1968 was not only a great time because the entire nation was in political and social upheaval, but because it produced videos of Mr. Rogers mildly geeking out over a synthesizer. Considering how relatively mundane a device like this is today, it's funny to see the expression on the face of our PBS neighbor. He looks like he's somewhere between approaching a hostile animal and regretting that last hit of acid he dropped the night before. But humor aside, we should also take a moment to honor the other man in the video— synthesizer pioneer Bruce Haack. Bruce Haack is up there with the likes of Leon Theramin, Robert Moog, Kraftwerk and Raymond Scott when it comes to electronic music. Throughout the 60s, Haack produced some of the earliest pieces of music in the genre, and despite not having a tech background, built many of his own synthesizers—including one that made noise by running a current through human bodies. According to the always authoritative Wikipedia, he was doing Mescaline with Native Americans when he was eight years old. That's awesome. [YouTube via Makezine]
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I never liked the Mr. Rogers show, I mean the man himself was a decent good man, but the show creeped the hell out of me.