Before entering my teens it was a big deal to sleep on the porch all night. It was the fifties in Lima, Ohio. Few people stayed up past 11:00 PM. We lived on a corner house and a street light was the only illumination to the neighborhood. I don’t remember anyone walking the streets after sundown. No one had any business being out that time at night!
There is something magical and mysterious about being awake when everyone else is asleep. The pace and rhythm to life is different. It’s like seeing a town from a ride on a train; it is an entirely different perspective of the familiar.
I liked to lay and listen to the radio. Night radio and the music was different also. It was a voice meant to keep one company, not to entertain or sell something.
In the fifties WJR 760 out of Detroit had an all-night broadcast called Night Flight. When I think about it, it was really corny. It started out with an announcer saying that we were about to go to a city and we were cleared for take-off. All we had to do was relax and listen. For example the announcer might say we were on an all-night flight to Austin, Texas, a city of … and so on through out the night. So and so is from Austin… As he spoke you heard the sound of a prop airplane engine in the background as if just outside the passengers’ seating in a DC 3. The announcer kept you informed of weather conditions back in Detroit, the cities flown over, and what to expect when you ‘arrived’ in Austin.
Music was the main feature of the programming and your radio simulated flight. I wanted to hear rock n’ roll, but the music of Night Flight was meant to relax. They played a lot of Sinatra, Crosby, Cole, Cloney, The Ames Brothers, and Garland.
One night I got a little crazy. That happens during sleep deprivation. I stood and did close-order drills in the street in front of our home to the tune of The Ballad of the Battle of New Orleans.