The Murdock Family Radio

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My first photo taken with the Murdock Family Radio, 1951 Mom, my brother Steven and me as the cute    baby


No kid actually wants to wake up for school, but waking up to the radio blasting to the sounds of KSL 1160 on the dial was enough to render us instantly cranky.  Besides the blaring box, mom would be yelling ” It’s 7:30 you will all be late for school and have to go without breakfast”  Who cares if we’re late, and I hate breakfast.  (mom always lied about the time, it was usually only 6:30 or 7) Her favorite radio program was always on at this ungodly time of the morning – Margaret Masters Kitchen – I pictured her looking a lot like Aunt Bee on Andy Griffith.  She had all kinds of household hints and recipes.  I thought she was annoying – not even the shrill voice of Margaret Masters could get us going in the morning, what we needed was a cup of coffee.

The Murdock Family Radio 1947 Emerson 535 Radio, case designed by Raymond Loewy (knobs replaced, mom wore them out cranking up the volume) 



I started wondering about this Emerson radio, so much a part of the family for so many years.  This little wooden box with sounds coming from it – what story does it have?


Victor Hugo Emerson was an early recording engineer and executive who was at one time employed by Thomas A. Edison.  In 1915 he established the Emerson Phonograph Company in NY. In 1920 it was described as the 3rd largest record manufacturer.  The Company passed into the hands of Benjamin Abrams and Rudolph Kanarak in 1922. In 1924 they entered the radio business, renaming the company Emerson Radio & Phonograph Corporation, and the rest is more history. 

A few of the stats about our little radio:  Category Broadcast Viewer or past WWII tuner; 5 Tubes – 12BE6, 12BA6, 12AT6, 50B5,35W4; Super heterodyne; 6 AM circuit broadest only ; AC/DC Set; 105-125 Volt; Loudspeaker Permanent Magnet Dynamic, moving coil; Model 535 Ch = 210045; Wooden case, table model up to 14″; width BC band tuning ranges 540-1620 KHZ, Built in loop antenna, Price: $29.95.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the Murdock Family Radio is that the case was designed by the famous “Raymond Loewy”. (1893-1986) a French-born American Industrial Engineer who achieved fame for the magnitude of his design effects across a variety of industries.  Besides being the designer for the case of the Emerson 535, some of his more famous accomplishments:  Logos for Shell, Exxon, TWA, Design of the Coca Cola Vending Machines and fountain dispensers, Coldspot refrigerators, Studebaker Avanti, Greyhound Sceniccruise bus, Lucky Strike cigarette package, NASA’s Skylab space station.

One of Raymond Loewy’s most Icon designs The Coca Cola fountain dispenser

Just think about it – the family radio and the Coca Cola dispenser are practically cousins !!!! being designed by the same guy.


I feel I should also say more about the infamous “Margaret Masters”. As I research her, I decided that as a kid even though I found her totally boring and annoying, she was a great lady and accomplished great things.

She was born Margaret Roseabelle Masters on March 17, 1908 in Seymour, Missouri.  During her time in Missouri she was a midwife and delivered many babies.  She fell in love and married John Franklin Smith . Sometime in the 1940’s they moved to Utah.  Margaret AKA Maggie Smith, was known to Utahns as Margaret Masters, KSL Radio and TV personality for over 40 years.  She wrote the vignettes for the issues of Today’s food section in the newspaper. She was featured twice weekly on the KSL TV show, “Good Friends”.  “I stand on a fence and talk one day and I do a cooking spot on another” she says.  Smith gathers information for her “Good Friends” show by putting down whatever anyone says who passes under her nose.  Her friends, 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren provide plenty of input for this.  She always said “people don’t die, they just shoot on over” – what a coincidence, Margaret Masters Smith “shot on over” the same day as the Challenger Explosion, January 28, 1986.


An excerpt taken from Billboard Magazine June 26, 1948 gives a synopsis of her radio program.  “Margaret Masters Kitchen, KSL Radio, SLC, Producer, Writer Margaret Masters, Announcer, James Peterson, Cast:  Margaret Masters and guests.  This is a good program with homey atmosphere and leisurely pace, differing from others in the genre in that it has a good production.  There is recreated family atmosphere and the script is packed with homemaking hints.  Miss Masters discusses recipes in the Hazel Stevens food plan, a budget plan for families.  Miss Stevens is the dietician with the Utah Board of Health.  The program also features a good cook of the day.  There was little of that artificial atmosphere associated with some of these programs.  Just homemaking, good food, talk and Miss Masters conversational manner with announcer James Peterson and the guest seemed just right.  Topics were  pertinent and handled in an interesting manner.


With all the talk about Margaret, I felt I should include one of her famous recipes.

3 egg Whites

1 cup sugar

1 cup coconut

1 cup nuts

3 cups corn flakes

Beat egg whites till stiff, fold in sugar, then add coconuts, nuts and corn flakes.  Drop on greased cookie sheet and bake 325 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes.  Cook slightly for a couple of minutes on sheet before removing – recipe from Margaret Masters Kitchen Booklet


Taking Out The Trash

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“TAKING OUT THE TRASH” – Until the mid 1960’s one of our jobs was taking the trash to the “Incinerator” – a rusty old drum in our backyard. It was the only job I liked so naturally my brothers and I fought over it, and were told to “take turns”. After striking the big wooden matches against the side of the barrel it was thrilling to watch the flames shoot out of the top, the smoke and embers filling the air. We tried to burn everything, and what wouldn’t burn was taken up the street to the Kaysville Dump on the corner of 4th West & Main St. (Now Intermountain Health Care Building). It is stuff like this from my childhood that amazes me I’m still among the living. – Blurry photo of “The Incinerator”, circa 1961, Uncle Howard Brierley trying his pole vaulting skills. Yes we had a pole vault stand in our backyard.


The Wunnerful Wunnerful Lawrence Welk Show

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LIFE SMILE – My mom’s rules for MANDATORY TV Watching NO EXCEPTIONS:  “You will sit down, shut up, and enjoy Lawrence Welk and LDS General Conference – end of discussion.” Oh the mighty music maker’s opening wasn’t so bad, what kid doesn’t like watching bubbles float randomly around the screen, waiting anxiously for that oh so familiar sound of a champagne bottle being uncorked (we got a little confused on conference Sunday when we were taught the evils of alcohol). After an eternity of “The Champagne Music Makers” and Mr. Welk with his “anna one anna two” waving his magic wand (me secretly hoping he will make this all disappear) the words I’ve been waiting to hear “Here’s a wish and a prayer that every dream comes true, and now until we meet again adios, au revoir, auf wiederscen — good night.  — The cool nostalgic tray in the photo – my brother Steven gave me a few years ago for my birthday, so I can never forget those “wunnerful, wunnerful” memories of trying to sit still for one entire hour and not make a noise.

The Magical Electric Football Game

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In the 1950’s Santa Claus brought my older brother Steven this oh so awesome back in the day “Electric Football Game” – In 2013 I was in Rochester New York, at the Museum of Play and took this photo, as it had brought back many memories of Steve’s magic football game. When the motor beneath the board was turned on, the field would vibrate, shivering the players every which way all over the board, it was part electric, part magnetism, and totally fascinating to watch.

Yes I Do Own A Mr. Ed Feedbag

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In the mid 1990’s “Nick at Night” on TV was all the rage.  Our generation was finally getting to see those oh so coveted television shows we watched as kids.  I have been a huge fan of Mr. Ed all my life, even being an official member of the Mr. Ed Fan Club. Words of Wisdom from Mr. Ed ” Sometimes when you put your head in a feed bag you have to grasp at straws.”

Birthday Card for Daddy

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This Birthday card I made for my dad in 1958, age 8.  The girl is suppose to be me dancing the Highland Fling, while my dad accompanies me on his bagpipes.  My love of Scottish Heritage was coming out, sadly my ability to draw stayed in the closet.  I know there are no bagpipes in the drawing, I remember trying to draw them in, and couldn’t get them to fit or resemble bagpipes.  Needless to say my dad must have liked the card, as he saved it all these years.  Wait! What am I saying they saved EVERYTHING all these years!






Cotton Candy Memories

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                    Liberty Park 1956      

Nostalgic memory of a summer day in 1956 spent in Liberty Park, Salt Lake City.  Mom bought us Cotton Candy.  My brother Brent and I were fighting over who was getting more than the other.  We tried to give a taste to my baby brother Alan.  He would have none of it, and kept pushing it away with hand gestures and funny faces.

 “I don’t want any part of what you are trying to give me”

 Be sure to take special note of my fabulous dress.  It was my very favorite in the whole wide world.  I would have slept in it, but mom wouldn’t let me. The “squaw dress”, as they were called were all the rage in the 1950’s.  Thanks to the kindness of my Grandma and Aunt, I too owned one of the coveted frocks. They also bought the cute doggy purse that adorned my outfit.  It was a wonderful accessory and status symbol for any 6 year old.  Yes a stroll at the park devouring spun sugar on a hot summer day, it doesn’t get any better than that!!


My Queen Elizabeth Tin

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For reasons unknown, I was always fascinated with this souvenir tin that sat in our hall cupboard for many years.  Grandma Murdock and Aunt Mary Stroud brought it back from their trip to Canada (along with my adorable doggy purse).  It was filled with fancy butterscotch.

Souvenir of the Coronation

In later years mom rolled pennies and nickels, tucking them away in the tin.  On occasion I opened the cupboard door just to admire it’s beauty.  Mom would yell “Kristine what are you looking for?  Get out of that cupboard and close the door.”   She had no comprehension of it’s mesmerizing powers.  That little box held adventure and mystery for a little kid.  All these years later, I now display it on a shelf in my living room.  The Queen no longer has to be locked behind closed doors.  I can look at her anytime.  Yes she still brings me wonder and joy.




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Summertime in the 50’s and 60’s brings back a flood of favorite memories.  We looked forward each summer to “The Paces Dairy Queen Man”. We stood in the middle of 4th West and 1st South with our nickels and dimes clasped firmly in our little fists, hoping to catch a glimpse of that oh so familiar truck.  We couldn’t wait to part with the change our mother’s had given us moments earlier.

At last the faint sound of the music, like an old organ grinder with bells, kinda warped as a kid’s toy running down on batteries.  Once our keen ears picked up the sounds getting closer, we scrambled to be first in line.  My baby brother Alan would cry and threaten to tell mom if we didn’t let him first in line.  We pushed and shoved and found our place, it was all part of the ritual.

Once the truck was within our sights, it would only be a few moments before we would be licking away in Ice Cream Heaven.  We shouted and screamed for him to STOP.  Each time he visited our neighborhood we lived in fear he would not see or hear us (only if he was blind and deaf).

The front of the truck was bright red and the back was white and looked like a giant refrigerator.  Bright blue and white striped fringe and awnings were part of the decor.  The words “Pace’s Dairy Ann” were boldly stamped on the side.  I know what you are thinking – why do you call him the “Dairy Queen Man?”, if he was clearly the “Dairy Ann Man”. We didn’t like the name so we always called him what we wanted.

1957 Paces Truck
                     1957 Paces Truck

The big red, white and blue truck was magical to me.  I was fascinated it had no doors on either side.  I worried sometimes our “Dairy Queen Man” might just fall out onto the pavement.  He would slide out from behind the steering wheel and immediately go to the back of the truck where the huge freezer door with the bright silver hinges opened up to reveal a wondrous array of ice cream delights.  If you were tall enough you could actually peek into the freezer and catch a glimpse of the wire racks filled with enough ice cream to feed every kid in Kaysville.

In my memory I can’t visualize the face of the “Dairy Queen Man”. He appeared to look a lot like The Good Humor Man. Dressed all in white, with shiny black shoes and a little black bow tie.  On his head he wore a hat that looked like the kind soda jerks used to wear.  The most impressive part of his uniform was the bright silver coin changer he wore around his waist.  It wouldn’t be long before our money disappeared into the round cylinders never to be seen again.

A lot of conversation centered around our selection of frozen delights.  “What are you getting Vicky Lynn?” She would say “I don’t know what are you going to get?”  Vicky Lynn’s mom always gave her more money to spend than we got, so I would always be jealous of that.  So much to choose from: The Space Bar – vanilla ice cream with chocolate coating, The Astro Pop – fruit flavored popsicles all on one stick, The Yippee Cup – chocolate malted ice cream dipped in nuts and chocolate.  My personal favorite, The Jet Bar – chocolate ice cream with chocolate coating, dipped in Rice Krispies.

Once the treats were in our hot little hands, it was time to retreat under the shade of the big tree in our front yard.  All of the local neighborhood kids were there: me, my brothers Steven, Brent, Alan, Vicky Lynn and Utahna Hatch, Ronnie Crouch (my childhood heart throb), Carol Gale, Georgina Hyde, George A. Bremmer, Lynn Blood, Gwen Hutchings, and Kenny Hansen.


Yes I saved a Jet Bar Wrapper

We laughed, told jokes and teased each other while licking away at our ice cream.  Those were the days.  Little did I know how much I would miss them years later.  Several years ago I savored a Jet Bar under the shade of a tree, but it wasn’t the same.  Last year I went to Pace’s and they said they no longer made Jet Bars.  I sighed and walked away with nothing.


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When you grow up in a small town like Kaysville, Utah in the 1950’s and 60’s having your very own Potato Chip Factory in the neighborhood is a huge deal.

Sometimes in the early morning, if you went outside on our front porch and looked directly east, you would be able to see the huge white puffy clouds of smoke that filled the air.  That meant the little chip makers were hard at work making those wonderful potato chips.  The unmistakable smell of potatoes and oil that filled the air was yummy to say the least.  It’s the same whiff you get when you first open a fresh bag of chips and the air hits them for the very first time.  It wouldn’t be long before I was hounding mom to take me up to Bowman’s Market for our very own bag.  Knowing the chips you’re eating with your bologna sandwich were actually made just a few blocks up the street was quite thrilling.

Each year at Kaysville Elementary, we would go on a field trip to tour the Clover Club Potato Chip Factory.  The classroom would be buzzing with “chip talk” for days before the actual event.  The teachers would write all of the rules for the long walk (actually only 1 block away) on the blackboard.  We would either have to line up boy, girl, alphabetically, or the teachers would choose partners for us.  I always feared being stuck with ____, who smelled like he just pooped his pants, or ____ who everyone on the playground knew had the worst case of “Cooties” in the world.  Fear gripped me as the teachers decided our fate.

When the big day finally arrived, we were beside ourselves with delight.  We had trouble curbing our enthusiasm and the teachers had to threaten us with the old “we won’t be going if you don’t be quiet routine” or “if you don’t settle down we will have to call in our Principal Mr. Rampton to come and have a talk with you.”  We knew in the long run these were idle threats.  The room mothers arrived and tried their best to keep us under control explaining over and over the “don’t touch ANYTHING rule” as if we were actually listening.

At the head of the line would be John Sanders, son of Hod and Clover Sanders, makers of the magic chips.  Having John in our class was like having your own celebrity.  We never tired of hearing his endless knowledge of elaborate details of the inside workings of the the factory.


When finally inside, they showed us how they cooked the chips and we watched in awe as the conveyor belts overflowing with freshly made golden chips took their long ride throughout the building, eventually filling the ever so familiar read and green bags to the brim with those tasty chips.  The workers were dressed usually in white, at the top of the front pocket carefully embroidered in bright red cursive letters were the words “Clover Club”.  Some of them wore funny paper shower caps. It seems silly now, but there was a time way back when I dreamed that someday I too might be wearing one of those white coats, being a proud employee of Clover Club.


At the end of our tour each one of us would be handed our own mini bag of chips to eat.  I always thought that was so very cool.  I tried to save mine as long as I could so I could show and brag to my brothers about my big adventure. I flaunted my bag of chips in front of them, taking great delight in going somewhere my brother’s didn’t get to go that day.

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