austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Lost herself out in the wheel of sound

[ Back home; back to normal soon. ]

From the Turner Classic Movies shorts archive: Brunswick's Jam Handy-produced The Golden Years, pitching the modern line of bowling-related equipment they were selling on the threshold of ``the golden 60s''. They promise ``color, style, comfort, utility, and convenience, recreation, fun'' in their recreation centers. This is a refreshingly direct and on-topic pitch for their bowling alley equipment and I appreciate that. There's no guessing what the point was supposed to be or who was supposed to see this film; it's plainly meant to sell stuff to bowling alley owners.

That's not to say there aren't funny things in it. For example, Brunswick pitches how they have ``six basic Brunswick colors'', with three shades of each color, so as to ``create the illusion of one monochromatic color''. What they're getting at is things like having prop bowling pins hanging on the walls and by these variations looking like they're at different depths or in different values of light. Those colors, by the way, are ``the warmth of coral, the richness of gold, the quiet relaxation of green, the calm coolness of blue, the crisp contemporary look of classic white, and the pleasure-packed attractiveness of tangerine'', which besides sounding like a failed advertising pitch for Lucky Charms raises the question ``the crisp contemporary look of classic white''? Also between each demonstration of graduated-shading pin icons is a little animated asterisk-twinkling that suggests magic yet delivers bowling equipment.

Each of their new bowling seats includes backs, which makes me realize how awful plastic bowling alley seats without backs must have been. The new bowling lanes also include an optic-signal foul detector, `` a unit now completely self-contained, with buzzer and light now at the foul line were they belong'', making me wonder where they had been before. I'm not clear how having an irritating electric buzz and light harassing players who step over the line will improve bowling alley profitability, but I suppose they're the experts.

Also pitched as ``another Brunswick first'' is the ``uniquely designed custom twin-lane masking unit'', which as far as I can tell just means they have one big reflectorized-aluminum badge with the Brunswick logo in its center that stretches across two lanes rather than one. I suppose breakthroughs happen all over the place.

Mostly what I got out of the short was a lot of looks of that stylish circa-1960 proto-Jetsons space-age swoopiness designed into everything, covered in plastic colored not quite natural shades of red, trimmed with chrome; and hilarious reaction shots from the family that's supposed to act as though they're playing a normal round in front of unnatural red doors standing in the middle of an empty soundstage. Also I got some good looks at how automated pin setters work, or worked a half-century ago. And I now feel fully qualified to run a bowling alley as long as I don't have to deal with those fancy shamncy automated scoring machines or have to let a Ms Pac-Man/Galaga machine spontaneously materialize near the concessions stand.

Trivia: United States coffee consumption declined nearly 40 percent between 1962 (its peak year) and 1982, with most of the decline by 1972. Source: The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug, Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K Bealer.

Currently Reading: The Making Of The Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes.

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