Fifth and Madison Avenues around 47th Street in the late 1960s were chock a block with small tawdry electronics stores. Many of these shops still exist today in midtown. Now however half of their shelves are filled with NYC tourist gimcrack like tee shirts, license plates, and miniature statuettes of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
But back then, they almost always showcased a device in the window touted to be a “Pocket TV.” To me it was the Holy Grail of futurism – a television you could keep in your pocket. As you can see in the above picture, it was about half the size of carton of cigarettes, a little wider. So technically, it was a completely portable TV, as long as you had a huge-ass pocket and an extra long extension cord. Another drawback was the teeny screen, about 1½ inches in diameter. The engineers who designed the thing affixed a magnifying lens to present a bigger image to the eye. But it should be readily apparent that the tech recipe was overcooked any which way you looked at it. I’m willing to bet that nobody got rich designing and manufacturing this thing.
At the time, I couldn’t care less about these shortcomings. Every time we passed by any electronics shop on the way to the Automat or Bohack’s, I could immediately spot one in the window. I would stop and point at it, just like an Irish Setter at a duck in a pond, and Dad would jolt me out of it, lugging me on towards our destination. As explained in my post IS NOTHING SACRED?, I was helplessly attracted to any aspect of futurism. It was in my DNA.