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The Sportables: 1960

The Sportables: 1960

Columbus, Georgia, circa 1960. "Portable TV." RCA Victor "Sportable" TVs, the Research Department informs us. The set so light, you can lift it with three hands! 4x5 acetate negative from the News Archive. View full size.


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Handle With Care

I remember selling those sets and three hands weren't nearly enough.

Heft of a Salesman

"And ladies, RCA's new Sportable model is as light... as... a... FEATHER! Can you please give me a little hand here, ma'am?"


The man's glasses are the same model I wore as a kid in that same era a few years later. And the woman's glasses are the model my dad wore at the time. Many decades later, about ten years ago, I got myself glasses in the style of my dad / the woman in the photo. I thought I was being so unique and personally historic but then it seemed like every young person in North America adopted that same style of Ray-Bans, mostly as sunglasses. (The wearer of that model of glasses who rocked them most spectacularly was, in my opinion, Malcolm X.)

Heavy Tech

The picture tube had an armored glass front that weighed a good 22 pounds alone. Of course, that was offset by all the vacuum in the tubes. ;-)

Poor guy

Trying to show off for the ladies and the lady in white is looking at him like "What a dork. Good thing he owns the store."

Meanwhile, my 42 inch TV weighs 31 pounds but doesn't have a handle or a cool name.

Simple Criteria

If it has a handle on top; it's portable.

Portable, if you are a weight lifter

I have fond memories of the summer we rented a house at the New Jersey shore for vacationing. It came furnished but had no TV, so my father brought our portable (RCA model made around 1963, that looked 95% just like that one) along in the car. That golden yellow portable TV was placed on the front porch which had jalousie windows that let the damp beach air in and made the TV buzz and hiss as it turned on and warmed up enough to evaporate the dampness on its tubes.

My best memory of that summer, and the portable TV, was that I could watch TV shows that I could not watch before because they were on after my bedtime when we were at home. No bedtime at the vacation house!

My worst memory was of trying to figure out why they called that dang thing portable. I was about 9 years old, and I could not lift it, even an inch. It was just too heavy for me.

43 Pounds

I just weighed mine so I can say with some authority that set weighed 43 pounds, possibly a bit more because it has an optional UHF tuner.

Here's a shot of mine working, shy a few knobs after 56 years but then none of us 59'ers is a good as we were then.

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