Building Blocks (In the past we had…)


Today, for example, viewers of football on TV take for granted the wonderful computer system that generates and displays the yellow first down line that a TV viewer sees during the live broadcast. First-down-line

The players run over the yellow line that spans the width of the football field as if it is physically present; however it is seen only by the television audience.  Butttttt, waayyyyyyyyy back in 1967, learning TV production in college, to add printed words on your TV picture I had to use one camera to follow the action, and another to focus on a hot press board with the words; the two camera views were merged (superimposed/overlaid) as one.

Wiki: A DJ cues up a record track.

Wiki: A DJ cues up a record track.

Wait, how about playing music on the college radio station.  In 1967 I had to learn in radio production how to slip-cue;  a turntable-based DJ technique that consists of holding a record still while the platter rotates underneath the slipmat and releasing it at the right moment.  This was not the ‘slip-noise’ clatter of modern beat juggling.


For my weekday afternoon one hour WBJC-FM stereo radio show, I would cue-up LP records; and for the introduction to the show use a reel-to-reel tape…”In the white room with black curtains near the station…”  Yep, I played Cream and other great bands; not that classical oldie stuff that was the evening format!  Then, in late 1967 a marvelous invention came on the scene; the station installed a 8-track-tape-dayfantastic 8-track type system, so we could record the day’s songs and hit ‘play’.  Notice I highlighted the word stereo; we were an FM stereo station when few people had FM stereo radios, and AM mono was the king of vehicular radios.

In 1968 there was another ‘invention’ that our characters take for granted.  By accident, Dr. Spencer Silver, a chemist at 3M in the United States, developed a “low-tack”, pressure sensitive adhesive.  For five years Silver promoted his invention within 3M without success.  In 1974, Art Fry, a colleague of his, came up with the idea of using the adhesive to temporarily anchor a piece of paper to another piece of paper.  In 1977 a product was developed and marketed under the name of “Press ‘N Peel.”   Going nowhere, the product was about to be dropped, when in 1978 free samples were given to people in Boise, Idaho; and almost all of the people said they would buy the product.  It was reissued under the name of “Post-It Notes”.  Thanks to a large advertising campaign we now have:


Let’s stick with that for this edition of Building Blocks.

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.





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