The Swing Shift Shuffle is a radio program of swing, big band, jazz, boogie woogie and other popular music from the 1930's and 40's that airs every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (US Central Time) on WEVL 89.9 FM in Memphis, Tennessee, with a live webcast at In addition to the radio show, this blog is dedicated to all aspects of the Swing Era, including art, automobiles, cartoons, comics, history, movies, music, news, science, technology, and anything else that happened during that time. It also includes announcements about events in the Memphis/Mid-South area related to the Swing Era, such as classic movies, concerts, dances, lectures, etc. If you see something that fits the description, send it to me at If you would like more information about the radio show, just go to the Radio Show FAQ page.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Robot Jockeys Of The 1940's

The 1940s Plan to Replace Jockeys with Robots
When I was a kid, although I do not remember how old, I once witnessed a form of horse racing that took place in an arena, with small metal boxes painted like jockeys atop small horses.  The mechanical riders had metal rods sticking out the back that tapped the horse on its back to spur it on in the race.  This post on Paleofuture, featuring an article from the March 1945 edition of Radio Craft, reveals that such an idea arose well before my experience. 

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