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Museum of Television gets Timely Relaunch

Posted by Roger Cullman / July 23, 2009

museum of television torontoMoses Znaimer relaunched his Museum of Television (MZTV) & Archive in Toronto on Monday, coinciding nicely with the 40th anniversary of the day that the whole world was watching TV as we put the first man on the moon.

The museum originally opened in April 2002, and now features historical TV sets like the RCA Phantom Teleceiver set from the 1939 New York World's Fair, Marilyn Monroe's personal TV set (a 1957 Magnavox) and a 1928 General Electric Octagon, which was used for experimental broadcasts in New York City. The new location of MZTV is at 550 Queen St. E. (at River St.).

Many of the televisions on display at Znaimer's museum are from the Space Age, where fashion, furniture and common household items began to mirror space shapes, such as Japan's Panasonic TR-005 Orbital from 1972, pictured below. It was neat seeing many of these TV sets still operational and working. Znaimer in the spotlight, his image appeared on many of these relics as he took to the microphone to welcome the media at the gathering.

Moses Znaimer  MZTVDeluxe, spherical, colour televisions, such as Group Systems' Kerakolor from U.K., emerged in 1969 (the white TV, below). It was kind of neat to see all these wierd and wonderful contraptions, most of which came about before I was born. TV sure has come a long way in more than just hardware form and function.

Moses Znaimer torontoOne of the most entertaining aspects of the place was The Writing on the Wall which featured quotes from famous people about television.

MZTV launchSome of my faves included one from Andy Warhol. Perhaps the same could be said about the internet today? There's plenty more amusing quotes from the wall that you can see in the photo slideshow at the bottom of this page.

MZTV launchBy far the most outlandish of all the TVs that I saw was a big showpiece from Germany, circa 1957, called the KUBA Komet (pictured below). It included long- and short-wave radios and a phonograph in the cabinet below the screen.

MZTV launchWhile I wasn't around for the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, I remember exactly where I was, watching TV when the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster happened.

MZTV launchSpeaker's Corner was an institution at Znaimer's Citytv empire, enabling any Joe off the street to hop on his soapbox for a minute, only to be later broadcast to the masses. Old episodes of the popular TV show that it spawned were displayed on a much older TV set in the museum. But you could still have your say at the original Speaker's Corner booth too, if only for old time's sake. It's a shame that Rogers Media cancelled the weekly series about a year ago.

MZTV launchOther interactive media has largely taken its place, as evident in the flat-screen touchscreen monitors in the museum, where you can learn about the history and significance of televisions throughout the years.

MZTV launchI asked Znaimer what his earliest memory of TV. He said that, when he lived in Montreal as a kid, there was a family who owned a corner store who were the richest family in the neighbourhood. "I remember being invited into their home, which was at the back of their store, to watch Wednesday Night Wrestling." This was back in 1952.

MZTV launchWhat's your earliest memory of television?

More photos from the MZTV relaunch in this mini photo slideshow below:

MZTV admission is $6; $4 for seniors and students; $18 for families; $4 each for groups of 10 or more. 416-599-7339.

Photos by Roger Cullman.



Derek / July 23, 2009 at 09:46 am
seems like a cool place, will check it out. the link to mztv is inaccurate.
Christopher / July 23, 2009 at 09:54 am
What would truly make this museum not only interesting, but a money drawer as well, is to fashion the museum to something akin to the Cités-Cinés experiences that were fashioned by Francois Confino in Belgium and Montreal in the 80's.
Adam / July 23, 2009 at 02:29 pm
Also interesting since television feels like it's becoming increasingly irrelevant. I cancelled my cable when I moved last August and haven't missed it at all. I know many friends who have done the same and aren't looking back.

Video definitely has a place in our future, I just don't think we'll be crowding around a glowing box in our living rooms in order to experience it.
Angus / July 23, 2009 at 03:00 pm
Creepy Moses looks like ET's grandfather.
Christopher King replying to a comment from Angus / July 23, 2009 at 03:06 pm
Show some respect kid, or is it easier just leaving posts with no actual identity connected to show how "brave" you are
conscious / July 23, 2009 at 03:15 pm
the medium IS the message.
Parker replying to a comment from Angus / July 23, 2009 at 06:29 pm
and a little like Gollum.
Angus replying to a comment from Christopher King / July 23, 2009 at 07:14 pm
Quit licking his bony ass and take a look at the guy's pencil neck and oversized noggin, Christopher - you bwave man, you.
Christopher / July 23, 2009 at 08:12 pm
Once again striking out from anonymity, eh Angus?
Real shame that the only thing you have to add to this section is slanderous bile.
Perhaps the over sized noggin that you're referring to on Mr Znaimer is a clear indication that the man, who started with one radio station and launched a media empire, has brains and hutzpah, no matter how things ended. And he's still going strong!
What about yourself? What DO YOU have to show for your life?
Angus / July 24, 2009 at 12:10 am
It's not slander if it's true, he does look like ET's grandfather.

I never criticized his accomplishments either, I'm sure he's banged a lot of babes in CityTV's stable of young ingenues and should be proud.
Kris(tine) / July 24, 2009 at 09:37 am
Hey remember the old neon Speakers Corner sign that adorned the corner of Queen and John for so many years? I spent weeks calling various people at City TV and Rogers Media trying to find it, but to no avail. Nobody seems to know where it went. How exactly does a giant neon sign like that become lost?
It really oughta be in this museum where we can all see it. It was a wonderful example of the medium - on par with Sam's revolving records, I'd say.
Derek / July 25, 2009 at 10:03 am
what's opening hours? can't find it on their site, their phone message, or this article.
Other Cities: Montreal