Sparky – 78rpm – 1952 ish!

I was born in 1946, and so wasn’t doing much (that can be recalled) until the early 1950’s.  Both my Mom and Dad enjoyed music so, in retrospect, it is no surprise that we had a record player. The records of the time were a hard plastic, 10″ dia., and played at 78rpm which gave a playing time of around 3 minutes per side! Playing a classical symphony would involve constantly changing the records and/or turning them over!

Finally, and to complete whatever image is being conjured up in your mind, the record player was driven by a clockwork motor. It had to be wound up on a regular basis and, in the event that you left it too late, then whatever you were listening to would slow down. Start winding the handle and your music got faster and faster until it reached the correct speed… and then all was well for a few more minutes! That was part of my world as a 6 – 7 year old!

Sparky’s Magic Piano was released in 1948, and was recorded on 3 x 78 rpm records (therefore 6 sides of playing surface, totaling about 20 minutes!).

I was reading a blog yesterday ( )  and the name Sparky immediately took me back to the early 1950’s and (no surprise now!) Sparky’s Magic Piano.

So, of course, I had to listen to it again. There have been a number of versions released, especially since the advent of TV and cartoons, but I wanted to hear the version that I was familiar with which, I believe, is the version linked below (runs almost 19 minutes).

Carol walked past and saw the Sparky heading on the laptop screen and said “Oh no… you’re not going to cry again are you?” Therein is an interesting situation. Why do I get teary listening to Sparky?

I equate tears with joy or sadness, and my early childhood was happy… although I don’t feel particularly happy when listening to Sparky!  I would question the argument that it is nostalgia, based on mourning a childhood, because although I have many happy childhood memories, I have many equally happy memories of later years.  I am also very happy with my current age, and where I am in general relative to life.

I can accept that an emotional response is logical, but to the extent of crying? I did not have any aspirations to play the piano so it is not the story line, which comes right back to nostalgia. I can think of many happy moments as a young boy, but Sparky’s Magic Piano is (as far as I recall) the only trip down memory lane that causes tears!

I am going to probably cry now as I listen to it again and, if you have 19 minutes to spare, please feel free to join me!


35 thoughts on “Sparky – 78rpm – 1952 ish!

  1. There are times I wish the tears didn’t come as easily as they do, but yet there is something to say for being emotional, you know you have a heart.
    When watching the Magic Piano I thought of The Red Balloon video that you had posted awhile back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for expressing your thoughts here. Reading through the various comments, I realized that what I originally considered to be two very different movies, did in fact have a very strong and common theme. A boy who was a bit of a loner, and his special friend! That takes me back to the mid/late 1950’s!


  2. Interesting what brings tears to our eyes, isn’t it. Would be nice to know what triggers such strong emotions for you with this piece. Someday maybe it will be uncovered in your heart.

    There are times I wish the tears didn’t come as easily as they do, but yet there is something to say for being emotional, you know you have a heart. 🙂
    I did enjoy listening to this and while it didn’t make me cry, I did feel sad for the boy when the piano said he wouldn’t play for him anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps it is the end of the dream that gives me the problem, but more likely I think it may be the delight of having a magic piano… which you can talk to! I led a fairly isolated life during the early/mid 1950’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe you are right about the idea of having a piano that you can talk to.
        When watching the Magic Piano I thought of The Red Balloon video that you had posted awhile back. I thought of the sentimental feelings witb that. The Red Balloon was the boy’s friend just like the Magic Piano.


  3. I remember Sparky’s Magic Piano, it was a favourite on a Saturday radio show when |I was a kid. Mum had a gramophone which played 78s, 45s and 33 1/3. I used to stack my singles about 8 high and even now if I hear a particular favourite that I;d bought years ago, I can remember the ones that followed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very sweet way to introduce kids to some of the classics. It reminded me of my Ms. Spear…an aging nun named Sister Gertrude Mary, who would smack our knuckles with a wooden ruler if we messed up too often. I only stayed with her for the first year !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My parents had 78 records but not the player. The player I remember was a 33-1/3. It had a record changer (? I think that’s the term) that allowed you to put several (but not too many) records on the spindle. The records would drop down when the previous record was done. We got a TV around 1955 but I don’t remember much before that. My parents were first generation Germans so there were a lot of polkas/waltzes in our house. My heart warms up when I hear one I’m familiar with.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember hearing some of the opening piano in that. I was born in 1952 so sadly missed that one. Your post did however bring back fond memories of the 78’s, and searching through drawers for the plastic adapters to play the later 45’s.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I don’t know why listening to Sparky should bring you to tears, but we all have some trigger that reaches far deeper than we suspect.
    I do play the piano (not very well but enough for my own enjoyment) and you don’t get anywhere with an instrument unless you practice diligently, so I have no problem with the moral of Sparky’s Magic Piano. 🙂
    I also remember an old gramophone we had that played 78’s and yes – those records played so fast!

    Liked by 2 people

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