Well, the much-expected and heavily-dreaded day has come, and after 14 years of ownership, the 1966 Philco cabinet hi-fi all-transistor stereophonic radio-phonograph is in need of a replacement needle. Sigh. Although miffed and a bit curious (as to how it broke), I’m confident that a replacement can, and will be found. Now begins a hunt of a completely different kind.
Yesterday was a laborious day of (regular work) and tickle-fixing the1966 Philco. She’s fully functional, speed-accurate, and bass-nasty (as she always was). This, for those keeping count, is the 3rd time I’ve opened her up to correct the speed issue, and six albums / 38 hours later, she’s running smooth and strong as ever. 50 motha’ flippin’ years old (1966 -2016), this tired ol’ bitch, and she still sounds absolutely amazing!
I am a sucker for antique record paraphernalia. Be it cheesy “as seen on bad 70’s TV” record cleaners, random manuals to record players I’ve never owned, or in this case my 1966 Philco High-Fidelity All-Transistor Stereophonic Radio-Phonograph.
Nearly a decade ago back in film school I was prop shopping for a 1960’s period short film I was involved with. Now, thanks to my mother I’ve always been a frugal shopper, so when digging around one of Ventura, CA’s many antique shops I immediately perused the booths near the back of the store that featured items at 50% off. While on this hunt for cheap, yet relevant 60’s era props I came across this pristine phonograph. At first glance of this beautiful cabinet record player, and without even seeing the price tag, I was instantly fixated on becoming its ultimate and inevitable owner. When I saw the price tag of $80 I nearly wet myself. $40 + tax later she was mine. I called my buddy Omar, who had a flat bed and we hauled it off to set. It didn’t have a dominant presence in the final short film, but when the shoot was over I found myself the proud owner of an amazing piece of stereophonic machinery.
The LP on the platter is Johnny Cash’s 1957 debut Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar, which would have been just 9 years old when this High-Fidelity All-Transistor Stereophonic Radio-Phonograph was manufactured and sold.
For nearly 10 years ol’ Philco has moved with me a total of five times. She’s always dominated every living room she’s inhabited and still sounds as good today as she did the day I brought her home. Not bad for being 47 years old.
I enjoy imagining what the manufacturers at the Philco Corporation back in 1966 would think of the music I play on this phonograph now. I doubt they’d be as much into N.E.R.D., The Revolting Cocks or Drive Like Jehu as I am.