McMurry Magnetic Reader
After Dr. Krone's job was finished, I felt compelled to improve on that little sound reader I had been using. As I looked around the Cinema Department, I could see how useful such a device would be.

The gadget I had used for Dr. Krone's job was just a little box made from pieces of white sheet plastic. I had put a hole in the top of the box to hold the magnetic head, and glued on some little guides to keep the tape in place as it moved over the head. By connecting the reader head to a little amplifier, I had a tape reader!

I began to think about improving my device and making them to sell to others. Before long I had other people involved in my project. My friend, John Morley, an expert airplane engineer, thought I had a good idea. With his help, we designed a metal box. Something heavier than plastic was needed to hold the tape. One of us had the idea of painting the box with a paint that, when heated, would leave a "crinkly" attractive surface. What better place to experiment than in Darlene's oven? Of course, we weren't prepared for the awful stink that paint would make. Believe me, it was several hours before that kitchen was inhabitable!

Next, we decided we needed an attractive box to house the amplifier. That's where my friend, Don Figge, a design artist, came into the picture. Don had done design work for me on lots of the audiovisual catalogs and also on TRAFCO projects.

There were many more experiments and changes in our product, but, soon, we decided it was ready for the marketplace. We even got a lawyer for advise and had the "McMurry Magnetic Reader" patented.


My friends at the Cinema Department at USC were very encouraging. Several used the reader and were pleased with the resultsI traveled miles to show my "invention" to interested groups and individuals. The Crescent Tool Company in Ohio and the Calvin Company in Missouri allowed me to demonstrate it for them. A company in Plainsville, Connecticut, actually flew me across the country, all expenses paid, to see what I had invented.

"Unfortunately your unit does not fit into our line of products," the representative of the company said, after my demonstration.

I went home disappointed, but I had a nice stopover in Kansas to visit my folks anyway. A firm in Los Angeles showed some interest initially, but later decided to give it up. That was another disappointment.

Finally, John Morley and I decided to manufacture and distribute my reader on our own.

We ordered parts and assembled a dozen. When we sold them, we assembled another dozen. As time went on, we were just about breaking even, money-wise. Before long, both of us decided we weren't going to make our fortune with the "McMurry Magnetic Reader," and the project was abandoned. Neither of us really had the time needed to do the promoting and manufacturing. As usual, I already had three or four part-time jobs going besides my full-time job at USC.

I still believe my reader was a good idea. The right promotion expert might have really made a success of my idea. Several of my readers were used in Cinema for a number of years. In fact, years later, after we had been in Maryland for eleven years, and had returned to California, one of the staff members called to ask me if I had any more of those readers. Unfortunately, I had none.

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