It has now been nearly ten years since I moved from a cathode ray tube television to a projector. Once you’ve gone to a projector, you can never go back. I’ve always been fascinated by projectors: my family had an extensive home movie collection. And I used to save my money and order 8mm versions of classic films through Blackhawk films out of Davenport, Iowa. I would spend hours going through their catalog wondering if I should get a Laurel and Hardy short or a ten minute version of DeMille’s Cleopatra. (Cleopatra won) . I would watch them over and over, showing them multiple times to friends. Trying out different music scores.
And then there was my Talking View Master projector which I spent hours looking at the same discs of The Brady Bunch, Yogi Bear and The Flintstones. and I’m pretty sure one of my neighbors had a Give A Show projector flashlight.
I don’t recall when I first heard of projection televisions, but as a teenager I remember experimenting. I would take my father’s big magnifier workshop bench map and put up our old home movie screen. Then put the magnifying glass a few inches away from against my ten inch b/w television set. It would shoot a dim reflection of the movie. Albeit an upside down image, but in a totally darkened basement you could sort of see what was going on. I would lay on the couch with my head hanging over the edge to see it right side up. After several minutes though I would start to get dizzy so it wasn’t the most ideal set up. (It was hard to turn the b/w tv upside down, because then the rabbit ears were in the way.)
I remember when kits were advertised in Popular Science Magazine to build these boxes. I’m surprised at myself that I never gave this a try. Does anyone have a story about trying these boxes? This was years of 480i resolution! We’ve come a long way baby.