I'm sure Cecil would pull over to the side of the road
when his motor quit, but - hey! you took your finger off the button! Cecil probably started
his car and is a mile away by now!"
The boys got into their car and quickly drove around the bend in the road. There,
standing in the beam of the headlights, were Kathy and Cecil frantically waving their
arms. Behind them was the car that had passed so recklessly. Cecil's convertible was
not in sight.
"Keep right on going!" Cecil urged Carl and Jerry as he helped Kathy into the back
seat and got in beside her. "Some guys up ahead have my convertible. It quit running,
and before I could find out what was wrong a couple of hoods came up in a car that was
just about out of gas. They pulled out a couple of switch-blades and said to get out
because they were taking over. I told them it wouldn't run, but the funny thing is, it
started right off for them when they tried it."
"A very funny thing!" Kathy remarked acidly.
Jerry already had his car rolling at nearly top speed, and they soon caught sight
of the convertible ahead. Carl reached for the push button that would stop the stolen
car, but Jerry shook his head. "Let's see where they go," he suggested. "Even four -
I mean three - of us can't go up against a couple of switch-blade knives."
Reaching the highway, the convertible doubled back toward town with Jerry doggedly
following a quarter of a mile behind. Cecil understood vaguely that the boys hoped to
corner the thieves where more help was at hand, but naturally he knew nothing of their
At the edge of town, Jerry speeded up until he was immediately behind the convertible.
He noticed with satisfaction that the thieves were sticking to the highway which ran
right down Main Street. They probably planned to be on the opposite side of town when
the car-theft was reported.
"Now, listen, Cecil," Jerry called over his shoulder. "When your car is right opposite
the police station a block ahead, it's going to develop engine trouble and stall. Be
ready to jump out and run like a rabbit into the station and tell the police those two
stole your convertible. You don't need to worry about their getting it started again,
but they won't stick around long fooling with it."
"Okay, but I don't see how you know - "
Before he could finish, they were opposite the police station. Carl pushed the button
under the dash, and the convertible slowed down and stopped.
As soon as Jerry jammed on his brakes, Cecil was out and running toward a couple of
policemen coming out of the station. He shouted, and pointed at the two youths in his
car. The thieves hopped out of the convertible and started to run, but the drawn revolvers
of the two patrolmen quickly changed their minds.
We've been wanting to catch these two red-handed for a long time," one of the policemen
said as the two surly-looking young men were relieved of their knives and handcuffed.
"How did you persuade them to come right to us?"
"Well, - " Jerry began, only to be interrupted by a great kicking and shouting from
the trunk of his car. "Good grief!" he exclaimed. "We forgot all about Butch."
The latter was released from the trunk, and now there was nothing to do but tell the
whole story. Jerry told it while Carl thoughtfully recovered the transistorized receiver
from Cecil's car and restored the ignition wiring.
As the tale unfolded, Cecil's face looked more and more grim. Kathy looked bewildered,
then angry, and finally kind of starry-eyed. Butch, sure he had lost her for good, looked
"I'm not sure if I should thank you guys for saving my car or bust you in the snoot
for what you were trying to do to me," Cecil said at the conclusion.
"They weren't trying to do anything to you, they were trying to protect me," Kathy
retorted. "And when you try to park with a girl on the first date, almost make her walk
home, and get her mixed up with car thieves and the police, she needs protection. If
I never see you again it'll be too soon. Butch, will you take me home?"
Cecil watched in bewilderment as the couple walked away, holding hands. Then he went
over to his car and slumped heavily down in the seat.
"Women!" - he exclaimed in deep disgust as he stepped on the starter.
Carl Anderson and Jerry Bishop were two teenage boys whose
love of electronics, Ham radio, and all things technical afforded them ample opportunities
to satisfy their own curiosities, assist law enforcement and neighbors with solving
problems, and impressing – and sometimes toying with - friends based on their proclivity
for serious undertakings as well as fun.
- The Black Beast - May 1960
Vox Electronik, September 1958
- Pi in
the Sky and Big Twist, February 1964
Bell Bull Session, December 1961
Boogie, August 1958
- TV Picture,
Electronic Eraser, August 1962
Trap, March 1956
at Work, June 1956
Aweigh, July 1956
Bosco Has His Day, August 1956
Hand of Selene, November 1960
or Not?, October 1956
Electronic Beach Buggy, September 1956
Extra Sensory Perception, December 1956
in a Chimney, January 1956
Performance, November 1958
of Judas, July 1961
- The Sucker,
New Year, January 1963
Snow Machine, December 1960
Extracurricular Education, July 1963
Slow Motion for Quick Action, April 1963
Sleuthing, August 1963
- TV Antennas,
a Soroban, March 1963
Fair --", September 1963
Worm Warming, May 1961
Joking and Jeopardy - December 1963
Santa's Little Helpers - December 1955
Two Tough Customers - June 1960
Pocket Radio, TV Receivers
Yagi Antennas, May 1955
Stomping, March 1962
Blubber Banisher, July 1959
- The Sparkling
Light, May 1962
Research Rewarded, June 1962
- A Hot Idea, March
- The Hot
Dog Case, December 1954
A New Company is Launched, October 1956
Under the Mistletoe, December 1958
Electronic Eraser, August 1962
- "BBI", May 1959
Sound Waves, July 1955
- The River
Sniffer, July 1962
- Ham Radio,
Torero Electronico, April 1960
Wireless, January 1962
Electronic Shadow, September 1957
Elementary Induction, June 1963
- He Went
Electronic Detective, February 1958
Aiding an Instinct, December 1962
- Two Detectors,
with a Tachometer, July 1960
and the Pirates, April 1961
The Crazy Clock Caper, October 1960
Carl & Jerry: Their Complete Adventures is
now available. "From 1954 through 1964, Popular Electronics published 119 adventures
of Carl Anderson and Jerry Bishop, two teen boys with a passion for electronics
and a knack for getting into and out of trouble with haywire lash-ups built in Jerry's
basement. Better still, the boys explained how it all worked, and in doing so, launched
countless young people into careers in science and technology. Now, for the first
time ever, the full run of Carl and Jerry yarns by John T. Frye are available again,
in five authorized anthologies that include the full text and all illustrations."
Posted February 1, 2015