Haunted TV: From the '50s
My old neighbors collected vintage electronics, working or not, and this Philco Predicta television set was among their collection.  When they moved, they left it behind, so I took it in.  We have a number of antiques in the house (which is an antique itself), so it fit right in, but before long I started thinking about utilizing this as a Halloween decoration as well.



In the dark with nothing but blacklights on, the tv gives even my groomsmaid Beth a run for her money.

Here's another shot (and another of my groomsmaids, Katie) showing different colors as the lights in the set cycle through.

So how do you make one of these?  Read on...


Yes, I usually park my bike in the living room.  Is that so wrong?  Dani seems to think so.

First step: Get the tube top (pun!) disconnected from the base.  That was easy enough, but it remained wired in.

In disconnecting the collar at the base, there are also screws nearby holding the plastic shell around the tube.  Unlike any other tv I've seen made in my lifetime, this one actually has a plastic screen in front of the glass one.  As you can see, it was really, really cloudy, as was the tube itself.

A look at the electronics from on the underside of the base.

I had hoped to disconnect the wires leading up to the picture tube* from here, but I couldn't get to them.  This thing was almost an impossible object in which it couldn't have been assembled logically.  In other words, you couldn't remove parts due to other parts being in the way... parts that couldn't be removed without removing the parts they blocked!  Catch-22.

*I say "picture tube" because there were at least a couple other vacuum tubes among the electronics.


Ultimately, I just cut the wires at the point they reached the picture tube and shoved the spaghetti inside the base.

Over the next week and using every solvent and cleaner on hand (which is a lot in our house!), we still couldn't get the plastic screen clear.  Dani even cracked it scrubbing it so hard (which absolutely made me ill since this is irreplaceable and I tried my hardest to preserve everything such that it could be reassembled and possibly restored.)*

*Don't laugh!  Apparently, it's more than possible.  Check out what these guys can do.


We gave up on the idea of having a clear screen and instead I found that very thin wax paper allowed the right amount of light to go through for rear-projection effects.  I had Dani crinkle it up to make it look like static and to obscure the line where the two overlapping sheets of paper meet near the middle.

Now to light it...

These are sold as pumpkin lights, but they have virtually unlimited potential if you have the imagination to apply to them.  They have three LEDs and can be static lights in any basic color of the red, blue, or green LED (or combinations), but even better, they also rotate through the colors either fast or slow.  Very cool.  They take either 3 AAA batteries or can accept an AC plug (not included; has to be a 4.5V adapter).

As you can see with the one on the left, I had Dani apply some adhesive velcro to drop these inside the tv sets.


It isn't so obvious what's going on with the camera flash on....

...but with the lights off, it's pretty cool.  This is a bit over-exposed probably, so the glare of the individual lights is intense enough that you see them and not the screen glowing.  In reality, it's much more the latter as you can see in the first couple images on this page.



Copyright 2008 the Ale[x]orcist.
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