Tektronix equipment has been used in movies and shows. This is the earliest film we know of which features a Tektronix oscilloscope. This film, 1953 The Magnetic Monster, features a 511 oscilloscope which is only shown briefly. This film was the first in Ivan Tors' "Office of Scientific Investigation" (OSI) trilogy.
The Magnetic Monster was followed in Ivan Tors' "Office of Scientific Investigation" (OSI) trilogy by Riders to the Stars (1954) and Gog (1954). Gog features a 1952 Type 511A oscilloscope (based on the top louvers). A viewing of Riders to the Stars showed a couple of scenes with non-Tektronix oscilloscopes.
This scene with a Type 545 oscilloscope and a C plug-in is from the 1959 movie The Angry Red Planet.
This scene also features a Type 545 oscilloscope with a C or CA plug-in is from the 1964 Time Travelers. It is nice to know Tektronix scopes are still being used in 2071.
A Tektronix P600X (P6006, P6007, P6008, or P6009) probe is used to check out the AE-35 unit in the 1968 film A Space Odyssey. This scene appears at 59:26 in the movie.
The museum has a P6006 Probe on display.
This partial shot of a Type 536 oscilloscope appears in the 1969 film Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun apparently as some type of EKG monitor.
A Type 422 scope in the console appears in this scene from the same movie.
A 536 (bottom left), two 422s (top) and a 545B (bottom right) appear in this scene. We think the 545B plug-in is a D.
The 1971 film Diamonds Are Forever features both Tektronix oscilloscopes and a Telequipment oscilloscope. At about 90 minutes into the film they are seen in Blofeld's secret Laser Laboratories. This photo shows a Tektronix RM561A oscilloscope with a 3A72 and 3B3 time base to the left of a couple of Fairchild 766 series oscilloscopes.
This photo shows a closeup of the Telequipment S51A oscilloscope display.
The 1972 film Silent Running features a Tektronix 491 spectrum analyzer. He uses this 491 to communicate with the home base.
The 1973 film Live And Let Die features a Tektronix 453 oscilloscope. At about 40 minutes in the movie a secret panel is discovered on a fishing boat which houses equipment including the oscilloscope.
This scene clearly shows the 453 oscilloscope with five BNC cables attached: channel 1 input, channel 2 input, A triggering ext input, B triggering ext input, and cal out.
The 1976 British series Children of the Stones features a Telequipment oscilloscope. Telequipment was a low cost oscilloscope manufacture located in Hoddesdon, UK, and their equipment was primarily aimed at the television and repair service industry. Tektronix purchased them in 1967 for a low cost entry and phased the brand out by the late 1970s. This D65 or D66 oscilloscope was introduced in the early 1970s and appears towards the end of episode 7.
The 1977 film Star Wars features a Grass Valley Group Model 1600 Switcher as the firing control on the Death Star. The video trailer for this particular scene is on the Grass Valley Products page.
In 1978 a number of Tektronix products including oscilloscopes, TM500 instruments, and 4051 computer graphic systems were used on the bridge of Battlestar Galactica.
There are more photographs of Battlestar Galactica on the Starring The Computer web site. This image shows the 4051s along with numerous TM500 instruments.
This June 2, 1978 TekWeek featured more information the show. Click on the image to view the PDF.
This June 16, 1978 TekWeek featured a letter to the editor regarding the 4081.
The 1978 Season 7 Episode 4 of the TV Series Columbo "How To Dial A Murder" featured a scene with these two Tektronix RM503 oscilloscopes.
The 1979 British television series Tales Of The Unexpected had a Tektronix oscilloscope appear in season 1 episode 3, William and Mary.
This quick closeup shot confirms it is a Type 535A oscilloscope. You can even almost read the serial number.
The 1979 film Escape From Alcatraz, featuring Clint Eastwood, shows a Tektronix T922 oscilloscope as part of a walk through detector. This film is about the 1962 escape which precedes the introduction of the T922 by some 14 years. Apparently that Time Travelers move had some validity.
The logo on the T922 has been replaced with one that looks like "Vectrex".
The 1983 movie Brainstorm shows several Tektronix products at about 98 minutes. We think the mainframe might be a 7603. The two plug-ins in the Type 200 Scope-Mobile are a 1S1 (left) and a Type Q (right) which of course don't go with the mainframe.
The 1983 movie Wargames features two different Tektronix oscilloscopes. This scene at just over 31 minutes shows what looks like a 466 storage oscilloscope.
This scene at just over 1:40 shows two T922 oscilloscopes.
A Tektronix 4051 appears in the 1984 movie Seksmisja as featured on the Starring The Computer web site.
A Tektronix 4051 appears in this scene in the 1985 movie D.A.R.Y.L.
This scene features a number of Tektronix products including the 4051, a 7000 series oscilloscope, and TM500 and TM5000 instruments.
This March 28, 1986 TekWeek features an article on D.A.R.Y.L.
Tektronix oscilloscopes were featured in the 1985 movie Real Genius staring Val Kilmer. This scene at about 28 minutes in the film shows a T922 15 MHz oscilloscope.
This second scent at about 72 minutes shows a 555 30 MHz dual beam oscilloscope with a Type A vertical plug-in on the left and a Type L vertical plug-in on the right. The two horizontal plug-ins are a Type 21 and 22. Virtually both were always bought with Type 555 mainframe.
A number of Tektronix oscilloscopes were seen in the 1988 TV show Probe. The show ran only a pilot and 6 episodes. This scene shows a 530 or 540 series oscilloscope.
Maniac Mansion was a TV family comedy that ran for three seasons from September 1990, to April 1993. It was about a dim-witted Professor (Joe Flaherty of Second City TV) and his eccentric family. Tektronix oscilloscopes appear in many episodes. These scenes shows a ~1961 515A oscilloscope.
The 1997 movie Contact featured a Tektronix four channel TDS420 oscilloscopes.
A TLA704 Logic Analyzer and TDS784 oscilloscope appeared in the 1997 science fiction action film Face/Off staring John Travolta and Nicholas Cage. In addition, the film was edited on a Tektronix Lightworks non-linear editing system. Its editors were Christian Wagner and Steven Kemper, both of whom have lengthy lists of film credits. Two other just released films utilizing Lightworks editing systems are ConAir and Batman & Robin. This July 11, 1997 TekWeek describes the film and these products.
A number of Tek scopes were featured in the 2000 Australian film The Dish about the Parkes Observatory's role in relaying live television of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. These scenes are from about 15 minutes into the movie.
This scene shows rack with three Tektronix oscilloscopes - a RM561A oscilloscope with a 3A6 vertical and 3B3 time base plug-in at the top, a RM564 storage oscilloscope with a 3A6 vertical and 2B67 time base plug-in in the middle, and a RM561 oscilloscope with a 3A74 vertical and 67 time base plug-in at the bottom.
This scene shows a close-up of the bottom oscilloscope, a RM561 with a 3A74 vertical and 67 time base plug-in.
This scene shows a closeup of the middle oscilloscope, a RM564 with a 3A6 vertical and 2B67 time base plug-in.
This 3054 oscilloscope appears just about 3 minutes into the 2003 movie The Core.
Two Tektronix oscilloscopes are featured in this scene from the 2005 Lost episode "The Hatch". On the left is a 531A oscilloscope on a 500 series Scope-Mobile and on the right is a 502 oscilloscope on a 200 series Scope-Mobile.
A 2400 series oscilloscope appeared in season 12 episode 4 of the British television detective drama Midsomer Murders "The Glitch" in 2009.
"The Americans" is an American spy thriller series that premiered in 2013. In season 2 (2014) Episode 10 these scenes appear at 45 minutes showing a Tektronix 1502 Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR).
The 2016 film Ghostbusters has several Tektronix products. These two scenes show a TDS220 in the lab.
Also in the lab on the table to the right we believe is a 7623A oscilloscope and on the cart is the rear of a letter series plugin.
It also appears as a partial side view in this scene.
This Type 551 dual beam oscilloscope appears in the Ghostbusters All Trailer and Clips (2016) but we cannot find this scene in the movie. Let us know if you find it.
A 500 series oscilloscope and cart appear in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures about the early days of NASA. A 500 series oscilloscope would be correct for this time era. We believe this to be a Type 545B with a G plug-in. This scene appear at about 59 minutes in the movie showing the oscilloscope in the computer room.
This scene shows a cable connected to the External Trigger input which was a typical setup when viewing computer data or address lines.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a web TV series that premiered in 2017 on Prime Video. Season 3 Episode 7 features this 1957/58 Tektronix 524AD oscilloscope in a radio station control room.
This 555 dual beam oscilloscope appears at about 80 minutes in the 2018 movie A Quiet Place. The horizontal plug-ins are Type 22. The left vertical plug-in appears to be a Type D. The right vertical plug-in is the Type O operational amplifier. The scope-mobile has a Type K plug-in on the left and a Type H on the right.
The June 2018 Public Broadcasting System (PBS) program Nature featured a TDS 2024C oscilloscope in the “Sex, Lies and Butterflies” episode. The TDS 2024C is a portable oscilloscope that has been rack mounted and is used to visualize the return signal from a radar system employed tracking migrating Painted Lady butterflies. We can’t resist pointing out that during WWII Howard Vollum twice received the prestigious Legion of Merit Award for his work on optimizing radar oscilloscopes in England and the United States. Radar was probably the most important use of scopes in the war for targeting weapons and defense. And now it’s following butterflies.
This scene from the 2019 Avengers: Endgame features a Tektronix 2336 oscilloscope on a Type 200 series Scope-Mobile. Without giving away the plot, this oscilloscope appears 12 years before it was introduced.
If you know of any other shows or movies featuring Tektronix products let us know!