Illustration Friday: Imagine


Car radios were different when I was a kid. First off, you could only get AM radio—which meant your favorite song would fade out as soon as you went under a bridge. Secondly, AM sound…well, before stereo AM anyway, sucked. Radios were push button analog jobs that had a red pointer that lined up approximately with the station’s frequency. You couldn’t really tell the exact frequency you dialed to because all you had were the number markers and the stations resided somewhere in the middle. I used to listen to 77 ‘Musicradio’ WABC which was somewhere between the 7 and the 9. To find and set the station, you’d push the button closest to the number you wanted, fiddle around with the tuner (the knob on the right) and then pull the button out and push it back in quickly to save it. If you pushed too slowly, the pointer simply returned to its original position and you had to try again.

Ok, having said that, when I was a kid, I imagined the inner-workings of the radio consisted of a row of disc jockeys sitting at a long table. There was one microphone, its position indicated by the location of the red pointer. When the listener pressed the button, the disc jockey who was talking slid the microphone down the table to the guy (I don’t remember many lady djs from the late 60s—though I am sure they were out there) who was next to speak. Also, for some reason, I imagined that the table was covered with tacky looking imitation crushed velvet.

Pictured from left to right is a talk show host (yes, they were around way back then—WMCA I believe); the aforementioned WABC Top 40 station that featured Dan Ingram and Cousin Bruce (there actually wasn’t a disc jockey quite that hippyfied, he wouldn’t come along until much later on WNEW-FM); a religious disc jockey and the R&B guy.

I created the radio in Illustrator CS2 and drew the disc jockeys in Flash MX. I composited everything in Flash MX and converted to a jpg for your viewing pleasure.

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44 thoughts on “Illustration Friday: Imagine

  1. Tony, this is great–sooo funny!!! Yeah the good ol' days of car radio. I had similar visual experiences as a kid when my parents would slip an eight track tape into the station wagon player. I remembering seeing pictures of the groups we would listen to (the Beatles, Chicago, John Denver, America) and thinking those people on the pictures were actually inside the tape itself, playing and singing for all to hear on our trip to grandma's house (am I showing my age?)!

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  2. Too funny! Great illo and great way to capture your childhood memory. The crazy things we could all come up with when we were kids … to be that innocent an naive again – oh, maybe not!

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  3. That's great, Tony! I remember those guys, too (ugh…getting old, are we?). Your childhood radio theory is much like my mother's fax story. The first time I taught her to use a fax machine, she was so disappointed when the paper came through at the bottom after she had sent the fax. She thought it was going to physically go to the person at the other end! Beam me up, Mom! Good work, Tony:>

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  4. Ah, yes, setting the 60s AM stations. We had a top 40 station in the mid-60s in this part of the world with the call-letters KDON (1460). It's star DJ was Don K. The FM around here was limited to elevator music … really; I think Musak owned the only station we received.This is sorta like the Flintstones' radios which had little dinosaurs or birds in the workings playing their instruments, right? Anyway, very cool illustration, and thanks for car trip.

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  5. seeing your illustration i remembered how my dad told me that he once opened a radio as a kid to see the little guys that he thought were working in there :-)funny idea !

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  6. I completely forgot about the radio. But now when I think about it our mom used to let us change the stations (which would really be for us to push the buttons) but my fingers were so small and the buttons were so hard to push I'd end up hurting my finger.

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  7. Totally awesome… lol but OMG what did you think about 8 track ???also I liked your R&B was it, Hendrix hippyfied I dunno, looks good. I noticed you left a touch of grey out on the MX one.

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  8. This was great fun. I liked reading the piece you wrote to go with the imaginative illustration. It brings back vivid memories of how I viewed our radio as a child.

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  9. This was great fun. I liked reading the piece you wrote to go with the imaginative illustration. It brings back vivid memories of how I viewed our radio as a child.

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  10. Michelle: Thanks, glad you got a good laugh out of this.Steve: I had an eight track of Meatloaf’s Bat of Hell CD and right in the middle of Paradise by the Dashboard Lights it used to fade out and switch tracks to continue the song. I made the ‘jump’ to car cassettes shortly after that. Marion & Michelle Melcher: Great minds….Rachelle: My wife and I have been keeping track of things our kids have said over the years so that they will have a record of the things they thought and believed. Sometimes, I will remind my 14 year old daughter of things she said and it mortifies her.Carla: That’s right, you are from NY. I remember the entire shift of djs at WABC, but Dan Ingram was the best. My mom was the reason software companies stopped using the phrase “Press any key” because she would look for a key named “any”.Christine: Thanks.Twisselman: FM was like that for quite awhile; but when it broke out—WOW. Janet: One of my most treasured childhood gifts was a transistor radio. I wish I still had it.Kil55, Shano, shliknik, Holly, Urban, and Ginger: Thanks, I am happy that you enjoyed it.String: Those were the radios of our childhood. ThanksSam: hehehe…that’s what happened to the transistor radio I mentioned above.Joe: Give me a hint what part of the country you’re in. I collect vintage radios and audio equipment; I have an old stand-up tube type that would probably still work if I could find the tubes that it is missing.Irivine: Of course you do, and you keep that magic eye as long as you can.Constanthing: A friend of mine has a new BMW 740 series; the entire car is one giant GUI.Joy eliz: But the feeling of power you had when you could push the button was great, wasn’t it? Ahhh—the little things that make us happy when we are young.Goldenhowl: Yeah, I was thinking Hendrix when I did the R&B guy. MX dropped one of the grey layers when I converted the radio I created in AI to a Flash vector. Shrug. I was too lazy to try and repair it.Scribblesk: Cousin Brucie was cool—but he was no Dan Ingram.Jules: Perhaps when nanotechnology is perfected….

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  11. Michelle: Thanks, glad you got a good laugh out of this.Steve: I had an eight track of Meatloaf’s Bat of Hell CD and right in the middle of Paradise by the Dashboard Lights it used to fade out and switch tracks to continue the song. I made the ‘jump’ to car cassettes shortly after that. Marion & Michelle Melcher: Great minds….Rachelle: My wife and I have been keeping track of things our kids have said over the years so that they will have a record of the things they thought and believed. Sometimes, I will remind my 14 year old daughter of things she said and it mortifies her.Carla: That’s right, you are from NY. I remember the entire shift of djs at WABC, but Dan Ingram was the best. My mom was the reason software companies stopped using the phrase “Press any key” because she would look for a key named “any”.Christine: Thanks.Twisselman: FM was like that for quite awhile; but when it broke out—WOW. Janet: One of my most treasured childhood gifts was a transistor radio. I wish I still had it.Kil55, Shano, shliknik, Holly, Urban, and Ginger: Thanks, I am happy that you enjoyed it.String: Those were the radios of our childhood. ThanksSam: hehehe…that’s what happened to the transistor radio I mentioned above.Joe: Give me a hint what part of the country you’re in. I collect vintage radios and audio equipment; I have an old stand-up tube type that would probably still work if I could find the tubes that it is missing.Irivine: Of course you do, and you keep that magic eye as long as you can.Constanthing: A friend of mine has a new BMW 740 series; the entire car is one giant GUI.Joy eliz: But the feeling of power you had when you could push the button was great, wasn’t it? Ahhh—the little things that make us happy when we are young.Goldenhowl: Yeah, I was thinking Hendrix when I did the R&B guy. MX dropped one of the grey layers when I converted the radio I created in AI to a Flash vector. Shrug. I was too lazy to try and repair it.Scribblesk: Cousin Brucie was cool—but he was no Dan Ingram.Jules: Perhaps when nanotechnology is perfected….

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  12. Your post brought back the smell of vinyl seats in my parents' Impala. I loved pushing the buttons and watching that little stick jump back and forth, can't say as I had enough imagination to think of the DJ's on the other end like this, though. I just liked the stick.

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