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  #1  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:07 PM
dreekeNL dreekeNL is offline
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Reelstop American Airlines prerecorded tapes

Hello everyone, I recently bought three tapes on second hand market, as you can see on these images:









They are longplay tapes, 1800ft, full of music at 3 3/4 ips 4 track.
I've only listened to one tape for about 20 minutes, it does sound pretty good, better then the most prerecorded tapes I have of popular music albums.

Does anybody know more about this kind of tapes?
It says "American Airlines".
Were they used for background music? Or maybe everyone could buy them? (ar the airport maybe? :D)

From the artists and titles on the tapes I would say they would be from somewhere late 1960's.

So I'm just being curiuos. The seller didn't know anything about the tapes, suppose he just found them on some attic nobody had been in 30 years.
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:13 PM
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I believe, according to DaveinVa, that they were primarily used in airport lounges basically as muzak.

I have a few of them - when I just need something to play for awhile, I'll put one on my RT-707.

Note there is the "classical" series, and then the "popular" series - which was contemporary songs of the era. I noticed that the "popular" ones go for a lot more on Ebay than the "classical". To me, the "popular" ones are so dated now, that the classical stuff, being as timeless as it is, is more listenable!
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  #3  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:25 PM
dreekeNL dreekeNL is offline
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Thanks for your information.
As I do not live in America (but in the Netherlands) I was a bit surprised to find them over here.

This is what's written on the back of the boxes:

- American Airlines Astrovision Classical Program CW-1 (Command Westminster Stereo Tape)
- American Airlines Astrovision Popular Program No. 20 W-20 (United Artists Stereo Tape)
- American Airlines Astrovision Popular Program No. 11 W11 (Warner Brothers & Reprise Stereo Tape)

Payd 15 Euro's (18 US Dollar) for all three together, with a free pile of antique unique blank tapes on acetate base, seemedd like a fun deal.
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Cassettedecks: Nakamichi BX-300E, Onkyo Integra TA-2600
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  #4  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:34 PM
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Ghitulescu Ghitulescu is offline
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Definitely for lounge. The airplanes themselves do use tape (it's far more reliable/shock-proof than optical media, both for audio and video) but newer versions use solid-state media (memory cards).
  #5  
Old 07-20-2012, 05:28 PM
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From the Westminster and Command graphics on the box, I'd say that these should have some very well recorded classical on them. Command was the audiophile label of Enoch Light. They pioneered recording on movie film back in the 60's. Very nice tapes even at 3 3/4ips is always a great find. )(
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  #6  
Old 07-20-2012, 06:03 PM
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The tapes I have are well-recorded. Back in their day, these reels could have also been in the planes, but I wouldn't vouch for that. I believe the tape machines on board were of an endless loop type of cartridge - not a consumer format.

Although I remember (TWA Boeing 707) seeing my first "Inflight Movie" (The Heroes Of Telemark -ca. 1965) in 16mm from a drop down capsule in the overhead! The staff even passed out a full-color program guide to the passengers! It was a big deal back then. Now people are bored to death staring at the seatback flat panels with so many channels! And with sat TV to boot!

Progress? Dunno...
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2012, 06:06 PM
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I have 4 of these tapes...I can't remember exactly what I have,will need to scan them in and let you guys see what they are,they don't look like these I don't think. Rob
  #8  
Old 10-26-2017, 08:51 PM
denyspr denyspr is offline
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American Airlines AstroVision/AstoStereo Programs

Hi, I'm new here but the info is old:

The AAA tapes- they were uses in planes, yes!
At the bottom of steward place two big doors with 3 strange machines:
3 reel-to-reel players for these tapes playing continuous at the fly. On earth, all turned off. No one flight has one hour and a half of duration, ok? Those years the sound system has three machines per plane: 3 selections: classical, pop, and country. Each tape has 3-hour selection, 1 hour and a half per side) The exclusive camera at the nose of the plane let the passengers pay attention on the take off and landing (B &W).
The tapes were sold after a month of use at stands of the company on some airports (no New York, I don´t know why). They were recorded by several companies, the most present is AMPEX. Each tape was priced abut 15 - 19 dollars each. Tape sales only at the airport AAA stands.

I have restored about 2 years long some selections, (pop series, from 1959 to 1971) and I have two country selections (2-hour each). The classical series is too noisy to our expert ears (LOL). The tape speed is 3 3/4 ips (all).

Each series has different numbers; the pop has about 100 items: the country has a little more:200 ítems: the Classical series is the same as the pop : 100 numbers. I don't know which year is stopped selling at the stands, it´s a mystery.

American Airlines also make Lp for the clients, one called "The Travel Agents Serenade" a gift to all passengers at 1966. I have this (mp3) perfect, this is a radio program broadcast on New York, sponsored by AA that year.

If someone is interested I can post here the selections, one by one I have.

------------------------

Now , my request is a little simple, I guess:

I saw the first photo of this thread a AAA selection # 11 (pop series). I have this (stopped restoring)
because the original reel tape at the position of some tracks was damaged on making the mp3 mastering.

they are;

04 - He's Got The Whole World In His Hands - The King Family
21 - Bluebird Of Happiness - Alvino Rey & King Family, narration-Robert Clarke)
34 - Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - The King Family
53 - When The Saints Come Marching In - The King Family
60 - Open Up Your Heart - The Four King Sisters

As someone may say: they are all King Family songs!
Yes, I didn't do the choice of the songs (LOL)

The person who mastered this to mp3 change the originals to
a horrible stuff recorded by microphones with domestic noises on
the background, and with 20% more faster at the speed.

What I am asking:

DreekeNL : Can you send to me these 5 songs by e-mail to release
it finally? I can post it on Mega to all that want it.

Waiting your answer as soon as possible...

Hugs from Brazil...

Denys P.R.
====================
  #9  
Old 10-26-2017, 11:43 PM
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Skywavebe Skywavebe is offline
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When I worked for Hughes Avicom in Chicago at O'Hare we did American Airlines planes but we were more concerned with Video played on a VHS player in Business class and then displayed either on Isle TV or a large tube projector which we serviced in Elk Grove just outside the Airport. We were first to put the seat back system on the Northwest Airlines 747 but the videos were fed by Hard drive system through a computer and you could select 7 different sources. The Hard drive devices were in the Electronics bay under the floor when you get on a plane. Hardly anyone who does not service these planes would know where they are. The laptop like terminal was in one of the bulkhead areas near the food serving area. Of course they did things sloppy and got beat by Marconi who was backed by British Air. That is what you see on the Boeing 777. Of course that is old news now days. In 1997 they were not made yet.
In all my years working for Hughes with 757, 767 and MD11, DC10 there were never any reel decks on the planes and the only cartridge was used in the First class seats in a unit called a ISVM that was the pull up LCD screen that played the 8mm movies they would hand out. VHS was the other cartridge.

Earlier when I worked at VCA Teletronics we made Beta Video tapes for the United Airlines planes. Of course more advanced technology has been implemented since those good old days- I don't have to lug a 60 pound projector up a jetway and mount it in business class above seats and do a fast convergence and alignment anymore. Nor do I have to answer a pager to tell a flight attendant that you can not put three video tapes in a player that is designed for one- and these are the people that are managing your safety.
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  #10  
Old 10-27-2017, 10:02 AM
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LOL! Sam! I see that all the time in the car biz - people trying to stuff multiple disks into a single slot!
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  #11  
Old 02-01-2018, 06:11 PM
denyspr denyspr is offline
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Hi, some news , more accurate.

American Airlines made a business deal with Billboard
Magazine to make the selections. (take a Google search, ok?)

It began on October, 1964, not all months was released
a selection to be changed on all planes.

The "used tapes" and the new one copies of
some selctions (mainly pop and classical) were sold at
AA stands, yes.

$35 dollars each new, and $31 to the used ones
(stratosferical prices, like
all AA services from that era)

These selections worked on the planes until August, 1971.

--------------------------------------
I saw one article about 1966-67 on Sony Videotapes (JAPAN)
and AA, but I don't remember where.

----------------------------------------------

About the machines that played the tapes on the planes:
- the info is right,

a stewardress who worked at AA from 1963 to 1974, damned them
every time she went to work those days.

She move to São Paulo (1975) to work at Varig Airlines Brazil
till 1989 when she retired from flying.
She died last year (January)from cancer .

She became a big friend of our family, although we don't fly with her always.
She was divorced and had a daughter, but I lost adress from her daughter.

-------------------------------------

but what matters first is the selections:

I realized that the tapes were recorded with an equalization
(unusual, of course) where the bass was cut off several db
to be played at earphones of 60-70 decade.

My restoration was checked with the original lps from that
time and the songs were "replaced" on the original sequence.
We are talking about things from 53 years old.

People were less exigent that time.

--------------------------------
I saw last fight a young man, furious with the flight
attendant about the options of the movies, (only 146
movies to choose)...

-------------------He must have a NETFLIX card inside head -------------

hugs...

Denys P.R.

===============

If someone has the American Airlines Astrovision Program Number 11 and could send me a copy of this, I would be so grateful...

===============================
  #12  
Old 02-04-2018, 11:17 AM
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Lance Lawson Lance Lawson is offline
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I can still recall one particular set of music from a Delta? flight from NY to Florida in 1970. The headphones were not electronic but some sort of strange acoustically piped in music. I think the tape played into an acoustically suitable hollow fixture that was built into the armrest and the hollow ear pieces were like a stethoscope. Quality was fair. But the music was prepared as if it was being done by a radio jock and each song was preceded by some inane banter. On that flight I must have heard CSN 49 Bye Byes and Fire and Rain 15 times. The tape or whatever it was had only about 20 minutes of material until it repeated itself.
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  #13  
Old 02-04-2018, 01:32 PM
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I have enjoyed these collections too. I only have "American Airlines Astrovision - Popular Program No. 8" and "...Popular Program No. 18". My father in law had these and I transferred them to cassette several years ago as the tapes were failing (brittle). 4-Track 3 3/4 IPS stereo. No. 8 is produced/labeled "Atlantic Records, ATCO Records" and No. 18 "Ampex ABC Paramount, Command Stereo Tape."

Would like to get copies of others in this series...

Eric
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  #14  
Old 02-04-2018, 09:41 PM
eddisc eddisc is offline
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I have some 1st gen copies - mostly on SONY SHL... willing to see them go to good home. Various of course... PM me.
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  #15  
Old 02-05-2018, 09:40 AM
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I had several American Airlines tapes and have sold them on ebay over the years. Surprisingly, they bring in a good amount of money. They were the exact programs heard during flight. Unlike the popular tapes, the classical ones had a narrator telling you what the selection is before and after the selection.

I had one odd one, can't remember which program it was. All the artists matched the box, and the songs, but the songs that were actually on the tape were performed by different artists on the tape. So if Peter, Paul and Mary were playing, it was a different song than what was listed, but the actual listed song would be by Trini Lopez, who was also listed on the tape as singing that song but listed as singing a different song. Totally weird. It still sold though.

I thought the sound quality of those tapes were awful though, worse than the usual 3.75 ips tapes.

And to Denyspr, I did have AA program #11. It was an all Warner Brothers tape. I sold it on ebay about 2 years ago. If I come across another one, I'll pick it up.

Brian
  #16  
Old 02-08-2018, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddisc View Post
I have some 1st gen copies - mostly on SONY SHL... willing to see them go to good home. Various of course... PM me.
1st one I found includes: strangers in the night, red baron,as long as she needs me, it's only a paper moon, red roses for a blue lady, lemon tree, peppermint patty, the impossible dream, night lights, jackson, younger than springtime, etc etc.
It has "AA 45" on the spine.
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