Above is a charming reel of a few old RCA Victor television and radio ads. As always with ads for old technology, the yuk-yuk factor is easy, low-hanging fruit. Of course old TV sets look silly. So do the annoucers who sit there extolling their virtues. (They also sound silly–the announcer-style voice of the mid-50s is very distinctive and–is this a word?–lurchy. Do you know what I mean? Do I know what I mean?). Anyway, the really important ad in the batch begins at the 2:00 mark. It’s for what appears to be the first clock radio, an invention that I thought belonged to the 1970s. Yes, you could set your radio to wake you up and yes, it even had a sort of ‘snooze button’ (an automatic one, it went off after ten minutes if you didn’t wake up). But this little sucker also had a timer that would automatically tune to your favorite radio shows when they came on, an invention that I thought belonged to the early VCRs. Furthermore, you could plug an appliance into the back and set the timer to use it when you wanted too–a coffee maker for instance could be programmed to go off at a certain time of day if it was attached. All this feels to me very progressive for the era, almost a little Alexa-ish without the stupid voice activation feature which most people don’t use anyway. God bless RCA (and Victor while we’re at it) for all the joy their inventions (and recordings) have given us over the years.


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