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Eric Paddon

Howard Johnson's Restaurants

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My Grandmother owned a motel that had pay radios in every room until about 1970. I guess the rooms also had 15" - 17" B&W TVs, too, because I remember the TV repairman, "Emile" was always around and his memorable Ford station wagon with the back-end ridin' low from all the "junk" in it. The TVs were a random collection of googie, portable Dumonts, Muntzs, Zeniths and other brands. I don't think any two were alike! :-)

Then, wonder of wonders, one day a trailer truck rolled in and the driver unloaded twenty-five brand new RCA 19" color TVs! As a 17-year-old kid, this blew my mind!

At the time, cable TV was new here and the cable company wanted to charge us full residential price for each motel room! Needless to say, my family looked for an alternative to cable, which turned out to be an RCA "Master Antenna" system. Worked well. We got a few more channels than the usual 3 out of Boston, and the picture was nice and clear.

(I'm sure Wayne has a better name for that antenna system!)

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Waynebretl,

I don't collect but enjoy motel signage as you say. I found this assemblage of motel postcards and thought you might be interested if you hadn't already found it yourself.

It's one of those labor-intensive sites where you have to open a new page for each photo. Bad design. So I haven't looked through the entire collection. Maybe somewhere in there is the elusive interior shot with the TV turned on.

http://www.lileks.com/motels/index.html

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Doug, "Master Antenna" is the correct term.

xI5er, thanks for the link!

Bill, how did you find that?

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I live near Nashua,NH and would go to the HOJO's off rt3 frequently, because I knwe it would be a matter of time. I took lots of pictures of it...Doug Seed out in Salem NH probably knows the one I'm talking about.

By the way, it was demolished and is now a Audi,Porshe (sic) dealership.

I used to go there (1979-82) when I lived in Nashua. They used to have a fried clam platter special that I liked as well as a couple sweet looking waitresses.

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We're heading for Lake George this weekend. Plan on stopping in at HoJo's while we're there. My son, who's 12 now, has been begging to go to Howard Johnson's. He actually did eat at the one in Nashua, NH a couple of times before it was torn down, but he was just a toddler then and certainly doesn't remember it. I'll update everyone on Monday...

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I plan to be in Lake Placid next week and hope to visit the HOJO's there. I have been there many times and it remains a good place to get a decent meal.

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Thanks Bill - I collect postcards that show some aspect of the evolution of TV in motels and hotels, like the sign that touts COLOR TV.

Some of my favorites in the text on the back:

"COLOR TV available";

"Color TV in lounge"

"First hotel with color TV in every room"

and the occasional postcard of a room interior with the TV turned on.

Wayne, this isn't exactly what you were looking for but as a TV history guy I thought you may be interested in the several images of TVs I stumbled on while looking for something else. (Nice shot of the TWA bldg too.)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/actionlog/3710263593/in/photostream/

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that picture is just full of great classic visuals.

The legs on the tv are awesome. They look like the legs on a martian lander.

The kid's clothes- plaid shirt, jeans, striped socks, are classic 50's kid stuff.

And the furniture in the room screams 50's too.

A really nice picture.

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Wayne, this isn't exactly what you were looking for but as a TV history guy I thought you may be interested in the several images of TVs I stumbled on while looking for something else. (Nice shot of the TWA bldg too.)

http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I never thought I would see a picture of someone actually using one of those hokey color TV filter sheets, and on a classic Zenith "porthole" set too! Amazing that they were not too embarrassed by wasting their money that they left it in place long enough for it to show up in a picture.

here's the porthole with filter

http://www.flickr.com/photos/actionlog/3711074074/in/photostream/

and here's the info on the filter sheet:

http://www.earlytelevision.org/color_filter.html

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"Color by Eastmon"? That should have been your millionth clue that this was a scam. Also, gotta love those drapes!!!

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You beat me by two minutes! I was going to point out the Eastmon bit as merely the most egregious sin in that copy worthy of Green Acres' Mr. Haney. But really, you can put quotes around any snippet of those words and point and laugh.

One legitimate assertion that stood out was the reference to controversy over the competing "color systems." We often forget the line between the technological then and now was not a straight, preordained path. The text implies that fact was well known to the audience. I wonder how many young people know of the cassette / 8-track dichotomy. They probably think we went from Edison to digital downloads in one baby step. (Will there be anything after that? Have we reached an end point?)

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I posted this in videokarma.org, and one collector said that a hotel in St. Paul [edit - it was in St. Pete] advertised "color TV in every room" at the time, and it actually was...you guessed it!

I also couldn't resist fiddling with my avatar:

post-419-125771590534_thumb.jpg

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Rich Kummerlowe's Hojo history site has a new feature on the Queens Rego Park HJ that was built in sight of the 1939 Fair (and which this thread has shown pictures of in the past). There are some great amateur pictures taken just before the restaurant's demolition in 1974.

http://www.highwayhost.org/NewYork/Restaurants/RegoPark/regopark1.htm

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