Since this is our 35th Anniversary, we thought it might be fun to look back at some products from the past. Some of the products were really far ahead of their time and some, well they just did not make it in the market. Come with us now as we look back through the Theatre Crafts Product Archives.
Your Father's Show Control
The Yale Audio Functional Timer, a fully automatic timer for switching on and off electrical products in as many as 48 combinations of time intervals. The AC outlet handled up to 1,000W. This device was in the July/August 1967 Theatre Crafts. At approximately $1.00 per event, it was a pretty cost-effective way of control for its time. Although it looks very scary, I bet it was a breeze to program, but would it synch with SMPTE and MIDI?
You Can Play With Your Food
Nasco offered plastic replica food in the January/February 1968 Theatre Crafts. [A greatly expanded line is still being produced for nutrition education.] The company was using a new process in manufacturing exact copies of food so realistic that it is necessary to examine them carefully. I would pay money to see an actor try to cut into a plastic steak onstage, not to mention the laughs when they try to chew the rubber hot dog. Oh, you say that's cruel, but you do the same thing with your dog.
Now, Here's a God Light
Genarco, a name from the past, used to produce followspots, but in the September/October 1968 Theatre Crafts, the company offered a 32kW, high-intensity carbon arc solar radiation simulator system. You could produce one solar constant over a 37"-diameter circle at a distance of 35', and an automatic feed for carbon arcs enabled 100 hours of uninterrupted operation. I bet it could take the paint off the stage floor, as well as turn plastic food into mush.
The Future Is Plastics
In the October 1970 Theatre Crafts, the Celanese Plastics Company offered a portable controller to simultaneously program and control tape recorders, projectors, lights, screens, draperies, and up to 60 other electrical devices used in audio-visual presentations. You may wonder why they were producing show control systems, but surprisingly enough, it was made of Celcon acetyl copolymer. I think this controller should be kept a long way away from the Genarco solar radiation simulator.
If It Ain't Broke…
Some of the early Clear-Com products are still in active use; recently the service department received a King Biscuit KB-100 (pictured and dating from the early 1970s) in for service. Charlie Butten, who co-designed the original circuitry for the Clear-Com partyline intercom, is still with the company, and he repaired the unit.
Also shown are the Clear-Com RS-100 from the earlier 1970s and the popular metallic-finish RS-100A from the later 70s. You'll still see these units in the touring kits of sound and lighting companies. To date, Clear-Com has sold about 300,000 beltpacks of various models since the end of the 1960s. The box in the photo is an early example of a single-channel intercom main station for the live theatre and touring markets.
CLEAR-COM INTERCOM SYSTEMS