Superscope Bob Barker Style Microphone
The hosts of American gameshows The Price is Right and The Match Game both used rather unusual microphones on screen. Pencil thin and very long and elegant. Perhaps the goal behind the slender mic was to block less of the host's fabulous Botany 500 wardrobe. The length of the microphone's body meant the host could hold the bulk of the mic outside the shot while still getting very good sound.
I have since learned that these mics used on these game shows were quite good microphones, and today are rather scarce. In many years of searching, I've only ever seen one on Ebay and it went for nearly $400 US. What's a career cheapass like myself to do?
Superscope was a division of Marantz that made tape recorders. They also made a lot of related gear for amateur and professionals alike. So let's check out their EC-12B lavalier microphone kit. As a "lav" (tie clip) mic, it's a bit huge. But when you attach the electret condenser mic capsule to the telescoping handle, you get a cheapie copy of the classic Bob Barker mic.
My intent was simply to use this mic as a prop, but popping in a button cell reveals that it's a good sounding microphone. There is even a fitted case! All in all this is an impressivley complete kit - the instructions go so far as to explain how to solder on an XLR jack to use the mic with a pro mixer!
It's great to think back to when manufacturers actually empowered their users to make and share their own recordings. No crazy rules on what format plays nice with which device, no bizarre custom connectors to make sure that your mic only worked with your brand. Unfortunately, just finding any kind of mic input jack on a consumer digital recorder or video camera today is next to impossible.