Montgomery Ward, Autumn/Winter 1935-1936
Another page, another year, another model female overly attached to a product. We’ve seen it with spoons; we’ve seen it with freezers, now we see it with radios. It’s not just her hypnotized gaze that gets me – it’s the whole scene. Who is this Grecian goddess? Who is her girlfriend? Why is this radio literally on a pedestal, looking like a cross between a Greek Temple and an Art Deco skyscraper? Where is this?
I do get the art director’s intent: it’s lust-worthy, modern technology. It would make a 1935-era house look right up-to-date. And on cold winter evenings I too can look on in rapt attention as the music – and the 16 vacuum tubes – warm the night. Although I might put on a sweater.
As to the actual radio, behind the “matched burled Walnut Veneers” it’s really a pretty fine set. (As it should be, since in today’s dollars it would have cost $3450.) With twin speakers, tone control, and 30-watt amplifier, this was one of the very first pieces of audio to claim the term “High Fidelity” in its advertising….at least as high a fidelity as AM radio stations could muster in those days.