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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

GE: And No More Green People


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GENERAL ELECTRIC MONITOR TOP ALL-STEEL REFRIGERATOR BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS 10/01/1930 p. 38

General Electric advertisement
: Better Homes and Gardens, 1 October 1930 (Gallery of Graphic Design)

GENERAL ELECTRIC AIR CONDITIONERS TIME 11/02/1942 p. 49

General Electric advertisement
: Time, 2 November 1942 (Gallery of Graphic Design)

GENERAL ELECTRIC PERFECT COLOR TELEVISION TIME 12/06/1963 p. 8

General Electric advertisement: Time, 6 December 1963 (Gallery of Graphic Design)

4 comments:

TC said...

Not that there weren't those who worried about the green people problem from early on....

curtisroberts said...

So funny it hurts. Cousins of mine owned the first impressive color console I ever saw. They seemed to compensate for the green people effect by watching a lot of golf and football, where the green (sort of kryptonite green as I recall) was impressive and seemed appropriate. We never had refrigerator with a monitor top, but when we were living in a really small apartment with a tiny kitchen I used to store my plastic kitchen scale on top of the fridge where the monitor top would have been placed. My cat Santa climbed up there and knocked the scale onto the old stove with the exposed pilot light, which eventually started a dramatic, smoky, destructive fire. You can't plan for everything, I suppose.

TC said...

Curtis, I had been out of the country (where of course everything is black and white) and so did not experience the impact of colour until about 1967, at the apartment of Morton and Lita Hornick, where there were private guards hired to patrol the hallways ("Hey, buddy, don't lean on the Rosenquist, willya?")... while one furtively ogled the colour tv.

Those old monitor tops... You've got to hand it to the marketing genius of GE. Who else could have thought of concealing the compressor assembly, which generated about as much heat as Reactor Unit #3, above the body of the beast, and decorating it with a tidy band of decorative coils formed to resemble a famous naval vessel?

In those golden days before the miracle of Freon, the cooling units ran on sulfur dioxide or methyl formate. I can't remember which of the two was more injurious to one's health, but I do remember reading somewhere that spending one's childhood in proximity to one of those old refrigerators was no worse than having 25 CAT scans in an hour, while inhaling airplane glue, or some such reassuring statistic.

It must be growing up in those environments which made us tough.

curtisroberts said...

Your discussion of the monitor top made me think of that early scene in The 39 Steps where Robert Donat and Lucy Mannheim (as "Annabella Smith") are in Richard Hannay's kitchen and he pulls an enticing piece of haddock from the refrigerator (complete with gorgeous monitor top) to feed the beautiful endangered spy. In beautiful black and white, just like reality. Our first color tv, quite a small one, was purchased by my father so that we (he, really, but that's ok) could enjoy the premiere of the Batman tv series in 1966. Fooling with the skin tones to achieve a simulacrum of reality was an endless process and really a matter of personal taste more than anything. If you wanted green people, that was easy to achieve.