June 1988: Australian researcher Peter Hepper reported in the medical journal The Lancet that fetuses often appeared to learn to recognize the theme tune of their mother's favorite soap opera. As a newborn baby, hearing this tune would then calm them down.
He tested this hypothesis by playing the theme tune of the Australian soap "Neighbours" to a group of newborns whose mothers watched the show. Upon hearing it, he reported, six of the seven babies promptly adopted a "quiet alert state."
I can just hear the executives at Dumont now, probably the owner's son: "You know what would be clever and sexy and hip? A variety show framed in a classroom setting, with all the performers dressed like students, and featuring two of our biggest nebbishes, Arnold Stang and Wally Cox!"
Just a year away from seeing if Steven Spielberg nailed his predictions from 1971, the year he made this show, L.A. 2017. Seeing elderly hippes still performing some fifty years after the Summer of Love, and knowing the Rolling Stones still go on tours, I think Spielberg might have been on to something!
In 1954, DuMont came out with a "Duoscopic" TV set that allowed two people to watch different programs on the same set, simultaneously. From Newsweek (Jan 11, 1954):
"When a husband wants to look at the fights and his wife prefers a situation comedy, the Duoscopic provides both at the same time. The set contains two screens and a special mirror that throws one picture onto the other, creating a double image. Polaroid windows filter out the unwanted image, and special earphones carry the separate sound tracks."
It was priced at $600. So in 2015 money, that would be approximately $5304 (according to the US Inflation Calculator). At that price tag, it made more sense for couples with different viewing preferences to just buy 2 TV sets and sit in separate rooms.
There's more info about the Duoscopic TV at the Early Television Museum. On that site, there's also speculation that DuMont originally developed the Duoscopic TV as a 3D TV, but decided they couldn't get that to work fully, so they repackaged it as a "watch 2 channels simultaneously" TV.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
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