Scanimate Tour: Recording

Image West tape operator Jim Howe winds up one of the IVC-9000 2" Helical VTR's. These machines did a pretty amazing job, allowing multiple generations before visible image loss. They were unusual machines, with all kinds of pneumatic servo's and vacuum columns. The company that made them, International Video Corporation, went out of business, leaving us in the lurch for spare parts. My favorite story about the 9000's is the time I had to fly to Miami to buy a used machine because one of our two workhorse machines had lost its scanner. I flew in, examined the machine, gave the seller a check, and proceeded to rip the scanner assembly out and box it up to take back with me to Hollyood as carry-on baggage. If I hurried, I could just get our ailing machine working in time to meet an important deadline with one of the networks. Everything was going fine until I got to the X-ray machine at Miami International Airport. I knew what would happen, so I walked around so I could see the X-ray monitor. The female guard manning the post was young, alone, and inexperienced. She took one look at the monitor and turned white. "Whats that?", she asked. "A Scanner." I said. She rolled her eyes. She made me open the padded cardboard box I was carrying it in. We stared at each other for a while. My plane was boarding. There was apparently nobody else she could call. She didn't know what to do. If ever there was something that looked like a cross between a nuclear device and a science-fiction doomsday machine, that was it! Usually X-ray luggage is wispy grayish stuff, but this thing was beautiful! There were oddly shaped dark black solid things inside this intricately engineered mechanism. Finally, I gave her my business card and said either she had to stop me from boarding or let me catch my flight. She finally shrugged and let me go on. I have always wondered about airport security ever since.
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