Through Any Given Door

3.08 KRLA and KHJ

1959 • La Habra ~ Cruising Whittier Boulevard, we took a spin to the A&W for frosted mugs of root beer or to Tastee Freeze for fried taquitos and banana splits with extra chocolate and whipped cream, Debbie and Randy in the back, Carleen and me in the front, riding low in the seat with the windows cranked down and our hair blowing in the wind, all of us loudly singing off-key:

Eighteen tons,
and whadaya get?
Another day older
and deeper in debt

We cranked the radio and lowered our voices an octave:

Saint Peter don’t you call me
cuz I can’t go,
I owe my soul
to the company store

We were no Tennessee Ernie Ford, but we were cool: snapping our fingers, popping our gum, grooving in time to the music. On the way back we punched the dashboard to KRLA and belted out “day-o, daaay-o,” punched it to KFWB to sing “wake-up a little Susie, wake-up,” then punched it back to 93 KHJ Boss Radio crooning, “Taammy, Taammy, Tammy’s in love.”

to be continued…

© 2018. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Barbara D. Jacobsen says

    Ah yes, those were the days! Cruising the drag in Antioch in the ’50’s with the girls,
    looking for the boys, ending up with milkshakes at the drive-in. Such great songs!!!

  2. gail crosslin says

    OMG…KFWB That’s what I listened to back then…what a memory jogger! Where did U find the flyer thing? I nabbed it for my memory stuff.

  3. Mark Chapman says

    Promo spot I remember from KFWB:
    What do you think of BMR?
    Bmr Who?
    BMR, DJ.
    He’s a wiener!
    A wiener?
    Yeah. He’s a real Hot Dog.

  4. I love this!

  5. Susan Price says

    I made sure that my now 6 year old grandson (soon to be 7) learned, “I’m A Little Teapot.” And when Victor and I were teaching in China 1981 to 83, I taught our students the Hokey Pokey. Our students were from all over southwest China and were aged 18 to 55 years old – the vast majority were being recycled from being Russian language teachers to being English teachers. The Hokey Pokey, both the song and the dance, made them all giggle, “You put your left hip in and your left hip out, and you shake all about…” The shaking part, the wiggle part, made them giggle. Remember, these people had been thru the Sino-Japanese War (1937 to 1945), the Revolution (1949 was Liberation, the birth of modern China under Mao), followed by the Great Chinese Famine (1958-61), and then the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). During the Cultural Revolution, you were not allowed to grow flowers – too bourgeois. In short, our students had not had a party in decades. So the Hokey Pokey turned out to be a big thing. It was so much fun getting them to loosen up.

    • In Memoriam: “With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week. Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote “The Hokey Pokey” died peacefully at age 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in… and then the trouble started.”

  6. Susan Price says

    KRLA – OMG. I remember Bill Balance and Joe Yocam. And 16 Tons is one of the few songs to which I can remember almost all the lyrics. Did you know that Tennessee Ernie Ford once lived in Friendly Hills (the ritzy suburban, hilly area between East Whittier where Patty and I lived and downtown Whittier)? Or so my mom said. …..
    The songs… Stagger Lee by Lloyd Price, Peter Gunn soundtrack, Charlie Brown, 77 Sunset Strip (“Kookie, Lend me your comb..”) and be sure to snap your fingers – and hubbie Victor sitting next to me just sang the lyrics when I asked if he remembered!