Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

1955 Tex Avery Cartoon Uses "Laughing Record" From 1923

A jolly looking genius. 
It's hard to dodge accusations of being a codger when you write a site called Retro Thing. Honestly, the only time I actually do feel like an old man is when I have to repeatedly ask my neighbors to keep the noise down. A lot of students live in my building, so I'm the "some old guy" they hiss about behind their doors when I complain about the racket. I like music and parties and happiness, but prime time around here is a ludicrous 4 a.m., and is dotted with the "subwoofer shootout" video game, band practice, and the mysterious nocturnal shifting of lots of furniture.

At any time other than 4 in the morning (and admittedly even then sometimes) I'm actually fond of strange noises and laughter. I've even been known to produce both, despite my advanced age and decrepitude. The Okeh (a record label known for its "race" records among other things) "Laughing Record" is a famous novelty recording from all the way back in 1923. The record consists of a man playing a cornet (I think), a woman braying at him, and the man sputtering and laughing as he tries to get back to his very serious music.

Bizarre? Yes. Funny? Yes. I'm not sure at what point in the party you put this on, but it's pretty great. So popular was this record, that is was re-released in several countries for decades. Since there are no spoken words in the record, it translates well to the humor of other lands. We've all had noisy neighbors playing wonky brass instruments, right?

25 years after its release, the recording became fodder for the last cartoon directed by the indefatigable animation pioneer Tex Avery. In "Sh-h-h-h-h-h", the Laughing Record is the soundtrack of some noisy neighbors, while a long-suffering nervous type does everything he can to avoid exploding with rage. I know exactly how he feels nearly every night. So it looks like the cartoon and the Laughing Record have given me the answer to my noisy neighbor problem. Anyone know how to attach my stereo speakers to the ceiling?

Download the Okeh Laughing Record from the Internet Archive

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