MAGICAL MEMORIES: ‘Treason’, Brooklyn, Radio, TV, Technicolor, Saturdays!

Written by Larry Usoff on February 9, 2015

I seem to recall that…

Many years ago, at the beginning of the Johnson administration in 1964, there was a book called None Dare Call It Treason by John A. Stormer and when I read it so long ago it seemed that he was a madman.  Of course, then I was a stalwart Democrat and any thought outside of the party line was not just foreign…it was heresy.   I think I should read it again, this time from the vantage point of history, and being a Republican, and a conservative.  You might question why both of those are included, and it’s because being a Republican does not automatically make you a conservative any more than standing in a garage makes you a mechanic.  My political choices in the past several years have been conservative and most conservatives are Republicans…does that explain it?

As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, New York, it wasn’t apparent that my social status was any different from anyone else’s in the neighborhood.  We all donated, we all worried, we all gave what we could, during the war.   When the war was over we all had a big block party and that’s a memory I’ll cherish to my dying day.   I seem to recall that, just in our building, which was a 4-story apartment building, we had displaced persons, or “DP’s” from all over Europe.   There were Brits, Italians, Spaniards and yes, a couple of Germans who fled for the right reasons.   Their kids and I formed our little “gang” and hung out on the street corners…that is, until one or more of the mothers yelled out the window that it was getting dark and we had to come in…not just her kid, ALL of us.   My guess is that it isn’t like that anymore, even in Brooklyn.

Recollections of ten-cent movies, double-features at that, with the news, a cartoon and coming attractions, nickle candy bars and five cent bags of popcorn that you almost couldn’t finish…but you did.   

We learned all sorts of interesting things in school…how to write what they now call cursive but what we called handwriting. Geography was a subject that encompassed many things, among them where the place was, what the major products were, and the population, both in numbers and style.  There were music appreciation classes and, while I never actually liked them, it was an introduction to things that I would later come to know and like.   The boys had shop classes where we learned the basics of about half-a-dozen trades and tried not to lose any vital parts of our bodies.   The girls had home economics, which covered a multitude of things besides cooking.

We had the radio and a wonderful device it was, too.   You’d listen to your favorite show, and you knew the exact time and day that it came on.   A season was a year long only broken by the Christmas holidays and then it was back to the adventures…The Shadow, The Inner Sanctum, I Love A Mystery, and many, many more.   The comedians were funny and there was never a dirty word that you heard.   I recall that many people who persisted in radio went on to become big stars in the movies and on that new thing…television.   

Technicolor movies were rare, mostly musicals, although now and then there’d be an adventure movie.   We had Saturday, blessed Saturday!   In the mornings it was cartoons and in the afternoons it was the serials at the movies.  Our heroes, and we had many, were always in a tight spot that we just KNEW they couldn’t get out of…but they did.

All in all, recollections are good…and memories tend to obliterate the bad things, which is a good thing.  Ah yes, I remember it well…like it was yesterday, but it was a long ago time and it will never be again.   I am SO glad that I lived in that time.

Larry Usoff, US Navy Retired, 



Larry Usoff
Larry Usoff, US Navy Retired. Articulate. Opinionated. Patriotic. Conservative. Cultured enough so that I can be taken almost anywhere. Makes no excuses for what I say or do, but takes responsibility for them. Duty. Honor. Country. E-mail me at: