Zenith Space Commander Four Hundred Remote

Submitted by StoryTroy August 3rd, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner

In contrast to the hulking RCA Victor remotes posted here in recent weeks, the Zenith Space Commander Four Hundred is a real flyweight. Just over two inches wide and four inches long, this shrimpy hunk of brass n’ plastic has a secret. Yes, this wee lil’ sucker delivers the satisfying click you remember, Allee — a noisy “ka-chank” whenever you dare to depress any of its four buttons: Channel Lower, Volume On-Off, Sound Mute and Channel Higher.

I can’t for the life of me figure out how you’d raise or lower the volume on this wonder given those limited selections.

It cuts a dashing figure from the side, don’t you think?

Kind of makes you wonder how Zenith’s remotes went from something this charming to something this awful by the 1980’s:

Note the change in title — the noble “Space Commander Four Hundred” on the 60’s model to to the ever-so-with-it 80’s upgrade “Computer Space Command.”

If computers are so great, why did the 80’s Zenith remotes dwarf their predecessors? I thought technology was s’posed to make things tinier over time. All it made smaller were the boring buttons… none of which make a peep when you mash ’em down. Dullsville!

5 Responses to “Zenith Space Commander Four Hundred Remote”

  1. Allee Willis

    You’re never going to find anyone who will agree with you more on how the design of certain products has gotten uglier and uglier as the decades progress. Nothing is ever going to top the beauty of space-age design of the 1950s and 60s, especially when it comes to things attached to modern conveniences like TV remotes.

    I love the side view of the remote. It looks like an ocean liner.

  2. k2dtw

    I love all these vintage TV commercials. I just did a cold search on Youtube for TV Remotes, then expanded the search a little by maker. I was so surprised to find anything, I think they’re beautiful. Love the set design, the music and the voice over… and I would so stop to watch if that star came up…whoa!!