60 Summers Throwback: Feds Investigate Dan’s Papers, from October 16, 1981

FCC agent visits Dan's Papers in 1981
FCC agent visits Dan's Papers in 1981, Photo: stokkete/123RF

From the October 16, 1981 issue of Dan’s Papers:

When a distinguished-looking gentleman arrived at the Bridgehampton office of Dan’s Papers and announced he was from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), uh-ohs could be heard all over the building.

Yes, some of the stories in the summer issues have been somewhat zany or avant-garde, to say the least. But sending in the Feds? A hush fell over the coffee-break room where most employees happened to be.

He was here, he explained, to investigate an invention described first in a July 17 Dan’s Papers and later reprinted from Dan’s Papers in The New York Times.

The HARD ROCK SCANNER JAMMER was described as “An electronic unit the size of a cigarette lighter. Guaranteed to cause static on any radio operating within 100 feet. Good on the beach, in the marina, or at home. Can be operated from within a handbag or from inside a pocket. $7.95.”

A concerned citizen reported this “invention” to the FCC, perhaps afraid his or her flow of easy-listening music might be interrupted some sunny summer day. “Can they do this to me?” he or she must have wondered.

Upon checking, the FCC did indeed discover that their agency had not approved such a gadget. A G-man was dispatched and came complete with drawings and publication in hand. He stayed about ten minutes.

The alleged invention was a fabrication, Carol, the Office Manager, claimed, rummaging through back issues for proof that Dan’s Papers sometimes mixes fact with fiction. And after a few examples were pointed out, he believed it. He left in better humor than when he arrived.

The HARD ROCK SCANNER JAMMER, neutralizing the noise of those loud radios at the beach, is just a good idea whose time has not come. Yet.

Get your copy of the limited edition Dan’s Papers coffee table book “60 Summers: Celebrating Six Iconic Decades on the East End.” On sale now for $60 at FriendsOfDans.com.

More from Our Sister Sites