Grandson of Ask Cool Daddy
Dear Cool Daddy: When I was little back in the Fifties, I used to visit my aunt who worked as a secretary at a radio station. One time they showed me this weird record player that had a kind of 2-pronged tone-arm. Was this some early form of stereo? …from Janis, Joplin MO
Dear Janis: Bingo! And here it is from 1953. This was before they figured out how to squish 2 channels into one groove, and it actually worked…but needless to say, never caught on. Back in those days, stereo broadcasts were essentially publicity stunts, with one channel broadcast over an AM station, the other over FM. This was feasible in the post-war boom years because people could for the first time afford 2 radios. The impetus for stereo sound reproduction was to recreate the effect of a full orchestra, with different instruments sounding across an aural field, left to right. Until the mid-60s, it wasn’t considered necessary for rock and roll records, which is why groups like the Beatles recorded all their early stuff in mono. It was then transformed into stereo, initially in what I call the “half-and-half” format: vocals in one speaker, music in the other.
Dear Cool Daddy: I’ll ever forget the day my dad came home from the supermarket with a Crusader 101 radio-controlled car! It was the greatest, but isn’t Crusader sort of a lame name for such a snazzy vehicle? … from Edsel, Downshift NJ
Dear Ed: I tend to agree. But this was indeed a cool toy, 3 feet in length. Today everyone thinks of the Big Three: Marx, Mattel, and Ideal…but Remco and Topper put out some popular product, and this is from the latter, circa 1966. And yes, it was from that interesting category of toys that were sold primarily or exclusively in grocery stores. At $13 a pop, it might have doubled your family’s bill for the week! But despite the non-PC named of Crusader, it was exported and sold quite well in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt…not!
Seriously, there once was a real Crusader. Back in the 1950s, Chrysler of Canada produced so-called “Plodges”…low-priced Plymouths rebadged as Dodges, to give Dodge dealerships an entry-level line. They had model names like Kingsway, Regent, Mayfair, Viscount…and Crusader. Above are 1957 and 1958 models, basically Plymouths with a Dodge front clip. And below, from 1956.
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