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Blast From the Past

Dan remembers vinyl, acetate and ribbons

I have a lot of web videos to look at this week in this week’s Off the Beaten Path. They include great old commercials and a “How it’s made video” which I think radio people (including engineers) will enjoy.

How to Destroy Records
If you don’t remember the Kenner Close ’n Play, you’re missing out on probably one of the most destructive record players ever! Battery powered to spin the disc, and a mechanical plastic reproduction module with something akin to a nail as a stylus (I might be exaggerating a little here). But, Dang! I loved my Close ’n Play!

How to Finish Off Those Nearly-Destroyed Records
Though I wouldn’t put rare vinyl under this one (and I never had one of these), this self-propelled record-playing wagon is pretty funky! It’s the Tamco Sound Wagon.

If you were around in the 1970s, you probably remember 8-track tapes. For those “fortunate” enough to have one (and certainly an 8-track recorder), you clearly remember that sudden “jerk” as the tape head shifted in the middle of a song to a different track (an oddly “acceptable” by-product of that “cool new technology,” which, by the way, barely preceded the Betamax!) Besides reminiscing about 8-tracks, the old TV commercial is pretty funny. (By the way, not sure I’d want my kids dancing with these two old “grubby prospectors!”)

K-Tel was THE 60-second version of a modern day home shopping channel. They sold everything from records to cool “widgety items” all in 60 seconds on our TV screens in the 1970s and often between our favorite cartoons. This was for the K-Tel “Record Selector.” Maybe most of the entertainment value for me comes in the copy and the way it’s announced. It’s “Space Age”!

And finally …

Ribbon Mics
Most of us who’ve used a classic ribbon mic can appreciate the quality in this old technology. But most of us have never seen what went (goes) into making these beautifully crafted works of technology. Here’s an excellent 5-minute video on the process.

If you stumble across a good or unusual web site that might be of interest, please don’t hesitate to send me the link and any info you might have about it. My email address is [email protected].