Saturday, October 06, 2018

The Wonder Of 1950's Technology: Philco's Port-O-Sound Cart and Predicta TV

Since we like our music here at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog, the above ad for Philco's Port-O-Sound Cart (turntable + tube amp + two-way speaker on cart = COOL) definitely struck a Bb13 #9 chord and confirmed that Mrs. John Q. Public in the suburbs was listening to those classic Charlie Parker Dial records while cooking the roast. In 1948 and 2018, music just makes dinner taste better.

Selling state-of-the-art audio technology to the home market was nothing new in the 1950's. Two decades earlier, the stop-motion animation geniuses of the George Pal Studio were selling Philips radios - the last word in 1930's audio - with elaborate, imaginative and painstakingly produced animated films. This one illustrates how Philips radios bring music and entertainment from all around the world to one's living room.

Yes, the Dutch loved American jazz and, in the latter portion of the following George Pal Puppet-toon, as was frequently the case in movies made before World War II, paid homage via 1920's vaudeville/minstrel show stereotypes . . . all part of a boiling cinematic bouillabaisse featuring incredible stop-motion animation, expert use of color, deft matching of sound to image and the ever-buoyant dance music by Bert Ambrose & His Orchestra. The music has got me ready to buy a top-of-the-line Philips radio right now!

Philco's Port-O-Sound Cart would not be its only high tech in the home product. The futuristic and state-of-the-art swivel screen Predicta TV, origially designed for the Holiday Inn hotel chain, was, like the Edsel, expected to take the world by storm. It didn't. The commercials were very cool, nonetheless.

At one point in the 1960's the stereo reel-to-reel tape deck was the height of audio coolness.

The ultimate version of the Port-O-Sound Cart would arrive decades later, at the end of the 1970's, as the Sony Walkman, The writer of this blog very sincerely hopes he didn't look as ridiculous as the actors in this 1980 TV ad for Sony Walkman did when he took his frequent constitutionals, every step tuned into Charlie Parker recordings, dubbed from vinyl and CDS to that wonder of technology, the cassette tape.


Bill said...

Maybe it because I have not had my more ing coffee and missed the sarcasm in your blog, but you know the Philco sound cart ad is fake, they were based in Philadelphia not NY, the town name shown does not exist, and the street name is German for fake

Paul F. Etcheverry said...

Bill, I've been fooled - and not for the first time! Now I will look up ads on Philco, as IIRC that is the only one I saw for a sound cart. There is a talented and hilarious graphic artist who does fake retro ads, Cris Shapan, and that could be his work.