Curated by Stormy Hunter for the 365 Days Project

What better way to unwind after a hard workday than in an easy chair with a cool drink, strolling mandolins, and MIKE WALLACE extolling the virtues of your new Zenith stereo! In 1965, my grandfather bought one of these Zenith stereos. He was not above trying to finagle a free record from the dealer, and this was the record the dealer gave him.

Although Mike Wallace's distinguished broadcasting career began as long ago as 1939, he was yet to find the niche that would define him when this demonstration record was made. This LP contains eighteen tracks of easy-listening music, every one of them with a voiceover by Wallace illuminating a different aspect of the stereo "for those who want the finest." He may not have been a household name in 1964, but his style was already fully formed. Authoritative, well-informed, razor-sharp, cut-the-crap-and-get-to-the-point.

I have many fond memories of Grandpa Nemo (1901-1983), and this record brings back a very sweet one for me. He used to play stacks of his favorite records on that changer: Highlights from "Carmen," Johnny Mathis, Sergio Franchi, "My Fair Lady," "Man of La Mancha," Julie London... and the Zenith demonstration record was always in there somewhere! The voice-overs became part of the music for me, and I memorized them from hearing them so frequently. In the late 1980s, I finally heard one of the original tracks without the voiceover. It just was not the same, and I dragged out the Zenith album and played it from start to finish, with a tall brewed iced tea in my hand! MMMmmmmmmmmm!

—Stormy Hunter

Listen to a 3.6MB mp3, total time—3:02

Mike Wallace & "Arrivederci Roma"

From "Zenith Stereophonic FM Radio and Stereophonic High Fidelity Demonstration Record" Columbia Special Products XSV 86099 (1964)

(Images courtesy of Stormy Hunter)

"Arrivederci Roma" English lyrics by Carl Sigman, music by Renato Rascel

Material used with the kind permission of Otis Fodder
of the 365 Project
 and Stormy Hunter

Back to