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Film

Museum of Television flips switch in Liberty Village

Posted by Ed Conroy / May 23, 2014

Museum Television TorontoToronto's own visionary prophet of the airwaves Moses Znaimer re-opened his Museum of Television yesterday, and now welcomes all curious and card carrying fans of the medium to visit this weekend as the MZTV Museumof Television & Archive participates in the citywide Door's open program.

Not just content with pioneering and broadcasting his own unique brand of exalted content, Znaimer also digs the apparatus: his collection of vintage Television sets is a geeked-out heavenly shrine to the art of TV technology, from boxy postage stamp sized screens to hulking, Martian-like monstrosities on the likes of which our (great) grandparents witnessed the first human being walking on the moon.

Moses ZnaimerThe mandate of the MZTV Museum of Television and Archive is "to protect, preserve and promote the receiving instruments of television history", and with the largest collection of North American boob tubes dating from the 1920s to the 1970s on display, a stroll down the aisles of the MZTV museum is guaranteed to nuke your nostalgic synapses.

As a learned student of communications philosopher Marshall McLuhan, Znaimer has long been fascinated with the delivery system - "the Medium is the message!" - and iconography showcasing classic TV sets can be found throughout his work, from the salad Citytv days right up to his booming Zoomer empire.

TRK TelevisionHighlights of the Museum include the truly alien RCA TRK-12 Phantom Teleceiver, "the rarest TV set on the planet" from the 1939 New York World Fare. The guts on this beautiful unit were intentionally open and on display to remove any doubt that magic might have been responsible for the live images it displayed - sort of like the Citypulse newsroom of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

The Kuba Komet was a marvel of German design combing television, radio and phonograph into a single stylish unit. Imaging what it must have been like to digest the cathode rays on such a machine seems as alien a concept as photographing it with a smartphone would have been to its original owner.

Kuba KometClearly an MZ favorite, the Philco Predicta hails from that glowing post 1957 Sputnik era "space age" design craze. Toon fans might be interested to note Futurama's Professor Farnsworth was named after Philo T. Farnsworth (the "originator" of TV in 1927), whom Philco financed.

2014524-Original_Speakers_Corner_1990_3810_Mia_Klein.jpgFear not, young ones. Children of the 90s will be thrilled to see the original Citytv Speaker's Corner camera, and even better its invitation to record your own TV memories which will be added to The MZTV Museum & Archive Oral History Project. Better than the newly revamped Speaker's Corner, right?

As the idea of a Television "set" is fast becoming as antiquated as all physical media itself, Museums such as this become a crucial link from our past to our future. "A society starts turning into a culture when it first shows an interest in preserving its past" Znaimer has smartly noted in the past.

zoomer museumWhile we are spoiled for cool things to experience this weekend, the MZTV Museum is pure pop culture manna and a must visit for TV fans and history buffs. Where else can you meet TV's first star Felix the Cat, watch Marilyn Monroe's own personal TV set, or behold the mighty personal collection of a prophetic media maven who helped shape the city in which we live?

zoomer museumInteresting to note as well as a great many other things, Znaimer was also well ahead of his time when it came to the "open doors" concept - starting in 1990, Citytv held an annual "open house" in which Toronto citizens could enter and explore the legendary ChumCity building at 299 Queen St. West:

WHERE

The ZoomerPlex, 64 Jefferson Avenue in Toronto's Liberty Village (one block South of King Street)

Retrontario plumbs the seedy depths of Toronto flea markets, flooded basements, thrift shops and garage sales, mining old VHS and Betamax tapes that less than often contain incredible moments of history that were accidentally recorded but somehow survived the ravages of time. You can find more amazing discoveries at www.retrontario.com

Discussion

10 Comments

Hey / May 23, 2014 at 09:01 am
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Looks interesting, I might check this out.

1939 New York World Fare? Fare? Come on guys, there's more to editing than just hitting the spell check button.
Cool / May 23, 2014 at 09:40 am
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Cool. I did some work in the original space at Queen and River over 8 years ago when they were getting it all set up.. nice to see it's still going.
Jacob / May 23, 2014 at 09:50 am
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"The Zoomerplex"? Really?

Moses... what have you become in your old age?
Betty / May 23, 2014 at 10:06 am
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It seems everybody at Zoomer HQ was too busy sourcing a large ribbon to pay attention to the MZTV website. It helpfully informs the visitor that the museum is temporarily closed and will reopen in early 2013.
Jacob replying to a comment from Betty / May 23, 2014 at 11:09 am
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They're all sending cat videos to their grandchildren.
Paul "Barry" Karn / May 23, 2014 at 12:56 pm
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I left a pair of freshly sh!tted undies in Liberty Village!
Where? / May 23, 2014 at 01:08 pm
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Liberty Village BUT why??? Probably due to cheaper rents to keep the dream alive. This would be ideal in the Distillery where people go to wonder, browse, check things out.

There's not much reason to go to Liberty Village (nothing against it) unless you live there or are visiting someone.
Malcolm Baird / May 24, 2014 at 12:33 am
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Interesting news item, and good luck to MZTV Museum.

Most mainstream museums have a few "old TVs" but this collection is unique in the world, thanks to MZ.

The TV industry seldom has time to look back to its own history, but it should. A good driver always looks in his/her rear view mirror.
Sprat replying to a comment from Where? / May 26, 2014 at 12:01 pm
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Why? Because it's an artistic hub. Clearly more so than you're aware of.
IG replying to a comment from Sprat / May 27, 2014 at 02:43 pm
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A hub for those who 'think' they're artistic perhaps...
Zoomer moved in 2010 after Corus relocated to their new HQ on Queens Quay. Moses chose it because it was already set up as a broadcast facility and at the time he had already sold his CityTV assets. He needed somewhere to build his new Zoomer moniker.

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