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 vehicle.
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 buff."
"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 his fists.
"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 night?"
"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
"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
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
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
"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
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
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 plain miserable.
"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
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 lashups 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."
Carl & Jerry Episodes on RF Cafe
- Electronic Eraser,
- Electronic Trap, March
- Geniuses at Work, June
- Eeeeelectricity!, November
- Anchors Aweigh, July
- Bosco Has His Day,
- The Hand of Selene,
- Feedback, May 1956
- Abetting or Not?, October
- Electronic Beach
Buggy, September 1956
- Extra Sensory
Perception, December 1956
- Trapped in a Chimney,
- Command Performance,
Education, July 1963
- Treachery of Judas, July
- The Sucker, May 1963
- Stereotaped New
Year, January 1963
- The Snow Machine, December
Education, July 1963
- Slow Motion for
Quick Action, April 1963
- Sonar Sleuthing, August
- TV Antennas, August 1955
- Succoring a Soroban,
- "All's Fair --", September
- Operation Worm Warming,
- The Blubber Banisher,
- The Sparkling Light, May
- Pure Research Rewarded,
- A Hot Idea, March 1960
- The Hot Dog Case, December
- A New Company is Launched,
- Under the Mistletoe,
- Electronic Eraser,
- "BBI", May 1959
- Ultrasonic Sound Waves,
- The River Sniffer, July
- Ham Radio, April 1955
- El Torero Electronico,
- Wired Wireless, January
- Electronic Shadow,
- Elementary Induction,
- He Went That-a-Way,
- Electronic Detective,
- Aiding an Instinct,
- Two Detectors, February
- Tussle with a Tachometer,
- Therry and the Pirates,
- The Crazy Clock Caper,
Posted February 1, 2015