“The Farnsworth” Gets a Slot in “Warehouse 13”

I haven't watched it yet, but I'm recording episodes of a new SciFi (now "Syfy Network") Channel Series called "Warehouse 13."  It's an action-adventure thing essentially constructed around the concept of the warehouse scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

As described in to WIRED,the show is about…

…a cavernous warehouse filled with weird artifacts stored over the
past century by the federal government. Rumpled manager Artie, played
by Saul Rubinek
welcomes the agents with an array of antique
gizmos. Their mission: Track down a sinister artifact each week and
bring the relic back to South Dakota for safekeeping.

“Making the pilot, we had this notion that Artie is like Q in the
James Bond world,” says producer David Simkins, checking in from the Warehouse set in Toronto.

“Artie hands out the gadgets,” Los Angeles show-runner Jack Kenny adds. “Creating this show, ’steampunk’ was our mantra.”

Appropriately enough, one of Artie's gizmos is a video communicator dubbed "The Farnsworth:"

Farnsworthface-02660 “This is basically a video cellphone and it was invented by Philo
Farnsworth, the unrecognized inventor of television,” Simkins says. “We
imagined that Philo invented it one weekend in 1929, it worked, and
it’s been in the warehouse ever since. One reason they still use it is
that the technology is so old, no one can hack it. It’s not digital. I
don’t even know what it runs on but it’s untraceable because the
Farnsworth exists totally off the grid.”

These guys know their obscure 20th century scientists.  Another one of the featured geegaws is "The Tesla Gun:"

Telsa-gunreal-660 We say this little ray gun was invented by Thomas Edison’s great rival,
Nikola Tesla,” Simkins says. “It’s basically a stun gun, like a Taser:
There’s an electrical charge, you aim it, it fires.” Kenny adds: “And
the Tesla destroys immediate short-term memory.”

That one looks to me like a hack saw frame with some tubes welded on top.  I guess that's the definition of "steampunk" — a concept I'd not heard of until now which I may decide to find endlessly fascinating. 

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Paul Schatzkin

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