Thanks to Linton Weeks at NPR for these two North Carolina examples of the mostly forgotten tradition of Christmas pranks:
— “Early on Dec. 25, 1953, the town of Stony Point, N.C., was rocked by an explosion near the railroad tracks that woke local folks and shattered store windows. According to the Statesville, N.C., Daily Record three days later, ‘It is believed that for a Christmas prank, someone set off a charge of some explosive, probably dynamite, failing to realize the damage which could result.’ ”
— “In her 2013 book The Legacy of Bear Mountain: Stories of Old Mountain Values That Enrich Our Lives Today, Janie Mae Jones McKinley tells of a Christmas prank her grandfather — a railroad man — pulled on his two brothers-in-law in rural North Carolina [near Zirconia in Henderson County] during the Great Depression. It was customary for neighbors in the valley to shoot shotguns in the air on Christmas Day. People would take turns and the one who had the most ammunition was the winner — and by extension, the most prosperous. McKinley’s grandfather figured out a way — using a wooden board and a sledgehammer — to make a noise that sounded exactly like a shotgun blast. So he could outlast everyone. ‘After it b’come clear I’d won,’ McKinley’s grandfather would explain while laughing, ‘I kept smackin’ the board with the hammer ever few minutes for awhile — to show ’em I still had plenty of shells!’ ”
“Given [NPR’s] cultural associations, we were interested in finding out where there was the most demand for the likes of Terry Gross and Garrison Keillor….
Dan Kopf, Priceonomics; Data: RADIO ONLINE
“NPR’s headquarters are in Washington, and it is also the market in which their stations have the largest share. DC is followed by the higher-education saturated market of Raleigh-Durham — part of the ‘Research Triangle’ — driven by the huge popularity of University of North Carolina run WUNC. Ray Magliozzi of ‘Car Talk’ would be proud to see Boston sliding in at No. 3. And given the stereotypes about Pacific Northwesterners, it is no surprise that Portland and Seattle make the top five.”
— From “How Radio Explains America” by Dan Kopf at Priceonomics (Aug. 4)
Not to be left out, Charlotte’s radio audience can claim a No. 2 share of its own….
“Kasell got his first radio gig when he was 16; he hosted a late-night, easy-listening music show on WGBR in Goldsboro, N.C., playing romantic songs and waxing poetic about young lovers all through the evening. (You’ll want to click the listen link at the top of this page to hear a clip of that!)
“Once he got a job on-air, only one thing kept him off: He was drafted in the 1950s. After his Army service, WGBR welcomed Kasell back by giving him his very own morning drive-time music program, ‘The Carl Kasell Show.’ ”
— From ” ‘I’ve Enjoyed Every Minute Of It’: Carl Kasell On His 60 Years In Radio” at NPR (May 16)
Let’s hope Kasell finds his final appearance as official judge and scorekeeper of NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me” almost as memorable as his tour of Wilson Library.
— A view thanks to Hugh.
— “I wanted to put to rest… the idea that there were no African-Americans in Western North Carolina.”
— Halifax Resolves: a bottom-up declaration of independence.
— “Likely the most architecturally ‘fun’ house in Durham.”
— NPR joins mourning for Appalachian Cultural Museum.