The Sonic Boom (and Dr.Zoom)
by Norman Peck
It was 1971, I had graduated from Rutgers College in New Brunswick, N.J. just a year before and was currently wondering what would come next for me. As it turned out, a local businessman made me an offer to open and set up a record/tape Hi-Fi store on route 37 in Toms River, New Jersey. I accepted the offer. Toms River was my home town, where I was born and raised, just a few miles from the Jersey Shore. (I'll spare you the needless details.) It wasn't long before the store was up and running, selling the latest 45 rpm records, 8track tapes and some real low-end Japaneze-made record and tape players.
Moving on, it would appear l97l was the year of the Cicada hatch for the North Eastern part of the country. If your unfamiliar with the cicada hatch' It's a phenomenon that occurs only every 17 years in any one part of the country at a time. These giant beetle-like bugs (1&1/2" or more long) with their bulging eyes, crispy shells and compound wings make for an intimidating creature! They live in the ground and burrow their way up and out, crawling up the sides of trees attaching themselves to the bark. This is where they mate and reproduce. So, I found the biggest dead one I could and brought the spent fellow into the store for a bit of show and tell. That's when I and an inspirational friend decided the creature "had potential"!
We decided to mount the thing on top of an inverted paper cup which stood on the store
checkout counter. Once glued atop the cup where he belonged (so that no one would borrow him),
we installed a tiny speaker system under his cup. The speaker was hooked to a small recording
device which was hidden under the counter. The customers were encouraged to ask
the bug simple questions which the bug answered in simple answers which were prerecorded
in an old world Eastern European accent. Needless to say the bug was a hit!
When I opened the store in 1971, I named the place The Sonic Boom! The big bug we called Dr. Zoom. Hence, Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the voice of Dr. Zoom? > Philip Wexler.
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