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Space Command: 1963

Date on this randomly acquired Kodachrome: JAN63N. Time: 9:54. Location: Living Room. Reading material: May 1962 issue of Holiday. The television: Zenith, with "Space Command" remote. Window unit: 1954 Fedders "Weather Bureau." Blinds: Venetian. View: Full size.

Date on this randomly acquired Kodachrome: JAN63N. Time: 9:54. Location: Living Room. Reading material: May 1962 issue of Holiday. The television: Zenith, with "Space Command" remote. Window unit: 1954 Fedders "Weather Bureau." Blinds: Venetian. View: Full size.


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Hold Up!

The Fedders Air Conditioner has a jack under it! I wonder if it was an option or a necessary support to keep the unit from pulling the window out. I've never seen anything like that before.

I can smell this room.

Kind of an old Grandpa and Grandma smell to it. With the help of the upholstery, TV warming up the tubes and the air conditioner blowing.


The shadows indicate that there was one bulb above the camera. It must have been pretty bright. The TV set wouldn't reflect into the lens because of the angle of the camera to the screen. I find it interesting that this is a rather grainy photo for such a fine-grained film. It is probably one of the higher ASA Kodachrome films available at the time.

[Also note: There is a glare shield (a big, downward-tilted rectangle of flat glass) in front of the TV picture tube. We can see a reflection of the hassock in it. - Dave]

Family Fedders

My parents had a Fedders just like that. In use well into the 1970s, ice cold too. Notice the correct gauge extension cord.

Cool Blue

Love the photo. It appears the room's entire color scheme was based around the air conditioner. It actually works quite well. Such photos remind one of detailed environments we may have forgotten or once took for granted.

Remote control

My father watches TV sitting in his armchair that is at the short side of a long table in the living room. He keeps remote control device almost at the far end of that table, so to change the channel or volume he stands up to do the thing, leaves the device again far away and sits back. To him that is a huge improvement to going all the way to the TV.

Did I say that he's 94, in relatively good health and with clear mind?
There you have it.

A question about lighting

No light is coming in through the windows. The lamps are off. Yet, light is evenly distributed in the room. The only shadow is a slight one under the Zenith. I'm thinking a regular flash bulb would have made a glare on the TV screen and not lighted this room this evenly. Am I wrong?

They're around here, somewhere

The metal TV trays used to eat dinner while you watch Bonanza.

I agree with Victoria, this Kodachrome was taken out of pride. In addition to the worldly possessions, every item on top of the Zenith has a pad underneath it; there will be no scratches (I kind of do the same thing). And if there is a speck of dust on anything, I don't see it (something I'm a little laxer about).

Just waiting for Rod Serling

"Ladies and gentlemen, submitted for your consideration." Spooky picture.


"The quality goes in before the name goes on"

Grandmother clock

For me, one unexpected item here is the clock. This is probably an old piece, likely from the mid-late 1800s. Maybe "Grandma's old clock", a family treasure?

That TV remote control is quite something! Very clever indeed.

Middle Class Wealth

In my old neighborhood, growing up, if you had a TV *and* an air conditioner, you were rich. In my opinion, this photo is a family showing off how well they've done. And rightfully so!

I think I've been here

… or somewhere very much like it.

The Art ... is interesting indeed

I managed to identify the picture on the wall. It is a reproduction of "Laguna de San Pablo," a 1933 oil painting by the Ecuadorian artist Antonio Vallejo. Quite an interesting choice of decoration for this place.

Variation on "Our Flag" by Fred Tripp (1940)

The print hanging behind the main chair may be a slight variation of one of the most widely-shared patriotic prints from the World War II era. "Painted by 71-year-old Fred Tripp while he was hospitalized at McCleary Hospital in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, in 1940, this print reached a distribution of over 200,000 before the bombing of Pearl Harbor." The lower background is slightly different from the version most commonly available today at garage sales and auctions.

Space Command - another remote method

A friend's dad growing up was the town's TV repairman and he was also the dealer in town for Zenith TVs, so he had all the new ones. They had one of these TVs with the Space Command in their living room, and my friend told me that they could (randomly) change channels by "playing with a stack of quarters". Evidently the clinking of the quarters duplicated the sound produced by the remote.

Tuning convenience

Vacuuming the living room floor tuned the channel higher on our color Zenith. Vacuuming the dining room floor tuned it lower. Usually.

I tried a Hamilton Beach blender, Sears Craftsman drill, my sister's purring cat, etc., but nothing worked as well as the Hoover.

Except the Zenith remote, as intended.

A very clever remote control

At the bottom left of the TV you can see the wireless remote control. It seems to be the Space Command 400 model. The attached photo depict it. This is a wireless TV remote control invented by Zenith engineer Robert Adler using sound as a trigger mechanism. Sound is produced by mechanically-struck aluminum rods of carefully constructed dimensions, and a receiver in the television responded to the different frequencies this action produces. No batteries at all !!!

I grew up in this environment

This looks like every house among all my relatives from the mid-'50s on: busy wallpaper, knick-knacks on shelves, clock on the TV, but, most importantly, easy chair and hassock right next to the window unit because Dad always wanted the living room so cold you could hang meat in there. I mean, why else would you buy an air conditioner?

The Art

Lake Titicaca?

Mean Green Machine

Wow look at that air conditioner. A thing of beauty.

Chromatic Catalog

Thanks to color, I spy the Fall-Winter 1961 Spiegel Catalog, next to the floor lamp.

Just like Grandma's house

Well, sorta. This is one of those photos that should always be in black and white.

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