The "Ghost" Radio & School Strangeness

Remember The Twilight Zone?

Reader Mike sent this along,and it has all the makings of a great episode of that Rod Serling series:

A 70-year-old radio at a Scottish heritage centre has been picking up vintage broadcasts featuring Winston Churchill and the music of Glen Miller.

The Pye valve wireless at Montrose Air Station, a heritage centre that tells the story of the men and women who served there, has no power and is not connected to any source of electricity. [. . .]

The vintage radio set is kept in a recreation of a 940s room. Several people have heard Second World War era broadcasts including the big band sound of the Glenn Miller orchestra and speeches by Winston Churchill. The broadcasts come on at random and can last for up to half an hour.

Can’t you just see it? Serling steps out from the dark: “Graham and Aileen Philip volunteer at a historic air station where, in World War II, RAF flyboys returned from a mission to drink tea with a bit of warming brandy, while the Yank’s big bands played on the wireless. But their duties this week have become a shift through time and space, into the Twilight Zone…”

The segue, of course, would be a camera pulling back from an elderly middle-aged, mustachioed Englishman sipping his tea at the snack-and-souvenir counter of the air. On the walls are old propaganda posters advising the populace about blackouts; Churchill is on the wall looking resolute. The man’s cheery wife, behind the counter winks at him and said, “let me put a little heart into the cuppa, dearie…” as a few veterans and their wives and grandchildren wander in. The men, all on the other side of 70, want to relive a moment when they were needed; when their lives were purposeful and had meaning beyond their own pleasures. The kids are bored beyond words.

Well, you know what would happen.

UPDATE: Speaking of the Twilight Zone, it seems the public schools are living there: check out Shrinkwrap’s post on how test-grading rewards wrong or incomplete answers.

A society that “educates” its children to believe that 2 + 2 = 5 is “close enough” and that they are the smartest and most special because to be found wanting might damage their self esteem is a society that has already committed suicide, but doesn’t appreciate that they have ingested a slow poison that will destroy them in time.

I’ve told my husband countless times over the past two years, if my kids were little, right now, I’d be seriously thinking about home-schooling. Shrinkwrapped’s post will have you laughing at the start, and wanting to cry by the end.

And this is just irresistible:
Although if the kid had made this call here, doubtless the DHS and J-Nap would be tracking her down.

“When the school falls down, will it make a crash or a wallop?”

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • EJHill

    Oh, Lord… “Fill your boots, man!”

    [KILLED me when she said that! -admin]

  • The Big Feed

    I have the same issue with my radio at home. Only it plays old Air America broadcasts. All 5 of them.

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  • TCN

    That girl is pee-your-pants funny. Thanks. I needed that.

  • Joseph

    “Give me a ball park figure.” Nyuk. If only all it took was money to fix the schools.

    13 years ago, my wife and I joined a couple other families and started a small school. This weekend, our two eldest, along with other graduation candidates, defended their graduation thesis, for an hour each, in front of parents and their peers – that they had prepared themselves to be responsible adults in the world. Then, their peers and the parents and staff – the people who know them best – vote: Diploma? A 75% majority is needed.

    Because, after all, math and science and all that are all well and good (I have a graduate degree, myself, so I’m not knocking it), but isn’t the question YOU want an 18 year old to answer: are you ready? Not: can you correctly fill in little ovals using a #2 pencil?

    We need more little girls of all ages to work towards knocking down their schools.

  • DJMoore

    SF fans like myself are immediately reminded of Harlan Ellison’s short story, “Jeffty Is Five”.

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  • Paco

    I think the problem is not so much that they get partial credit but that there is no useful information given to the teachers or parents about what an individual student might need to progress. For example, on the first question where the correct method was written but no answer derived or given, was this due to lack of time at the end of the test or inability to actually complete the method. In the second question it appears the student knew a conversion and calcluation were required but may have done both in their head and then messed up while showing their work. Maybe they should not have gotten partial credit because they did not show the conversion of 1 ft = 12 inches, which would have prevented the other error.

  • Joe P

    Where can I get a radio like that? I wonder if it could pick up “Fibber McGee and Molly”. This would also make a perfect entry for “In Search Of…”.

    All that said, remember that this is in Scotland, the land of the Loch Ness Monster.

  • Robb76

    Joe P
    Fibber McGee would be good but I am holding out for Dimension X.

  • B. Durbin

    In regards to the wireless, I am reminded of when I was working at a radio station in Spokane and my landline, very faintly, picked up that station. Something about the wires in the building being the correct resonant length, but it was strange.

  • Anne B.

    Actually, there WAS a Twilight Zone episode on that theme, many years ago. Short version:

    Cranky old guy living in a boardinghouse with other cranky old people (including his long-ago fiancee, whom he never married) – starts picking up old 1930s and 1940s programs on the radio. Nobody believes him, of course, because it never happens when anyone else is in the room. Finally it happens again, and he shouts out something like “Listen! It’s Allen’s Alley!” at which the camera pans to his girlfriend, who has just come into the room, 25 years younger and done up in 1940s style. She says something like “Of course, it’s always on at this time.” Camera pans back to the man, who is young again, too … they embrace, fade to black, implied happy ending.

    I have no idea what the episode was called, or who acted in it, but it was kind of sweet ;-)

  • Joe P

    Anne B,

    That occurred to me too, but I forgot to mention it. The episode was “Static” (original air date 3/10/61) and it starred Dean Jagger as the cranky old man. Yes, it was rather sweet.


    I like “Dimension X” (and its successor, “X Minus One”) too, but they’re from the 50s, and so far this radio (we are told) only picks up broadcasts from the 40s.

    This would also have made a good entry for “Unsolved Mysteries”.