On Aug. 6 — the day before E and I left for our trip to Washington — I checked out a small flea market in another part of Brooklyn. I really should have been home packing and making other last-minute preparations for the trip, but this was a very special flea market with a very well-curated set of vendors, and I had good reason to believe that I would find some treasures there.
I was right. I’ve already written about one of the treasures I found that day (a very beautiful 1957 school furniture catalog), and today I’m going to tell you about the other one: the spectacular 1970 cassette player shown above. Isn’t it great? I love the multi-colored buttons and knobs, the light-up “Record Power” gauge, all the little jacks and switches, the serial number. Such a great piece of vintage electronics!
In light of its predominant color, I’ve named it Colonel Mustard. Here are some additional photos:
I’m pretty sure Colonel Mustard was originally intended for classroom/educational use. Like, you’d be watching the filmstrip in third grade and then the cassette would provide audio narration and give a little Beep! telling the teacher when to advance to the next frame.
And does Colonel Mustard work? He most certainly does! Check it out:
As I mentioned, I acquired Colonel Mustard right before my August trip to Washington. When E and I got back from that trip, I decided to have a cassette party on Uni Watch HQ’s front porch. That happened this past Saturday, as a bunch of my friends came over and everyone brought some cassettes to play (the subject line on my emailed invitations was “Colonel Mustard … On the Porch … With a Cassette”). Many folks said they no longer had tape players of their own and were happy to have the chance to play their cassettes again!
It was a really fun time. And there were two fun visual bonuses. First, as you may recall from my Pandemic Porch Cocktails photo project, the house directly across the street from Uni Watch HQ has the same color scheme as Colonel Mustard:
And second, E and my neighbor Jason both dressed up for the cassette party by wearing boombox-themed T-shirts, which was a hilarious coincidence:
The whole day was a blast. There will definitely be more cassette parties in the future!
And what did I pay for the device that inspired all this fun? Twenty-five bucks. Twenty-five bucks! What a steal, right?