Ampex Demonstrates the AVR-1

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Click to enlarge Ampex demonstrated the new AVR-1 on July 10, 1971, in Studio A.  (The machine in the foreground is a VR-2000, of course.)

KRLD-TV (now KDFW) purchased two AVR-1 machines which carried most of the load in everyday dubbing until about 1990.  They were also used briefly as part of a CMX editing system (running on a PDP-11/04) which was scrapped in about 1983 after producing only one commercial.  It was just too much trouble, according to the stories I heard.

Click to enlarge Apparently a number of broadcast professionals attended the demo.

The AVR-1 was a really great machine, even 20 years later.  Threading a tape was extremely quick and easy, and it was all but impossible to damage a tape once it was under tension.  An AVR-1 could play a tape with no control track at all, and fix a lot of problems that other machines created.  It was a real time saver.

Click to enlargeThese three engineers are making connections behind the machines.  If I were to guess, I would say the guy on the left was Jack Johnston.  The other two are Mr. Whittenburg and Mr. Royce Jones.  Royce used that same toolbox until the day he retired.

Click to enlarge This is Mr. Honeycutt (with a cigarette!) showing the AVR-1 to someone who seems to know what he's lookin' at.  Anybody know who he is?

Jim English wrote and identified the mystery engineer as Mr. Frank Nault, who was the Ampex regional manager in the early 1970's.

Perhaps he's the guy who dropped off this brochure.

    Updated 11/9/2007:
Click to enlarge The brochure shows all the features of the AVR-1, including this handy assortment of warning lights.  I didn't even know there was a warning light for TRANSPORT COVER OPEN.  That bulb was burned out, since the covers were always open.

Click to enlarge Here's another angle.  All that empty floor space on the far left has now been carved up into offices.

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Close-up shots from the previous picture.

There's Mr. Whittenburg again, and another guy with a cigarette in Studio A.

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Two more angles of the Ampex demo.

(Even larger:  [1]   [2] )

Click to enlarge The guest speaker was probably a VIP, but I don't recognize him.

David Crosthwait, a reader in Burbank, California, and evidently a collector of AVR-1's, says he might be able to identify this man.  So watch for a future update.

Additional update added 1/16/2012:
David Crosthwait (of DC Video) sent in this item, which suggests that the featured speaker was Robert W. Day, an announcer at KGO.

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Also present at the demonstration was an Ampex HS-100 disk slo-mo.

Click to enlarge Upon further consideration, maybe it was an HS-200 Teleproduction System.

    Updated 12/13/2010:
Bob Natho
Here is Bob Natho working with an AVR-1, in a photo dated January 17, 1972.  (Sent in by his son, Rob.)

Click to enlarge Today all that remains of the old slo-mo is one of the disks, which makes a dandy mirror, if you look past all the circular scratches and that big hole in the middle.

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Created October 31, 2005.
Updated January 16, 2012.
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