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Looky!!! Vintage Kitsch - The Light on the Dark Side of the Moon [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
The Light on the Dark Side of the Moon

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Looky!!! Vintage Kitsch [Nov. 15th, 2005|06:31 pm]
Raven
[Tags|, , , , , ]
[mood |cheerfulgiddy, warm and fuzzy]

I have something SOOO special (to ME anyway!) to show you!!!!

take a peek....  warning, it's picture heavy... 

It's pretty easy to see where I developed my love for assemblage, automatons and all things of the "gizmo" genre.   Dad really loved this sort of thing and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  This is a VERY special bit of "primitive" folk art, created by my father for my little brother and I many years ago.  I marvel at it now when I realize how long ago it was and how such toys were still in just the imagination of the mass market.  The amount of work and imagination that went into it amazes me more now than it ever did when I was a delighted child.   Computers were still in their infancy and so uncommon, that if you take a closer look, you'll see he didn't even know how to spell the word! (and him being such a stickler on our spelling practices too!)  LOL!!!  That just adds to the quaintness.  I also remember him thinking the plastic "label maker" was one of the greatest innovations of our time.... LOL!!! and you can see he sure liked using it!

I'm trying to figure out the year round about when he built it...  I was maybe nine or ten years old... perhaps a bit younger.  I'm inclined to think it was Christmas of 1966.  I'm thinking that Star Trek might have been on TV which is where he would have gotten the inspiration... or was it from "Lost in Space"?   I know we still lived in our old house and I was around ten when we moved so it had to be maybe a year earlier.  That would make "Lost in Space" or an episode of "Twighligt Zone" as a more probable inspiration. 

Thinking of how close I was to losing this piece forever puts a big knot in my gut.  It had been long buried in a bunch of "junk" in a storage area and when my mom had to clean everything out she figured that since there were no longer any kids in the family to be amused by it, she put it in the pile of stuff to be discarded.  It was only by chance that I discovered and "rescued" it only moments before it would have ended up in the Salvation Army bin.  I grabbed it with a leaping heart and brought it home... where I again stashed it out of the way until today.  This morning I decided to clean it up and get a look at it's innards.  You can't even begin to imagine my amazement when after removing the back panel and checking for dangerous gnawed wires, I plugged it in, turned it on and it still worked!!!!  All the lightbulbs even still work!!!  I really think dad was looking down and had a hand in THAT!!!   Lights shine, there are motors inside that make things spin and twirl adding to the lighting effects and the scanner screen has a rotating drum inside that projects "planets" moving across the screen on the front.  Ohhhhh what a wonder it still is, in all it's naivety!!!    :-) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish he was still here to show me how to wire several motors in a series into things...  I would really like to add animation to some projects or just do somethng gizmo-ish like this.  I guess I'll have to learn on my own, but I'm sure he'll help in his own way as well as he can from the "other side"!   

linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: wendy_hill
2005-11-16 12:03 am (UTC)
OMG!! Raven!! What a treasure! What a wonderful Daddy!

Got any immediate intergalactic travel plans? Can I go too?
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 05:12 pm (UTC)

will you post on ebay?

will you post on ebay?
$45
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dianawolf
2005-11-16 12:05 am (UTC)
this is soooo cool!
what a good dad. Love it.

lucky yu to have something like this as a connection.

Thanks for sharing it with us.
xox
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: felt_fobix
2005-11-16 12:42 am (UTC)
funny where affirmations come from isnt it? Too amazing, what a creative mind! Beam me up Scotty!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: machinarex
2005-11-16 01:12 am (UTC)

are ya orbiting pluto yet?!

that is SOOOOOOO cool!!! what a great present that must have been, then and now both!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: djaza
2005-11-16 01:58 am (UTC)
That is really amazing. And to think it still works. Your dad (and you by inheritance) had a very inventive and creative mind. Wow!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: feychilde
2005-11-16 05:43 pm (UTC)
Okay...it was super cool...then I see that it actually lights up and the cool factor went out of the roof!!!!
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 12:46 am (UTC)

Reminds me of my childhood

I asked my mom if I could make something like this...she didn't know what I was talking about. My dad had died and I had no idea how to begin making this kind of thing: a spaceship panel with buttons that light up, etc... I eventually made one out of cardboard.

Cool dad.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 12:50 am (UTC)

Whatever you do...

...please don't submit to the temptation and sell this on eBay. My Dad fixed appliances for a living and sometimes gave me parts to play with; I would be thrilled if I had something like this to remember him by. As you say, the naive nature of it is a big part of what makes it so special. It came directly from his imagination and that, no matter how sentimental it may sound--no money could replace.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: alien_anomaly
2005-11-17 03:31 am (UTC)

Re: Whatever you do...

never ever!!! I'm a sentimental old fool :-)
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 12:52 am (UTC)

wow

yeah, great dad. extremely cool...
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 01:15 am (UTC)

Priceless!

That is, without a doubt, the most wonderful toy a father could give, and a son could receive, that I have ever seen. That made my day!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 01:28 am (UTC)

Thrusters to full, force field to max, activate the computor!

Can I come to your house and play? This is the coolest thing I have seen in quite a long time. Your dad got you over to mom's to make sure this gem didn't end up at the Sally Army. Right on! Prepare for Liftoff!
Thaddeus
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 02:08 am (UTC)

very very cool

and is it just my imagination or did your dad have a premonition about the apple ipod nav wheel? i can easily see it in the force field control..

to infinity and beyond!!!

;-)
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 02:16 am (UTC)

ooooo yeah

that wood grain is SEXXXXXXXXXXY. it's the ideal control console for a shag van in space. Ohhhhhhhhhh, yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 04:06 am (UTC)

coolest dad... ever!

computor actually sounds cooler
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 04:38 am (UTC)
WOW! That is by far the greatest gift I have ever seen given to a child.

On a rainy day three years ago my daughter and I built a small battery powered car from a broken CD player, a shoe box and lots of tape. We had a blast building and operating it. She still mentions it fondly from time to time.
My wife had convinced me to throw it away just this week. But not now! It is sitting atop my garbage bins right now for collection this Friday! I am going rescue it and stash it away for my daughter to find years from now.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: alien_anomaly
2005-11-17 05:00 am (UTC)
Awwww, I am SO GLAD we got to you in time!!!! She will treasure that car beyond words someday in the future!!!
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 05:01 am (UTC)
Wow, he put a LOT of time into that!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 05:10 am (UTC)

Gizmo

What a fabulous piece of work this is! So glad you were able to rescue it!
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 06:12 am (UTC)

Re: Gizmo

This brings tears to my eyes! I hope you have kids of your own and give them the same joy that your parents gave you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kahoki
2005-11-17 06:44 am (UTC)
Wow - this is really impressive. My dad worked as a field engineer on missles back in the 60s and 70s and he made up what he called a busy box with simple switches and ciruicts to make alternating light patterns, but this shows a lot of ingenuity for the day, as it is pretty comparible to what was being used on Sci-Fi TV shows, give or take some paint and a few more bells and whistles.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fish1000
2005-11-17 10:30 am (UTC)
That is Beautiful - A real work of Art.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 12:13 pm (UTC)

Great Toy

My dad made radios when I was young, way back in the mid 50's; he built it into a HUGE (or so it seemed at the time) cabinet with opening doors. Lots of lights and switches and dials, and i strange sounds from the shortwave bands it could receive. For me, this was my spacehip control panel! I now work on flight simulator hardware design.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 03:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Great Toy

Ah yes, the great noises that used to populate the short wave band - the essential soundtrack for any space adventure from my childhood. My own console consisted of a huge black tube testing machine with numerous buttons, a large ammeter on the front and even a set of punch cards you could stick in it. Turn on the red light, turn up the shortwave radio, and presto - my brother and I were were on a perilous journey to mars....
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 08:58 pm (UTC)

My son has one too!

My son loved my 1950s era Tek oscilloscope... when he was three he'd sit in front of it for half an hour at a time (powered off, mind you, at that age) twisting the dials and flipping switches, making all kinds of weird whistling and burbling noises, totally randomizing the controls.

When my friend Red came over and made a comment the boy didn't like, he said menacingly, "You better watch out, I can pinch you ANYWHERE IN THE HOUSE with this!". I nearly died!

My friend Huff's late father used to bring home all the excessed and busted equipment he could scrounge from Lockheed and rack it up in Huff's playhouse in the yard. Eventually, he had a whole room lined entirely with switches and gizmos! None of it actually lit up, though, so yours is cooler.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: grubi
2005-11-17 01:28 pm (UTC)
This is obviously a toy crafted by a father who loved his child very, very much. You are lucky to have had such a creative father. Never let that toy go!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: meadowood
2005-11-17 03:31 pm (UTC)
I'm sure your Dad had a hand in making sure it went to its rightful owner too! :) Hope you don't mind but I 'friended' you. Seems we have a lot of friends in common AND are both on the Assemblage list! :)
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 03:42 pm (UTC)

Love it!

You're a very, very lucky person to have had a father that went to so much trouble for you, AND was so creative in such a groovy way. I'm so glad you rescued it and shared it with us all.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 05:14 pm (UTC)

SELL IT ON THE EBAY

HEY - YOU GONNA SELL IT ON THE EBAY AUCTION?

VERY COOL INDDED.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: roninspoon
2005-11-17 05:32 pm (UTC)
Man, my dad just made me some wood blocks. They didn't lightup or anything. I feel kinda cheated now. That is, seriously, one of the cooler things I've ever seen. It makes me want to build something similar to install in my living room so that I have something to play with during commercials.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 05:33 pm (UTC)

If this were mine..

.. I would most definately find a way to stash a real computer inside of it, and sit it up on the desk next to my monitor. Complete with light show.. Someday I'm going to make myself a HAL-9000. :)
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 05:41 pm (UTC)

What a Dad!

This story brought tears to my eye and a strong recollection of a story I told at my Mothers funeral a few years ago. As a kid I lusted for one of those tin toy gas stations. They were so cool with all the figures, oil cans, gas pumps etc. But they weren't cheap and not in our budget. But what's a kid know about "budget". I was crestfallen and Mom knew it. So one afternoon she comes into my room with a cardboard box, some tape, glue, toothpicks, plastic wrap and a stack of magazines and she proceeded to help me build my own gas station, complete with pumps, a lift, a plastic window, the works! That moment meant more to me years latter than any tin toy ever would. (I am crying now as I write this.) Thanks Mom! And thanks to YOUR Dad for wonderful moments like these.

Gary
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: alien_anomaly
2005-11-17 11:03 pm (UTC)

Re: What a Dad!

wow... that brought tears to MY eyes too!!! Those moments of creating together are the most special memories of all.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 05:43 pm (UTC)

so awesome.

it would be incredible if you could post a small video clip of it in action!
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 06:49 pm (UTC)

Puter

Outrageous man, lucky you to have saved it from the heap.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 07:32 pm (UTC)
Wow. Way cool. It's clear your dad made this with heaping love. You are very lucky.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 07:48 pm (UTC)

Way cool dad

That really is a very ingenious setup your dad had. He was obviously a caring and thoughtful father.

You made mention of using motors in your own projects. It appears that the motors he used are Synchron motors, which are quite common and normally run on 120 VAC (consuming 3 watts). All the Synchron motors are very similar and manage different RPMs via gearing. They can be found quite cheaply on eBay (search for "synchron motor") less than $5 each.
Wiring them up in series is not a concern (we're talking AC here) aside from the normal electrical guidelines (make sure the wiring is of adequate gauge, the connections solid, etc..).

Best of luck and congrats on having this great thing to remember your dad's love for you by. Also, thanks for sharing it with us.

Cheers,
Ed T.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 08:40 pm (UTC)

I cant wait to do something like this for my son

My wife and I just had a baby boy, and I am dreaming of the days when we will work on projects like this one together.

This is truly a treasure.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-17 11:47 pm (UTC)

thanks

thank you for sharing that special toy. i know many an hour had gone by sitting in front of that screen fighting off all the world evils. after all these years i cant believe it works. to say the least your father was a gifted man.
because i to called him ...DAD.
thanks,
your brother
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: alien_anomaly
2005-11-18 12:31 am (UTC)

Re: thanks

Oh wow!!!! Surprise-surprise!!! Thank you for checking in here :-) Isn't it just sooooo cool how it's brought smiles to so many people now all these years later?!?!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-19 11:04 pm (UTC)
I'd like to share a personal experience.

My father had come back from WWII with a deep distaste of any kind of weapon. So, when his male son was born, he had this resolve about not letting toy guns enter the house.

Then one day - I think I was three years old - I walked straight to him, pointed out my index finger, clicked my thumb and said 'bang'.

And then, my father went and *built* me a toy gun. Out of a wooden plank, he cut the shape of a tommy gun, then he carefully smoothed all the edges to make it reasonably child-proof. Finally, he wrapped the wood in colorful plastic tape - yellow, red, and green.

I couldn't tell how many battles the tommy gun has been through... In the end, I outgrew the toy; I am grateful to my mother who set it apart, it is a cherished memory to me.

I wonder how many kids are as lucky as we were, nowadays.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-05-08 01:05 am (UTC)

Daddy: Toymaker

Found your site
at the Yahoogroup:
"Assemblage Artists" -
With my dad, brother and me well into the early fifties' TV series,
"NAVY LOG", and having played the grooves out of a Mono LP of Richard Rodger's "Victory at Sea" (goosebumps just typing this...), we thought it well to have a sub and a subchaser, made of pine and dowelling, painted by the boys, finishing touches by Daddy. Nothing says 'love' like a home-made toy! Thanks for sharing yours!
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