November 1958 Popular Electronics
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
"A record 'Moocher' is one of the lowest forms of human life. He
has no particular habitat but can be found wherever there is a record
owner." Anyone who grew up in the record player era, or for that
matter the 8-track tape or cassette tape era has known (or has been)
such a moocher. This is the person who was always asking to
borrow your music media either for listening to on his personal
equipment or for copying onto his own tape (cassette or reel-to-reel).
He rarely ever bought any of his own music, but was more than happy
to generously re-lend his copies to fellow Moochers, and of course
he never had anything you might want. The modern-day equivalent
is the person who is always bugging you to let him/her copy your
music file that you either paid for as a download or purchased in
CD format. The same Moocher was probably always bumming cigarettes
off you, but never had one of his own to give to you.
Victimized by a Record Moocher
By Norman Van Tubergen
record "moocher" is one of the lowest forms of human life. He has
no particular habitat but can be found wherever there is a record
owner. His only identifying characteristics are: (1) he has a pleasant,
disarming personality, and (2) he always owns a tape recorder.
Having been the victim of a record moocher, I submit the following
case histories as a warning to audiophiles around the nation.
" ... he was small, polite ..."
Case History #1. I was sitting serenely in my bachelor apartment
watching the turntable spin and listening to Music to Make Home
Blood-Transfusions By as done in the inimitable style of "Leucemia
O'Shanughnessy and his Anemic Eight," when a strange sound came
through the din. It was the doorbell.
As I crossed the room, I silently prayed that it was not my upstairs
neighbor again since he is bigger than I am. I was in luck. It was
a small, polite-appearing little man.
me to introduce myself. I am Anthony Barrington Wellingsworth III,
your new downstairs neighbor," he said.
"Anthony Barrington Wellingsworth III?" I asked, in awestruck
disbelief as I stopped myself from collapsing from lack of breath.
He looked harmless enough so I invited him in.
"Er, I see you have a hi-fi system," he said, cautiously feeling
"Yeah! Great hobby," I replied, turning the volume down to a
level which wouldn't vibrate the pictures off the wall.
"I'm kind of interested in hi-fi, myself. I have a tape recorder
and was thinking of putting one of those fancy amplifiers, a turntable,
and some speakers in my new apartment."
If only I had recognized the danger signal - he had a tape recorder.
But no. "How about my helping you," I eagerly offered, thinking
that this might grow into a healthy audiophile friendship. I may
as well have said: "Lead me to the slaughter."
"That would be quite neighborly of you," he said, and I went
to the kitchen to get something to drink. Since I'm a bachelor,
you can be sure it was something slightly more intoxicating than
We sat up 'til 2 o'clock making plans for his rig. If only I
had known what all this was building up to.
I was put in charge of purchasing, so the next day I found myself
in the local hi-fi shop reading to Mr. Heminger a long list of components
(including such things as a Glokendeek Model X-5933 triple hodge-podge
amplifier with genuine silver filigree knobs with pearl inlay and
built-in electric plate). Mr. Heminger kept a "have-you-stripped-your-gears"
stare glued to me since he knew I already had a rig with which I
was perfectly satisfied.
finally broke down and said: "Ah ... is everything all right ...
I mean, you haven't been thrown out of your apartment or anything,
I didn't feel like explaining, so I said: "No, I just thought
I'd put hi-fi in my mailbox." This confused him more than ever,
but I figured that he led about as normal a life as anyone in his
business could so I just left him guessing.
Well, to make a long story short (and to save me the misery of
thinking about the gruesome details again), we got the outfit set
up and all was fine.
All was fine until one fateful evening that is. Mr. W. "dropped
in for a minute.
Then came the bombshell! ...
" ... long list of components ... "
"By the way, may I borrow some of your records to put on tape?
That equipment just about busted me so I can't afford to buy any
records of my own right now."
Like the sucker that I am, I said, "Sure. Go ahead and pick out
what you want."
As the pile grew, I began to realize that I had created a Frankenstein
that I couldn't stop.
When the stack reached about two feet, I went to the kitchen,
fried a chicken, ate it, and did the dishes. I returned to find
the pile reaching the five-foot mark and my cabinet bare except
for one old 78 of "Caveman" Johnson singing I Could Have Danced
All Night But You Kept Stepping on My Corns which I didn't know
Mr. W. picked up the stack and headed for the door.
"Ah, do you think you can carryall those at one time?" I inquired
with some irony.
"Oh, sure," he replied, confidently.
Suddenly I realized a danger and shouted: "Look out for the ...
" I was interrupted by a sound comparable only with that of a herd
of wild elephants running amuck in a glass factory, " ... throw
rug," I finished, meekly.
W. pulled himself up through the two feet of black chips. "Heh,
heh. Well, I guess now we know why it's called a throw rug, don't
we, friend," he said, making a feeble and rather unsuccessful attempt
"Just one of those things, pal."
"I'm sure you're insured, buddy."
"Er ... I'll see you around, chum," he said as he fumbled at
As I broke into tears, I heard him galloping away down the hall.
I swept the black chip remains into a big box and prepared them
Next day, I went down to Wellingsworth's apartment to find that
he had packed up bag, baggage, and hi-fi, and left - probably for
greener pastures (or, more appropriately, looking for bigger record
Case History 2. Case history #2 hasn't occurred yet because I
won't let it. I installed a tape recorder in the space previously
occupied by my records and have become a member of Record Moochers
Anonymous. If you can't lick 'em, why not join 'em?
Where do I start? Capitol? ... Decca? ... RCA?
Posted June 12, 2014