Another more or less favorable review, spoiled in the end by the pesky vicissitudes of actual history: We certainly can forgive "The Farnsworth Invention" for fudging some facts, but in the climactic patent ruling scene, Sorkin’s script strays too far. It portrays the court siding with RCA, while historical accounts and Farnsworth fanatics insist it […]
I was gonna let the dead horse lie for a while and not post this from Time Out New York, but then I got that comment telling me to "calm down" since it’s "only" a play… The big picture that results, however, is curiously fuzzy. The frank unreliability of both men’s narration provides cover for
….for those of you on drugs: Here, again, we see why ultimately this play serves the RCA party line, as yet another viewer who doesn’t know the real story comes away from the theater thinking they’ve just seen its genuine re-enactment: Even though Farnsworth sued Sarnoff and RCA, he eventually lost his patent claims on
The Village Voice has posted it’s review of The Farnsworth Invention: Farnsworth never explores any aspect of the story deeply. From the sources of the stirrings that made a rural potato-farmer’s kid an electronics whiz by high-school age to the seismic shift in social patterns caused by the mass success of radio and then TV,
Back on November 5th, I posted an entry here entitled "The Great Deception Continues" which cited a blog by Arthur S. Leonard, a professor at the New York Law School, who saw an early preview of The Farnsworth Invention as it prepared for its opening on Broadway. I noted then how Mr. Leonard had reiterated
Here’s a review from somebody in the cheap seats: Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention got pretty roundly panned by Ben Brantley, but my assessment of it is far more kind. The first question is whether Sorkin has learned from the failings of Studio 60, and the answer is mostly yes. What’s more interesting are the
Link: Bloomberg.com: Muse. Aaron Sorkin had a pretty impressive Broadway debut 18 years back with “A Few Good Men,” before heading off to Hollywood and making great television with “The West Wing.” He returns with “The Farnsworth Invention,” at the Music Box Theatre, an odd duck of a play about … television. Odd because it
"2B," is case you’re wondering, is the baseball score-card notation for a double. When somebody e-mailed me earlier this week his assessment that the reviews for The Farnsworth Invention had scored it a "FO" (fly out), I said I didn’t think it was that bad, more like a ground-rule double. Happily, Terry Teachout at the
In any event, The New York Observer. doesn’t care much for the science lesson. Alas, The Farnsworth Invention is swamped by all its unstoppable science lessons (which are rattled off at top speed as if everyone onstage—and off—wants them over and done with). Mr. Sorkin explains far too much—including act two’s unnecessary, clichéd opening scene
Aaron Sorkin has e-mailed me with a response to this article which appeared in the New York Post on Friday, November 30. His message appears here unaltered and unedited:
I hope this finds you well. Below is one of the many positive reviews of the play and I think the reviewer says in his opening paragraphs what I was trying to say to you in a previous e-mail but, like most people and most things, he says it better than I’m able to. There are good forums for debating history–you and I participated in one and I would have been happy to participate in others with you. The forum you chose–the New York Post of all silly places–was, frankly, petty and spiteful. Moreover (and fairly ironically) the Post story got so many facts wrong. Not astonishing for the Post. (For instance, Pem not only smoked, she smoked in front of me and she was the one who told me the story about the smoke coming up on the screen. Since a brief lunch over sixteen years ago, I’ve never met, spoken or corresponded with Kent Farnsworth so it’s not clear to me how working with me this whole time could have been a bad experience for him. The Post piece failed to mention that Georgia Skinner is your ex-wife. The Farnsworth Invention isn’t even remotely based–as you’ve incorrectly suggested many times–on Pem Farnsworth’s book, Distant Vision, which I’ve never read. (The Post forgot to mention that if I HAD based a play or a movie on Pem’s book, Georgia Skinner would have made money.) Finally, Paul, this is between a deceased mother and her son, but shame on you for bringing Kent into this. You know as well as I do that Kent and Pem had deep, serious problems with each other for decades. Or maybe you don’t. We could have debated these things in a great place in front of a crowd that really wanted to know and didn’t just want to dish. You chose to do it in the same place we find out who Britney Spears threw up on last night. Your website seems to be about finding the truth. I certainly hope you’ll post this, along with one man’s take below
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Aaron’s message was accompanied by a review which appears in its entirety in the continuation of this post.
So that I don’t get caught in the middle of this discussion, I have also posted the article, and Aaron’s response to the discussion forum at thefarnsworthinvention.com. Visitors will need to register in order to participate in that discussion.
Click "continue reading" below to read David Spencer’s review of The Farnsworth Invention.