That Beckett quote is defeatist.

It pleases me to believe that these obsolete transistors are 'new old stock'.
Yes, it pleases me to believe that these four 2N3638A transistors are NOS.

This evening’s tinkering session is going to involve yours truly double-checking a breadboarded circuit I assembled last week, to assure myself that it correctly replicates a circuit included in a datasheet for an EOLed Hall effect sensor and then, if no boneheaded mistakes in my handiwork leap out at me, substituting one of the 2N3638As shown above for the less-outmoded PNP transistor that I tried using, unsuccessfully, while waiting for the 2N3638As to arrive.

Which Beckett quote? This Beckett quote.