We're on the threshold of a genuine departure in radiological practice: The direct spot-film and the full-size radiograph are being rapidly abandoned in a number of diagnostic procedures. Yet an overview of a sophisticated medical imaging system at the end of 1973 looks pretty much like a schematic we might have examined a year ago, or five years ago. Only the details have changed. But just these details - and the performance advances underlying them - are making the intensified spot film the x-ray recording medium of choice. This talk will catalog and describe these advances, several of which have really become commercially available in only the last year or two. Perhaps the most significant unifying "event", though, is the fact that these advanced systems started to move into hospitals in significant quantities during 1973. And this is the ultimate reason we should expect a strong trend away from the direct radiograph.