July 17, 2012
Walter Cronkite died on July 17, 2009.
I miss his broadcasts, still, and they were gone a good 20 years earlier.
Here’s an earlier post on Cronkite:
Walter Cronkite at his office typewriter:
Walter Cronkite at his typewriter, in his office – from The Typewriter blog
Pipe rack to his left, on the shelf above; full set of the Encyclopedia Britannica to his right (probably a 1960s set); A lot of books, some dealing with space exploration, among his favorite topics; models of the X-15 and early versions of the Space Shuttle; award from the Boy Scouts to his right, where he can see it easily.
When was this photo taken? 1970s? Earlier? Maybe someone who follows Dixie Cups could date the cup to Cronkite’s left.
This is probably the same office, redecorated, and stripped down to move – and with a different typewriter (a Smith-Corona electric?):
Caption from the San Francisco Chronicle website: “In this March 6, 1981 file photo, Walter Cronkite talks on the phone at his office, prior to his final newscast as CBS anchorman in New York City. Behind him is a framed Mickey Mouse cartoon and his Emmy award. Famed CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, known as the ‘most trusted man in America’ has died, Friday, July 17, 2009. He was 92.”
February 20, 2012
You saw and loved Scorsese’s “Hugo.” You rushed home and Googled “Georges Melies,” and you rediscovered a thrilling character from history You wondered: Surely the automaton was wholly fictional, right? No one could really make something like that!
Oh, but they did. The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia has one restored. CBS Sunday Morning reported it:
(And then CBS disabled embedding — you’ll have to go watch at YouTube. Sorry.)
Here, watch this longer piece demonstrating the device:
Steampunkers everywhere are suddenly filled with hope.
But, should we be surprised that mere mechanical devices can do such seemingly wonderous stuff? Remember the “bird pistols” that were auctioned a few months ago? And what about all those mechanized clocks in towns and cities across Europe? See the clock tower in Poznan, Poland, for example:
At Mid day everyday, 2 mechanical goats bang their heads together and a guy plays a trumpet.
Amazing stuff was possible, without electronics. 2D animation on film is fantastic. 3d animation of a real object? It appears just short of miraculous, and then only because we know something about how it was done. Arthur C. Clarke’s famous Third Law screams to be noted here: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” But of course, no one is making such automata today. Maybe they are miracles, no? Bugs Bunny sang, “Carrots are sublime/You get a dozen for dime/It’s magic!”
Magic of and on film, one of the great themes of the movie “Hugo.”
Updated: More sources (courtesy of Zemanta):