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Electronic Theatre Controls Inc

Obsession 2 "Fancy Finish" and Go/Stop button stories

This article was made to preserve what would otherwise become a couple of lost ETC stories about our company and its late founder, Fred Foster.

Fancy Finish

The Obsession 2 "batwing" design was the last console to be designed directly by Fred. 


When the finish samples were chosen, Fred chose the gold, hashed one seen on all Obsession 2s produced.  Every single face plate is custom and unique because each one was made by hand by someone in the metal shop with a steel wire wheel brush on an angle grinder tapping it across the metal at a 45° angle one way, then back across the other way to make the characteristic pattern.  It was then anodized in its gold color.


The original samples for various finishes were made in the metal shop, and when Fred chose this one, someone from the design department came to gather the details about the chosen finish and asked what it was called.  The code name given by the people in the metal shop at the time was FFF which is how it was recorded in all of the paper work, "FFF finish."  No one bothered asking what "FFF" stood for, they just noted the info without asking.

But the people in the metal shop knew.  They had jokingly called it "Fancy F'n Finish".

Go/Stop buttons

As you may have noticed, the Go/Stop buttons were unlabeled and look identical.  Fred meant it to be this way having designed it to make ergonomic sense such that your hand naturally knows which is which.  Well, customers didn't necessarily agree and kept calling customer support about it.  David North was the head of support at the time and had secretly ordered green and red button caps in order to satisfy these customers. 

One day, Fred saw one of these affected consoles and proceeded to storm down to David's office, "HAND'M OVER."
"What are you talking about?" replied David with feigned ignorance.
"You know what I'm talking about."
David pulled open his desk drawer and sheepishly set the bag of green and red buttons he had ordered on the desk.  Fred snapped them up and stormed out of David's office, "I don't want ugly, green and red buttons on my consoles!"

(shh... Don't tell anyone, but those button caps were made available in our spare parts catalog and are still in stock to this day, lol.)

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