Classic Tales of Old Dorp: Gazette of 1900s posted scores on outdoor board

The Gazette used its “Playograph” outside the second-floor windows at the beginning of the 1900s to

The Daily Gazette is reprinting excerpts of the late Larry Hart’s long-running column, “Tales of Old Dorp.” Today, with baseball season under way, Hart remembers how many people kept up with their favorite clubs during big games of the early 1900s. This column originally was published Feb. 7, 1978.

Newspapers always looked for ways to dramatically give a public airing of great news events, besides coming out with extras, in the days before radio (and later, television) outdated this extra service. It was good public relations to have crowds gather outside the news building and watch or listen to breathtaking announcements.

The Gazette used its “Playograph” outside the second-floor windows at the beginning of the 1900s to give an up-to-the-minute account of World Series games, for example. As the wire services brought the play-by-play development of the games to the news room, a couple of reporters manipulated the diamond-shaped board from the inside so as to give the jam-packed crowd outside a visual effect of hitters and base runners padding the score.

The Gazette also frequently “broadcast” presidential election results, direct from the wire, by means of megaphones and, later, loudspeakers.

The Schenectady Daily Union sponsored a unique Election Night extravaganza on Nov. 4, 1902. It set up a stereopticon projector in an upper-floor window of the Crown Hotel on Wall Street and, as the results of the local and state elections came in, the latest tabulations were projected across the square and shown on a huge canvas screen near the railroad station.

Categories: Life and Arts

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