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Entries in music (11)

Tuesday
Jun142011

Garco on Juke Box Jury (1954)

Garco the robot became Garco the music critic for the May 29, 1954 episode of Los Angeles TV's Juke Box Jury. Hosted by Peter Potter, the show appeared on KNXT (now KCBS) and featured a panel of celebrity judges who would critique the latest music releases. On this particular episode Garco appeared with Ann Robinson, Tab Hunter, Bea Benaderet, Gil Stratton, and Virginia Grey.

Asmiov only knows what Garco said during the episode, but the snippet that ran in the LA Times about Garco's appearance that night is below. 

I thought Peter Potter had flipped his lid when he called to say he had a robot on his Juke Box Jury panel tonight at 10:30, KNXT (2). But the more I think of it, the saner the idea sounds.

This robot is called "Mr. Garco." Actually, he's plugging a flicker which stars another robot. But Pete won't have to furnish him with too much orange juice, he probably won't be making passes at pretty Hostess Sue Alexander and he might come up with some out-of-this-world opinions of the records Pete will play.

Who knows, he might even bring a couple of flying discs for Pete to spin. He'll have help from such mortals as Ann Robinson, Tab Hunter, Bea Benadaret, Gil Stratton and Virginia Grey. They best be on their toes or Mr. Garco will.

 

Sunday
May022010

Jean-Marc Côté's Visions of the Year 2000 (1899)

Back in 2007, when the Paleo-Future blog was just two photos of Jane Jetson and a link to my Friendster profile, I posted some images from the National Library of France that depicted life in the year 2000.

I've since learned that these prints are from 1899, rather than 1910 as reported by the BnF. I've also learned that they were illustrated by Jean-Marc Côté, a French commercial artist who was commissioned by either a toy or cigarette manufacturer, to produce them. Interestingly enough the company that commissioned the cards went out of business before they could be distributed, leaving behind just one complete set of 50 cards. And where did I learn all of this wonderful information? From reading a book! Which I hear is FUNdamental!

Isaac Asimov's Futuredays is a card-by-card analysis of these retro-futuristic artifacts and does a wonderful job of putting them into historical context for modern readers. I highly recommend it, even though the book contradicts itself by sometimes stating that the cards were commissioned by a cigarette manufacturer and sometimes claiming it was a toy company. Enjoy!

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Wednesday
Feb172010

Robots Will Kill Music! (1930)

With every important technological innovation a vocal group of people become alarmed that their industry will be adversely effected by it. People are understandably terrified when it seems like a new technology will put them out of a job. However, throughout the twentieth century, we've seen that the people who succeed in times of transition are those able to adapt to technology rather than fight against it.

Techno-reactionaries of the 1930s complained that automation and "robots" were going to put people out of work, and we hear identical cries today. But what is the "robot" of 2010? The Internet, of course!

Writer Andrew Keen claims that websites like YouTube have "infiltrated and infected" America, putting hardworking people out of jobs by giving a voice to the amateurs rather than those who have been the traditional media gatekeepers. In Keen's 2007 book, The Cult of the Amateur, he accuses the Internet and Web 2.0 culture of crippling the entire media industry; from newspapers to recorded music. What really gets me about Keen is his moral outrage over technology and the fearmongering that goes along with it, but I'll save that for another post.

Below is an ad from the Music Defense League that appeared in the November 24, 1930 Jefferson City Post-Tribune (Jefferson City, MO). The advertisement uses a robotic villian; a physical representation of the recorded or "canned" music that was starting to be used in theatres of the era. From the vantage point of 2010 it's a rather hilarious idea, because what is the institution of today being "destroyed" by new technology? Recorded music!

Efficiencies in distribution brought about by the Internet mean that moving recorded music around the world is simple and inexpensive. Any scarcity in newly recorded music is artificial because you no longer have to go to a store and pay for plastic discs to enjoy the music you like. As has always been the case, the innovators will thrive and those who try to put up artificial barriers will become irrelevant and die off.

Viva la technologie, etc.

 

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Friday
Jan082010

Opening in Theaters 2019 (1986)

Chapter 8 of Arthur C. Clarke's 1986 book July 20, 2019: Life in the 21st Century describes what the year 2019 holds for popular media such as TV, music and movies.

Some predictions, like a mass medium that plugs directly into the human brain, may not be a reality by 2019 (Clarke writes about demand for this with a lot of references to LSD) but he was certainly on the right track with HDTV and 3D movie technology.

Below is a hypothetical listing from the San Francisco Chronicle of Saturday, July 20, 2019. I suppose in 1986 it was inconceivable that several major American newspapers might not even exist in 2019.

 

THIS WEEKEND IN ENTERTAINMENT

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Opening at Movie Theaters

Still Gone with the Wind. The sequel picks up several years after where the 80-year-old original left off, with Rhett and Scarlett reuniting in their middle age, in 1880. Features the original cast (Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland, and Vivien Leigh) and studio sets resurrected by computer graphic synthesis. Still Gone sets out to prove that they do make 'em like they used to (Selznick Theater, 2:00 and 8:00 P.M.)

The Apollo Mystery. Fine ensemble acting in this science fiction account of a murder during one of the Apollo Moon missions of the 1970s. The allure of the film, though, is in its setting; it was actually filmed on the Moon's surface during a commercial expedition last year. Very appropriate considering this weekend's anniversary. High production costs mean increased admission prices for this one, $15, only a dollar or two more than a regular ticket. (Roxie, 1:00, 3:15, 5:30, 8:00, and 10:15 P.M.)

This Is Holorama. One of this summer's gimmick films, Holorama is another of those ultra-realistic holographic movie processes that only scare the kids and leave Mom and Dad with a sick feeling in their stomachs. Like other "thrill films," it's mainly a travelogue, only this time the emphasis is on danger (an extended war sequence shot in the middle of battlefields in the Middle East, Central America, and Africa) and hostile environments. (We go inside an old-fashioned fission reactor during a real nuclear accident!) (Holostage, 2:00, 4:00, 7:30, and 10:00 P.M.)

Music

All-Star Simulated Symphony. Always a treat for lovers of classical music, this duo uses the latest in synthesizers and digital music techniques (and a few robots) to simulate a live performance of the world's greatest orchestra and recreate the sounds of legendary performers. A robotic Rachmaninoff has the piano solos in the highlight of the show. Gershwin's An American in Paris, conducted by an animatronic likeness of the composer. So real, you'd swear the players were alive and in the room. (Wozniak Hall, 8:00 P.M.)

Television

Don't Mess with Me. Tonight mark's ABC's first attempt at a new English-language situation comedy in prime time since the network went to all-Spanish programming a few years ago. A summer replacement, the series brings back one-time child star Gary Coleman (has he ever been away?) who plays the father of two adopted children. Beats reruns, anyway. (7:30 P.M.)

So Who Wants to Work? Jerry Rubin is the resident con man in a San Francisco retirement home where, ever since the collapse of Social Security, the old folks must rely on their wits to stay afloat. Rubin is particularly effective as the elderly baby-boomer wunderkind. In this episode, he convinces an oil company to use his pals in a TV commercial.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Saturday
Sep052009

Solar Cars, Electric Guitars and Bionic Arms (1977)

The Journal News of Hamilton, OH devoted much of its February 27, 1977 edition to "Our Third 100 Years." Harding Junior High student James Schmidt wrote a piece for the newspaper, imagining what life might look like in the 21st century. James describes 13-year-old kids driving solar-powered cars, futuristic electric guitars and his father's bionic arm. Sounds about right.

1977 Feb 27 Journal News - Hamilton OH Paleo-future

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Wednesday
Jun182008

'Brain Wave' Music Possible (1949)


The August 28, 1949 San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX) ran this article and cartoon about the "brain wave" music of the future. The piece quotes heavily from electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott.

CHICAGO, Aug. 27 - (AP) - Some day composers won't write music, and musicians won't play it - yet fans will enjoy it in never-before-heard perfection.

 

The composer or artist will simply project it by brain waves - "thought transference," says Raymond Scott.

BRAIN WAVES

This man, who thinks in terms of electronics and music, thinks that is all quite possible. Scott said in an interview:

"Brains put out electrical waves. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some day it were possible to do away with lines in music, such as writing it out and playing the notes. You'll just be able to think it.

 

"Imagine fastening electrodes to your head, inviting some people to your home and then thinking your music. If you wanted 1000 violins you could have them - and if you wanted the bass fiddle to play piccolo parts, you could do that, too."


RECORDINGS, TOO

 

Scott says even recordings will carry, instead of musical sound, the brain waves of the composer. No arrangers, no rehearsals.

Scott is a New Yorker who has spent most of his adult life working on new developments in his two loves, music and electronics. He maintains a permanent electronics research laboratory in New York, while he composes music and directs his bands for radio shows and night club appearances. His musical theories have always been off-beat.


See also:
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)
The Future is Now (1955)
How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)
All the Music of the Centuries (1908)
Every Era Produces Good Music (1968)

 

Thursday
Nov292007

Every Era Produces Good Music (1968)

The August 31, 1968 Daily Review (Hayward, CA) ran this article about the possibility that future generations may one day consider music of the 1960s to be good. The article turns into a very specific endorsement/advertisement of a new LP by The Sandpipers. Do you think there was some payola going on in the newspaper industry as well as the radio business?

NEW YORK (UPI) - It is true that more melodic pop music was produced in the 1930s than in any other decade in this century, yet no era or generation can claim a monopoly on good sound.

 

And it may be that the pop musicologists of the 1990s may report to their generations that some elegant tunes were composed in the 1960s.

"Spanish Eyes," "Love Is Blue," and perhaps a show tune such as "Cabaret" have a good chance of being in some group's catalogue of popular standards at the turn of the next century.

Both "Spanish Eyes" and "Love is Blue" are among the 11 selections in an outstanding LP entitled "Softly" by The Sandpipers (A&M SP4147). These melodic and nostalgic numbers are handled magnificently by The Sandpipers, who have appeal to all ages.

But the feature song is "Quando M'Innamoro," which also has a foot in the musical door of the future. And the opening number, "Softly," is restful musical medicine.


See also:
All the Music of the Centuries (1908)
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)