No, it’s not what you think. Although I do have one old friend whom I believe actually is in the closet. But I digress.
As I was cleaning out that closet, I found this ancient tape recorder. It’s a Craig 212 from the late 60’s and gives my age away. When I was a kid, I LOVED producing and speaking my own radio shows. I included my cousins and friends in these shows. We had silly commercials and news programs as well as “Laugh In” jokes.
So this afternoon, I plugged the old machine in and found – IT STILL PLAYS! I couldn’t believe it. Talk about quality. OK, I had to give the right reel a little bit of a push to get it started, but it still played the old tape at the right speed (no waaaahs or other distortions). And the fact that the tape is still good blew me away too (especially since a music CD I taped only 3 years ago went bad already). I cannot account for why this thing still works, perhaps because it sat in a cool, dark closet for many decades. As far as I know it is belt-driven and every other old tape deck I’ve ever had ended up in the landfill or toxic waste disposal years ago because the belts went bad and that was the end of them (and they were kept in cool, dark stereo cabinets).
So after turning the old recorder on, this is what I found:
1 The end of a show I made with my cousins back in the early 70s. They still had their squeaky little voices, which of course are now the deep voices of middle-aged men. My aunt makes a brief audio appearence and sounds exactly the same then as she does now.
2 Me playing my mom’s guitar. I picked up the thing in earnest at about age 10 and taped myself playing part of “Theme from Deliverance” as well as mimicking some early John Denver songs. Not good, but not bad either considering I picked the tunes out by ear.
3 A partial recording of the old show “Emergency!” starring my then-idol Randolph Mantooth. This was my very favorite show at 11 and 12 years of age. I had a HUGE crush on Mantooth and this probably explains why I think firemen and paramedics are cute to this day.
4 “Tricky Dick” (Richard Nixon) giving a speech to the nation about Watergate allegations. Interesting in retrospect as he seems not to be denying anything but rather encouraging “proper” investigation. I’m not sure where in the process this speech was broadcast, it sounds like at the very beginning of the scandal. I can hear my mom humming in the background.
What a delightful old friend to find. Perhaps current electronics manufacturers should take this machine apart and figure out how to make today’s products more reliable and longer lasting. Oh, I forgot – they actually WANT them to break so we’ll buy more sooner. Silly me!