Oral History Project
Interviewer: Taylor Ellison Interviewee: Alice Wathan Relationship: Grandmother When interviewing my grandma I had a lot of fun. It was neat learning from her experiences and being able to learn about some of her childhood that I did not already know about. Because she is always listening to her records I decided to start off with that subject. When I brought this up I found it interesting that her face lightened up and it was almost as if she was glowing. I asked her many things and I loved the way she went into so much detail about a specific artist.
She talked about Rockabilly a lot! I can’t remember everything she said because she talked to fast but I do remember that she said “He was the best country western artist of the 1950s. ” She said that she never listened to Rock & Roll until recently because when she first listened to it she thought that the music was sinful. I found it very interesting that she thought a whole genre of music was sinful. Her parents had put limitations on when she could listen to music.
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The only time the family listened to music was when everyone home was listening to it, and they all had to agree on the artist and songs. She said that the records were generally around $3. 00. It’s crazy to think of how little money that is. Now a days CDs are about $20. 00. When I asked how she found about the artists she listenend to her response was “My best friend always new about new artists & who was good. I usually listened to her! ” Her parents of course liked to listen to records as long as it was music they approved of. The next thing I talked about with my Grandma was the radio.
The first thing she said before I even asked any questions was “I remember getting our first radio, and listening to the stories that used to air on the before television became available. ” She preferred to either listen to her country western music or detective shows. She spent about a half an hour going over and over different scenarios that would come up in the detective shows. She liked that not every story had the same plot. She usually listened to them at night with her whole family. She did not like it when commercials came out in fact she said “I remember thinking that radio should not have ommercials because it takes away from them. ” She also stated that she had many good memories with the radio according to her “We would sit as a family in the living room, pop popcorn and listen to the shows. It was the first time we really did anything as a family. ” She really liked it when FM radio became available. She thought it was so neat. She like the fact that there were a lot more stations and the stations had a lot of variety. When we talked about television my Grandma was not as interested. I did however get her to answer some questions.
She thought that it was weird when television first came out because she could actually see the story instead of just hearing it. She said that the screen was a lot smaller then screens are now a days. She also said that it was a lot more blurry back then. The first television was around $500. She also said this “Me and my sisters would usually come home from school do our homework and watch tv until dinner. We did become less active and did not go outside as much. ” Suprisingly she remembered a lot about the quiz show scandals.
She knew that the scandal happened around 1956 when the producer, Dan Enright, of the game show Twenty-One, that was hosted by Jack Barry, coached a contestant to make the other contestant when the game.. She said that the scandal did not come out until around 1958. Due to this, many networks cancelled their game shows. One things she said really caught my attention. It was this. “Back then the shows were family oriented. Anybody could watch any television show. Now there are a lot more shows on crimes and shows that are much more provocative. ” My grandma was a very interesting person to interview, and I am glad I got the opportunity.