JULY 1999

San Francisco

Roy Trumbull Editor

Bill Dempster - Artist


Rob Robinson of Philips Digital Video will speak on their network news editing systems.

As usual, our luncheon will be at Sinbads just south of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero near the foot of Mission St.. Please RSVP to Carol Brahney at Zacks: 408-487-5514 ( We meet at 11:30 and are seated at 12:30.

Future Meetings

August - Dane Ericksen of Hammett & Edison will give a presentation on the hows and whys of microwave frequency coordination.

Oct 9th - The "annual" SBE dinner and awards presentation at the Radisson Hotel on the Berkeley marina. Expect a mailing with full information.



1905 1999

Zack of Zack Electronics died on June 14th. He was 94. He started his store in 1931 and ran it until his retirement in 1986. He was an exceptional businessman who survived while other stores came and went. When the conventional business wisdom was that the counter was a money losing enterprise, Zack had more counter personnel than anyone else and was open on Saturday to boot.

I first came into the store in 1953 when I was 14. I quickly learned which countermen couldnt stand kids and which would bend over backwards for you. The official policy was pro-kids. The store manager in Palo Alto wanted to put up a "no-kids" sign. Zack said, "I happen to know David Packards son comes into the store." End of discussion.

While not one to drop names, Zack knew everyone. He had a rich collection of notes and correspondence with some of the most famous personalities in electronics.

One long standing tradition was the Zack dinner for all the broadcast chief engineers. It was held at many different locations. There was always some kind of game or gimmick to the evening. Zack would eventually be coaxed to say a few words. After one such event he found his fly had been open all evening and that became a running gag for many years.

Back before everyone became so grand and important, Zack was able to get the general managers to show up for a dinner that also had a game as its center attraction.

In those days the GMs could remember times when Zack kept them on the air by coming up with parts at all hours of the day and night or when their credit had been soft and Zack had carried them. In the early years of one TV station, they owed enough that if they hadnt eventually paid, Zack would have gone under.

I remember thinking that with his biblical name, Zack must be Jewish. Years later I learned he was actually Eastern Orthodox and a strong supporter of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church.

His personal hobby was printing and I think the first time I saw the sign "Danger 10,000 Ohms!", It was one of his.

In the store of life there is an upside down bin. The supplier tells us they dont make that part anymore.


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