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The National Association of educational broadcasters resents the people who live on lotteries. On examination of the role of the consumer in the modern American city one of a series of programs titled The Urban Frontier. Once upon a time there was a little store. It lived by the side of the road. With farms all around. As far as you could see to the little
store came all of the people from all of the Far East. You open for business today Jared. Yes in the little store there were three barrels one for pickles and one for flour. We knew just taught them to hide and one for crackers. And as soggy as I was a couple of weeks ago heat drying them out all of the people from all of the farms came to the little store to buy the things that they needed. First of all I want to get my daughter Lizzie a balloon this time better give me one of the red ones. Right and they came to sell things too for I forget my corn will be ready in a couple weeks. What kind you got. All three kinds. Eating feeding them for them to live to drink can bring along for 5000 years and then about
three gallons going to make a batch of tonic. Nope. We like to have it for the drummers that come through. Makes them get really careless like. But mostly all of the people from all of the farms came to the little store to learn about all of the other people from all of the other farms. So although we don't Maison down the street pound in nails she was in a while ago. But one of our St. Louis hats eight or ten penny why did she do that I wonder as a tenpenny can't see at least not right off if you know what I mean. He's back. Let season three and so on here. Course he don't come around here no more black or white. Nettie Carson drops in every day or so and now she won't even speak to him. Fine girl a daughter of Carsons in the black. Too good for the likes of him if you know what I mean. Oh yeah he's a wild one. It's that Thompson blood he used to know is dead. Three or four sticks of that liquor. They did rest in spite of anything your mother could say you want
to give it to your girls on the way home or shall I hide it under the flower and it now is a fine girl. Guess it made everybody mad as hops when he humiliated her like that in a way you know it was her own fault she didn't have to let him and bought five pounds of coffee I'm going to have some hands and I need anybody to give me half a pound. Maybe now it could a controlled thing a little better at least that's what I told her. Nellie don't you let that boy go too far away all she did and he didn't. Yep that ain't never going to have no daughter mine no boy let her hold her hand through him sing and hold it for three Sundays runnin without asking her to marry him was it three some days Mrs. Sol three Sundays running man it's a she never was a nice girl tell you what you might do but to give me a new box of shells from a 12 gauge birdshot. You worried about your Lizzie in that Thompson boy. New thinking about them drummers. And so it was in the little store by the side of the road when most
of the people were farmers and their farmers were all around the little store as far as you could see. We will call these people the people who lived on farms the people who lived on farms bought things to use. They bought things as things and never got the mixed up with people. But soon the little store grew and other people came to buy things. And these were different people very different from the people who lived on farms. These were the people who lived in crowds. When a hello how are you today. It's certainly good to see you here. We like to please all our customers all of the time. Can you tell me what all the other people are buying. Well certainly now first of all here is this season's color. Yeah yeah. That's a car. It's called The morning after the night before. It makes one a little queasy when you first see it. Yes but everyone gets
used to it. Everyone's wearing it. Everyone's using it for everything everyone. But of course not everyone. It's frankly too good for some people. If you know what I mean. Who's buying. Everyone who is anyone. Give me a for instance. Well Mrs. Black has her entire living room painted. Who will the bill dream selected as their bedroom cause you know you'll admit that they are somebody I've heard of them who else that George cougars the Sam Myers doctor Mrs. Blaisdell twig. Well you must have heard and still looks well you know yes I do. Mrs. Mrs. Smith with a y. Mrs. Smart. Yeah that's right. We may put an E on it. Well as I was saying everyone who is anyone anyone at all this is frankly their color. Oh ok I'm so high I knew you were somebody I knew you were the moment you walked in. Nice to be known in the place one freak. You know where you hang out to buy things. Yes. Now then how about drapes.
Yeah so I guess we'll have to have everyone done and some bedspread and how about carpeting. Certainly furniture will get to the details later that cause that costs a lot of money. Just the larger pieces you know to go with the drapes a half to Mrs.. Everyone who is after all anybody everyone without exception the Thomases the dark liners the whites and Tilly Jones tell you Jones lives right next door. Not just ima just take a moment. What would she think what would she think Mrs. Smyth if your furniture didn't. Well she could after all come to only one conclusion. If you know what I mean. Yeah but that matters mind you do have an account here. Yeah but then how are all you really have to worry about is what would people think if Terry Jones does if she has already. And if you if you don't. Could be pretty bad how. I don't think I need to tell you how bad it would be. OK Frank your that and door knobs light fixtures
patio. If we got a we got now then how about your own personal wardrobe and your husband's ties his socks shirts a suit or two. And what about your children. You will want them to look like everybody else. Yeah well I guess I better but this is the season. Everyone but everyone is where do I go if we go out and if you didn't what would people think. We have departments for everything we do have an account. We were certainly doing this is an AM why. My. Say wait a minute you on second thought put any on. We certainly will be. A little. Story grew and grew. And the people who lived in crowds bought and bought. And the more they bought the bigger the little store group. And the more they bought the more they grew to. It all had to do with the Joneses and you know how many Joneses there
were the Joneses were everywhere. The Joneses where everybody and soul to be safe to keep people from thinking what people would think. All of the people who lived in crowds had to buy the same things that were bought by all of the other people who lived in crowds all except the Joneses and the Joneses were very different from the people who lived in crops. The Joneses lived on a ladder. And they were looking constantly as were all of the other people who lived on ladders looking and looking and mostly they were looking at the people who lived in magazines. The Stones I'm sure you saw the article in memsahib magazine for office workers. That's the only reason I came to your wretched little store. Of course it is but you must remember we did bring you the season's color
months ahead of anyone else but my dear boy that was simply years ago. Morning after is now too too cliche to say you certainly are things you probably don't even know that the Morgan Lamb Well Jay ps of Long Island in Tampa have already switched to search. You don't say she's doing everything simply everything in search. There was a big article in now which was oh yes a better house and lot the magazine for couples who can afford it. Here is an article on this is Cornelius builder a fan of Bar Harbor Town. And nice how nice this is a pre-publication as a matter of fact these are the galley proofs. The issue hasn't even been predicted I have related here. Well I like this magazine. Yes bad aboard the magazine for women who know it's very dependable. Yes it is so much better than existence for young newlywed and so much faster than the Ladies Home Ledger the magazine for women. Well you know what I really came to see you about is an article but now you mustn't
breathe this to us so I will. I have a friend in New York she works for live kid the magazine for old married couple. Not so loud. I don't want everyone just everyone every old biddy in the store to hear me. Of course you know my friend tells me that next year's color is going to be sort of yes. O o t the personality black. This may be a little advanced for us of course it is but Mrs. Aster Pfeiffer of Long Island the castle Cranston's of San Francisco and the colonel cornpone lees of Atlanta have gone to us. Yes and furthermore lift kit is going to do an entire issue. No I want your decorator at my place tomorrow but we haven't a thing in this house your voice. We don't have a thing on TV. You get it. We certainly will. And we certainly appreciate your time. Listen you don't you tell us no not living.
No not until I look after our places than you. Well as you demand then you just do your own itsy bitsy judgment. I couldn't stop you from just telling everyone anyone at all but everyone but you bravest to a cotton pickin soul buster and brain you. The people who lived on ladders were wearing tents about the things that they bought and the people who lived in magazines. They really didn't exist at all. But the people who lived on ladders thought they did. And that was enough. You see the people who lived on ladders had very little time to do anything anything at all except play a very complicated game a game called points points was played with the things you bought. It was a complicated
game because everybody kept score on everybody else and you could never tell what your own score was and you could never be sure whether you were making points or losing them. Mrs. Jones played points with Mrs. Crofton on the way home from the store. Harriet I went to the opera again last night and the tenant was a guest today. Mrs. Kraft and has only been to the opera once this season so. Mrs. craft and gives Mrs. Jones five points. It was such a nice evening we decided to take the station wagon. Mr. Kraft and hasn't yet bought a station wagon. Furthermore the craftsman's only have one car. So like it or not.
However in this particular session Mrs. Jones pushed her luck a little too far. You know when you feel so exposed somehow sitting there in a station wagon wearing Now this was a very grave error on Mrs. Jones part for you see Mrs. craft and had an ermine wrap with the result. The people who lived on ladders played points with everything everything that they bought everything that they paid their money for. We've decided to send our oldest boy to Harvard. We haven't told him yet. It'll have to wait till we get back from vacation. The Bahamians you know. Taking the whole family.
We should have time to talk it out with him. We'll be there for one full month you know. The craft and family will be spending two full months in Mexico as we were saying points with a very complicated game. Even if you had amassed a tremendous total against an opponent's pitiful showing you could never be sure that your opponent wouldn't cancel your score in what was called the little things forfeit. Now here's an example. This is exactly what happened after Mrs. Jones has dropped Mrs. Crofton at her home and after by all rights Mrs. Crofton had won the match so she can have CAD Eldorado. Her ermine wrap her two months in Mexico her swimming pool her five bedroom cottage. But you should see the fingernail polish she uses when
glass shade. And with that Mrs. Kraft and didn't have a point to her name. Not with Mrs. Jones she did. I guess that after all she's just not oh kind of people. Well you can imagine what happened when a lot of people who lived on ladders got together. Then the game really became complicated when you were hearing this. You knew very well that this was going on too. Just for the life of you you could never find out for sure what your score was or just where you stood on your ladder. This is why Mrs. Jones was so tense in the store. She was hoping to score many many points with many many
people and yet she couldn't be sure because points was such a complicated game. Now the people who lived on ladders were not the only people to play this game but they did have their own special rules the more of thing cost the more points you scored. Yet this was not the way some people played the game. Some people were more relaxed much more relaxed. And these were the people who lived on platforms. They might be above the people who lived on ladders or they might be below them it really didn't make any difference wherever they were the people who lived on platforms could be sure of one thing no matter how many points they won or lost. Their platform would stay right where it was. With the result that they were very relaxed.
Alfred you know I'm not going to buy another sports car. I don't know yet Marty. I find myself thinking about it and thinking about it. Or. Move over most a week. How many does that make this year. Five. No I guess it's a rule of law it's code. There's probably something wrong with you. Something's seriously wrong. Yes there is but I have this compulsion to buy sports cars. I really have no use for them but well I buy them. I've been thinking of getting a thundercloud name. You haven't had one yet. New ones have before you any block dust in a tube. I understand they really od beautiful little machine bronze bushings though and no one ever asks you for a ride over where you're going. I find this very relaxing. This compulsion Alfred what do you think it means. Oh.
I don't know I have to psychiatry is where he got it. So far they haven't been able to come up with a thing. They probably won't. They never do for me. I've been thinking of getting because people were psychiatry's But you go to Earth instead. I really don't know. Don't don't which down to go to Paris. Why not now. It's very well and good. Don't tourists Spain bad roads. Britain crowded very well the whole dolo me too. You see my problem this compulsion is about all I have right know Gwendolyn very expensive but that's the trouble nowadays. Everything that costs money is either dull uncomfortable or neurotic.
What a brilliant analysis. But think about it some time. Let's do the other. We really should. I think why bother at. All. Now with the people who lived on platforms it wasn't the buying or the having that scored the points. It was the way you went about it. It was the style that counted and there were two basic styles. The casual Alfred was casual and the expert Monte was expert Alfred was being very casual when he said Over thinking of getting a couple more psychiatry's but I may just go to Paris instead.
Oh you really don't know. But Monte recovered very nicely with all his travel information. Remember Nats in Paris. Tourists in Italy. The roads in Spain and crowds in Britain however Monte's big triumph came when. That's the trouble nowadays. Everything that costs money is either dull uncomfortable or neurotic. Everything you wanted to buy he had covered it all and as casual as he was Alfred had to admit it. That's a very brilliant analysis but let's think about it some time. A lot of points were made and lost in this session. And even though we might guess who won. Let's make sure. With a very quick totaling. Monte 55.
Alfred 61 which is something we already know in most contests of this type. The casual style had a tremendous advantage for if you were casual enough you could infect your opponent. You could make him relax and break up his game entirely. For one thing about the expert he had to be intense. He had so much to remember and when he could remember it he was out terror. When he came to the store he was even worse. The survey from my third twist. Yes I know but this Macron fiber that this firm uses is made by the old flood choicer daily processes it is I mean it was yes it is only thirty eight point one 5 7 2 0 percent of the photos islands of the smack are introduced by the new edge time and
labeling process. Furthermore the affirmation of the individual fibers is not stable or even predictable. Let me show you another suit. Now no no this is a good value a good buy for the money we have some of the best names just look at the letter all the same all the others are made of smack and loomed by this Michael Jan Mills twist is all wrong as shown by some really independent testing laboratory is that fact and every call you have there is a poly diet of floral so Fonda may die. Are you sure every one of them. It's just terrible. How could our buyer. No no that's good. You don't say. Now if they were handled by the crime stats formula. Yeah that would be bad. Over they were they were I'm sure they were. Now if you'll excuse me other customers you know. But if the crime stats formerly were altered by the Crandell additive excuse then the only worry is will it. Frank in the sunlight part of course it won't if the color is fixed in a Samsung bath or if it has been given the tele Smith the
Mercian look. Take take the suit take it it's a gift. If on the other hand these suits were de wrinkle lies down the new Flegel marking machines. Well you just never can tell. And if they had the tele Smith on top of that sad gift I'll pay for it. Take it buster it's your suit. Suit this you don't want a suit I just came in for some war surplus denims. Wait a minute. Come back here I want to. They're. Going to do some gardening. 34 36 stop a. Running the denims over. There. One thing about the people who lived on platforms whether they were the casuals Alfred was casual or the experts. He was an expert. They did enjoy the things they bought which is more than you can say for the people who lived on farms. Of course the people who lived on farms did enjoy the other people who lived on farms but people who lived in crowds and the people who lived on ladders. Well they
always had problems. The people who lived in crowds had to keep other people from thinking what other people would think. And the people who lived on ladders could never be sure where they were or where they were going. They couldn't tell whether they were going up. Or whether they were going down. But the people who lived on platforms they could relax they weren't going to fall off. And when they did buy something they bought what they wanted no more no less. Of course there were other people who came to the store. These were the hybrid people who lived on clouds. The people who lived on clouds were called hybrids because they were both
casual and expert. They were really casual because they never played points. Well hardly ever. And they were really experts because they never got things mixed up with people. Well practically never. But the hybrid people who lived on clouds were very very rare. They may not have existed at all and we couldn't really say they did except for the legends they started. Some of them started in Texas. If I know them well as a minor flaw and 80000 barrels a day but I still live my 36 Dodge pickup takes me where I want to go and I figure that's all a car should do. Some of the legends came out of Chicago. I tell you son. I wear tennis shoes to the office because they're cheap and they don't hurt my feet. Other legends came out of Hollywood. When they make another good picture I figure I'll go see it. And even out of New York don't figure I
need that big place out in the country just to show off to my friends gave me nothing but trouble anyway. Think I'll live right here middle of town smack dab next to my money. The hybrid people who lived on clouds were very very rare. But they bothered all of the people who lived on ladders as well as the people who lived in crowds and sometimes even the people who lived on platforms. But most of all they bothered the little store sold a little store when it became a big store always said that the legends were merely rumors. So everybody forgot them. Today you can't tell whether there were ever really any hybrid people who lived on clouds or not because
now everybody is the same. There are no more people who lived on farms. They moved to the city. The people who lived in crowds and the people who lived on ladders together with the people who lived on platforms are all mixed together. We're all the same and now we are known as the consumers who buy on credit or the people who live on charge account. Good night. You have been listening to the people who live on ladders and examination of the role of the consumer in the modern American city. One of the series of programs titled The Urban Frontier produced by the community education project in San Bernardino Valley College under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters developed and transcribed in consultation with faculty members of the University of California Riverside University of Redlands and the Valley College.
This is the end AB Radio Network.
Urban frontier
The people who live on ladders
Producing Organization
San Bernardino Valley College
KVCR (Radio station : San Bernardino, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Why do consumers buy what they buy?
Series Description
Each program in this series considers one of the major life activities people carry on in an urban setting. The format is narrative with dramatized interludes.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
Stores, Retail
Media type
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Director: Harter, John
Narrator: Lynn, Paul
Producing Organization: San Bernardino Valley College
Producing Organization: KVCR (Radio station : San Bernardino, Calif.)
Writer: Harter, John
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-20-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:41
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Chicago: “Urban frontier; The people who live on ladders,” 1956-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 1, 2024,
MLA: “Urban frontier; The people who live on ladders.” 1956-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 1, 2024. <>.
APA: Urban frontier; The people who live on ladders. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from