His Master’s 3D Holograph
The 3D experience of Avatar left me with a curious image in my head the next day. The visual effect was so real with the added dimension that it induced this waking daydream image:
A picture of a man (me, since it was my own personal vision), his face in the glow of a wall-mounted HDTV, his head cocked curiously to the side as if he cannot believe that those are not real flying lizards coming out of the screen toward him.
The precedent for this vision, some of you boomers may recognize, is the RCA Victor dog-and-gramaphone image–a 1899 painting that came to be known as “His Master’s Voice.”
The dog’s name was Nipper (because he was fond of strangers’ ankles) and he really did respond to a cylinder recording of his owner some years after the man’s death. The brother noticed the odd and poignant response, painted the picture, and realizing its marketing potential (though he couldn’t have had a clue to its staying power) pitched it to a gramaphone company of his day. As ownership changed hands, the iconic image persisted.
You can see a cartoon version of the history of Nipper (as told by the famous dog himself) here.
The Vintage Ads browser for “TV and Electronics” shows many old Victorolas and other models with Nipper’s reduced image in a corner.
I’ve spent far too much time following the evolution of “entertainment centers” over the years as seen in these archived ads. It’s informative to watch the role of plastic (supplanting wood) as it literally re-forms our TVs and radios into “streamlined” devices that must have seemed so futuristic in their day.
The other trend is size. The first TVs and especially radios were massive, heat-and-light generating floor models. One of my first memories as a child was the glowing tubes inside a vertical chest-sized Magnavox (I think) that looked something like this model.