Short Wave Craft Magazine, March 1935

"$500 in Prizes for Best Title of this Cover!"

The cover of this March 1935 issue of Short Wave Craft magazine was deliberately left untitled. Readers were invited to compete for $500 in prizes by submitting the best cover title.

The accompanying article sets the scene. An avid shortwave listener buys a new radio and spends hours every night cruising the airwaves while lying in bed. When his wife complains about the noise, he buys a set of headphones and continues to listen. Naturally, he needs a bedside lamp to check his station lists (conveniently published in Short Wave Craft) and make entries in his listening log.

One night, around 3:00 or 4:00 AM, his wife finally loses her patience and says something to him. What she says, exactly, is the subject of the caption contest.

Like many such contests, the prizes consisted of radios and other equipment donated by radio manufacturers (in exchange for a mention in the magazine, of course).

Have you thought of a caption yet?

I can relate to this scene because I have kept a shortwave radio by my own bedside for years. The make and model has varied over time, but right now, it's my Hallicrafters SX-88. (Okay, I'll confess—my bedside table is actually a small desk, not a dinky table like the one shown in the magazine.)

I also own the issue in which they published the winning entries. After you have thought of your caption, look at the July 1935 issue to compare your clever title to the actual winners.

The neglected spouse was a favorite theme of radio magazines. Alone at Last! is the cover title of the July 1926 issue of Radio News. A lissome new bride weeps in a hotel room while the groom ignores her in favor of his radio.

Guys, take it from me—this is not the path to lasting happiness! Years ago, my wife and I struck a deal. It's OK for me to listen to a bedside radio on headphones while she watches the local news (which I detest) on TV. But when the TV goes off, so does the radio.

©1995-2023 Philip I. Nelson, all rights reserved