Stage of the World!
best seat in the house. Forever."
By Doug Boilesen 2001
The revolution of recorded sound that
began with the Phonograph was a social, cultural, and literal (in
rpms) revolution. And it never stopped. We still have record players
and descendent technologies that record and reproduce sound and
deliver entertainment to the home and individuals.
Advertising promises have been made
by each sound delivering technology that has followed the original
phonograph -- the radio, television, high-fidelity, stereophonic,
45 and LP phonograph systems, VHS and Beta video tape systems, reel-to-reel,
8-track and cassette playing systems, laser discs, CEDs, CDs, DVD
and Blu-ray systems, computers, iPods and all of the many streaming
devices. Formats and media change but each new product pursued the
phonograph's primary advertising promise -- that their device will
deliver music and entertainment to you as if it's just for you,
and it will be an experience equal to or better than the "best
seat in the house." Anytime. Anywhere. Forever.
There are still qualities of a live
performance that cannot be experienced in the home.
But if you are able to hear a performance
that you would otherwise never experience, and if the "music
is magic" as you close your eyes and listen, it seems pretty
compelling that the 'best seat in the house" can be yours.
Taking your seat for that performance
simply requires the what, when, and how often you want to attend.
The following are examples of how
realism and "The Stage of the World" have been promised
in phonograph and descendent technology advertisements since the
beginning of the twentieth century and, as a continuum, into the
"It is reality, nothing less;
for "The Stage of the World" presents the artists
themselves to you..." Columbia Grafonola, 1916
"The whole enchanted
realm of grand opera...comes to life through the magic portals of
the Columbia Grafonola," 1917
"Ring Up the Graphophone
Curtain in Your Home, and the Whole World of Entertainment Appears!"
in Your Home," The Talking Machine World, March
"Il Trovatore", complete, from the opening chorus to the
finale of the last act..." Munsey's, Victor Talking Machine
Victor The Fireside
Theatre brings to each family exactly the music that it wants;
the veritable voice, the actual performance. And all in the comfort
and privacy of home.
"At the Christmas Matinee"
by J.J. Gould, November 1908
The black and white illustration
of Edison's national magazine advertisement "At the Christmas
Matinee" in November 1908 was signed by J. J. Gould. When
the same advertisement appeared in color in December 1908 magazines
there was no longer an artist's signature. One can see the difference
in the details of the colorized version which have been apparently
modified by Edison artists in the colorization process.
When Edison proudly provided information
in his trade magazine about his advertising campaign of 1907 and
1908 he identified the "prominent artists" that were
being featured and noted that the advertisements "are
reproductions from a series of sketches drawn especially for us
by a number of leading artists of the country." (See
The Edison Phonograph
Monthly, December 1907).
This December 1908 illustration
is an example of how "reproducing" an original sketch
could alter the original sketch and result in the removal of an
"At the Christmas Matinee"
- The Best Seat in the House - Collier's, December
"A home without
a Victor is a stage without a play." 1908
The Edison Phonograph "sings
as sweetly sings as the most cultivated singer and renders perfectly
the tones of the various instruments of orchestras and bands."
The Edison Phonograph Monthly, August 1908.
- Their Artists are "Waiting at your door." 1908
"Home is more
comfortable than an opera house...“… whenever you want, without
going a single step away from home.” 1910
The Edison Phonograph is
the theatre... "The voice of all the people on the stage
- The choice of all the people off the stage. Edison ad, artwork
by Gil Spear 1911.
"It brings the
talent of the world's greatest artists into the home..."
The Edison Phonograph Monthly,
"This beats putting on your dress
suit and paying $5.00 to sit in a camp chair in a crowded theatre."
February 1914, The Talking Machine World.
"Hearing is Believing" Columbia
Phonograph Company, 1911
"Just as real, just as enjoyable,
in your own home" 1913
An Edison Phonograph
- "A Minstrel Show in Your Own Home with no end of good, clean,
bright music and songs." St. Nicholas magazine, 1911 *Disclaimer
"right in your own
home the charming selections from the popular operettas now delighting
the public..." St. Nicholas, 1913
Any class of amusement "From the
sublime to the ridiculous" -- Columbia Graphophone Company, 1915
Columbia Records on the
Columbia Grafonola bring the best music of all lands and all ages
into the friendly intimacy of your own home." Ladies' Home
"A Magical Voice of Music,"
Columbia Grafonola, 1919
Yours is the privilege of hearing
this group of marvelously gifts artists "from the depths
of your pet arm chair, any evening you choose. March 1919, The
The Saturday Evening Post, March
An all-star bill appearing each night
at home, Columbia 1920 Disclaimer
"With the Victrola you can have
a concert by these same great bands in your home..." 1921
Tusca Radio, 1923
thing on the radio is the usual thing on the Victrola." 1925
The music which delighted radio
listeners "has been and is available at all times through
the medium of the Victrola and Victor Records."
RCA Radiola - Full orchestra on a lanterned
lawn - 1926
"We thought it was an orchestra."
Orthophonic Victrola, The Ladies' Home Journal, 1926
"Waiting to sing and play for you...the
Victrola is the gift that keeps on giving." 1927 (PM-2032)
"Lights out...a glow springs up
along the stage's rim...The curtains part..." Victor Red Seal
"Almost, you look
into the faces of the musicians themselves, so perfect is the illusion..."
1928 - Edmund Wilson artist
"Without stretch of the imagination,
they are right in the very room with you." 1928 - Edmund Wilson
"You're at a Broadway vaudeville
show---in your own home!" 1928 - Edmund Wilson artist
"the utmost possible fidelity and
realism..." .RCA Radiola, December 1929
The Variety of Radio Entertainment available
for your home - "Get your full share..." RCA Radiola, 1931
Waiting for your Cue", RCA 1944
Magnavox - Radio-Phonograph 1945
eyes and enjoy the illusion that singers and orchestra are in the
very room with you."
RCA Victor's Golden Throat
If music was to come into the home
and be experienced the same as 'live' performances then voices from
records needed to have tone, color, timbre and resonanace indistinguisable
from their respective human voices.
The Victrola's "Golden Throat"
was a personification of the human voice produced by "RCA Victor's
exclusive 3-way Acoustical System." The following 1946 Victor
ad shows a golden head that looks like a classical sculpture and
next to it is its silhouette with a speaker inside, its "Golden
The "Golden Throat" of the
Victrola represents new perfection for RCA Victor in 1946
-- yours free on GE, 1951
Du Mont, with Television,
the world is your stage, 1949
1948 Spartan Radio
- "It brought the entire world to their fingertips"
1949 - The magic of radio
and television bring America's Grandest Entertainment. "Enjoy FM
and AM radio--and records--in natural color tone."
1950 Zenith - Watching
ballet in the afternoon "with startling new life-like clarity
"Command the world's
most celebrated stars to perform for you, privately, in your
own home." GE Television, The Saturday Evening Post, September
Webcor, Life, September 20, 1954
1954 Sylvania Television - "Chairside
Best Seat in the Concert Hall - Right
in Your Home! 1956 Admiral
Carnegie Hall - Magnavox
Stereophonic High-Fidelity -- "recorded music suddenly comes
alive...creating an exciting illusion of "living presence...with
amazing realism." 1958
Phonographs PUT YOU IN THE CENTER OF SOUND, 1958
Theatre in your home, 1962
"Full, live sound..."
Wollensak Stereo Tape Recorder
for Children, General Electric's Show' N Tell, 1965
Stereo...realism that rivals the concert hall," 1965
"RCA Victor Stereo...realism
that rivals the concert hall," 1965
"RCA Victor Stereo...realism
that rivals the concert hall," 1966
"RCA - realism that rivals the
concert hall" 1967
RCA Stereo- Realism that Rivals the
Concert Hall, 1968
Realism that rivals
the concert hall - closer to the music, RCA 1968
Watch Whatever, Whenever. -
Sony Betamax 1978
"Unparalleled in sight and sound,"
1984 Stereo Broadcasts of San Francisco
Opera -- "The effect is amazingly realistic."
Since the invention of
the phonograph player back in 1877...the basic concept hasn't changed
a bit. Until now." 1984
Sony Compact Disc - Sony's "Revolution"
JBL speakers "Set
the Stage at Home"- The speakers relied on by recording engineers
to mix the music for the first time are available for your living
room. "Bringing Pro Sound
All The Way Home. JBL - 1986
1992 RCA Home Theatre - "So
lifelike...you'll feel like part of the show."
you've never heard before: perfection." "you listen to
your favorite artists as though you, and your armchair, were centered
in the spotlight above." Courtesy Sony 1983;
"At Last, A Theater Where
You Can Always Go To A Concert"
Mitsubishi® Technically, Anything
Is Possible 1989
Day Sale, February 2017
In September 2020 with
COVID-19 a continuing reality, The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra's
New Season announced their "seven beautifully crafted concerts
will come to you at home."
camera angles, bonus interviews and insights, and behind the scenes
footage, your own home will be the best seat in the house!
couch into a box seat at the ballet
revolution that created
the"The best seat in the house. Forever"©