Want to wow that youngster anxiously waiting by the tree? Give them something they'll never forget! Their own transistor radio! Yes, this will keep the little critter's fingers poppin' while they spin the dial listening to all the crazy hits from the top 40! Good times! Good times!

Okay, so the kid would actually give you a look of disgust if they even looked at you at all. They want an iPod or an iPhone. They don't want to listen to random radio stations. They want something they can program themselves so they only listen to the music they want to hear, not programming put together by some corporate media gorilla in a far off city that's actually into some serious payola. Still...

I have fond memories of my various transistor radios and still have one I keep on the nightstand. For years, especially during the British invasion, my folks used to say I would need to have it surgically removed from my head. If one channel wasn't playing what I wanted to hear I'd quickly tune to the other. In my day in the San Francisco Bay Area it was KEWB and KYA. It would be several years before I needed a radio that picked up FM so I could hear KMPX or KSAN thanks to radio legend Tom Donahue. Yeah, good times. Good times.

Oh well, I still like the look of these old radios.

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas, 1957)


  1. Those radios were such a step forward. I remember taking it to school to hear the chart announcements at lunchtime and find out what was number 1 that week. You generally had the radio pressed to your ear as the quality was not great. I still listen to music radio, if I did my own programming I wouldn't get to hear new things. Thanks for prompting those memories.

  2. Felix0912/13/2012

    You are so right! The many generations of kids of the technological age have always been excited about getting the latest technological "toys." Nowadays, it's iPhones and iPods but back in 1957 transistor radios were amongst the lastest "must-have" items.

    That turquoise radio in the model's hand is gorgeous! And like today's gadgets it cost plenty, too. At $44.95 in 1957, that turquoise radio cost the equivalent of about $372 in 2012 dollars. No doubt 50-some years from now people will be wondering why the folks of 2012 were willing to pay big bucks for things as primitive as iPhones.

    I didn't get my first transistor radio [which I still have and still works fine] until the early-1960s when they were much less expensive, smaller and had the optional earphone. Yet, as a member of a very poor family, I felt like the luckiest kid town when I unwrapped that present. Connie Francis, Frankie Avalon and the Beach Boys never sounded so good!