The Farnsworth Confession

You’ve heard of The Farnsworth Invention, now you can watch The Farnsworth Confession:

Mr. Farnsworth here should take heart from the Broadway version of the story.  According to the play, Philo Farnsworth’s invention was flawed by a fatal "light problem," and really wasn’t very useful.  And the Farnsworth character says near the end that an unnamed engineer at RCA (who left something baking in an oven too long) really "made the first television."  So, according to the play, the Farnsworth family is off the hook for the scourge of television.  It’s really The Sarnoff Invention.

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Paul Schatzkin

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  • Genius of Green Street*

    I sit down to watch his invention nearly very night
    often falling asleep in front of its screen and dream of my own images

    like the one of the Red man that stands alone in a forest of snow
    ready to sacrifice his life to save his soul
    and the soul of the world

    then there’s the one of my father prostrate in front of the refrigerator
    dying on the floor and me there to comfort and forgive him

    Phil’s invention is much like that mechanism inside our head
    that’s turned on when we go to bed

    The Genius of Green Street takes the heat for everything
    He’s the cause of all our social ills and the reason we take to many pills

    But when David McCallum comes on the television and begins talking about him
    tears come to my eyes as it becomes clear how connected we all are

    tears when I realize my worst fears are no imagination
    tears when I hear the cries of kids caught in wars zones
    or casualty figures coming back from Vietnam

    tears when I see Neil Armstrong and
    Buzz Aldrin showing us our potential

    Phil is the genius of green street he gives me hope
    when I see the slope of the moon and mars.

    8/2008

    Jeffery J. Rahn

    *A plaque honoring Farnsworth as The Genius of Green Street is located on the 202 Green Street location of his research laboratory in San Francisco, California.
    * Serena Bastian ( Philo’s Mom) was Grandfather’s Aunt

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