Posts Tagged ‘Earl Kemp’

I finally got across the street to take those pictures at Piexx, the electronics repair shop in Hillsboro, NH.  Their inventory of antique radios and televisions is not to be believed.

What you’ll be seeing below are some of the pictures I took during a quick outing.  I’m looking for image art I can use on The Classic Science Fiction Channel.  The idea is, instead of clicking a menu entry, you’ll turn on the TV or the radio, wait for it to warm up, get a test pattern and then, by turning the dials, you’ll be able to tune in on the show you want to watch or listen to.

(Actually, I’m hoping to put a whole living room scene up on the screen that will also let you operate a reel-to-reel for audio books or pull a volume down off the bookshelves.)

Here’s the television I’ve selected.  Imagine it with the following voice over: “We control the horizontal…from the inner mind to THE OUTER LIMITS”

You’ll notice that this TV does not even have a UHF dial.  If you’re asking – ‘what’s that?’, or of you’re wondering why anyone would need a dial for a TV (or better yet, wondering how the heck they can fit 999 channels on a dial), you’ve probably wandered into the wrong place.  Go back to kicking whores in GTA and leave your betters elders alone!

Now when it comes to radios, I needed something with a lot of dials and ‘tunability’.  There are a lot more radio programs than there are TV (at least on TCSFC) so I need a lot more buttons and dials.  There are quite a few contendors (I haven’t even begun to mine the depths of Piexx), but I’m pretty sure that the following is what I’ll be using –

I think I remember Pilot radios. I’ll have to ask my dad about it – it just might be the same company, if different model, that I listened to The Shadow and The Lone Ranger on.

That’s probably the radio I’ll use, but there are certainly some other ones I’m considering, such as this one.

That rotary tuning dial is so old skool it looks like it belongs in a B52, not sitting in the living room. The toggle buttons on the side are pretty nifty also and would probably be fairly easy to photoshop and animate.

Unfortunately the storage location for this (and a couple of the other items) was so cramped that I couldn’t fit the whole thing into the shot.  This radio is a floor model and stands about four feet tall.

Here are some others:

 This is a Gundig Master.

Before the Sith and the Jedi, there were the Gundig.  They were all trapped by the evil Edsels in their horrific Dashboard of Timelessness device, which is why Lucas had to go with Sith and Jedi. There’s a little bit of Star Wars pre-history you probably didn’t know about.


 This is the Meteor. Good name and the design is perfectly dreadful 50s kitsch, but there’s no display unfortunately.




These next two are also floor models. The fancy woodwork was required because the radio used to be a central feature of most household living rooms or dens. They’re also pretty ‘blah’, because the designers didn’t want to distract you from the visions that were going on inside your head. 


















These next two are REALLY old.  You can tell because they look REALLY REALLY old. Ancient. Decrepit. Aged. Antique. Obsolete.  CLASSIC.










This is a Westinghouse Home Entertainment Center in a Box. This thing has so many dials and that really cool handle. I think its actually a camouflaged portable power supply for Frankenstein’s monster.

Note the handy-dandy installation guide pasted into the lid.  




Here’s a blow-up:

It identifies this as an Aeriola Receiver, from the Westinghouse Radio Corporation. Note that it illustrates how to hook the thing up and attach it to your antenna.

 People have obviously been in mess-o-cables hell for a looong time.

It looks like it might actually have been put together to compete with product that our good friend Hugo Gernsback used to market.  Hugo offered kits that you assembled yourself. Westinghouse seems to have been after the non-geek side of the market.


Here are a couple more:













(This space reserved for humorous segue)

Speaking of cars, SUVs and vans, here is a pic of my all-time favorite vehicle. I want one badly.  Problem is, the company that made them has been out of business for so long hardly any information about it has made it to the web. It was manufactured by the Linn Coach & Truck Corporation. Those folks made a half-track for logging in the woods, but that half-track is about all you can find on the web.


The plow isn’t part of the vehicle.  This one is parked about two blocks over from my house in an outdoor museum called the Kemp Truck Museum.  Mr. Kemp died a few years back and no one else seems to be too motivated about doing anything to preserve the enormous collection of Mack and other trucks he collected.  (Hint:  I’d be happy to curate and fund raise for the price of a Linn…).

Here’s another pic of a few (very few) of the other vehicles at Kemp’s:

If you’re into old fogey stuff, New Hampshire sure looks like the place to be, huh?


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Jason Sanford brought the updated (2006) version of Earl Kemp’s Who Killed Science Fiction? (for which he won a Hugo in 1961) to our attention, by way of giving him an excuse to say:

“I challenge everyone who moans about the coming death of science fiction short stories to read through this amazing piece of SF history. I think you’ll find that many of the arguments and issues being raised today are the same ones being raised back then, which leads me to suspect that forty years from now people will still be writing and publishing SF short fiction–and moaning about the genre’s coming death.”

I read Kemp’s piece ages ago (well before the update, well after it was originally written) and re-read it on Jason’s suggestion.

I’ll not take sides in the particular fight Jason is picking right now (oh, ok, I will: short fiction IS dying and magazine short fiction is going even faster).  Instead, I’ll ask two of my own:

How many of the names of the writers and editors Kemp solicited responses from in 1961 do you recognize?

How many of them have you read something by?

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