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Author Topic: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!  (Read 3534 times)

chris319

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2021, 10:12:18 PM »
Oh, I forgot to mention that the front face of the polyurethane mask was painted black. I'm not sure how this was done without getting black paint inside the holes.

A modern approach would be to take a thick slab of white plastic and make holes in it using a 3D printer and paint the face black and use it as the mask, or use a second, thinner layer of black plastic with matching holes. Then you would make a PC board to hold the lamp sockets, diodes and whatever. Use LED's to keep the heat down.

jlgarfield

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2021, 10:31:37 PM »
With these lamp matrix readouts, you could put them behind a sheet of scrim, paint the scrim any color you wanted and let the light shine through (scrim is a loosely-woven fabric). This was done on the contestant desks on the CBS version of Match Game one red and one green.
Interesting. I always thought it was a translucent type of plastic, or maybe something like a color gel.

Quote
Nowadays if you wanted that character set you would use a 16x9 monitor and do it all in software. If you just had to have a replica of the Display Systems readouts you could copy the same basic design but use LED's, which are expensive.
I'm surprised more shows haven't recreated eggcrates or vanes as part of the graphic readouts. I know The Pyramid did in 2012, but that's all I can remember...maybe the most recent Double Dare? LED clocks at least live on through football stadium play clocks.

To further expand, the original Press Your Luck used green, yellow, orange and red scrim for their scoreboards. :)

Unrealtor

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2021, 10:56:05 PM »
With these lamp matrix readouts, you could put them behind a sheet of scrim, paint the scrim any color you wanted and let the light shine through (scrim is a loosely-woven fabric). This was done on the contestant desks on the CBS version of Match Game one red and one green.
Interesting. I always thought it was a translucent type of plastic, or maybe something like a color gel.

That was my thought before I heard that scrim was used. What surprises me now is that it's painted rather than dyed. I would have guessed that paint didn't let enough light through.
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Chief-O

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2021, 11:03:04 PM »
With these lamp matrix readouts, you could put them behind a sheet of scrim, paint the scrim any color you wanted and let the light shine through (scrim is a loosely-woven fabric). This was done on the contestant desks on the CBS version of Match Game one red and one green.
Interesting. I always thought it was a translucent type of plastic, or maybe something like a color gel.

That seems like it would make sense, until you consider that gels or acrylic(?) panels could reflect the studio lights at the camera, and scrim doesn't.

chris319

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2021, 01:08:45 AM »
Come to think of it, they may have used colored Plexiglass on Tattletales.

tomcat

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2021, 07:20:54 AM »
What's the big mystery? They were made by Display Systems, a little company run by the late Ev Penn in the L.A. area.

I had a conversation with Ev shortly before he passed away around 1981. He helped rebuild the Concentration game board and controller when it was shipped from NY to LA. He and Ted Cooper redesigned the controller because on the one used at NBC, "the operator had too much to do". When Ev passed away, I'm told his wife made the readouts used on the second run of Tattletales. I built some readouts using IC's and ROM chips but never got around to designing a diode matrix which would pretty much require a printed circuit board.

The "egg crate" was made of polyurethane impregnated with aluminum powder to make it silver. The holes are 5/8" in diameter. It used 1820 lamps which were very, very bright and gave off a lot of heat. The heat from the lamps used to cause the holes in the polyurethane to deform and come out of round. But they were dependable and simple to drive. Display systems also made a larger dot matrix readout and a seven-segment display which was used on bidders' row and also on Card Sharks. Ron Schwab of Vista Electronics designed his own line of these readouts with square holes and an "egg crate" made of metal. They were used on "Debt".

Nowadays if you wanted that character set you would use a 16x9 monitor and do it all in software. If you just had to have a replica of the Display Systems readouts you could copy the same basic design but use LED's, which are expensive.

Don't forget, Card Sharks had readouts that spelled "BUST".

Display Systems was based in L.A. In New York they used readouts made by American Totalizator for TPIR and Say When!!

With these lamp matrix readouts, you could put them behind a sheet of scrim, paint the scrim any color you wanted and let the light shine through (scrim is a loosely-woven fabric). This was done on the contestant desks on the CBS version of Match Game one red and one green.

Thanks for this detailed account, Chris! I enjoy reading about the history of the company and its projects. I may try a panel with scrim attached to see how that looks on the front of the display.

Unrealtor

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2021, 09:20:57 AM »
Come to think of it, they may have used colored Plexiglass on Tattletales.

And TPIR used/uses smoked glass in front of eggcrates in several props, so I think the ability to reflect back isn't necessarily that big a concern.
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BrandonFG

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2021, 12:09:20 PM »
The Price Is Right has sometimes attempted to digitally recreate some of its displays when set pieces were rebuilt. The Any Number board is one such example. The Contestants' Row displays are another. When Contestants' Row first went to monitors in 2009, all four monitors displayed white digits on a black background with a colored scrim on top -- I thought it was a really sharp-looking way to combine old and new. In 2011, the design was changed so that the colored background was displayed directly in the monitor with no scrim.
Probably the most obvious example and I forgot. Might need to start taking something for this. :)
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ed1202

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2021, 11:41:11 PM »
Come to think of it, they may have used colored Plexiglass on Tattletales.

It looks like it would have been colored plexiglass on Narz's Now You See It.  If you look closely, you could see the screws used to hold it on.

Loogaroo

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2021, 04:12:28 PM »
Nowadays if you wanted that character set you would use a 16x9 monitor and do it all in software. If you just had to have a replica of the Display Systems readouts you could copy the same basic design but use LED's, which are expensive.

Given that you can buy a 6' string of LED lights that can shine an array of colors for just $10 on Amazon nowadays, I can't imagine the price of LED eggcrates being that prohibitive anymore.

Then again, just for ease of use (not to mention more visual options that go along with computer graphics) there's no reason not just to have stuff on monitors.
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chris319

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2021, 09:04:32 PM »
If you want a direct replacement for the 1820 lamps used in the Display Systems units, they are $83.79 for a pack of 20.

The networks can afford that.

https://www.aero-lites.com/product-page/ge-1819-24vdc-eyebrow-instrument-led-replacement-ba9s-base

Sodboy13

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2021, 12:06:19 AM »
Last year, I picked up a pair of 21" 1920x1080 monitors for $100, though, and a network could display two full scores with that, instead of buying lightbulbs for one digit.

It is amazing how the tech has changed over my lifetime. Eggcrates were the smaller, lighter, cost-effective solution back then. CRTs weighed and cost a ton, and they didn't look good on TV a fair bit of the time. I enjoy a purpose-built array of lights for scorekeeping, just as I prefer physical elements in a game show to a big screen that does everything. But as far as practicality, we're well past it.

/Doesn't mean you can just slap Arial up on the screen and call it a day
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chris319

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2021, 04:38:01 PM »
Egg-crate displays have been in use on game shows since the the vacuum-tube era of the 1950's. The technology to drive CRT displays didn't exist at the time.

Ev Penn's egg crates can be driven with a simple rotary switch.

Neumms

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2021, 05:37:30 PM »
/Doesn't mean you can just slap Arial up on the screen and call it a day

Speak the word, brother.

Loogaroo

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Re: Eggcrate Display Mystery Solved!
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2021, 06:17:09 PM »
/Doesn't mean you can just slap Arial up on the screen and call it a day

Funny You Should Ask would like a word with you.
You're in a room. You're wearing a silly hat.
There are letters on the floor. They spell "NOPE".