Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Transistorize Your iPod!

I never went anywhere as a kid without my transistor radio. As I grew up, I didn't hear my favorite songs on the radio anymore, so I began to collect them. But hearing "Monday, Monday" on giant stereo speakers didn't pack the emotional wallop of hearing it on the 2 and a quarter inch speaker. When the iPod Shuffle came out, it hit me. Now I could hear what I wanted the way I did in the 60s. Here's how you can, too. Click any pic to enlarge it.

Gather an old transistor radio, and some basic tools. Hey, this IS like the 60s. What we're going to do is wire the output of the iPod to the volume control audio input on the radio.

Open up the old radio and do some disassembly. Stick the tiny screws to a piece of tape for storage. This speaker has a hole in it that causes buzzing when you turn up the volume, but here's an old trick - layer rubber cement on until the hole is covered. No more buzz!

Now, prepare the plug that goes into the iPod. Solder a wire to ground tap, and a small 3.3K resistor to each out channel. This converts the stereo output signal to mono. I put a piece of paper inside the plug to prevent shorting, and screwed on the top of the plug.

Drill a hole in the back of the radio case for the wire. At this point, thread the wires from the plug to the radio. Now solder the ground wire and the hot wire to the two exposed tabs on the radio's volume control. Attach a 9 volt battery to the radio, plug the plug into the iPod, and turn both on. The sound should be coming through the radio speaker. Make sure the volume control on the radio is working properly. If turning it up makes the volume go down, reverse the two wires you soldered on the volume control.

Carefully replace the radio and the new wires into the case, and reassemble the radio.

I hung the iPod on the back of the leather case because I can still take it off to go to the gym, but if you have room, you could build it into the top of the radio case in place of the ferrite antenna. My radio already had a broken antenna wire, so I left it alone.

Now go to www.reelradio.com or www.airchexx.com, and grab some vintage airchecks from your favorite childhood station. I've loaded Bill Berlin WKDA Nashville, Dr. Don Rose from WQXI Atlanta, and various jocks from WKBW Buffalo, WEAM Arlington VA, and WOWO Fort Wayne IN. Make an iPod playlist with airchecks, your fave songs, and some old commercials.

Load it up and enjoy! Even the old school earphone works! Will Apple build these for us oldsters? I hope so, but why wait around?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

E-Man Comics

E-Man was a great comic I ran across in the 70s. He was an energy being from another planet who took on human form to fight crime. He also had a skeptical attitude about all things Earthian.

E-Man's creator went on to work on Plastic Man, another superhero with an attitude. Find out more about E-Man and other cartoon characters at the Toonpedia here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nashville Municipal Auditorium 1962

Here's a postcard of the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, all shiny and new in 1962. Over the years, I've seen a huge selection of acts there: Three Dog Night, Tom Jones, Beach Boys, George Wallace, Journey, Ronald McDonald Circus, and more. It's been overtaked by the 25,000 seat Sommet Center, but still hosts some shows. See the Municipal today here.
Click for larger pic.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Happy Halloween from Ed Grimley

A fairly decent costume I must say. Dress up your son as Ed Grimley! Triangle not included.

Click for larger pics. And yes, it does say "Flame Retarded".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Atragon Revealed!

In 1965, I saw an ad on TV for what to a 10 year old boy had to be the greatest movie ever made - Atragon. Japanese scientists build a vessel that flies, goes underwater, and bores through the earth! I had to see this movie. (Click any pic for a larger version)

Somehow I never got around to getting to the movie, and over the years I missed it every time during the late night TV airings.

Finally in 2005, Atragon is released on DVD. Oh yeah.

An underground civilization is attacking the surface world, and the Atragon is dispatched to save the planet. That's about it. All of the plot info is here.

After waiting 42 years to see Atragon, was it worth it?

Yes. Buy your copy today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

School Safety Patrol 1960s

Remember the honor, the glory, the admiration heaped upon the selfless guardian of the school trafficways, the Safety Patrol officer? Yeah, me neither.

Joining the Safety Patrol was my first attempt to impress a girl. She didn't really notice, but there's no way she could ignore a Safety Patrol Captain! Off to Officer camp.

Still no luck. Oh well, sorry Julie, I tried.
Move along.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jay Leno at Zanies

As long as we're on a celebrity kick, here's a concert flyer from the early 80s:

Love the endorsement. As always, click for larger pic.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I Met Captain Kangaroo

Back in 1989, my son was signed up for a brand new day care center in Nashville. I went to the opening ceremony and guess who was on the corporate board? That's right, Lamar and Honey Alexander. But also Bob Keeshan, Captain Kangaroo! I went up and asked for a pic of him with my son Will. Click for souvenir-sized pic:

Seeing the Captain was one thing, but when I heard his voice I thought I was three years old again. He was truly as nice and soft-spoken as everyone says. That was a good day.
All hail the Captain!