Philco PredictaFrom: email@example.com
(((The article is about the American Museum of the Moving
Image in Astoria Queens and its new long-term exhibition,
"Behind the Screen," opening April 22.)))
A large part of the third floor is taken up with the
hardware of recording images and sound, including curios
like the 1931 Jenkins Radiovisor, a mechanical television
that used a slotted, spinning wheel to transmit images.
... One behemoth, an RGA/Oxberry Compuquad Special
Effects Step Optical Printer == a name worthy of its size
== used four projector heads and five computers
controlling 19 separate motions to project image upon
image for complex effects. The machine itself won a
special Academy Award in 1986. But today, it's largely
obsolete, a victim of digital technology.
Another curious device is a 1927 Bell Laboratories
Picture Telephone, a prototype closed-circuit television
link over which Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of
Commerce, spoke (and appeared) from Washington to the AT&T
president in New Jersey.
There are showroom quantities of vintage television
consoles, some predating World War II. Early sets had
picture tubes so long and unwieldy that the screen had to
be mounted face up, toward the ceiling, and needed a
mirror to reflect the image sidways to the viewers.
A thing of beauty was the 1959 Philco Predicta with
its oval screen. But the streamlined design came at the
price of unreliable technology, and the model flopped.