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Vacation Time: Audio/Video Portables

In the late 1950s I remember my father coming home with two brand new radios, large breadbox-sized wooden affairs chock-full of glowing tubes and powerful enough, at least after the sun went down, to pick up exotic lands like Chicago and Nashville-heady stuff for an obsessively curious boy in Shawnee, Okla.

Then a couple of years later, the result of the burgeoning solid-state revolution that is still underway, I remember coveting, but never owning because of its out-of-reach 12-buck price, a small, eight-transistor radio that could “fit in a shirt pocket,” a claim I found almost unbelievable in those techno-dark ages of 1961. Eight transistors! All compact enough to fit in your hand-and potent enough to pick up Oklahoma City, no doubt. Johnny Otis, Ray Charles and Buck Owens were just a click away, even on the school bus, meaning I could take my music with me wherever I went. But that fantasy was not meant to be, at least for me.

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