Saturday, December 08, 2007

66 Years Later

Long before September 11th, we had December 7th. It is a date for those who remember it that is never forgotten. I wasn't alive for the December 7th in question - in 1941 - but it was ingrained in my head by my father, who would never allow any of us to forget it.

December 7th 1941 was, by all accounts, a pleasant, calm Sunday. A beautiful day in Hawaii, and a chilly one in New York. The country was living with the threat of war but all appeared normal. Our national media was nothing like it is today. Television was in its infancy, with very few sets in use and no news broadcasts. To be sure, there was no CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and so on. There was NBC (the Red and Blue networks), CBS (more commonly known as the "Columbia Broadcasting System" at the time), Mutual and not much more. There were also local stations, and not the corporate radio that exists today (hmmm...never mind). There was no WGCH, for instance - we didn't debut for nearly 23 years (September 1964, to be exact). There were no satellites; reports were done on phone. Taped broadcast and news reports? Not happening - items were recorded on records and acetates.

Radio and newspapers were your only outlets for news. The NFL was in action that day, but nowhere near as popular as it is now. In fact, college football was far more popular in 1941. Yet baseball ruled the sports world. As it was a Sunday, listeners were hearing soothing sounds (other than football), like church services, and classical music.

There are some recorded broadcasts from that fateful day, though one can question the validity of them, as re-interpretations were quite common. I've located a few items on As always, I find them fascinating.

On WOR (Mutual's New York affiliate), it was football that got interrupted:

This was on CBS (probably the most well-known audio of Pearl Harbor's bulletins):

On NBC, via KGU (Honolulu), the sound is fuzzy (I especially enjoy the interruption by the telephone company):

On CBS, attempts to reach Honolulu fail:

Great stuff, and there's still more to be found. As we push for the continued memory of those lost on September 11th, let us never forget December 7th, 1941 - the date that still lives in infamy.

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