Monday, October 17, 2011

Retro Moment

I was in line at the post office today -- something that might be remembered as retro someday -- when I heard a phone ring from ahead of me in the line. Nothing odd in that, except it was a real telephone ring.

That is, a Western Electric ring that anyone my age or even somewhat younger would remember as very common during the period before the breakup of the Phone Company. I was a little startled. Other than at my mother's house (and on old TV shows), that's a ring I never hear any more. I guess the guy with the phone, who probably about 30, was going for a retro-cool ringtone.

Occasionally I toy with the idea of making a list of things most of us never see or hear any more, but I've never gotten around to it. One thing comes to mind is the way -- to give a visual example -- television sets used to power down after they were switched turned off (using a knob). When I was small, I was fascinated by the way the picture compressed quickly into a small, bluish dot that lingered for a while, sometimes drifting away from the center of the screen before it faded completely.

That's as gone as TV station signoffs complete with the National Anthem. Except that online, everything lives on. This is a 1978 Dallas-Fort Worth station signoff, which is close enough to what I saw in San Antonio.

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