One Day in Your Life: December 23, 1970

December 23, 1970, is a Wednesday. The weather forecast for Madison, Wisconsin, includes a cold wave warning with a predicted low of 5 below for Thursday morning. The morning papers headline a government shakeup in Poland that replaced the country’s prime minister. Today, construction continues on the World Trade Center complex in New York City, with the topping-out ceremony for the north tower at a height of 1,368 feet. Black militant Angela Davis is arraigned on charges of conspiracy, kidnapping, and murder for a courthouse shooting earlier in the year. The Green Bay Packers must find a new coach and general manager to replace Phil Bengtson, who resigned yesterday. In college basketball, Iowa defeats Iowa State 87-68. Outside Nashville, Willie Nelson’s house burns down. The Associated Press reports on a Connecticut state police list of expired driver’s licenses that includes a man named Santa M. Claus.

Comic actor Charlie Ruggles, who appeared in 100 movies including Ruggles of Red Gap and Bringing Up Baby, and also provided the voice of Aesop on the “Aesop and Son” segments of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, dies at age 84. Robert Burck, who will grow up to be the Times Square street performer known as the Naked Cowboy, is born. Tonight’s TV listings include a Christmas episode of The Johnny Cash Show on ABC featuring the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, the Statler Brothers, and the Carter Family. NBC counter-programs with an episode of Kraft Music Hall titled “The Eve Before Christmas Eve,” hosted by country singer Eddy Arnold and starring Brenda Lee, Charley Pride, and the Klowns. CBS airs Medical Center and Hawaii Five-O.

The Grateful Dead plays Winterland in San Francisco. Laura Nyro opens a two-night stand at the Fillmore East in New York City, where her opening act is an unknown singer/songwriter named Jackson Browne. At KHJ in Los Angeles, the top three songs on the new Boss 30 survey are unchanged from the week before: George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” “One Less Bell to Answer” by the Fifth Dimension, and “Knock Three Times” by Dawn. Biggest movers on the chart are “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters, moving from 21 to 9, and “Stoney End” by Barbra Streisand, moving from 29 to 21. New songs on the survey this week include “Remember Me” by Diana Ross and “Let Your Love Go” by Bread.

Halfway across the country, a 10-year-old boy in Wisconsin and his two brothers, aged 8 and 4, are geeked up for Christmas. The 10-year-old is similarly geeked up by the radio. Tomorrow, he will hear something that will shape what his life will become, and make him what he will remain, for as long as life lasts.


2 responses

  1. Jim, thanks for the wonderful radio memories you shared in this piece and in the linked message. I was so fortunate to have lived in Northern New Jersey and could always listen to WABC booming through my transistor or my mom and dad’s table radio, an RCA model with a great big speaker you turn up. Having that when Beatlemania hit in 1964 let me know that radio was all I wanted to do. It took until 1976 to get there, but the journey was worth it.
    Even when I moved to Columbus Ohio we had a great local station WCOL, and I learned from friend about DXING at night so got educated on CKLW, WLS, WCFL and even ABC. When you get the radio bug, you have to go for it. Nothing else will satisfy.
    Thanks again for sharing the wonderful memories and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. By the time I began listening to Top 40 on my old battered RCA radio, I’d been pretty sure for a couple of years what it was that radio brought me. I was going to be a hockey play-by-play guy just like Al Shaver, who called the Minnesota North Stars games. As it turned out, my talents leaned toward writing, and I amended my plans as the years went on. But radio was the impetus, which I think is good enough for me to consider myself another Child of Marconi. (Should we create a formal organization?)

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