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August 2022
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Radio Days
Filed under: General, Rutherford & NJ
Posted by: Ken @ 12:32 pm

Old Philco RadioWe had a heavy wooden floor model Philco AM radio that probably dated back to my parents’ wedding in 1934. It had separate on/off, tuning, volume and tone dials, a tuning eye, and the station frequencies were printed on a cylinder that displayed through a small square window. Tubes frequently burned out and had to be replaced. I remember wishing for the day I would be tall enough to look on top of its cabinet. For a few years it was the only radio in the house, to be supplemented by a white plaskon (I don’t think we called anything “plastic” at that time) Emerson table top for the kitchen. The Emerson sported a radial dial.

The big radio was a wonderful gathering place. Homework had to first be completed. Then we would thrill to the adventures of Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane in “The Shadow” (“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”),

Memories of images from these radio programs seem more vivid than many I’ve witnessed visually. The introduction to the Lone Ranger is burned into my brain: “A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty “Hi Ho Silver!” The Lone Ranger! ‘Hi Ho Silver, away!’ With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early western United States. Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion ofSky Writer justice!  Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. From out of the past come the thundering hoof-beats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger rides again!”

“Jack Armstrong, Jack Armstrong, Jack Armstrong– the ALL AMERICAN BOY!” In the morning, Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club livened the house with march music every quarter hour. New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia read the Sunday funnies during and for some time after a 1945 newspaper strike
And the commercials! Barney’s repeated this mantra: “…at 7th Avenue and 17th Street, the only store of its kind in New York!” On almost every clear weekend morning, I.J.Fox the furrier supplemented its commercials with sky writing, first using a single airplane (the “I” would sometimes dissipate before the “X” was finished), then two, and even later a squadron of six or seven “sky-typers” who flew wing-to-wing and quickly set out a digital smoke banner.

4 Responses to “Radio Days”

  1. Daniel Katz Says:
    IJ Fox in the sky. It is a beautiful thing, or so i’ve heard. I am a decendent of IJ Fox, and I am just beggining to trace my routes. There is so much history out there about him. He was my great uncle. I come from a long line of furriers, starting with Fox. My grandmother used to tell me stories about visiting his mansion. He owned a lake and a mountain. I am tryign to find out more. Do you remember anything else about the company?
  2. Ken Says:
    Daniel, It is interesting that my grandfather was involved in the fur industry supply chain. He almost lost his life while hunting seals for their pelts in the far north. See: “Pop is Rescued at Sea” As a kid I trapped a few muskrats, but an encounter with a skunk ended that hobby! There must have been several sky-writers out at a time, as “IJ FOX” was plastered across the sky in Manhattan, Long Island and New Jersey almost every weekend if there were no clouds in the sky. About all I can remember about IJ Fox besides their sky-written ads was that they were very highly regarded for the quality (and priceyness) of their apparel. Thanks for your note! Ken
    My mother’s maiden name was DAVIS. This name had been changed from DAVIDOWICZ. I remember my mother telling me that one of her cousins was married to I. J. Fox. She also said that I. J. Fox came to the United States from England. My morhter also said that they had an estate in Peekskill, Westchester County.
  4. CC Fox Says:
    I am the grandson of I.J. Fox. Let me know fi there is any information I can offer.

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