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Mystery of 1963 Optical Tape Player Solved

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Uploaded on Apr 30, 2011

I picked up this cool reel to reel optical tape player in the 1980's, in a junkyard. I suspected it played analog audio, recorded on 16mm film stock, in 4 tracks... but really had no idea what it was for. It looked really high-end, and small production. The date of many of the components is 1963.

I recently sent pictures to my friends Berj, Greg, Dennis, Dana and Robert, who have delved in all sorts of technologies over the years... but we could not figure it out. Among the guesses we had were: audio track to be synced to a film, test data to be input into a radar or guidance system, tones or speech for the telephone system, organ music, musak player... and so on. But the truth is a bit different than all of these... Berj suggested that the audio was "crying to be heard", and suggested I listen to it, if I could. So I pulled out the nice old Bell and Howell projector my friend Lars gave me, hoping the optical track could be read on the projector's sound pickup and amp... the results of the experiment are in the video. After watching it, check out the link below. Don't peek until you watch it though:




http://www.thegeekticket.com/features...
And:
http://drexfiles.wordpress.com/2009/0...

"Fairgoers ascended a ramp to a platform to reach the seats on the continuously moving 1,000 chair ride, that journeyed the the communication presentation."... this may be the soundtrack, and maybe the controller or syncing data, for that ride. Perhaps the additional tracks controlled the lights, the speed of the ride, and so on. It is an eerie feeling I get, having been on that ride at age 7; I actually heard these words, on this tape, twice... 47 years apart. And the best for last: From Bill Young's wonderful site on the 1964 World's Fair, an recording of this actual tape, made by a Ray Dashner, while on the actual ride:
http://www.nywf64.com/bell07.shtml

This was the final confirmation that this controller/player is the one used in the Fair, because you can hear the same words being spoken on it.

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