Zenith Model J-733 AM/FM Clock Radio (1956)

Big and bold, this radio may be overdecorated to some tastes, but you can't deny that it makes a real statement. There's a lot going on on this design. From a distance, its big round dials make it look like a wacky space alien whose left eye is winking.

The dials are enclosed in black frames that stand out from the deeply textured gold cabinet face. The speaker grille and Zenith logo occupy center stage, above a set of three knobs whose gentle curve resembles a smile. Some folks despise this kind of thing, but if you're crazy for 1950s designs, as we are, this radio's irresistible.

This must be the biggest, heaviest clock radio that I own. The cabinet is thick, heavy, black plastic, and the seven-tube AM/FM innards contribute to the weight.

Like many clock radios, this one is missing a couple of those cussed teeny knobs from the clock section. There must be a special place in Widget Hell where all those knoblets go after people lose them.

If you enjoy spotting old radios in movies, keep your eyes peeled during Prizzi's Honor. In a scene where Jack Nicholson's character writes a note on a hotel room desk, this clock radio is right in front of him.

©1995-2017 Philip I. Nelson, all rights reserved