A couple of weeks ago I shared my delight on discovering A History of Video Games In 64 Objects. It truly is proving to be a treasure trove of retro entertainment. Case in point the Magnavox Mini-Theater. Which was produced to help better educate the public on the Magnavox Odyssey. Keep in mind that back in 1972, consumers weren’t aware of what a video game was. Which is why the Magnavox Mini-Theater was produced to help drive home what a video game system was all about.
As with all of the 64 objects in the book by Harper Collins, they have been selected by curators of the Strong National Museum of Play. On the Strong’s official site you can check out Jeremy Saucier’s article on the mini-theater. Where he points out that this was indeed the first in-store video game merchandising display unit. As well as bringing up the fact that the mini-viewer certainly laid the way for future video game display units. Moreover think back to those wonderful Atari, Intellivision, and Colecovision playable store displays. It all started with that mini-theater!
The Magnavox Mini-Theater Was Not In Most Retail Stores.
Bear in mind what the mini-theater was designed for. To demonstrate to the public what the Odyssey could accomplish if purchased. However this meant of course it was shipped to only a select few Maganvox dealers. With the purpose in this particular case to ease what might be a burden on said dealers. Who in this case might be having some issues with wrapping their heads around the Odyssey in the first place. Furthermore with the mini-theater, the 8 mm film itself could make the sales pitch. I would say that makes quite a bit of sense, right?
As an illustration to how Magnavox was attempting to prepare the public they took some novel advertising avenues. I hope you are ready to have your mind blown. In an effort to go National with the first home video game they purchased air time with What’s My Line? With Product Manager Bob Fritsche as well as host Larry Blyden playing the system. And celebrity panelists Arlene Francis, Jim Backus, Soupy Sales, and Melba Tolliver trying to understand it.
I Hope You Are Ready To See The Magnavox Mini-Theater In Action!
This vintage promotional film really is exceptional. The Strong National Museum of Play digitized the 8MM reel so that future generations can understand it’s importance. I truly think you are going to get a kick out of this!
In Addition Here Is A Home Video Of A Former Employee Of Magnavox, Discussing The Magnavox Mini-Theater.
While you will indeed see a bit of the footage you have just seen, it’s nice hearing about the machine from an old-timer who was there at the beginning.