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Hard Times on Eastwood Set; Los Angeles Radio, April 6, 1969

April 6, 2009 |  8:00 am

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An image that resonates with the famous 1971 ad of Iron Eyes Cody.


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It's Easter Sunday in 1969, and The Times features a story about the date of the crucifixion on Page 1. Biologists tally the number of seals who are dead or dying from the Jan. 28 blowout of the Union Oil Co. platform.  Four U.S. troops are killed and 13 are wounded as a sustained attack by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces continues in Vietnam. More than 200 enemy fighters have been killed, military officials say.

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The Del Mar Hotel, a former landmark, is to be demolished. President Nixon praises a Vietnam veteran for acting against student radicals. Crazy hippies smoke catnip!
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Spring Street between 3rd and 7th is in danger of becoming a ghost town as the financial district moves to the area around the library.  
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Shirley MacLaine discusses the hardships of making "Two Mules for Sister Sara."
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"Sara" is sort of the "African Queen" gone west, Clint Eastwood says.
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"All I ever learned in high school was how to be elected cheerleader and cheat at algebra."
 --Shirley MacLaine.
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Johnny Hart was criticized for proselytizing in "B.C." Here's how Stan Lynde did it earlier in "Rick O'Shay."

1969_0406_sports What kind of radio station is worse--too boring or too loud? Depending on the decade, that was choice provided to Los Angeles listeners, according to The Times' radio critic.

Don Page called radio in 1969 Los Angeles "worse than terrible--you're just dull." His big issue was too many stations with the same format. "It isn't a question of being good, but a matter of being so incredibly alike, boring each other [and the audience] with an indistinguishable ooze," Page wrote. Probably could write the same thing today.

He attacked the various formats and the competition--talk, rock and what he called middle-of-the-road music: "You're lazy and you cop out. You're fickle and gutless. You lack imagination and foresight." Sure wish he'd just come right out and tell us how he felt.

Ten years earlier, in a column on April 5, 1959, Page had other, seemingly simpler concerns. "More and more stations are adopting the blasting jingle, the outer-space newscasts [you know, those blips that call one's attention to the latest news flash] the way-out announcer and that agony stuff they call the Top 40," he wrote like a parent having a bad day: "Turn down that radio!"

I was too young to notice the outer-space newscasts and the volume increase but I remember well L.A. radio in the late '60s. The first Top 40 station I listened to was KFWB, before its shift to all news. I heard Wolfman Jack on KDAY, thanks to my older brother who was trying to enlighten or corrupt me. Stations such as KRLA and the early FM stations seem so brave and wild now, I wonder how they would do on today's airwaves (Jim Ladd still provides a glimpse of non-programmed radio late at night on KLOS).

I'm certainly too old for most radio demographics but I'd listen just for that chance to hear something different.

--Keith Thursby

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