1948: WQXR's Halloween Nightmare

Friday, October 28, 2011

What was WQXR's worst nightmare in 1948? Was it to have their supposedly long hair* cut? No -- as it turns out, it was to be part of a big network.

In a 1948 Halloween broadcast, a "recurrent nightmare" is played out in full: What would WQXR be like if it were part of a "big, great, wonderful network," broadcasting from "WQXR City?" The broadcast features the show "Harpsichord Arpeggio", complete with sponsors (PruRex, the world's most irritating counter irritant) and rotating commentators. In the selection posted here, commentator Sebastian Bhuh shares his thoughts on Halloween.


*In the 1940s and 1950s, classical music was often referred to as "longhair" music.

Courtesy of NYPR Archives and Preservation


Marcos Sueiro Bal


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Comments [3]

Thank you for your comments --check out the new, scary, colorized version of the image. Yes, the model is older than the broadcast, but as a tombstone radio isn't it perfect for Halloween?

Now, if we could only get our hands on one WQXR radio...

Oct. 31 2013 11:24 AM
Marie from Wanamassa, NJ

As an addendum to Mr. Meltzer’s comment, that is a 1930’s period radio. Appropriately for Halloween, it is called a tombstone style (because of the shape of its case).

I have a 1935 Emerson in my living room very much like that one. Although it unfortunately does not work anymore, it looks wonderful, with its oak case and Bakelite knobs. I bought it because my house was built in 1930 and, along with my furniture from that period, I just knew a similar radio would have been a prominent part of the room when the house was new. Even though it is now silent, I have it tuned to what would have been WQXR. :)

Oct. 31 2011 05:54 AM
Michael Meltzer

The radio in your picture is from the 1930's.
In 1948, we had a couple of table radios the size and shape of a shoebox, and one radio built into the fancy cabinet of our new Motorola 10" TV console.
Comedy fare on the radio included Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Bob Hope, Burns & Allen and sitcoms like Fibber McGee & Molly. Duffy's Tavern and Fanny Brice's "Baby Snooks." That WQXR Hallowe'en broadcast would have been a little pale, even in 1948.

Oct. 31 2011 01:28 AM

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