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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Apr Fri 30, 2004 7:20 pm 
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From Variety Magazine...<P>" 'Wing" duo fathers of 'Invention'<P>New Line pic to spotlight battle over tube credit<BR> <BR>In their first project since exiting "The West Wing," Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme will join forces at New Line on "The Farnsworth Invention," a drama about how Philo Farnsworth invented TV technology and was robbed of the glory by broadcast pioneer David Sarnoff.<P>Project was sold as a spec package. After entering into exclusive negotiations early this week, New Line agreed to pay $2.5 million against 2% of gross for Sorkin to write and produce, with Schlamme receiving just north of $1 million to direct the film and produce.<P>Script is set in the late 1920s, when the 22-year-old genius from Utah became the first to capture a moving image in a box. That led to a skirmish with rival scientist Vladimir Zworykin, who years earlier had filed a patent for the technology even though he hadn't made it work until Farnsworth's invention.<P>Since Zworykin was under the employ of radio giant RCA and Sarnoff, the young mogul who ran the broadcasting giant engaged in a take-no-prisoners battle for control of the invention that would change the world.<P>New Line president Toby Emmerich made the buy and will oversee the project. "The way (Sorkin) portrayed Philo and Sarnoff on the page, I'd say (they were) two of the best characters I'd read in a movie script over the last 10 years. They are adversaries, but it is subtle and sophisticated. It is a compelling drama that will have the feel of 'Seabiscuit' in that it covers one of those periods in the country where everything changed."<P>Sorkin and Schlamme met while working on the Sorkin-created series "Sports Night," and then became exec producers on "The West Wing."<P>By Michael Fleming"


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Apr Fri 30, 2004 11:32 pm 
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This is a welcome thing as long as they hold it true to Alma Farnsworths book "Distant Vision". I would say it is THE only really accurate account of the development of TV and of Farnsworths life. All else written about Farnsworth is merely speculation gathered from other written history of Farnsworth which in itself is mostly inaccurate. Probably the best part and certainly the most interesting part of Farnsworths life and the least known was his development of the Atomic Fusor. I wonder if they'll put that part of his life in the film?? I hope so!!<P>Mark Gulbrandsen<BR>Salt Lake City, UT<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Sat 01, 2004 1:33 am 
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Hey David,<P>I think Scott Marshal's presentation "The Case Against Philo Farnsworth" at the recent ETF convention might be at odds with this film. I'm not sure the truth about who invented electronic tv will ever be known. Should be an interesting film in any case.<BR>Steve D.<P>------------------<BR><BR>Check out my web page at:http://community.webtv.net/stevetek/StevesCT100


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Sun 02, 2004 9:40 pm 
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Hello Steve,<P>Yes, reading this article reminded me of Scott's presentation at the television convention. And I agree, there will probably never be a final conclusion about who "invented" television.<P>I guess I'm in the "Farnsworthian" camp, my understanding is that he was the first to demonstrate a working video camera / CRT combination, crude as it may have been. That said, it's clear that many inventors had a part in TV becoming reality, and the credit cannot go to just one individual.<P>I hope to see the film someday. Regardless of who you think should be credited, the development of early TV is a fascinating story, and all those involved deserve recognition.<P>P.S. I enjoyed looking at your website, and hope to see your collection one of these days!


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Mon 03, 2004 12:02 am 
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I think that only certain people really do deserve certain credit for television as we have it today. There are those that invented it(Farnsworth) and those that perfected it and made it practical(Zworykin). Although I believe there is no doubt that Farnsworth designed electronic Tv as we know it others along with Zworykin do deserve at least some credit for making it practical...something the image dissector even in its improved form was really not. The only place it could function well was in bright sunlight or indoors with way more foot candles of incandescant light than anyone could stand for more than a few minutes at a time. To me Farnsworth is truely the only individual that had a complete working electronic system long before any one else did. Don't forget that Zworykin made image dissectors several years before he ever produced working Iconoscopes!! But I believe that the Dissector Tube and Sarnoff were the fuel that led him to produce a working iconoscope. <P> If you have not seen the "I've Got A Secret" episode you should go see it at farnovision.com and make note of Philo's revelation at the end where he talkes about HDTV(albeit 2000 lines) and storing it all in memory. Something that we have both of today!! Pretty amazing revelation for 1957 if you ask me......<P>Mark<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Tue 04, 2004 2:56 am 
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While I agree with what you said about the camera tubes, don't forget that many other inventions were needed for a working TV system. <P>A review of Farnsworth's many patents tells it all. Just a few of his patents were for such fundamental processes as sawtooth scanning, DC restoration, the flyback high voltage supply, and electron multipliers. <P>The famous RCA Image Orthicon, which reigned supreme for more than 20 years as THE camera tube of choice, could not function without its electron multiplier section invented by Farnsworth. Special versions of that tube are still being used today by the military for night vision.<P>Also don't forget that Allen B. DuMont's refinements of the cathode ray tube made practical and reliable picture tubes possible for all companies (Zworykin did not invent the "kinescope" - only the name). DuMont manufactured the first mass produced all electronic receiver in the U.S. in 1938. It had a 14" picture tube, bigger than anyone else had at the time.<P>------------------<BR>Bill S.


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Mon 17, 2004 7:17 pm 
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Sounds like an interesting project. As a fan of "West Wing", I have come to expect a lot from Sorkin and Schlamme. Will it be a single hour, or a miniseries?<BR>As an (unacknowledged) inventor of the "boombox" (with tubes, in 1957) I can relate to those like Farnsworth, Tesla and others, who were more interested in inventing than in patenting and so were screwed out of fortunes and fame by the capitalistic "legal" system. <P>------------------<BR>OZ


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Mon 17, 2004 8:48 pm 
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And then there's always Armstrong!<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Mon 17, 2004 10:05 pm 
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Ah, yes, Armstrong! He was the other one I was trying to remember. Bucks over brains again!<P>------------------<BR>OZ


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Wed 19, 2004 7:09 am 
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Iain Logie Baird is the grandson of John Logie Baird, a name that most of us are well familiar with. He is Collection Curator of the MZTV Museum of Television in Toronto.<P>Iain, thank you for contributing to the discussion!<P>------------------


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Wed 19, 2004 7:47 am 
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Ian, Thanks for joining us here!!!<P> One thing I always found interesting is that Baird licensed the Farnsworth system during the "competition of TV systems" for Britan. In the end, both men only to see the BBC system win which I believe was mainly based on RCA equipment that was British built. I also think this film will have as the center piece the Sarnoff-Farnsworth battle and that will make a great film in its own right. Both men are very fascinating and someting like this is long overdue. I don't think the film is going to be centered on who did the first TV broadcast or who was second or what ever. <P> Personally I think a film about JLB would be deserving of an entirely seperate work and in this case it would be interesting how Farnsworth and Sarnoff among others fit in from the JLB perspective.<P>Mark<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Wed 19, 2004 5:29 pm 
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Hello all,<P>After hearing about this film I was a little concerned as to the potential for revisionist history, so I sent this email to New Line via their website;<P>Dear Sir,<P>I am writing to you regarding your forthcoming production "The Farnsworth Invention" to hopefully draw your attention to the history of the invention of television, as the press release quotes the following;<P>"(The) script is set in the late 1920s, when the 22-year-old genius from Utah became the first to capture a moving image in a box." <P>This is not true, as the moving image in a box had been achieved before by John Logie Baird in the UK. Philo T. Farnsworth developed television based on CRT's as opposed to the previous electro-mechanical approach, but it was a progression and not an invention (The use of CRT's had been previously detailed with diagrams by A.A. Cambell Swinton in 1911 in the journal 'Nature'). I hope that the film makes this distinction as there are many television technologies now available, with CRT being just one player. Also, I hope the film mentions Baird 's involvement with Farnsworth as at one time Baird was the only licensee of the image dissector in the later years of Baird Television, the first TV studio in the world.<P>The story of Philo T. Farnsworth is compelling and will make gritty drama, as he did take on the might of corporate America. However, (for historical accuracy) television had already been demonstrated before by John Logie Baird in the UK in January 1926, and this is widely known to be the first public demonstration of the first true television image using reflected light on live, moving (human) subjects, achieving true halftones and transmitted to another room. <P>Also in May 1927, Baird transmitted live, moving television images 438 miles between London and Glasgow. This is 4 months before Philo T. Farnsworth achieved his first demonstration of a simple geometric shape using projected backlighting (i.e. not reflected light) in September of the same year. <P>Philo T. Farnsworth did pioneer the 3rd generation of televisions that used CRT as its medium. For that he should be remembered. However, he did not achieve the first television image. Indeed, if this film is shown in a digital projection cinema perhaps using Digital Light Processing or Grating Light Valve technology, these are electromechanical systems closer to the Baird invention than the Farnsworth CRT approach.<P>I am writing to request that the film be a true and accurate representation of the television timeline, and that it puts Baird and Farnsworth in their proper places in that history. As a footnote, perhaps a film on the life of John Logie Baird could be considered.<P>Yours Faithfully,<P>Jason Mitchell.<P>I hope they take note of the points and that we get a great and accurate film.<P>Also, I can't believe Iain Logie Baird is posting here. You are the grandson of a truly great man whose achievements have shaped the world!<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Sat 22, 2004 3:35 am 
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Dear Mr Baird,<P>I am also a great admirer of your grandfather, having tried to read more or less everything published on the history of television in the last 60 years or so. One of my personal favorites is R.W. Burns book, "Television, an international history of the formative years" (IEE History of Technology series 22) which renders proper justice to his work in the development of television. I also went to visit the British Science Museum, delocated at Bradford in the north of the UK where the 1928 scanner & dummy are exhibited. <P>Have you managed to save some of his personal research archives from the 1940s, specifically concerning the development of the Telechrome tri-color tube. All i have is a colour brochure from Quantel "Seeing by Wireless" showing an off-screen picture of a man with a pipe & another of a young woman taken by Paddy Naismith in December 1940.<P>I'm sure that all the members of this forum would be fascinated by any data concerning the development of electronic color picture reproduction prior to the Law 1949 shadow mask CRT.<P>Best Regards<P>Jerome Halphen<P>jhalphen at dial dot oleane dot com<P>Paris/France<P><P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Mon 24, 2004 1:56 pm 
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Hello Iain,<P>Many thanks for your reply. I had to write to New Line because I feel very strongly about this issue. This has probably come across on the Farnovision website as well. I cannot believe how people can be so easily duped by this type of revisionist history. As you said, this film may be the crowning achievement of a TV history cult. My opinion is that this message cannot be allowed to stand. I really wish that a film could be made to redress the balance of this, but perhaps it can be said that he who holds the chequebook in Hollywood holds the power to change the perceptions of history....<P>Or does he? I actually don't think so. As you said, the belief that Farnsworth invented television is based around the use of CRT's. These are most definitely on their way out. I think what will happen (as you say) is that John Logie Baird will be reinstated as the man who not only invented television, but was so far ahead of his time that the world is only just catching up now. We hear all these stories about how J.L. Baird's system was 'usurped' by 'electronic' television, but it is now being shown that Baird had the right idea all along. The sheer elegance of Baird's solution is amazing. He saw at the time that television needed to be practical and flexible. What better method to create television than to use light as the source, light that is the fastest entity known to man and that can be reflected and manipulated so effectively. Farnsworth created a system that in my view held television back for too long. Baird created in the first instance a television that required no tube! This means that it didn't have the problems associated with tube technology, - fragile glass, dangerous chemicals, use of a vacuum, high voltages, size restrictions etc. The new Digital Light Processing and Grating Light Valve technologies are vindications of Baird’s superior vision of television. This will not be lost in the coming years.<P>Also, the invention of television to me goes beyond the creation of the technology. Baird pioneered so many aspects of the television industry as we see it today. Anyone who has enjoyed any television picture at all, who has enjoyed any television drama, who has watched any outside broadcasts of sporting events, who have watched these events on large public screens in bars or in football stadiums or rock venues, who have also watched these events in colour, who have watched international television broadcast over vast tracts of ocean, who turns on their cable box to watch cable television, who enjoyed the moon landing, who enjoys wildlife programmes showing the habitats of animals in low or zero light conditions, who has ever furthered their career by presenting information at the office on a projector, who has watched films in a digital theatre, who has ever enjoyed televised broadcasts of material shot on film, who have put their disk of recorded video material into their video player, and who enjoys television on the BBC, having pioneered its entire abilities in television and therefore all the studios around the world that emulate it, that person owes a debt of gratitude to John Logie Baird. And we're still waiting for 3D television!<P>As to the segment on the British Alexandra Palace television trials, this is blown out of all proportion. What must be remembered at this time was that the BBC had been conducting television broadcasts for many years. I see these trials as nothing more than an 'Invitation To Tender' for a new system to meet certain needs at that time. This is much like the American Department of Defence tendering for a new military aircraft and asking Boeing and MacDonnell Douglas to compete. Only one designed system will win, but that doesn't negate in its entirety the qualities behind the other system. It also doesn't have any bearing on the fact that the Wright Brothers invented the aeroplane! The television trials should be placed into their proper context. Indeed, these trials could only take place because the BBC had embraced television as a viable concept and had built up a knowledge of television and its requirements based on the Baird invention. And it is somehow ironic that the supporters of Farnsworth use these trials as evidence of Farnsworth's invention of television when he and Baird were in these trials together, on the same side!<P>I think history will eventually revert to its proper course when all the hype surrounding this film recedes and when no-one has CRT's in their houses anymore. I look forward to this happening and that J.L. Bairds position as the inventor of television is once again undisputed. <BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: May Wed 26, 2004 10:35 pm 
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The discussion/debate here is ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING, indeed. But, when/where will I be able to see the FILM for myself, however inaccurate it may turn out to be???<P>------------------<BR>OZ


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