what the heck is a Darb?

Steve Allen-ese for 1957 Polaroid

Toronto. In 1957, Polaroid tried a new means and a new medium to show how easy their system was to use. At the time Steve Allen was popular on evening American TV (competing for audience with Ed Sullivan). A demo of Polaroid’s new camera and “picture in a minute” film by Allen had the TV audience applauding.

To back up this occasion – and emphasize the stability of Polaroid prints – Polaroid collaborated with NBC to feature Allen and Polaroid in a LIFE advertisement. Another version of “coat-tail” advertising, using a popular TV star to promote a new (and somewhat pricey) technology. Emphasis on the price of cameras quietly ignored the cost of film and 60 second prints. Allen was paid by Polaroid for the “infomercial” in Polaroid stock, making a fortune as the stock increased in value. Oh yes, Allen liked to make up his own words too…

Once again George Dunbar came through with this snippet of history (most of us were too young to appreciate Steve Allen and his antics in America when TV up here was so new).

I can remember going to my uncle’s farm to watch TV. His antenna was high enough to bring in the two Buffalo stations. We picked up our first TV in 1953 and struggled with poor signals from Toronto until our local station (CKVR) went live a couple of years later. At the time, I used a Brownie Hawk-eye box camera complete with flash for a far better chance of getting a decent exposure indoors, harsh shadows and all.

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