Crosley Model 517 "Fiver" Bakelite Radio (1940)
This radio was used as a prop in the TV show Northern
Exposure. When I bought it at the post-show prop auction,
the metal case had been sprayed with
a thick globby layer of dark green paint. When I removed
the paint, a gleaming copper finish appeared. I had never
seen a copper-clad cabinet before, and at first I wondered
if it was some peculiar undercoat for a factory paint finish.
The copper is clearly original, in any case.
This big guy features Crosley's fabulous "Fiver" dial with a
gold mirrored background. If I had to pick an all-time favorite
dial, this would be right up there near the top.
Another unusual feature is the front panel. It's one gigantic
bakelite grill, with holes for the dial and knobs. I wouldn't
call this radio elegant, exactly. The metal cabinet and
grill almost seem as if they came from different radios.
But it definitely makes a dramatic impression, and I love it
because it's dramatic and unusual.
Years after I acquired the radio, I ran across this
page, stating that this model came in three color
schemes, all painted. So the cabinet was originally
painted after all, but the sloppy green repaint was presumably done
by the TV show's propmaster.