Early Television
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Early Television Museum

2003 Convention Report

The convention was put together quickly, after Dave Johnson suggested that I hold a swapmeet for TV stuff. I wrote to a Nat Pendleton, Dave Johnson and Geoff Bourne and asked them if they’d bring their treasures. All agreed, and I posted a notice on my website.

A bunch of other people offered to bring things, and Dave Sica convinced Alex Magoun to attend and make a presentation. I then had a full afternoon of presentations.

I’d never organized anything like this before, but I’ve attended a number of conventions over the years, so I knew the basics. Unfortunately, I had to organize this one by myself with little help.

The first problem was the facilities. The museum has no space that is suitable for presentations, so I decided to take an portion of the warehouse and create a makeshift area. Larry McIntyre painted the asphalt floor with some cheap floor paint, and I hung king size sheets (from Walmart) on 1 inch conduit to create temporary walls. I bought a few cheap foldup tables, put some track lights up, rented chairs, and the convention’s space was ready to go. A 1949 console TV served as a podium, and the screen from a 1950 Philips projection set was used for the Powerpoint presentations.

I convinced my wife and daughter in law to handle registration and the finances, and made arrangements with Hilliard’s only good restaurant for a banquet room. Larry McIntyre worked extra hours to get things ready, and Richard Reynolds, a friend of mine from Florida (who, by the way, isn’t a collector, but who enjoys learning about new things), and Ryan Meldahl, a local collector, helped with setup and logistics.

I had no idea how many would attend. As it turned out, most people who told me they would be there actually came, and several others that I didn’t expect showed up. We had 75 people registered, from 20 states, Canada and Germany.

Friday morning I realized that the temperatures were forecast to drop to about 30 that night, so I made arrangements to pick up a propane construction heater. Even with the heater, the room was chilly Saturday and Sunday mornings. By about ten it was comfortable.

The weekend was a big blur for me, and I didn’t really get a chance to enjoy much of it. I was too busy dealing with scheduling and logistics. My big fear was that one or more of the presenters would be long winded and boring. All of them stayed within their allotted time, and held the audience’s attention.

Then, I was worried that everyone would leave after the dinner Saturday, and that the panel discussions would be attended by nobody. However, about 40 people stuck around for Sunday morning, and 15 or so stayed until late Sunday afternoon.

My goal for next year is to have a group of people plan and execute it, so that it will be better than this year’s event, and so that I’ll have time to enjoy it.

Convention schedule
Convention presentations
Wayne Bretl's Convention photos