MANNERS & MORALS: Quiet, Please!

It all started with an advertising man's dream—a vision of a helpless, pliable throng, ears open and guards down, known in the trade as a "captive audience." Trapped in Manhattan's cavernous Grand Central Terminal, where each day 500,000 persons swarm to & fro, was the biggest audience in captivity. The temptation was irresistible. Grand Central expanded its public address system into a small broadcasting studio, laid in a supply of canned music, syrupy-voiced announcers and loudspeakers (82 of them), and went into business. Advertisers eagerly paid $1,800 a week for the privilege of spraying music and shouting the merits...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!