View Full Version : 1970's Fugly!!!


jstout66
04-11-2010, 06:54 PM
Thought I'd post pix of my 1979 JC Penney Home Entertainment System that I found as a curbside find awhile back.
Almost allll plastic. The set is a Wells Gardner. I fired up briefly and got arching from the tripler, so it hasn't been on since.
It's also FREE to anyone who wants it.... LOL! I'll try to post all pix in this thread. If I'm unable to do so, I'll post one titled "doors open" in the next.
Does anyone remember these? I never paid attention to JCP stuff in the 70's.

MRX37
04-11-2010, 07:20 PM
Holy hell that's an odd duck!

It's like a Curtis Mathes, only vertical.

DaveWM
04-11-2010, 07:44 PM
def frugly.


There is one like that locally that the guy want 150 for, I offerd him 30 bux (parts) but no joy. He has been trying to sell if for at least 6 months.

truetone36
04-11-2010, 11:47 PM
My '74 Philco combo looks almost like that one.

Whirled One
04-11-2010, 11:48 PM
Wow, that really is an *ugly* TV/stereo combo..! Wow. Looks like some sort of cheapo imitation of one of those Mangavox vertical combos.

I'm kinda surprised that it's a Wells Gardner though. It seems like most JC Penny color portables and table models starting in the late 70's were rebadged GE or RCA sets depending on model. Perhaps they still used Wells Gardner for their consoles at that time?

amptramp
04-12-2010, 07:33 PM
This design reminds me of the combination washer / dryers that are sold for apartment use where stacking the components vertically (dryer above washer) may have an appeal for floor-space challenged homes. I find it more bizarre than fugly - I have seen similar styles laid out side-by-side in the more normal layout and they look more normal but just as fugly. It appears to be camouflaged to look like an armoire, so maybe it was intended for bedrooms. As the childrens ads used to say, "Be the first on your block..." etc.

kx250rider
04-13-2010, 12:25 PM
It reminds me of a cheapie TV rental company set.

Charles

Whirled One
04-13-2010, 08:20 PM
It reminds me of a cheapie TV rental company set.

That's what I was thinking too..! I once saw a mid-1980's Colortime 19" color TV/stereo combo console at a yard sale. What a cheezy piece of rent-to-own-junk! Imagine a cheap 19" color portable TV bolted into a really cheap particleboard entertainment/shelf unit (even the plastic back of the TV was left intact!) along with a cheap compact stereo that might make Yorx and GPX audio products look good. Don't forget the cheap little speakers in oversized cabinets! They're bolted into the shelf unit too. I shudder to think what the total rent-to-own price of that thing was.

By comparison, this JC Penny set is truly a luxury item..!

Findm-Keepm
04-13-2010, 08:46 PM
I'd like to add the pressboard cheapie Morse/Electrophonic stereos to the list of ugly and cheap. 1 watt germanium outputs, 2x2x2" power transformers, and 10" speakers with 6 ounce magnets. I saw a lot of those at yard sales as a kid in the late 70's. I guess one of the discount stores around here sold them cheap. Sams published a photofact for some, but man, what a waste.

Cheers,

compucat
04-13-2010, 09:42 PM
I'd like to add the pressboard cheapie Morse/Electrophonic stereos to the list of ugly and cheap. 1 watt germanium outputs, 2x2x2" power transformers, and 10" speakers with 6 ounce magnets. I saw a lot of those at yard sales as a kid in the late 70's. I guess one of the discount stores around here sold them cheap. Sams published a photofact for some, but man, what a waste.

Cheers,

I worked on one of those Morse Electrophonic console stereos at a TV shop called All Brands Electronics in 1988. It had two 4" speakers like the kind you would find in 1960s tube radios mounted in a console cabinet, really cheap junk.

jstout66
04-13-2010, 11:09 PM
I remember all the cheap junk that came thru our shop. I forgot about Morse! UGH!
For TV's don't forget how horrid "Midland" sets were.
I wish this set worked tho.... the Wells Gardner stuff surprisingly wasn't that bad. The set is the solid state version that has EVERYTHING on Modules, even the tripler/flyback. I remember the tube versions of this chassis. Always thought it was cool that the modules were shipped with the tubes intact.

jstout66
04-13-2010, 11:10 PM
oh ya.. the tv is built like a tank, but the stereo part is cheaper than cheap. TINY speakers.

Reece
04-14-2010, 06:44 AM
Nothing to love.

Jeffhs
04-14-2010, 02:43 PM
oh ya.. the tv is built like a tank, but the stereo part is cheaper than cheap. TINY speakers.

In the early '80s I had a Zenith integrated stereo system that was built much better than the stereo in your console; the speakers in my system were in real wood cabinets and sounded great. My stereo lasted 17 years and was still working when I gave it away ten years ago, due to moving into a small apartment. I replaced the Zenith stereo with an Aiwa all-in-one bookshelf system; the cassette decks in the latter failed after about seven years (cheap plastic parts, no doubt), but the rest of the unit still works.

If the television in your console is built "like a tank" as you put it, rather than getting rid of it, why don't you just replace the arcing tripler and enjoy the set? If the stereo does not work or the sound is not to your liking, I'd just take it out and use the space for storage--unless the TV feeds its audio output through the stereo system's amplifiers; in that case I'd try to find better speakers. Of course, if the tripler is NLA (no longer available) or finding a replacement is for any other reason next to impossible, the only cost-effective alternative would be to junk the set or sell it cheaply for parts.

I hope by "tiny" speakers you don't mean, Heaven forbid, 3"-4" diameter transistor-radio speakers. From your description, however, it seems all too likely that the speakers in your unit are not much better than those found in large transistor radios.

My best guess is that your console was built cheaply to sell cheaply -- a trend that started in the mid-1960s with shirt-pocket transistor radios and continues to this day. What puzzles me, however, is why the television was built so much better than the stereo. :scratch2: One would think that if the TV were good quality, the quality of the stereo components should have been just as good, if not better.

I wouldn't be surprised if this console sold for $200 or less when it was new; after all, except for the TV, it seems like cheap offshore-manufactured junk, meant to be discarded at the first sign of trouble--after the warranty expires, of course.

Jeffhs
04-14-2010, 03:17 PM
I worked on one of those Morse Electrophonic console stereos at a TV shop called All Brands Electronics in 1988. It had two 4" speakers like the kind you would find in 1960s tube radios mounted in a console cabinet, really cheap junk.

About three or four years ago, I saw a Morse Electrophonic console stereo on a treelawn not far from my apartment; it probably had dinky little 4" speakers as well. The stereo was in a very large and heavy console cabinet and was sitting next to another console, RCA, IIRC. The Morse-Electrophonic system, again IIRC, had an 8-track player so it must have been mid-'60s-'70s vintage.

BTW, why on earth did manufacturers the likes of Morse-Electrophonic do things like this? It makes no sense to put literally tiny speakers in a console cabinet that almost certainly outweighs the rest of the system at least a couple of times over.

The sound quality probably wasn't much better, either, than that from a large transistor radio. This type of stereo was obviously designed for people who don't care beans about sound quality, as long as the system will play so loud it rattles the walls; of course, with only 4" speakers (which have very small magnets and voice coils), five minutes at full volume will ruin them. An amplifier will often put out more power, when driven into distortion, than that for which it was designed. If the speakers are not designed to handle that much power (very cheap ones aren't, and even quality speakers, for example Cerwin-Vega's, will be damaged or destroyed if played at much more than normal listening volume), they will fail in very short order.

sanjarali
04-15-2010, 09:21 PM
About three or four years ago, I saw a Morse Electrophonic console stereo on a treelawn not far from my apartment; it probably had dinky little 4" speakers as well. The stereo was in a very large and heavy console cabinet and was sitting next to another console, RCA, IIRC. The Morse-Electrophonic system, again IIRC, had an 8-track player so it must have been mid-'60s-'70s vintage.

BTW, why on earth did manufacturers the likes of Morse-Electrophonic do things like this? It makes no sense to put literally tiny speakers in a console cabinet that almost certainly outweighs the rest of the system at least a couple of times over.

The sound quality probably wasn't much better, either, than that from a large transistor radio. This type of stereo was obviously designed for people who don't care beans about sound quality, as long as the system will play so loud it rattles the walls; of course, with only 4" speakers (which have very small magnets and voice coils), five minutes at full volume will ruin them. An amplifier will often put out more power, when driven into distortion, than that for which it was designed. If the speakers are not designed to handle that much power (very cheap ones aren't, and even quality speakers, for example Cerwin-Vega's, will be damaged or destroyed if played at much more than normal listening volume), they will fail in very short order.

:scratch2:Even jeffhs, you say these radios and television sets out to them of poor quality? :oexplain to me how you will find radio scattered around the tree? ". Mad!!:eek:

AUdubon5425
04-16-2010, 01:43 AM
Personally, I'm glad the Morse tree hasn't produced any fruit in several years...

stromberg67
04-16-2010, 05:36 PM
That thing is so ugly that, IMHO, it's worth preserving. Any idea who made it for Penny's?

Jeffhs
04-16-2010, 08:04 PM
That thing is so ugly that, IMHO, it's worth preserving. Any idea who made it for Penny's?

I don't know about the stereo, but the television was manufactured by Wells-Gardner. If I had to guess, I'd say the stereo components were made by some fly-by-night offshore entity no one on these shores has ever heard of. J. C. Penney just slapped its name on it; it's your typical rebadged entertainment center. I wouldn't have one in my apartment for all the tea in China.

Jeffhs
04-16-2010, 08:44 PM
:scratch2:Even jeffhs, you say these radios and television sets out to them of poor quality? :oexplain to me how you will find radio scattered around the tree? ". Mad!!:eek:

The "treelawn" is what people in and around Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America, call the small patch of grass near the curb (usually with a tree planted in the middle of it, hence the name), in front of most houses (beyond the lawn and usually separated from it by a sidewalk) in suburban residential neighborhoods. The treelawn is usually where trash is placed for collection by the local waste disposal company, although old and often perfectly good radios, television sets and other electronic devices, thought to be of no use to their owners for any number of reasons (doesn't fit the decor of their living room or den, doesn't have enough features, etc.) are often found there with the trash.

My remarks regarding poor quality in TV sets, radios and stereo equipment referred to the use, especially in the last 30-35 years, of cheap parts and components in such devices, leading to their early, often premature failure and being discarded in the trash, rather than being repaired the first time anything goes wrong--after the warranty expires. This results in such appliances winding up in landfills, which upsets environmental activists and others involved in recycling efforts, the latter now underway almost everywhere in this country. Here many major appliance and TV/audio stores such as Best Buy, et al. will take in old TVs, audio gear, and appliances, and use the parts for other purposes.

This is all part of what we here in the United States call "going green", a concept aimed at cleaning up our neighborhoods and cities (including sending less material to landfills whenever possible), that has gained popularity here in the last five or ten years and shows no signs of letting up. Personally, I hope it doesn't, as there are far too many appliances being thrown out that could be recycled. The recycling project going on at Best Buy is a step in the right direction; I certainly hope it continues to move forward.

Kind regards,

Eric H
04-16-2010, 08:58 PM
There's a Curtis Mathes console at the Thrift today, one of the low wide ones with the auxiliary cabinet built on top with the turntable, 8 Track and Stereo built in, build date stamped on the back was Nov 1974.

Thing was near mint but so dam ugly and cheap looking I wouldn't have it in the house, cheap Plastic Chrome bezels on the Tape and Stereo (pretty much like the J.C. Penny above), ugly contact paper "Veneer" in a dark brown "Mediterranean" style. :yuck:
Not to mention it would take a Piano dolly to move the thing.

holmesuser01
04-17-2010, 12:06 AM
I worked for a Rent to Own for a few years fixing their TV's and such.

We had the Wells-Gardner sets, and also a Warwick stereo that put Morse to shame with its cheap build.

The store got 3 times what they paid for these sets, and more, sometimes. Some of the renters would run the little stereo so loud that the speaker cones would come apart.

Later, we switched to NAP Magnavox. Vastly better sets.

The W-G sets with the modules developed lots of intermittent connection problems that caused us to have to solder the pins directly to the module connections to stop problems caused by the set being moved alot. Rental TV's get moved alot!

AUdubon5425
04-17-2010, 02:34 AM
My late uncle handled warranties for Morse among others, and often made house calls on rent-to-own stereos. A frequent request from the customers was for more bass. He said he'd put a cap across something to increase the bass, and they'd be happy as a clam, overdriving the living heck out of the speakers. If a set failed due to customer misuse, they usually began renting-to-own another set.

sanjarali
04-17-2010, 10:46 AM
The "treelawn" is what people in and around Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America, call the small patch of grass near the curb (usually with a tree planted in the middle of it, hence the name), in front of most houses (beyond the lawn and usually separated from it by a sidewalk) in suburban residential neighborhoods. The treelawn is usually where trash is placed for collection by the local waste disposal company, although old and often perfectly good radios, television sets and other electronic devices, thought to be of no use to their owners for any number of reasons (doesn't fit the decor of their living room or den, doesn't have enough features, etc.) are often found there with the trash.

My remarks regarding poor quality in TV sets, radios and stereo equipment referred to the use, especially in the last 30-35 years, of cheap parts and components in such devices, leading to their early, often premature failure and being discarded in the trash, rather than being repaired the first time anything goes wrong--after the warranty expires. This results in such appliances winding up in landfills, which upsets environmental activists and others involved in recycling efforts, the latter now underway almost everywhere in this country. Here many major appliance and TV/audio stores such as Best Buy, et al. will take in old TVs, audio gear, and appliances, and use the parts for other purposes.

This is all part of what we here in the United States call "going green", a concept aimed at cleaning up our neighborhoods and cities (including sending less material to landfills whenever possible), that has gained popularity here in the last five or ten years and shows no signs of letting up. Personally, I hope it doesn't, as there are far too many appliances being thrown out that could be recycled. The recycling project going on at Best Buy is a step in the right direction; I certainly hope it continues to move forward.

Kind regards,

:dunno: jeffhs, thank you for you to explain what a "treelawn" for me. I did not think that you may have to see with radios and televisions hanging from trees that you have a bad man illegal drugs.:puke2::yikes: However, I can now see that you have a pretty good man!. :p:

:banana:Where I belong to, and in Amman, does not apply only to the ruling class is irrigated, so I can never imagine a situation where the garbage. When I was a young boy only, we were lowered to a garbage dump, has been active in televisions and radios to find.:thmbsp::worried: I think you Americans call "recycling". In Amman, it was nothing in the lower classes already.:tears: In 2008. My family come to Dearborn, Michigan, USA so now I am also live in America as not you!:yippy:

AUdubon5425
04-18-2010, 03:33 AM
I did not think that you may have to see with radios and televisions hanging from trees that you have a bad man illegal drugs.

I could go for hanging some of the drug dealers near here with console TV's tied to their feet...I know, I know...

When I was a young boy only, we were lowered to a garbage dump...

Yeah, our old neighborhood became a garbage dump too. I feel your pain.

sanjarali
04-20-2010, 09:23 PM
:drool: I think translation problem! :scratch2:

My brother, I went to a lot of dumping, and we will not live in. :nono: Many of fix television is what we get there. :banana::banana:

holmesuser01
04-20-2010, 09:43 PM
I used to pick things up at the dump, like old TV's, and take them home and fix them, too. Been doing stuff like that since I was a kid.

Eric H
04-20-2010, 10:45 PM
I used to love going to the dump when I was a kid, you could still pick through it and take what you wanted back then (early 60's)
I still have a wire rack we got from the dump way back when.

ha1156w
04-21-2010, 12:19 AM
JCP was notorious for these little 4" driver tricks. I had a model 1770 combo -- radio, 8-track, cassette, belt drive turntable. Looked like it was OEM Panasonic-ish, and in our rather rural area I knew at least 4 other households with the same model stereo. The speakers were 3.5" drivers with 1" magnets (at least) in enclosures about 10x20". This was undoubtedly to cover up the HORRIDLY unresponsive cartridge, which used a needle like a Ronette held in by a setscrew, only with a spongy piece in the middle giving vertical compliance necessary for stereo. It's response on the bottom end was 150Hz optimistically. Then there was the awful reliability of this horrid collection of parts.....