"Go, go you Pilots, you proud Seattle team. Go, go you Pilots, it's time to shout and scream. We're with you Pilots, You're big league all the way. So go, go you Pilots! Go, go you Pilots — when the umpire hollers 'play'! Go, go, go, go, go, go, goooooooo!" ~~ Seattle Pilots go song, 1969
In an excellent, but occasional series for KUOW, radio consultant and historian, Feliks Banel has written and produced, This just NOT in: Audible Moments from Northwest History.Banel has found rare and long-forgotten audio from local radio and presents it in delectable 4-minute earsful.
Kicking off in April during Spring pledge drive, the first in the series was sound from a promotional film for Seattle’s first major league team, the Pilots, who arrived in 1969.Banel notes in the transcript: “The American League required Seattle only to commit to building a stadium before they would send a team here. Rather than if you build it, they will come, it was more like, if they come, you have to build it.”
The city was thus pressured (for the first, but not last time) by big league owners and legions of small boys to build a stadium. It was to become the Kingdome. (Unfortunately, the local owners sold off the team to Milwaukee before they got a chance to play in it).
Banel’s second piece was recovered from a 1953 discussion with actual witnesses of the Great Seattle Fire in June 1889.
This audio comes from a recording of a party at Seattle's Museum of History and Industry, or MOHAI, back in 1953. The man was speaking to a large crowd gathered at the dedication of a life–sized mural of the Great Seattle Fire. I was on staff at MOHAI back in 2003 when we found this audio. It was recorded on a huge, unwieldy record, 16 inches in diameter. It's called an electrical transcription. As I listened to the recording with the MOHAI librarian, it was easy to understand why it had sat on a shelf for 50 years.
It was all pretty humdrum. The emcee recounted the familiar details of that famous local disaster, started by an inattentive woodworker and an overheated glue pot. But then came a shock.
[…] As the needle made its way around the disc, we realized that we'd found the only known recordings of eyewitness accounts of the Great Seattle Fire.
A third will air in December. Banel says it’s about the government-enforced radio silence and Seattle riot that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor. “There’s a great bit of KIRO audio from their sign-off that night," he says.Banel pitched the three-episode miniseries to KUOW's Program Venture Fund. He worked with KUOW editor Jim Gates who edited scripts, produced the studio recordings with Banel’s narration and gave feedback on the audio editing. “Jim’s a pro,” he says, “and it was a great thing for me to get to work with someone with his experience and expertise.”
It's very cool stuff, and we're hoping there's more to come - he’s applied for another run of 10 episodes: which he described to BlatherWatch:
Some of the topics in the second batch include the D-Day radio experience on the West Coast (the D-Day story broke around 10pm Pacific time on June 5, 1944, which meant that Seattle and other West Coast listeners stayed up for the exciting CBS and NBC wall-to-wall coverage while East Coast folks were mostly already asleep and mostly missed it); the Seattle angle on the 1938 "War of the Worlds" panic; the media frenzy around the 1965 arrival in Seattle of Namu, the Killer Whale; the real-time public "mourning-via-radio" in Seattle in 1980 following John Lennon's murder in NYC; and the Kingdome implosion in 2000. For each of these, there's vintage audio (radio airchecks, music including a couple of GREAT novelty songs about Namu, etc.) and/or interviews with (in some cases, now deceased) witnesses to the particular event.
Banel is the Not Quite Historian on
KOMO news radio (Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:35 a); and was deputy
director at Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry. He authors I
STILL LOVE RADIO, a must-read (for radiophiles) blog and writes for
Crosscut, an online publication for mature gentlemen.