Discussion in 'The Display Case' started by airgrabber666, Feb 14, 2011.
Here's an ad for this one from the April 24 1948 edition of the Saturday Evening Post.
Thanks for that. It was the first TV to sell for under $200 at time when they were selling for close to $400. The amazing thing about this 28lb set is how simple the chassis is for the time. Less than a decade before the '39 RCA TRK-9 required a huge 200lb console cabinet to produce a slightly larger 9" picture!
This movie, Manhattan Merry Go Round, is the earliest movie to show a television set in operation, so far as I know. It was released in November 1937. Can anyone identify the set?
The show features Ted Lewis and his orchestra, Cab Calloway and his Cotton Club orchestra, Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, Kay Thompson and her ensemble, Louis Prima and his band, Gene Autry and his band, Joe DiMaggio as himself, and a cast of your favorite thirties characters.
Although DuMont and RCA were both experimenting with projection television units by 1937, nothing resembling that unit was on the market yet. I suspect it's most likely a purpose-built prop, designed to project a film loop onto a ground-glass rear-projection screen using an arrangement of lenses and prisms. The Mills Panoram, a coin-operated ""video jukebox" device that did exactly this using short musical films, came on the commercial market a couple years later and very much resembles the device found in the film.
The most common television set in the US in 1937 was a model built by RCA for field testing in the New York area in 1936.
It was not mass produced, or sold on the open market, but installed in the homes of NBC engineers and executives in and around greater New York to determine the quality of reception at varying distances from the transmitter. Only about 75 of these sets were built by RCA, but the plans were later shared with researchers in the Soviet Union, and were used to build quite a number of similar receivers, adapted for conditions in the USSR.
Of course, there were also the earlier mechanical-scanning television sets built in the early 1930s for the Jenkins television system, but transmissions had ceased by 1936, and these units had already been relegated to attics, or dismantled for conversion into simple radios. The image size on a mechanical set was very small, but as this technology was nearing the end of its very slight popularity, a few sets were made with lens-and-prism magnification systems that rear-projected the enlarged image onto a glass screen, much like the Panoram would later do.
If the set in the movie isn't a prop, or a Panoram prototype, it could be something like this, although the screen seen in the movie is much larger than the actual models sold, with the image being fed by a Panoram-like film loop. It doesn't appear to be a special-effects matte, which is what you usually see when images are shown on television screens in vintage films.
An update with my 1949 Pilot TV TV-37 3" television. I was a little disappointed to see the "Pilot Radio" free-form style decal on the rare optional screen magnifier just a mere ghost image. A collector-friend from VK was nice enough to make a reproduction decal and it came out perfect:
I also got a 1949 Emerson model 600 portable TV. It's got what was called an imitation "pig-skin" covering and has rubber feet on both the bottom and side so it be placed down like a small piece of luggage. It's got one of the nicest face-plates of all the early post-war 7" models and a unique almost cube-shape. This set was also sold as a wood tabletop:
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