Sunday, August 15, 2010

Show 'n Tell

I had this really cool toy called a Show 'n Tell. It looked like a combination of a record player and television. It was small and box-shaped like a TV, with a screen in the front. On the top, it had a fully functioning record player. Also on the top, there was a thin, deep slot.

The Show 'n Tell played records, but its main purpose was to tell stories. To use this educational toy to its full potential, you had to buy the appropriate accessories. These were the '70s equivalent of educational videos and came in the form of a combination record/slide strip.

When you wanted to play one of the stories, you put the record on the turntable and started playing it, simultaneously inserting the slide strip into the slot, as far as it would go. As the story progressed, the strip would automatically rise, so that the next image would show on the screen.

I'm not sure how many stories I had, but I remember two of them. One was based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving. It was where I first learned about the Headless Horseman, Brom Bones, and Ichabod Crane. I played this one a lot.

The other was a cool lesson in Spanish. It featured a song with several verses that changed according to which family member was going shopping and what that person was buying. I still remember the tune and some of the lyrics.

The Show 'n Tell was pretty high-tech for its time.