Given my profile comment, I got asked for a writeup on the Burroughs B205 (I'll just call it B205 as a short hand). This was tricky for me as I have never seen one, at least, so I thought. I have to rephrase that as I've never used or touched one. How come the change in this statement? The answer is that if you've seen a wide range of films or television shows it is highly likely that you've seen a B205.

Yikes! I've got this far and I haven't said what it is. The B205 is an early computer, one that Burroughs Corporation purchased from another company in order to get into the marketplace for computers. It was designed back in the days when computers had panels with lots of blinking lights! When seeing one on TV my reaction has always been that it's Hollywood's idea of what a futuristic computer should look like. Sure, early computers had blinking lights or, in some cases, lights that weren't blinking but these were nothing compared to the B205.

The B205 was either highly photogenic or, maybe, some studio had bought one and they wanted to make as much use as possible of it. There's a website out there, OK there are lots of websites out there, but the one in question is dedicated to TV shows or movies where there's a significant role for a computer. I did a very rough count, by some odd rules I will admit, and the B205 turns up as the second most popular on-screen computer. The most popular being the AN/FSQ-7 from IBM. OK, only one odd rule, I excluded all portable computers. If I'd let them in, the Commodore 64 would have won out. That surprised me, I'd have thought Apple would have the clear advantage but they have so many different models that none, individually, come close.

The B205, or parts of it has appeared in a variety of movies or TV series, mostly science fiction such as Fantastic Voyage and Lost in Space, but also Batman (the Adam West version as a campy movie needed a campy computer) and, maybe because of its use in The Time Travelers it somehow found its way back in time to Hogan's Heroes!

Most of the time you only get to see the tape drives but every so often you see the console. Batman, though, featured the programmer's console. Look out for it, all kinds of flashing lights! From a modern perspective, it's ludicrous, some prop master's crazy vision of what a computer should look like. But no, it was a real computer.

I mentioned its rival, the AN/FSQ-7, surprisingly, at least twice they appeared in the same show! I'm tempted to write about it as well but, to be honest, it's nowhere near as crazy as the B205.

And after all that, if you got this far, it's time to meet the B205.

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