Radio: Bells & Whistles

A director at Schenectady's WGY wanted a noise that sounded like a door slamming—so he slapped two pieces of wood together. That was probably radio's first sound effect. Since then (1922), harried, inventive technicians have livened up many a drooping air show with ingenious noises. Last week, one of them got better effects than he bargained for.

CBS Soundman Carl Pezzuto forgot to close his third floor Manhattan window before testing the Texaco Fire Chief siren and bell. A crowd gathered in the street below and two cops with guns drawn barged into the sound studio. Few radio sound effects get...

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