GE Scandanavian Console - Rocking out.

Here's an ad for a G.E. console stereo. It looks pretty cool, and it makes me slightly sad that stereos don't look this slick any more. If I found one of these today, it'd be nice to hollow it out and fill it with all-modern components (assuming the old old gear didn't work or sounded terrible).

We can , however, marvel at the interesting marketing of the thing. "If your living room has that blond, blue-eyed look...". This is their clever way of describing Scandinavian design, which, in case you didn't kow, is characterized by clean, simple lines and hardwood construction.

Using something as obvious as racial differences to describe a country would be forbidden now. The company would be terrified of being sued for discrimination somehow. To recognize genetic differences in people, no matter how obvious, is racist. We in the enlightened future know this.Nobody in their right mind would make the observation that Scandinavians are generally fairer-haired or predominantly blue-eyed without first reciting the preamble "Now, I'm not saying there's anything right or wrong with it, and I don't mean to disenfranchise those in the world that are not of the genetic strain I am about to describe, but...". That would make some clumsy ad copy.
Weird racial stuff aside, questions abound.

What's with the stone? Adam Carolla plays a game on his podcast called "rich man, poor man", where people try to think of lifestyle features that are common only among the very rich or very poor. For example, eating very small meals, served raw. I think having stone walls in your house would be a good one. Was this house built in a cave? The walls aren't just stone, like quarry stone. They're rocks. You could scale the wall to change a light bulb if you had to. You could even do it without putting on special shoes. It looks pretty great, but the risk of having centipedes waltzing out of the crevices and running off with tortilla chips during a dinner party would be a serious turnoff. I mean, I can spare a chip or two, but centipedes are just gross is all.*

Why is everyone sitting outside while the stereo cranks away on the other side of a glass wall? Is it to demonstrate the rich, big sound that the console produces? Maybe it's so loud that, even at the lowest setting, you have to sit outside your cave to enjoy it at all? Know what, though? If it was really loud, it'd just break the glass with the huge big sounds of Abba. Wups! This is 1966. I meant "the huge big sounds of Ikea Flatpack and The Abbas".**

*Now, I'm not saying there's anything right or wrong with it, and I don't mean to disenfranchise those in the world that have more than ten legs, but centipedes really are disgusting and I hate them as often as possible. If you are a centipede, I'm sorry but I hate you and want to kill you, not that there's anything wrong with you.

**The P.A.G. Research and Google Department could find no evidence of pop music in Norway or Sweden before 1972, so I just make up a name that sounded kind of Norse and sixtiesish.


Craig said...

I love console stereos. My wife picked this one up last year at an estate auction for $50!


Clearly, my daughter is excited about it, too.

It's a Loewe Opta Fonovox from Germany, probably from the early 1960s. It works, but not really well.

Aside from its general awesomeness (it has shortwave radio!), I love the scale of it. It's really compact, unlike a the console stereo my dad had that took up half the house.

PS: I don't understand why we can't name things like "Loewe Opta Fonovox" anymore. You buy a car now and it's an indeceipherable string of letters. How the hell are you supposed to tell a Lincoln MKX from an Acura MDX?

Phil Are Go! said...

Damn you, Craig. You will pay for your ownership of something really cool that I cannot have. It's even German, which seems to imply some degree of quality.

Regarding names: I read an article in a car magazine years ago about this. It said the Germans are the ones that started the alphabetical nomenclature of cars. BMW 325i, etc. It was indicative of their engineer's influence over the whole production process. American cars had names like Cougar and stuff. Once German cars became known for their build quality and performance, other companies adopted the practice of alphabet soup model names, hoping to steal some of the Germans' brand cache'. It didn't work. Remember the Merkur XR4TI? Me neither. The trend continues because it appeals to people's sense of ignorance.

Your stereo has a good name. "Loewe" is probably the company name. Opta is probably copyrightable sound-alike word for "optimal". Fonovox sounds like a mishmash of some Latin words for "sound" and "voice". You could probably figure out as much yourself.

When you choose to repent for your blasphemous stereo ownership, send it to Phil Are Go! 1 GO! Tower, P.A.G. Plaza, Chicago, Illinois.

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