Goodbye, Sanyo Telecolor

The glorious Sanyo TelecolourThe Sanyo Telecolor showed me my earliest telly visions.

These include Rob Muldoon, costumed as Count Robula, hosting the Friday Frights circa 1987; and the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988. Whether these thrilling experiences helped shape my character, values, athleticism, attention span, etc is unknown, but regardless, I have an affection for the Sanyo Telecolor.

I am shedding possessions in preparation for a move north and, although I have not watched it in years and it no longer gets a picture on any channel, I am reluctant to let the old television go.

I am having precognition of what I've got till it's gone.

What I've got: this solid-looking box of wood with a woodgrain veneer; a glass screen with beautiful curvature that is so flattering to the sheets of snow inside; eight large channel buttons that make a satisfying pop when you press them, and five colours of the rainbow as part of the retro Sanyo logo.

It must be full of lead. It is enormously heavy and would be difficult to transport to Wellington. Still, thinking I might do so, I bought a cable and a set-top box and tried to breathe Freeview life into it, but to no avail. They lied to us! You can't get Freeview on your 1980s woodgrain televisions at all.

I am shocked to think they would lie to us.

So, to a new purpose it must be put. I already have a bookcase that used to be a PYE vid-matic woodgrain television set. But that was an easy conversion to make because I did not grow up with the vid-matic. I grew up with the Telecolor. To eviscerate it and turn it into a bookcase would be to accept the defeat of its televisual function. And that is one option.

Another option is keeping it for an odd, postmodern lamp in a corner of my Wellington chambers. The volume would remain off, but would the glow be comforting, in the way some lamps are, or would the rapid black-and-white flickering be unsettling?

A flickering television set also has a cultural association with frustrated desire for filmed scenes of people, landscape and ads. Just because my desire to watch such scenes is now about as obsolete as the Sanyo Telecolor, does not necessarily mean I will be able to overcome the sense my telly/lamp is inadequate.

And even if I overcome any psychological resistance to the television as lamp, what about visitors to my home? They might find it creepy and annoying. One's lamps should please one's guests.

I welcome suggestions from readers, and will consider offers to take the Sanyo Telecolor off my hands. It's free to a good home, but not to a bad landfill. You can comment below or email

'Capital Punishment'

Anna can post her column from Wellington. How about it, AC and ODT?

- Editor: Watch this space.


A move north to Wellington?!  Say it ain't so!  You must immediately outline the reasons for this foolishness, so we can counter them and talk you out of it.

Channel Da Da (Tata)

Sanyo Telecolor? Luxury! All we had was a prismatic perspex. This simply fitted over the old black and white tv screen to give the illusion of colour. Now then, you are a celebrated absurdist, as well as sensible. My suggestion is eviscerate the workings, screen, tube and you will then have an impressive tv cabinet, for Dada evenings. It is, in effect, an enclosed stage from which you can present live 'talking heads' television, probably one head at a time given the confined space. Begin with "Good Evening" and take it from there. Best wishes.