The Valley Part 4

There was yet another birth in 1971 in the Santa Clara Valley that played into the history of personal computing. This was a new performance arts center on the campus of De Anza Community College in Cupertino. It was dedicated in the year of my birth and it was christened: Flint Center for the Performing Arts.

In my personal history, this 2,600 seat auditorium had been the location of a few field trips and an occasional performance of The Nutcracker around the holidays. The set up of the auditorium is with seating front and center with two side aisles, but without  a center aisle. Perhaps not the best design for a patron with a weak bladder!

After High School I attended De Anza and I even took a film class in the back of Flint Center.

What writes Flint Center into the digital annals of Silicon Valley history was what occurred here on January 24, 1984. In this ominous Orwellian year, a company that started in a garage in Los Altos, was going to take on the Davids of the computing world with the introduction of their new computer. The company would be Apple Computers and it’s new product, which was launched here at Flint Center, was named the Macintosh.

Flint Center was chosen as the sight of the annual stockholders meeting and the Mac team walked the short distance to the auditorium from their building near De Anza Boulevard.

The auditorium was packed in anticipation for Apple’s new computer. The fervor was stoked by the Riley Scott directed ad that was shown during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. The now famous “1984” ad depicts a dystopian world where mindless drones march in lock step and a hammer wielding woman runs toward the screen thats projecting “Big Brother”. She throws the hammer at the screen and the drones stare on in opened mouthed awe as the screen explodes. The ad ends with he words, “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984””

Steve Jobs, as chairman, opened the meeting by quoting the second verse to the Dylan song, “The Times They Are a-Changin'”. He then unveiled the machine that he knew would change the world.

In the late 1980’s our family owned a Macintosh SE. I liked the design on the computer and the warm and friendly fonts and designs. But soon after that, Apple computers moved outside of my price range.

Flint Center was used for two other Apple events and the performing arts center has been used as a filming location for two of the three films made about Jobs since his death in 2011.

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Here is the “birth certificate’ of Calvin Flint Center of the Performing Arts.

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