Halt and Catch Fire: Chips, Bytes,
and Dallas’ Place in History

Halt and Catch Fire tells the story of the beginnings of the computer industry, with Dallas in a starring role.

Halt And Catch

The critically-acclaimed AMC television series Halt and Catch Fire is nearing the conclusion of its third season. 

John E. Branch Jr. in his Je Suis, Ergo Sum blog has written an essay that takes a look at Halt and Catch Fire’s telling of the birth of the computer industry — and the major role Dallas played in it in the 1980s. 

For those who never knew or may have forgotten, Branch reminds us that North Texas did, indeed, have a major place in the industry that has generically become known as Silicon Valley (actually a real place in California, of course). Branch says Silicon Valley and the computer industry are the equivalent of the name “Hollywood” being associated the entire film industry — most of which isn’t even based in Hollywood.

After all, Dallas had Texas Instruments (the employer for a time of one of the show’s major female characters), and Fort Worth had Tandy Corp. How could we forget the TRS-80 Model 100? SMU engineering folks were looking at digital audio in the 1970s. Houston had Compaq, and Austin had Dell, and the government-industry research consortium SEMATECH.

Branch’s take on how Halt and Catch Fire captures the real essence of the birth of the computer industry comes from a personal perspective. He was there. You can read Branch’s long-but-worthwhile blog here.

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  1. This account of my blog post is much appreciated. I’m glad you mentioned Tandy Corporation. I had considered including it among the companies I named but ended up leaving it out. Thanks!

  2. Diane Testa says:

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention! Great show!