Hindenburg commentary

May 05, 2012, 12:44 PM

The date, May 6th 1937. Herb Morrison is positioned at Lakehurst, New Jersey commentating for WLS, Chicago, on the arrival of the German passenger Zeppelin, Hindenburg.

Live commentary was not only technically difficult, it was not permitted; so this broadcast was being recorded for later transmission. The recorder itself was hardly portable, it featured a large turntable with a 16-inch platter and a lathe which cut into the wax disc.

As the zeppelin arrives overhead, Morrison is commentating calmly when it bursts into flames. This is one of those occasions in radio when most would find it almost impossible to separate emotions from objective analysis; the whole event rendered all the more difficult owing to its unexpectedness.

The tearful commentary was aired the following day on several stations.

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